Canada Road Trip next year Q's

sly_karma

Green Bastard
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There's not enough population at each end to make it worth the savage costs of keeping the road open all winter. Just doing it in the spring is bad enough, and this year it kept snowing through to the end of May. The road is not that far from the fabled Mt Baker ski resort and its record snowfalls, and much of the water and power for the Puget Sound area comes from the dams along the highway. They get a bit of precip!

Anyway, suffice to say if you get the chance to drive the North Cascades highway, take it. And an out-and-back route is a good idea rather than a circle tour. Stay a night or two in the old cowboy town of Winthrop and then head back to the coast over the same road. The views are quite different going east and going west. Winthrop is of course very touristy these days but it's overwhelmingly charming and there is some good dining and a brew pub, not to mention lots of choices of the very good Washington wines. It's a recreation mecca in winter as well, hundreds of km of snowmobile and XC ski trails in the national forests that surround the town.
 

LDJ

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My planned route this Christmas is looking like the following. Any of the travel days crazy or unachievable? I know snow could mess with them but outside major blizzard. Any thoughts? I can't change the Banff part of trip as meeting parents & brother (From UK) for family holiday. Based on research these are the resorts I want to visit. Any I should spend less/more time.

December 25th lunchtime fly into Calgary - drive to Fernie
25th - 29th Fernie
29th drive to Nelson
29th-1st Nelson (WW)
1st January drive to Rossland
1st-4th Rossland (RM)
4th drive to Revelstoke
4th-7th Revelstoke
7th drive to Kicking Horse
7-10th KH
10th drive to Banff
10th-20th Banff
20th drive to Calgary and fly out evening
 

sly_karma

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Lunchtime arrival into Calgary, so by the time you're through the airport, got rental vehicle and ready to leave, it'll be almost dark. You're right on the shortest days of the year, by 4 pm there'll be streetlights coming on. Do you want your first Canadian winter driving mileage to be in the dark? Obviously we do drive at night in Canada, but starting a 4 hour drive as it's getting dark isn't a good idea when you throw in snow/frost/ice, right hand side, different traffic rules, unfamiliar roads, unfamiliar vehicle, and jet lag. You're there to see something different, so why not get a hotel, have a look around downtown and leave in the morning? You'll be crossing the Rockies through the very scenic Crowsnest Pass, it would be a shame if you didn't actually see it.

The other drive I'd question for similar reasons is the Rossland to Revelstoke leg. None of it is on the major highways like 1 or 3 or 5, so it's a good 4 hours. Plus there's a ferry crossing that adds time. So either you leave Red at lunchtime or take a day off skiing and dedicate it to the drive. The scenery is dazzling through there.

All the other legs are 1 - 1.5 hour trips and can be done easily if you don't ski to the very last lift ride. Keep a wary eye on the weather while you're in Revelstoke, it snows like mad all around and the roads are frequently subject to avalanche closures. It may make sense to leave for KH a day early rather than an enforced extra couple of days in Revy.

You'll understand my caution about night driving for Aussie visitors when you see the roads in their winter state. There are virtually no reflectors used because they would get scraped off by snow plough blades, and roadside marker posts are constantly being knocked over or buried by snow removal equipment. If it's dark and snowing, the shoulder and centre lines disappear and you can really struggle to know where you are on the road. It's certainly not impossible to drive at night in winter, but it's a lot harder.
 
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JoeKing

Old n' Thrusty
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I was also going to say leave a day buffer after that plane trip. If the airline mucks you or your luggage around you might wish you had more time sort it out. Also it's a chance to walk around the city and walk off some jetlag/plane-ride-fatigue.
 

LDJ

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Thanks guys I'll take that onboard and book somewhere downtown Calgary for the night and then head off in the morning to Fernie. 4hrs at night in potential snow etc doesn't sound like much fun after a 20hr flight. Also with regards to the Rossland to Revelstoke will probably make a day of it and stop at the hotsprings given the distance
 

gareth_oau

Pool Room
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We have made a rule, never to travel at night over there, works well for us.
Especially after a long flight.

However, we arrived into Vancouver and drove to Abbottsford for our first night's accommodation but less than 2 hours, partially at night. Did take a wrong turn which didnt help
 

sly_karma

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Thanks guys I'll take that onboard and book somewhere downtown Calgary for the night and then head off in the morning to Fernie. 4hrs at night in potential snow etc doesn't sound like much fun after a 20hr flight. Also with regards to the Rossland to Revelstoke will probably make a day of it and stop at the hotsprings given the distance
There are quite a few hot springs dotted around the Kootenays, some developed, some not. Between Rossland and Revy you'll drive right past Halcyon which is a luxury resort setup. But you still have the ferry and some driving between you and Revy, so don't count on hitting first lifts the next morning if you decide to stay the night. It would make a good lunch stop though.
 

bomber

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Thanks guys I'll take that onboard and book somewhere downtown Calgary for the night and then head off in the morning to Fernie. 4hrs at night in potential snow etc doesn't sound like much fun after a 20hr flight. Also with regards to the Rossland to Revelstoke will probably make a day of it and stop at the hotsprings given the distance
Downtown Calgary at night in winter. That will be fun!
 

gareth_oau

Pool Room
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Hopefully by 'wrong turn' that was not onto the left hand side of the road. ;)
LOL

Actually dont find driving on the other side too much of a chore. After 4 holidays I've only made one mistake.

We were very fortunate as I looked the wrong way and pulled in front of a very large 120kph truck
 

Fozski

Hard Yards
Oct 26, 2015
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Hi all. We are road tripping from Vancouver to Banff and back in January and have hired a Chevy Suburban for the trip. On a couple of days we will have 7 people and luggage to transport between resorts. We also will have 2 coffin ski bags with 2 pairs of skis in each. Hire car company does not hire roof racks??? So wondering if it will be possible to fit all inside truck or should i look at trying to hire racks elsewhere or maybe inflatable racks?? I know suburban is big but have not seen one in the flesh. Cheers
 

Legs Akimbo

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Hi all. We are road tripping from Vancouver to Banff and back in January and have hired a Chevy Suburban for the trip. On a couple of days we will have 7 people and luggage to transport between resorts. We also will have 2 coffin ski bags with 2 pairs of skis in each. Hire car company does not hire roof racks??? So wondering if it will be possible to fit all inside truck or should i look at trying to hire racks elsewhere or maybe inflatable racks?? I know suburban is big but have not seen one in the flesh. Cheers
Just buy some cheap racks.
 
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Crystal

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Hi all. We are road tripping from Vancouver to Banff and back in January and have hired a Chevy Suburban for the trip. On a couple of days we will have 7 people and luggage to transport between resorts. We also will have 2 coffin ski bags with 2 pairs of skis in each. Hire car company does not hire roof racks??? So wondering if it will be possible to fit all inside truck or should i look at trying to hire racks elsewhere or maybe inflatable racks?? I know suburban is big but have not seen one in the flesh. Cheers
We've had a Chevy Suburban before...was okay with 5 people, 1 coffin ski bag, 3 large cases, duffle bag and a weeks worth of groceries.. would easily go 6 people, not sure about 7 as you'll have to split the seats to get the large ski bags in.
 

Beerman

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As @gareth_oau has alluded to, I'd be more inclined to grab what you need in Vancouver. Salmon Arm and other places are smaller = less/no choice. If you are in that much of a hurry to get there and ski/board, maybe you need to read the thread on "Driving hazards in Canada", as well.;)
 

gareth_oau

Pool Room
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We've had a Chevy Suburban before...was okay with 5 people, 1 coffin ski bag, 3 large cases, duffle bag and a weeks worth of groceries.. would easily go 6 people, not sure about 7 as you'll have to split the seats to get the large ski bags in.
Weve used the Suburban and it’s huge - Bigger tham most houses.

We loaded up with 5 people, 5 board/ ski bags and 5 large suitcases plus groceries.

Comfort of the passengers is then very much a function of whether they are kids or large adults
 

Fozski

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Oct 26, 2015
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Thanks all. Have read most of the driving in canada thread as well. Will have a few days with just three in the suburban so will work out what works. Have driven in US before with a 2wd and was fine with a slow approach. Also prepared to wait if roads closed or snowing heavily. Interested in the pies at Salmon Arm though.. Cheers
 

sly_karma

Green Bastard
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7 people in a Suburban means you're using the third row of seating, that would have been Gareth's baggage area. I haven't seen inside the most current iteration of the Sub to see if you can still slide skis and boards under the seats, although even that would be a pain with a full load of passengers for any length of time. I'd say look for cheap roof racks too. Canadian Tire has an extensive website and you should be able to look up which stores have what items. There are at least two levels of store, large and massive, obviously one has greater ability to carry more products on the shelf. I've only been to the Salmon Arm store once, can't remember if it's the big size or not.
 

Fozski

Hard Yards
Oct 26, 2015
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53
7 people in a Suburban means you're using the third row of seating, that would have been Gareth's baggage area. I haven't seen inside the most current iteration of the Sub to see if you can still slide skis and boards under the seats, although even that would be a pain with a full load of passengers for any length of time. I'd say look for cheap roof racks too. Canadian Tire has an extensive website and you should be able to look up which stores have what items. There are at least two levels of store, large and massive, obviously one has greater ability to carry more products on the shelf. I've only been to the Salmon Arm store once, can't remember if it's the big size or not.
Thanks Sly. Have even been looking into inflatable and magnetic racks to take with us. I will be driving so i will have a comfy seat. Cheers
 

sly_karma

Green Bastard
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We had a small car a few years back and got a set of racks from SportRack that were easy to fit. I liked them because they were modular - you could add whatever type of attachments you wanted out of their range. We got a sandwich type fitting that accepts any width of skis or snowboards. Canadian Tire carries them.
 

pedub

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I've been looking around getting a few quotes, finding these are approx prices (for 33 days hire)
1/2 ton truck 4wd= $2200
large SUV 4wd = $2500
1/2 ton camper truck = $1700
(all including CDW)
Does this seem right? Price seems about what I expect really

But I'm struggling to decide which option, I don't really need the camper but its cheap and it could save a couple of night accom here and there. But I guess its so cheap because not many a brave/stupid enough to drive them around in the winter??
 

gareth_oau

Pool Room
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I've been looking around getting a few quotes, finding these are approx prices (for 33 days hire)
1/2 ton truck 4wd= $2200
large SUV 4wd = $2500
1/2 ton camper truck = $1700
(all including CDW)
Does this seem right? Price seems about what I expect really

But I'm struggling to decide which option, I don't really need the camper but its cheap and it could save a couple of night accom here and there. But I guess its so cheap because not many a brave/stupid enough to drive them around in the winter??
Getting a lage SUV including CDW is a good deal. Price for 33 days seems reasonable
 

pedub

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Indeed its 2WD
I'm learning towards the SUV. They are quoting a Ford Expedition, or GM Tahoe/Suburban/Yukon

The CDW Insurance is $700 including Glass and Tyre cover

http://summitfleet.com/
So far I'm really impressed with their customer service and price.
I've called them once and sent several emails and got all the information I wanted very easily.
They seem to target commercial/fleet customers but do standard rentals too.
 

gareth_oau

Pool Room
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Dec 27, 2008
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Canning Vale, Perth
Indeed its 2WD
I'm learning towards the SUV. They are quoting a Ford Expedition, or GM Tahoe/Suburban/Yukon

The CDW Insurance is $700 including Glass and Tyre cover

http://summitfleet.com/
So far I'm really impressed with their customer service and price.
I've called them once and sent several emails and got all the information I wanted very easily.
They seem to target commercial/fleet customers but do standard rentals too.

Good to know for future reference
 

gareth_oau

Pool Room
Ski Pass
Dec 27, 2008
52,779
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57
Canning Vale, Perth
I've been looking around getting a few quotes, finding these are approx prices (for 33 days hire)
1/2 ton truck 4wd= $2200
large SUV 4wd = $2500
1/2 ton camper truck = $1700
(all including CDW)
Does this seem right? Price seems about what I expect really

But I'm struggling to decide which option, I don't really need the camper but its cheap and it could save a couple of night accom here and there. But I guess its so cheap because not many a brave/stupid enough to drive them around in the winter??

who did you get the SUV quote through, for my database purposes
 

pedub

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Have just searched the forum RE getting a SIM for data in Canada. If I am specifically travelling to Fernie, Nelson, Rev, KH, Banff - will the 7eleven SIM have decent coverage?
Anyone know a better option?
Ideally I want to get it sorted in Vancouver, but cover me in those places mentioned
EDIT: I just want data
 

pedub

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Are many people driving all the way from Vancouver into interior/southern BC? seems like a such along drive.
To say - Fernie, Rev or KH?
I thought about that originally - planning the trip and starting skiing in Kelowna area, but I scrapped that in favour of more further eastern resorts. So flying to Calgary and hiring there made more sense.
 

Crystal

Sand skier extraordinaire
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Each year we drive from Vancouver into Kelowna, spend a few days with friends then head out from there. The drives are not bad at all. The furthest we have driven is to Ferni with a pit stop of other resorts on the way. If heading to Banff, Panorama or Kimberly without catching up with friends in Western BC we head from the Calgary side.
 

gareth_oau

Pool Room
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Are many people driving all the way from Vancouver into interior/southern BC? seems like a such along drive.
To say - Fernie, Rev or KH?
I thought about that originally - planning the trip and starting skiing in Kelowna area, but I scrapped that in favour of more further eastern resorts. So flying to Calgary and hiring there made more sense.
We only venture to Sun Peaks so nowhere near as far.

If you were driving to Calgay you might consider an overnight stop somewhere.

Problem with flying, if there’s more than 2 of you it starts to get expensive, plus the inerior car rentals tend to be more expensive than ex Vancouver, so if you have a long booking it adds up
 

John C

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Jan 19, 2016
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Are many people driving all the way from Vancouver into interior/southern BC? seems like a such along drive.
To say - Fernie, Rev or KH?
I thought about that originally - planning the trip and starting skiing in Kelowna area, but I scrapped that in favour of more further eastern resorts. So flying to Calgary and hiring there made more sense.

My daughter is working in Big White so with the rest of the family (5 of us) we are renting a 4WD in Vancouver and driving. After a few days in BW we are doing a road trip to Banff, Japer and return to BW, then back to Vancouver over the course of 3 weeks.

Personally I love snow driving and have done a fair bit in the US as well as Japan. Best way to see a place I reckon, we all love the odd little towns you pass through or stay at along the way.
 

Crystal

Sand skier extraordinaire
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My daughter is working in Big White so with the rest of the family (5 of us) we are renting a 4WD in Vancouver and driving. After a few days in BW we are doing a road trip to Banff, Japer and return to BW, then back to Vancouver over the course of 3 weeks.

Personally I love snow driving and have done a fair bit in the US as well as Japan. Best way to see a place I reckon, we all love the odd little towns you pass through or stay at along the way.

Can't agree more...much fun to be had in the backwater places. We've come across a few places we've called Twin Peaks before ;)
 

gareth_oau

Pool Room
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Ive driven on each of my 4 trips and havent experienced any sufficiently adverse road conditions but its always a risk.
Mhowver if road conitions are that back there is a risk that airports might be closed too
 

pedub

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I'm totally for all of those suggestions but when I zoom out of google maps and see how much extra driving it is, I wasn't keen. Since we will be at Red Mtn and eastwards only - it looks like an 8hr drive at least from Vancouver.
Plus there are only 2 of us so flights are not bad, and I want to maximise powder time.

Can anyone recommend a travel SIM for data in these areas?
 

Legs Akimbo

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One problem with driving in Canada in winter is road closures for avalanche control. It can be 30 minutes, or it can be 2 days (rare, but it happens) on the main drags. Daylight hours are short - light at 8-00 am and dark at 4-00 pm - and driving at night is horrible because there are no reflective lane markings and blown snow and fog can - literally - make finding the road impossible.

I would get to Calgary to make the drive as short as possible. IMO, Vancouver to Calgary is a 2 day drive.
 

sly_karma

Green Bastard
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I always suggest a circle trip based out of either Calgary or Vancouver, rather than a point to point covering both. The distances are significant and the rental companies charge richly for the one way option. From Vancouver you are in a 4-5 hour radius from Whistler, SP, SS, BW, Apex, Baker. Similar sized loop route out of Calgary takes you to Fernie, Kimberley, Pano, KH and the three Banff resorts.

There's a lot of variety in either of those two loops. Unless you have more than 4 weeks, just pick one. Cut down on non skiing time and reduce the risk of travel disruption due to winter conditions. Come back next year and do the other loop.
 

pedub

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Well this trip has finally begun!

I won't be posting any kind of detailed trip report as i have no keyboard and TBH I can't be bothered :sleep:

So far....

Vancouver:
Gastown - loved it. Steam clock so cool at night.
Cheap (and good) beer! $6 pints of IPA on tap. Unheard of in NZ!
If you need outdoor gear go to Mt Pleasant. Rows of stores to look in.
People smoking weed everywhere. If you're 19+ you can buy it.... :whistle:
Homeless situation a little confronting at first. But generally they were totally normal ppl. We stayed on east pender st, so fairly close to the problem. It was fine and I would stay there again.
On our last night we got tickets to the NHL , Canucks Vs Colorado Avalanche. About $45. What a highlight! And I don't follow the game or know the rules
IMG_20180129_180236458_BURST001.jpg
IMG_20180129_170819620.jpg
IMG_20180130_184019050_HDR.jpg

I know this is not skiing but we really enjoyed Vancouver!
 
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