Season Passes in Canada

Gumbie

Hard Yards
Jun 18, 2019
37
113
83
Illawarra
Hi,
I have been fortunate enough to be accepted for a teacher exchange to Calgary for 2020!

I am very much looking forward to skiing in the Rockies, my only skiing over the last couple of years is our schools 3 day day snow excursion which I organise. I am an experienced skier but my family are beginners (wife has learnt to ski but will be happy with gentle groomers and relaxing in the sun with a hot choc).
We have friends in Bayfield, Colorado who we will be visiting for a white christmas and skiing a small resort called Purgatory. Telluride is only a couple of hours away and I'm looking forward to being challenged there.

For Calgary, I have been looking at all the season passes and global passes (epic, ikon, mountain collective) but none seem to help me as we'll be skiing out of Calgary.
The SkiBig3 pass (Norquay, Sunshine and Lake Louise) meets my criteria, but at $4600 Canadian it is also steep compared to the epic and 365 season passes we've been used to.
The Mt Norquay season pass is on sale till 24 June and at $1335 for the family is excellent value. This seems to be the way to go an will leave money in the bank for trips to Golden and Revelstoke etc
A couple of questions:
1. How is Norquay? It seems ideal for a family, small, good views, closest to Calgary. I think I'll be limited, but it will allow me to spend time watching the children develop where they will be comfortable. Priceless.
2. Am I wasting my money at the smaller resort and would it be a much better investment to get the SkiBig3 pass, much more expensive but unlocking all of Lake Louise and Sunshine?
3. Does anyone know of any better deals out there that would be better value for money?
(example the Rocky Mounation pass sounds good but is over $6000).

Long time reader (can't get by without Normo's carpack photos, all the other Canadian 19/20 planning posts plus driving tips), but first time poster and would really appreciate some advice from people who have been there.
 
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absentskier

Smug bozo
Ski Pass
Jun 10, 2010
28,923
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Melbourne
Hi,
I have been fortunate enough to be accepted for a teacher exchange to Calgary for 2020!

I am very much looking forward to skiing in the Rockies, my only skiing over the last couple of years is our schools 3 day day snow excursion which I organise. I am an experienced skier but my family are beginners (wife has learnt to ski but will be happy with gentle groomers and relaxing in the sun with a hot choc).
We have friends in Bayfield, Colorado who we will be visiting for a white christmas and skiing a small resort called Purgatory. Telluride is only a couple of hours away and I'm looking forward to being challenged there.

For Calgary, I have been looking at all the season passes and global passes (epic, ikon, mountain collective) but none seem to help me as we'll be skiing out of Calgary.
The SkiBig3 pass (Norquay, Sunshine and Lake Louise) meets my criteria, but at $4600 Canadian it is also steep compared to the epic and 365 season passes we've been used to.
The Mt Norquay season pass is on sale till 24 June and at $1335 for the family is excellent value. This seems to be the way to go an will leave money in the bank for trips to Golden and Revelstoke etc
A couple of questions:
1. How is Norquay? It seems ideal for a family, small, good views, closest to Calgary. I think I'll be limited, but it will allow me to spend time watching the children develop where they will be comfortable. Priceless.
2. Am I wasting my money at the smaller resort and would it be a much better investment to get the SkiBig3 pass, much more expensive but unlocking all of Lake Louise and Sunshine?
3. Does anyone know of any better deals out there that would be better value for money?
(example the Rocky Mounation pass sounds good but is over $6000).

Long time reader (can't get by without Normo's carpack photos, all the other Canadian 19/20 planning posts plus driving tips), but first time poster and would really appreciate some advice from people who have been there.
Don’t have time for a detailed post at the moment, but Purgatory isn’t tiny. It’s almost 10 x the size of Norquay for example! Norquay is very very small.
 

Summit

Old n' Crusty
Ski Pass
Nov 25, 2004
23,359
8,715
1,063
Perth
Welcome to the forum, Gumbie.

Mt Norquay - 77 Hectares
Lake Louise - 1,700 Hectares
Sunshine - 1,358 Hectares
 

Hoodie

Hard Yards
Jan 4, 2018
90
45
68
You would no want to miss out skiing Sunshine or LL - dive deep my friend you only live once!
 
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Gumbie

Hard Yards
Jun 18, 2019
37
113
83
Illawarra
Thanks everyone for the replies.

I think we will be getting the SkiBig3 pass. I became interested with the low price of Mt Norquay, but there is a reason it's that cheap - when absentskier says it's not just small, not just very small but very very small I should listen.
Hoodie yes, it is a no brainer - they are the reasons to go. The resorts emailed me that the early bird family pass was $3700 +gst last year, which isn't as bad as the $4600. Next season's pass will be be released soon.
Also, I would hope that the kids progress quickly and start to follow me around. It sounds like a weeks worth of lessons in Purgatory will do them good. Mum should make some friends and do some midweek day trips. She is much more likely to enjoy the famed hosts that will give her a guided tour at her own pace at Lake Louise and Sunshine.
It also qualifies for the 50% Mountain collective discount at their resorts.

Anyone else have any other suggestions?
 

sly_karma

Green Bastard
Ski Pass
Dec 12, 2005
22,747
17,309
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Penticton, BC
Calgary is a wonderful base for a weekend skier. As well as the three Banff area resorts, there are numerous other top class resorts within reasonable driving distance for a weekend stay: Fernie, Kicking Horse, Panorama, Nakiska. For evening skiing with lessons there's Calgary Olympic Park, where you can also try out the bobsled and ski jumping facilities. I would be looking for the pass with the best access to these. Probably the big3 is the way to go because Banff is so close. But make sure to take some weekends away as well.
 
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Sami-P

Hard Yards
Feb 5, 2014
46
21
58
Brisbane
Mt Norquay sucks IMHO. Sunshine for the WIN! Lake Louise is a bit further, but definitely worth getting to, so go the SkiBig3 pass!

For comparison - I got my family of 4 a season pass for Sun Peaks on the early-bird this last season for CAD$3,059.70 and we skied 18 days on average. That works out to be about CAD$42.50 / person / day, but we could only ski the 1 resort. BTW, my 2 kids are 16 & 17, so basically charged as adults (I think). Bear also in mind, being ski in/out on the mountain, there were lazy starts 10am and some early finishes at 3pm, with a break for lunch, so rate per hour might look as good in comparison. ;)
 
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Gumbie

Hard Yards
Jun 18, 2019
37
113
83
Illawarra
Soooo........
I have skyped with my exchange partner who has said to go big, wide, steep and deep - and the kids will have to learn to keep up! There are just too many mountains to be visited and we'll travel for weekends rather than just daytrip out of the city for a day each weekend.

Except.........the Nakiska pass is only $789 for a family for season. Bargain? Or you get what you pay for? Would this be worth it? We could pay this off in no time, considering day tickets for a family are about $300? (2 x 100 + 2 x 50ish). Opinions please.

Season 20/21 we'll go for the north american epic pass and we'll spend at least a week in Whistler, and a week in Telluride plus travel in Colorado or to Utah for days here and there. I have to be back in Oz by end of Jan 2021 when school starts but we'll also have the pass for Perisher, Falls and Hotham (which will may be be a let down but we'll make good use of them).
 
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MarzNC

One of Us
Ski Pass
Jun 8, 2017
3,204
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Raleigh, NC, USA
over50skifitness.blogspot.com
I have been fortunate enough to be accepted for a teacher exchange to Calgary for 2020!
I am an experienced skier but my family are beginners (wife has learnt to ski but will be happy with gentle groomers and relaxing in the sun with a hot choc).
I have skyped with my exchange partner who has said to go big, wide, steep and deep - and the kids will have to learn to keep up! There are just too many mountains to be visited and we'll travel for weekends rather than just daytrip out of the city for a day each weekend.

Except.........the Nakiska pass is only $789 for a family for season. Bargain? Or you get what you pay for? Would this be worth it? We could pay this off in no time, considering day tickets for a family are about $300? (2 x 100 + 2 x 50ish). Opinions please.
Going to be a great family adventure! My father was a visiting professor in Asia when my older brother and I were still in school. We spent the summer before and after traveling in assorted countries. Only time I've been to Australia and New Zealand.

How old are the kids? Are they gung ho about skiing or need coaxing to stay out on the slopes all day? Is your wife at all interested in some lessons to become an intermediate who enjoys blue runs at a big mountain? That's easier to do at a "home mountain" than always going to explore some place new.

In my experience traveling with kids for ski trips, lodging and travel costs far outweigh lift tickets. Child prices for day tickets are always reasonable. I bought season passes for myself and my daughter even though our "home mountain" was 4 hours drive and we only went a few days the week before Christmas and 2-4 weekends per season when she was in grade school. We could easily break even with two holiday long weekends (4 ski days each). Having a season pass meant it wasn't as big a deal if the weather wasn't great. Meaning if we only skied a few hours in the mornings and then did something else fun in the afternoons, I wasn't feeling like it was a waste of money in comparison to if I'd bought day tickets.
 

Summit

Old n' Crusty
Ski Pass
Nov 25, 2004
23,359
8,715
1,063
Perth
Soooo........
I have skyped with my exchange partner who has said to go big, wide, steep and deep - and the kids will have to learn to keep up! There are just too many mountains to be visited and we'll travel for weekends rather than just daytrip out of the city for a day each weekend.

Except.........the Nakiska pass is only $789 for a family for season. Bargain? Or you get what you pay for? Would this be worth it? We could pay this off in no time, considering day tickets for a family are about $300? (2 x 100 + 2 x 50ish). Opinions please.

Season 20/21 we'll go for the north american epic pass and we'll spend at least a week in Whistler, and a week in Telluride plus travel in Colorado or to Utah for days here and there. I have to be back in Oz by end of Jan 2021 when school starts but we'll also have the pass for Perisher, Falls and Hotham (which will may be be a let down but we'll make good use of them).
Nakiska is only 413 Hectares.

https://skinakiska.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/NAKISKA-TRAIL-MAP-BOARD-8x4-Nov.-10-2017-002.pdf

I've always wanted to ski the area, and Canadian Rockies spring time appeals when it's a bit warmer.

Probably not much good to you, but I believe you can get a very good deal with a Lake Louise spring pass...maybe $299 for an individual pass for more than 2 months skiing from 1 March, with good discounts off lift passes at nearby resorts....that'll be me in a few years, hopefully.
 

sly_karma

Green Bastard
Ski Pass
Dec 12, 2005
22,747
17,309
1,063
Penticton, BC
Getting better for sure. Depends on what the weather does in the city. If there's still snow on the ground then people keep skiing. But once the sun comes out and the golf courses start to open, fuhgeddaboudit.
 
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southpaw

One of Us
Ski Pass
Mar 28, 2018
1,281
2,834
363
Canberra
have been fortunate enough to be accepted for a teacher exchange to Calgary for 2020!
Hi Gumbie you have won the work lottery my friend. I did a 12 month exchange in Canada last year but because it was government we were based in Ottawa. Best experience ever. On the skiing front We had access to the hills in and around in Quebec. Air temps often around -20 and sometimes lower and runs super icy. On the plus side my partner and the kids learned to ski and are now hooked. Enjoy it will be a great family experience!
 

pedub

One of Us
Jul 26, 2015
993
716
263
Could possibly grab one of these
https://skircr.com/purchase/rcr-rockies-card/
and one of these
https://www.skilouise.com/louise_cards.php
(when they are released for next season)

Which are not season passes but definitely good discount on almost all those resorts that you can reach from Calgary

We did a 6 week trip and used them to their fullest
3 x "free" days on each card
20% off or $20 off all other days (may depend on the resort)

Unsure if you can buy them multiple times a season?
How many days in total do you think you might ski? those will get you through 7 weekends , then I believe you can keep getting the discount all season...
 

GlendaN

One of Us
Ski Pass
Jul 9, 2015
376
1,186
263
Although it's about 2 and half hours drive from Calgary, Lake Louise has skiing for all levels and a great day lodge as well. Havnt been to the Banff resorts but a pass for all 3 will give you variety.
 

Gumbie

Hard Yards
Jun 18, 2019
37
113
83
Illawarra
Could possibly grab one of these
https://skircr.com/purchase/rcr-rockies-card/
and one of these
https://www.skilouise.com/louise_cards.php
(when they are released for next season)

Which are not season passes but definitely good discount on almost all those resorts that you can reach from Calgary

We did a 6 week trip and used them to their fullest
3 x "free" days on each card
20% off or $20 off all other days (may depend on the resort)

Unsure if you can buy them multiple times a season?
How many days in total do you think you might ski? those will get you through 7 weekends , then I believe you can keep getting the discount all season...




Thanks, good advice.
I was looking around earlier as some early early bird products closed on July 5.
I am pretty locked in for the Lake Louise family pass for $1999 and we have until October for this.
We're off to Talbingo and Selwyn this weekend for a toboggan day with all the nieces and nephews. My son wanted to ski but I'm holding him back for the rockies. Seeing Selwyn will give him some perspective in the long run. Just the thought of hire, lessons, school holiday mayhem is enough to drive me mad.
Discussing the prices with him we worked out that 1 day in Thredbo for a family of 4 was something like $450! (plus hire, 12 hour return drive, fuel, et etc). That puts all the above in perspective and a season pass at Lake Louise it is, with weekends away at Kicking Horse, Revelstoke and elsewhere.

Can't wait.
 

pedub

One of Us
Jul 26, 2015
993
716
263
Discussing the prices with him we worked out that 1 day in Thredbo for a family of 4 was something like $450! (plus hire, 12 hour return drive, fuel, et etc). That puts all the above in perspective and a season pass at Lake Louise it is, with weekends away at Kicking Horse, Revelstoke and elsewhere.

Yeah gotta put it in perspective!
Canadians are so lucky
 
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