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Resort suggestions: BC interior/Alberta

Discussion in 'Canada' started by looseygoosey, Nov 9, 2011.

  1. looseygoosey

    looseygoosey First Runs

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    Hi
    Looking for chalet/aptmt options in western Canada in late Feb/early March next year.

    Key requirements are;
    • Large resort catering to a range of different ski and boarding abilities. More advanced than beginners though.
    • Ski-in/ski out (as we are 3 couples with toddlers)
    • Good conditions in early March.

    Done Whistler a few times and also been to Big White. Loved both although Big White out got a little boring after 1 week and vis was pretty bad in March..

    Does Lake Louise cater to what we are looking for? Any tips greatly appreciated!

    Thanks
     
  2. Crystal

    Crystal Sand skier extraordinaire Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    LL no real village and on snow accom. I would suggest Silver Star, Sunpeaks or Fernie for your group. All have excellent facillities for children and have extra things you can do as a family if you don't want to 'just ski'.
     
  3. catsnow

    catsnow Hard Yards

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    For something a bit different try Castle Mt in Alberta, theres a village on the hill, although its quite small, but the mountain is great, lots of steeps and uncrowded and cheap.
    The other place id reccommend would be going to Whitefish in Montana, its only about a hr drive from the border, has a great village on the mountain and a cool little town, great snow and terrain to.
     
  4. looseygoosey

    looseygoosey First Runs

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    Thanks. Id forgotten about Fernie. Will check it out!
     
    #4 looseygoosey, Nov 9, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  5. Jeffo

    Jeffo Hard Yards

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    Just make sure its at the resort, the town of Fernie is a few km away
     
  6. emem

    emem Hard Yards

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    Stayed at Snow Creek Lodge Fernie in Feb this year. Great location with genuine ski in/out.
    Cold but great snow.
     
  7. looseygoosey

    looseygoosey First Runs

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    Lodge/hotel style or separate apartment? We’d prefer an apartment as there is a few couples.

    Any suggestions for searching condo/aptmt rentals?
     
    #7 looseygoosey, Nov 9, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  8. sly_karma

    sly_karma Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Add Panorama to the list. Strong suite of advanced terrain, nice village. Kids will love the huge outdoor pool/waterslide complex. Views are spectacular, snow is dry. Snow can be chancy some years but March is premium for base accumulation. Best accessed from Calgary, a bit under 3 hr drive in average conditions.
     
  9. looseygoosey

    looseygoosey First Runs

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    Thoughts on Kicking Horse?
     
  10. LaNeige

    LaNeige One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Has anyone mentioned Sunshine yet from what I remember there is a ski in / ski out hotel. Can't remember much else but the gondola ride up from the car park and you get to ski in Alberta and BC.
     
  11. TropicalPow

    TropicalPow One of Us

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    Don't forget the "Boycott Sunshine"' campaine after the atrocious treatment of their ski patrol last year.
    I for one will never ski there again.
    As mentioned already Castle Mtn is a great family area in the same region that would tick all your boxes.
     
  12. jgm

    jgm Addicted

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    There is only a single hotel at Sunshine - no village. See http://www.skibanff.com/sunshine-village.
     
    #12 jgm, Nov 9, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  13. sly_karma

    sly_karma Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Kicking Horse has a justly deserved reputation for its extreme steeps and chutes and sidecountry. What is less known is it's quite easy for a mixed group of intermediate, advanced and expert riders to enjoy it together. The top-to-bottom easy trail ("It's a Ten") does several large zigzags across the face of the mountain, passing the runout of all 3 inbounds bowls as it goes. Once the party understands where the 3 key meeting points are, they can split up at the top of the gondola and take their route of choice to get there. There are about 100 marked chutes that drop into these 3 bowls alone, so the steeps junkies can get their freak on and still meet up a third of the way down with those who skied a much gentler line through the tiny trees in Crystal Bowl. From there down there are fall-line bump and groomed runs that allow all of the group to do what they want. These runs are LONG. Plenty of vert up in the bowl/chute zone above treeline, more than 1200 ft in most cases, yet you're only a third of the way back to the gondola at this point. If you do it right, you can have plenty of time to ski with spouse or friends who are a lower ability level and yet still hit the big terrain the Horse is famous for.

    The village at KH is small but growing, plenty of nice slopeside condos and a few B&B type lodges. Condo is probably the best way to go as you'll get bored if you have to eat out each night for a week - not that many choices. Weekends get crowded as half of Calgary hits the road. Suggest you arrive midweek and learn the basic mountain layout so you can keep in front of the crowd by the time the weekend rolls around.
     
  14. Crystal

    Crystal Sand skier extraordinaire Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    I would not head to KH with the young ones until there is more infrastructure there. Just my thoughts. We have an 8 and 3 year old.
     
    #14 Crystal, Nov 10, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  15. looseygoosey

    looseygoosey First Runs

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    We've got toddlers so not too worried about lack of infrastructrure yet. Little ones wont be skiing, although will need babysitting!

    Narrowed it down to 3 that seem to tick all the boxes around on snow accom, quality resort, proxmity to airports etc:

    - Kicking Horse. Huge vert and great runs
    - Fernie. Good snowfall and bowls
    - Big Sky. Bit of everything from the looks of it.

    What would you guys choose?!
     
    #15 looseygoosey, Nov 10, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  16. Android

    Android Hard Yards

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    Big Sky Montana gets a huge tick for me. We did it this year in late January/early February and it was COLD so I doubt very much that you'll have problems in March. Fernie was actually our old favourite until Big Sky stole the top place on the list so you can't go wrong with that choice either.

    If you want Ski in/Ski out just be careful what you choose as both of them have a broad range of accomodation from on slope, just off slope and downtown. Most of the condo's at both require a little bit hiking or the bus service and of course the closer you get to the lifts the more costly they are. The transport around Big Sky was brilliant so I doubt you'd have any problems.

    The amount of terrain at Big Sky is massive especially when you include Moonlight Basin (worh a visit if you like trees) and if you have people with varied skill levels you can't go wrong. The only thing you have to be mindful of is that many of Big Sky's blues are borderline blacks at most other resorts so the lower level skier can find it a little intimidating and it's worth getting someone to show you a few hidden areas that cater extremely well for the green skier but are not in the usual front slopes/near to home location.

    The other huge bonus with Big Sky is that it's not far from Yellowstone Park which is worth a visit.

    if you have the time to read it, have a look at the trip report I posted earlier this year:

    https://www.ski.com.au/xf/posts/1259625

    And finally, if you're looking for a great all round package don't ignore Sun Peaks. It may not have the extreme terrain of most other resorts but it's pretty big and the village is one of the best around in my opinion.
     
    #16 Android, Nov 10, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 14, 2013
  17. sly_karma

    sly_karma Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Hands down KH for me. I go over there at least one day a season. Paradise if you're an expert.
     
  18. Old Hack

    Old Hack Hard Yards

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    Don't forget little old Kimberley... Great skiing, empty runs most of the time, way cheaper than other resorts and definitely something for everyone. Great views, nice weather.......
     
  19. FourSquare04

    FourSquare04 A Local

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    Tough call given early March - sometimes you can fluke a good dump around this time, but a lot of the BC interior resorts are starting to wind down and temps will start to warm up.

    Just be wary of the fact that a lot of the BC interior & Alberta resorts don't get a lot of average annual snowfall (Banff resorts in particular).

    Revelstoke would be awesome but not the most kid-friendly place.

    What about Red & Whitewater?

    Castle Mtn looks pretty good too although a long way from anything (like Fernie).

    Kicking Horse having been there was awesome and offers true ski in / ski out, would probably still be pretty good early March as well.
     
  20. looseygoosey

    looseygoosey First Runs

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    Thought Red might be a little small for a week with adventurous skiers/boarders. Got bored in Big White so was using that as an example? Your right Revelstoke doesnt seem like it has alot for kids.

    Interesting what you say about the interior resorts in March though. I did think it might be better to go to a resort at a higher altitude in the later season. Apparently, it is supposed to be 6 degs C colder for every 1000m up you go. Thats why I was leaning towards Jackson hole or Big Sky. Both above 2,000m vs my Canada options which are all around 1,000m -although the US resorts are slightly further south (therefore partially offsetting the altitude). I know these are very nerdy observations but i think of these things when booking a ski trip!

    Also - Is 2,000m getting towards the altitude sickness level? Just wary given we have todllers.

    Thanks for the invaluable advice guys.
     
    #20 looseygoosey, Nov 15, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  21. absentskier

    absentskier Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Big White and Red Mountain are chalk and cheese. One is all about convenience, high speeds lifts and kids' facilities (Big White), the other is all about the terrain with a great local vibe (Red). Goods skiers should never get bored at Red, but lesser skiers will also have fun. There are not many groomers, but they are a real hoot.

    2000m is not a problem for altitude sickness.
     
  22. sly_karma

    sly_karma Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    March is my favourite month of the Canadian ski season: max snow base, milder weather, longer daylight hours, crowds dropping off. Snowpacks generally reach their peak in March, although the shift in shoulder seasons of late means this peak is sometimes happening in early April now. I'm talking about the resorts with decent altitude here - lifted above 2000m - or coastal ones that get plastered all the time, like Mt Washington or Mt Baker or Hemlock. If you're considering the Rockies proper (Banff, Jasper, Kananaskis) then March is as early as I'd consider under most circumstances. They need time to develop good natural base, but they retain everything they get. Finally, March gets mild and you'll need it, Dec-Jan especially are bejeebus cold.

    Only a couple of resorts in western Canada stay open past mid April, not because they're the only ones with snow but because they've sucked it up over the years and developed a following and a business model that allows it. Virtually any of the resorts you're interested could easily keep some lifts open into May, but they lose money - Canadians are thoroughly sick of winter by this time and are now all on the golf course.

    March might look like late season on the calendar, but it's nothing like the Aussie version of 'late season'.

    Oh, and Red has tons of terrain for the expert skier. Trees, steep chutes, cliffs, plenty of vert. Nothing at all like BW (which has high speed lifts and lots of grooming).
     
  23. Falkingham

    Falkingham First Runs

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    Why go to Canada, come ski in the California Sunshine, make it Mammoth, great snow, 26 chairs move over 64,000 skiers an hour, almost 1000 metres vertical, over 4,500 skiable acres, skiing from 8,000 to 11,000ft so we have a SEVEN month season at least, every year, last year in March we had over 450 cms. we have already been skiing for two weeks, long range forecast is for over 1000 inches - 25 metres, no funky little village - a town of about 7,000 people with all the facilities you need, a real community. Check out all things Mammoth "Mammoth Ocker"
     
  24. looseygoosey

    looseygoosey First Runs

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    Thanks mate but ive been to Mammoth before.

    I was there in March for 10 days last time without any decent freshies (besides after we hiked Sherwins). Of course I was unlucky but still im keen to try somewhere different!

    Maybe i'll go coastal next trip as the west coast of BC/US seems to get waaaaayyy more pow then the interiors. Im not fussed about all of that sierra cememt crap that ive read - when you grow up skiing in oz their pow is still far superior to ours!
     
    #24 looseygoosey, Nov 21, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  25. Born2ski

    Born2ski Part of the Furniture

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    Altitude sickness "might" start to affect you when you stay above 2500m. We spent two months last year living at 2300m with a 3yr old and 6 month old without any problems.

    And an interesting little fact is that most commercial jets are pressurized to the equivalent of around 2100m, so your toddlers will have already experienced that altitude on the flight over.
     
    #25 Born2ski, Nov 21, 2011
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  26. teckel

    teckel Not a Loser Ski Pass: Gold

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    I developed a violent headache once at 2600m. I didn't realise what it was at the time, but realised later it was altitude sickness. (That's about 8500 ft if you're doing a conversion). Given that NSW resorts are up to 2000, yoiu shouldn't have a problem.
     
  27. Darksidepoints

    Darksidepoints Hard Yards

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    This year sees the opening of the new kids ski school area and the daycare centre. Plus the new tube park. But still.
     
    #27 Darksidepoints, Nov 21, 2011
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