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Canada 2019/2020 Planning, all advice appreciated

Discussion in 'Canada' started by Scot_e17, Mar 4, 2019.

  1. Scot_e17

    Scot_e17 Hard Yards

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    We pretty much have our dates locked in for the Whistler component from 11-18 Jan 2020,so where would be a good place for us to start looking for early bird offers. Are there any websites you could suggest?
     
  2. PG2736

    PG2736 Hard Yards

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    I have always had a great experience with the team at Skimax. Just give them a call. We got some great early bird rates for Jan 5-19, 2020
     
  3. sly_karma

    sly_karma Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Never hurts to ask a travel agent. They see offers we never get a look at on the street.
     
  4. Scot_e17

    Scot_e17 Hard Yards

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    Thank you for all the comments above, some great insights which have lead us to this as a rough plan for our trip. With my parents and 9 year old daughter likely to join us for the back end 7-8 days in Whistler, we have from 26/12 – 14/1 to explore Powder Highway resorts. After arriving in Vancouver, we will fly to Kelowna, hire a car ( which we will book via a UK website) and head straight to Red Mountain and Whitewater for the first 7-8 days over the NYE period, and then depending on snow conditions we will head towards either Kicking Horse or Fernie to make use of our EPIC Pass. The EPIC Pass will work for us well with our 7-8 days at Whistler, plus either Fernie or KH included. We’ll just need to purchase passes as we go for RED and Whitewater. The EPIC Pass will also allow us to take advantage of ski season 2020 at Hotham and Falls. If the conditions aren’t great at either KH or Fernie, we’ll follow our nose to where conditions are favourable, but this will be our rough plan. We’ll make our way back to Calgary, maybe via Banff for 1-2 days if we end up doing KH, then fly to Vancouver, where we will meet the family and drive to Whistler for the last week. In total we’ll be looking at approx.. 28-29 days from day of departure to day of return. In that time we’ll cover roughly 4 resorts ( maybe 5 ), and we’ll travel according to conditions and weather. The only accommodation we will look to lock in ASAP will be the NYE period at either RED or Whitewater ( slightly leaning towards RED) and we’ll try and get an early bird deal for a 2 bedroom condo , or hotel at Whistler. As usual – if there is anything glaringly obvious we have missed, open to all suggestions.
     
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  5. chicski

    chicski A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Just on the epic pass, from what I can work out the other Canada resorts are only available on the full Epic, not the Aus Epic, which only covers Whistler. Happy to stand corrected.
     
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  6. Scot_e17

    Scot_e17 Hard Yards

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    Youre right - we purchased the Full Epic last week.
     
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  7. Eros C

    Eros C Hard Yards

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    Hi there, just read you post and noticed you rented a Ford Escape. Looking doing a road trip from Whistler to perhaps sun peaks before returning back to Vancouver. We have our own ski gear and looking for a car to store skis. Just wondering whether your Ford Escape has an option for roof racks?

    Rg Eros
     
  8. Eros C

    Eros C Hard Yards

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    Just read your post and was wondering whether you can offer some advice. Have just booked a Ford Escape for our trip next year out of Whistler. Could you confirm whether it’s possible to carry two pair of skis in the trunk. We only have 2 people in the car so both back seats can be folded down but concerned about the length of skis. Roof racks were not offered as an option on the hiring conditions. Thanks
     
  9. chicski

    chicski A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    A Ford Escape will fit skis ok. Unless you’re a giant. We had one, admittedly shorter skis for me and 2 kids, but only one seat folded down and fitted all our gear, suitcases etc. even if you have longer skis, they’ll fit between the front skis if necessary.
     
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  10. Dumphfish

    Dumphfish Hard Yards

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    Just did a trip to Banff and travelled around in a Hyundai mid sized sedan with four people and gear (3x skis+1 snowboard) fairly comfortably. An Escape would give you ample room. Check out all the info about snow tyres for Canada, that's the crucial bit to get right with the rental company.
     
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  11. gareth_oau

    gareth_oau Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    absolutely don't stress about snow tyres - your rental, whatever you get, will come with M&S tyres which are more than sufficient for your needs.

    Upgrading to snow tyres will cost you an extra $30ish a day (if you can get them) and aren't worth it - if the weather is that bad, you should stay where you are.

    Ive rented 5 times in Canada and driven over the Coq, Rogers Pass, and Hwy 99 (back route Whistler to SP) in snowy conditions, and the M&S have performed well in all situations
     
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  12. Eros C

    Eros C Hard Yards

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    Thanks for reply. Have reserved an Escape picking up from Whistler. Now that I have a car for enroute to Sun Peaks is there a town outside main resort that could be considered for accommodation. Happy to drive in 10-15 mins in the morning. Fall back if rates in Sun peak village aren’t inviting.
     
  13. Legs Akimbo

    Legs Akimbo Grumblebum Ski Pass: Gold

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    Kamloops is the nearest town. About 45 minutes if the road is clear.
     
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  14. Legs Akimbo

    Legs Akimbo Grumblebum Ski Pass: Gold

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    There is a thing called the Hitch n Rail Resort about 15 minutes away. I have passed it, but that is the extent of my knowledge.
     
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  15. gareth_oau

    gareth_oau Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    just check with your renter to confirm you have booked the AWD version, as FWD are also available
     
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  16. sly_karma

    sly_karma Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Take a look on VRBO and AirBnB for places in Whitecroft or Heffley Lake. Those are closer to the resort and about in the 15 minute range. Next closest is Heffley Creek but still 30 minute drive. None of these three locales have shops or restaurants. Having said that, if you're going to the trouble of warming up and de-icing your vehicle and the load in of skis, boots etc, is an additional15-30 minutes of driving really a big deal? Way more accoms options in Kamloops. The road is easy driving and traffic not a problem. The only steep winding section is the final run up to the resort after passing through Whitecroft.
     
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  17. gareth_oau

    gareth_oau Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    I’ve done that bit at night returning from Kamloops, and completely blanketed in fog. That was a fun drive
     
  18. Eros C

    Eros C Hard Yards

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    Confirmed with Avis at Whistler that their SUV’s are all AWD. With the drive to Sun Peaks I suspect rental places are available where tyre chains can be picked up just in case. I wouldnt think these would be included as a rental option from Avis.
     
  19. Legs Akimbo

    Legs Akimbo Grumblebum Ski Pass: Gold

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    I haven't tried in Canada, but in the US the concept of chain hire has not penetrated. By a set of chains at Walmart/Canadian Tyre and return them if you don't use them.
     
  20. sly_karma

    sly_karma Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    You'll be fine with AWD. Avis and the other mainline rental places keep cars 1-2 years at most, so they will have their factory tyres. SUVs and pickups seem to all have M+S rubber fitted standard for years now, so it's very likely your rental rig will have AWD with M+S. Not quite as good as real winters but it's what I've been driving these past 5 years and has provided solid grip (definitely better than the added hassle of switching wheels and tyres twice a year). The true winters are better at low temps but it's the mild temps around +1 C that are the biggest trouble, only studs help in that zone and none of the rental places have those.

    Have a read of the "Driving In Canada" thread for general driving strategies and road rules, and then put www.drivebc.ca in your bookmarked web pages, it has to-the-minute details of conditions and closures. Last of all, don't go if the snow is pounding down. Stay where you are and enjoy the freshies, what maniac chooses driving in the snot instead of skiing powder? Let the road crews do their job and let the system pass through, a few hours can make a huge difference on the highways.
     
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  21. gareth_oau

    gareth_oau Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    if you think you need chains grab a set from www.canadiantire.ca They are like a Bunnings store for cars
     
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  22. Crystal

    Crystal Sand skier extraordinaire Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    yup, a couple of times we have purchased chains for $100 depending on the car. We've returned once and another time left them in the vehicle for the car rental cleaners to take and sell for some extra cash. They earn nothing and work really hard.
     
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  23. Eros C

    Eros C Hard Yards

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    Thanks for the tips on chains. I have a problem that I’m picking up car from Whistler. Options of buying chains at the large shopping chains mentioned will be an issue as they are around Vancouver. Will need to consider my options I think as I feel more comfortable with chains as backup in car. Perhaps extending stay at Whistler and forgetting road trip may be a smarter move. Have not committed to any accommodation yet for last 6 days. Could still just get car and drive from outside Whistler village for a saving on accommodation as a back option or spend some time around Vancouver. Will be subject to weather conditions and snow forecast at that time which way I move.
     
  24. Legs Akimbo

    Legs Akimbo Grumblebum Ski Pass: Gold

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    If you can't buy chains in Whistler there is a Canadian Tire in Squamish, about an hour down the road.
     
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  25. Eros C

    Eros C Hard Yards

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    Great didn’t see this one when I did an initial search. Will do nicely if I can’t get any at Whistler. Tx
     
  26. sly_karma

    sly_karma Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Can't remember the last time I saw a passenger vehicle using chains in BC. Most people have never owned a set and surely wouldn't know how to fit them. If conditions are bad on the mountain passes then you might see buses and semis chaining up, but it has to be really bad before the police will force them to. I have a set for one of my work vehicles because it's RWD, they get used once or twice a winter when a steep driveway is too much for the studded tyres. Then removed once out on the street usually. Roads are well maintained and people know what to do.

    I guess if you want to drop a hundo on chains you can go ahead, but you're legal with M+S.
     
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  27. absentskier

    absentskier Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Be aware that it is highly likely that you will breach your rental agreement if you fit chains to your vehicle. I haven’t checked Avis’ Canadian terms and conditions but whenever I have checked previously in the USA it was a breach.
     
  28. KneeDeep

    KneeDeep One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    ^^^^ What they said, chains not necessary.
     
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  29. Legs Akimbo

    Legs Akimbo Grumblebum Ski Pass: Gold

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    It is like the availability and cost of cold weather clothing.

    In Australia snow traction is a problem for a small proportion of drivers for a small proportion of kilometres. In the US and Canada snow traction is a daily issue. Dealing with traction by fitting chains would be a complete pain in the backside, so they have developed and made available solutions that are not painful.
     
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  30. fenrir

    fenrir One of Us

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    There is also the option of Mountain Collective (or a Thredbo 365 season pass). It covers the Big 3 and Revelstoke, and once the free days from the MC are used up it's 50% off the daily rate. I believe with the Thredbo 365 pass the discount kicks in once the pass is paid in full, so you can buy in September and get the benefit straight away.
     
  31. sly_karma

    sly_karma Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Snow clothing is cheap and widely available of course. Canadians find it hard to believe that Aussie snow areas run a thriving trade in rental clothing. Every one of them has owned a set of snow-suitable outerwear since they could walk; it doesnt occur to them that this is not a universal experience outside Canada.
     
  32. Sbooker

    Sbooker One of Us

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    This question is more general than for next season as I'm already committed for 19/20. I do plan on heading to Canada 20/21 though. If I plan on doing 10 days skiing approximately the cost is roughly $100 a day or $1000. It just happens that an Epic Pass is about $1000 (Whistler) and an Ikon Bass is a little less (Revelstoke, LL, Sunshine).
    Is there any way to minimize those costs? There is four of us so is will add up to $4000 for tickets. I don't think I could sell 10 days on the same hill to my family (with the exception of Whistler I suppose due to the vastness of the place). We enjoy intermediate style hills (like Sun Peaks for example) but it gets a bit samey day after day. I guess we could do a few hills road trip style (Red, Whitewater, Fernie for example).

    ** Incidentally the famed 'cheap' Euro lift tickets work out to be much the same cost when you take into consideration exchange rate. I suppose Japan is the only realistic way to average less than about $100 Aud a day if only skiing for about 10 days?
     
  33. fenrir

    fenrir One of Us

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    Early bird Epic Australia pass is $800 or so, Ten days in whistler makes it $80 a day plus your season here at Perisher/Hotham/Falls Creek.
    A season pass at Buller/Thredbo/Queenstown is an underrated option when it comes to skiing at Mountain Collective resorts (eg Revelstoke, LL, Sunshine). All of them give you daily tickets at 50% of the window rate eg $60 or so a day.
    Alternatively if you don't have a local season pass the Mountain Collective pass itself gives you 2 days at each resort for $450 (+ a bonus 3rd day at a resort of your choice) before reverting to 50% of the ticket window price. Whilst not as good value as an epic pass for an extended vacation for a limited number of days it's gets you below the $100/day mark.
     
  34. Eros C

    Eros C Hard Yards

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    Are you serious. A bus transfer is looking more inviting by the day. The whole car hiring thing is becoming a pain in the arse. I guess I need to call Avis Whistler again for clarification.
     
  35. absentskier

    absentskier Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yes I’m serious, but I didn’t say it’s a problem. You don’t need them.
     
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  36. SnowRabbit

    SnowRabbit Addicted

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    ^^^^ Seriously YOU DON'T NEED THEM
     
  37. Eros C

    Eros C Hard Yards

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    I’m planning to head across to Sun Peaks from Whistler. I’m not familiar with the road up to Sun Peaks. What do you mean I don’t need them!
     
  38. Legs Akimbo

    Legs Akimbo Grumblebum Ski Pass: Gold

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    YOU DON'T NEED THEM. 4 words with common English meanings, combined together to form a readily comprehensible concept. Your car will have tyres that work on snow.
     
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  39. Eros C

    Eros C Hard Yards

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    No need to be a smart arse. It’s not the snow I’m worried about it’s the ice. Steep descent, ice on road, slide no stop copiish. I have a common word also but not for this forum.
     
  40. Legs Akimbo

    Legs Akimbo Grumblebum Ski Pass: Gold

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    Sly-karma, who lives and works in Canada, has explained to you that drivers in Canada do not fit chains. Either they are sliding off the road, willy nilly, to massive carnage or the locals have a solution that isn't chains.
     
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  41. Eros C

    Eros C Hard Yards

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    No chains it is!
     
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  42. gareth_oau

    gareth_oau Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Eros, if you are from Oz you get brainwashed into believing that chains are critical, but that’s because we all use summer tyres on our cars.

    It is law in BC that all rental cars must be fitted with mud and snow (M&S) tires.

    Dont stress, you will be fine in 90% of circumstances. For the other 10% stay off the road as the conditions will be too bad for all but the most seasoned drivers
     
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  43. Eros C

    Eros C Hard Yards

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    I do over think stuff yes, and am brain washed living in this nanny state. All good.
     
  44. sly_karma

    sly_karma Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Just remember to check drivebc website before you leave. If there is any doubt about weather or road conditions, you are to take the main road route through Vancouver and highway 1. This is essentially 4 or 6 lane freeway quality roads for all but the final 30 minutes into SP.

    The alternate and amazingly scenic route has to be chosen right in Whistler as it takes you north and through the mountains to Lillooet. But the road is winding and two lanes for three quarters of the way. In good conditions it will save you an hour but on a bad day it will seem like an endless marathon of twisting tortured roads and fierce, exhausting concentration. And you are committed! Route alternatives off 99 are zero because you are in the middle of the formidable coast mountains.

    The route south toward Vancouver is wonderfully scenic, the famous Sea to Sky Highway, and then east of the city the mountains close in again. No shortage of scenery in BC. If there is any uncertainty about the conditions, give the back road a miss and take the freeway. It gets maximum priority for snow clearing and sanding.

    AWD combined with M+S rubber is a good combination, that is what most other highway users will have. The bigger and heavier the SUV or pickup you get, the better it will handle the tracks that develop in the snow from all the semis.
     
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  45. Crystal

    Crystal Sand skier extraordinaire Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    I have mentioned in this thread that yes we have purchased chains (never had to use them) when we have managed to rent a dodgy car ... but honestly these days we just build sufficient buffer into our trip that we can pick and choose our drive days. Check drivebc before we leave, never hurry and drive like grey nomads on their retirement holiday.

    Seriously...rent a nice/safe car that you are comfortable in and then drive like a nanna. :)
     
  46. Crystal

    Crystal Sand skier extraordinaire Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Oh... flights booked for 2019 -2020. 1 month of skiing, part accom booked, next in planning. Stoke begins :)

    This year for us:
    Big White (have 16 year old niece that has never seen snow with us.... need Big White ski school :) )
    Apex (The Fav)
     
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  47. Eros C

    Eros C Hard Yards

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    Thanks for the tips and suggested routes based on conditions. Much appreciated.
     
  48. Roymond

    Roymond One of Us

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    Looks a few for BW this year. We will be skiing from 2-16th. Maybe a forumite meetup?
     
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  49. Eros C

    Eros C Hard Yards

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    Finished my final bookings today which locks in the Sun Peaks leg. Opted for a free cancellation deal up to a day before arrival just in case conditions influence my drive from Whistler. Went with Coast Sundance Lodge based on it’s location in village. Reviews are hit and miss so we will see.

    That’s a wrap for now. Thanks everyone for your input.
     
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  50. Scot_e17

    Scot_e17 Hard Yards

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    Open to any comments/suggestions on our semi-final itinerary. The only accommodation which we have booked is for RED Mountain at The Josie across the NYE Period, and Whistler. The remainder is quite flexible and will be used as a guide only. Ideally we want to be commuting on weekends to avoid the weekend crowds on the mountains, and again very aware that weather may dictate this for us, so keeping all plans very loose.. We dont intend to ski anywhere when in Banff.
     
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