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Where to live (min 12 months) in Canada for snow, MTB, backpacking etc.

Discussion in 'Canada' started by FNM, Aug 9, 2019.

  1. cookieman

    cookieman One of Us

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    Nelson is really cool and Canmore is as good as any for base to skiing and adventure sports.
    Very cold in December- January. Easier to get around if you get your own car.
     
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  2. robbo mcs

    robbo mcs One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Whistler is busy on the slopes peak periods, weekends, christmas holidays, spring break and powder days. During the week it is actually not too bad at all. During busy periods, there are other things to do, eg back country etc

    It is busy in summer as well, mainly mountain biking, but also tourist sightseeing and hikes. However, it is much easier to go elsewhere and escape the crowds
     
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  3. Beerman

    Beerman One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    With different people's thoughts on here, it's easy to be over whelmed/confused. Just go and see what happens, itself amazing the little corners of the world you will find yourself in, friends you make and things you do.
    Ie. Don't limit yourself because of a perceived bias
     
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  4. Legs Akimbo

    Legs Akimbo Grumblebum Ski Pass: Gold

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    I know someone who went from a complete beginner to Level 1 instructor in 1 full time season in Thredbo. Miles and lessons.
     
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  5. FNM

    FNM Early Days

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    I missed this post last night among all the responses. Red is pretty intriguing for me at the moment - they've got a new lift opening this season which will open up more intermediate runs as well. I probably sold myself short - I'm more than likely a standard intermediate than a low-intermediate. The other thing I have to consider, is that my brother is advanced so need somewhere suitable for both. Having read a bit about Rossland/Red last night, it has cracking MTB and road cycling by the sounds of it as well as good XC Skiing, which is ticking boxes.
     
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  6. FNM

    FNM Early Days

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    That's very true. The only thing I'm thinking is that, firstly, if I can form a plan now, then I can take advantage of the early bird season pass prices, which are generally pretty significant savings. Secondly, given that ski towns are notoriously difficult for accommodation, it'd be nice to make a start there, but it's not such a huge deal.

    Perhaps it is the best option - get ourselves a vehicle on arrival, do some serious road-tripping for the first couple of weeks and see what 'feels' right..
     
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  7. FNM

    FNM Early Days

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    It does sound pretty epic out that way for the scenery, village, hiking etc. What are the crowds like at Sunshine? I see on Powderhounds that it has 2.5 stars for crowds, which would suggest it's quite busy.

    My mistake: it scores 3.5 stars for 'uncrowded'... but then says it can get 'very crowded on weekends'.
     
    #57 FNM, Aug 10, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2019
  8. absentskier

    absentskier Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Red is an enormous, laid back locals hill. Some really fun intermediate terrain, right through to really steep trees etc.
     
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  9. buckwheat

    buckwheat One of Us

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    You mean really *really* steep trees!
     
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  10. FNM

    FNM Early Days

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    Thank you for all the feedback and information provided.

    As of now, we’ve decided to focus on Rossland (which likely would have been overlooked if not for some of the feedback here). I will do some digging and communicating to see what employment and accommodation opportunities might be available. I understand, in the past, accommodation has been difficult to find and not sure how much work there is (in town preferably, on mountain after that). If that is looking no good, we’ll have to move onto the next one - not sure what that is.

    I’ve pretty much ruled out Banff, just for the shortage of accommodation (read, wildly expensive accommodation). Looks amazing otherwise. I do have some friends who are going to try Banff and I offered that my brother and I could share a room if they find somewhere and need two extra tenants (not our preference, but seems compromises are going to have to be made somewhere). Have almost ruled out WB for same reasons.

    It appears that all the resorts/ski towns have serious accommodation issues - Fernie, Revelstoke, Nelson, KH etc. Have started looking at Vernon, Kamloops, Kelowna as back-ups but not sure they fare much better. Guess it works out for people year after year, so I’ve no doubt it’ll work out for us somewhere. It’s all part of the experience!

    Cheers
     
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  11. pedub

    pedub One of Us

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    Nelson! I reckon better for a season compared to Rossland. Whitewater is sick you will not regret basing there. There is plenty of intermediate terrain, i think.
    Red is reachable for day trip if you get bored.
     
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  12. Shouldastayed

    Shouldastayed First Runs

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    I'll throw another one in just to add to your confusion, Invermere for Panorama. Its quiet but central so easy enough to get to kicking horse, fernie, louise, sunshine, etc. You will improve quickly with its progression of slopes and once you get to advanced level Taynton Bowl will keep you busy for a long time. Lots of long fall line blues, blacks and double blacks. It doesn't get the same amount of snow as some of the other resorts but that is for Canada so there is still plenty, and the prevailing winds tend to heavily load up areas so it can get deep on only modest falls.
     
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  13. absentskier

    absentskier Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Rossland to Red is so much closer than Invermere to Pano. Not a bad suggestion but I prefer Rossland and Red.
     
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  14. FNM

    FNM Early Days

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    I prefer the sound of Nelson town compared to Rossland, just for the variety of things to do on non-ski days and the like, but a couple of people said that without backcountry touring (which I’m not ready for), Whitewater wouldn’t be big enough to keep things interesting for an entire season and the terrain may be too advanced overall. Hence, the focus on Rossland/Red Mountain. What are your thoughts on that?
     
  15. FNM

    FNM Early Days

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    This is interesting. If there is one thing I need, it’s more options to consider! :) I do like the sound of Panorama, but by the same token, I’m being a bit of a powder hound this trip, as I’ve never skied powder before! From what I’ve read, it doesn’t sound like there is a lot of powder there.

    However, awesome backcountry hiking/camping and MTB are definite ticks.

    1.5hrs to KH, 2hrs to Banff ... this is food for thought for sure! Do you think the mountain is enough to keep my intermediate self and my advanced brother entertained for a season (with the occasional trip elsewhere) ? .. I’ll look more into Invermere as a town as well. Cheers
     
  16. BoofHead

    BoofHead One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Haven’t read the whole thread but I’m throwing Vancouver Island in the mix if it hasn’t been mentioned.
    Good skiing at Mt Washington, great hiking all over the island, sea kayaking, salmon fishing, hunting, surfing, MTB, quad biking, snow mobiling. It’s an outdoors paradise.
    Victoria is a very nice little city, Comox andCoirtenay are very close to MtWahington. I lived and worked in Nanaimo which is a bit of a sh1thole but well located.
     
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  17. Alex.C

    Alex.C One of Us

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    Canmore can probably go near the top of your list, the only thing in your list that you will find in short supply is lifted downhill mountain biking (most nearby resorts in the area are in the National Park which isn't a fan of such activities). The only real problem is a shortage of places to live, at least at a reasonable price.
     
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  18. FNM

    FNM Early Days

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    It does sound epic out there, but the difficulty in finding accommodation and consequent high prices is a fair turn off. I have a few friends who are going to try their luck in Banff, so I've let them know that if they need two more tenants, they can shoot me a msg!
     
  19. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Although I haven't skied in Canada yet, been reading trip reports for a while. I'm a retired ski nut who gets to do 1-2 mid-season trips to destination resorts every winter. My friends who are intermediates love Banff. My friends who are advanced like Banff and Revy. But they are all just doing 1-week ski vacations.

    I got very curious about Red Mountain a while back when they started expanding to other mountains by using snow cats before installing lifts. Then there was the OPO to raise CAN$1.5 million that was quite an impressive project. Spending a week at Red after flying to Spokane is on my bucket list.

    Red Mountain in Canada crowdfunding - notes from 2017-18

    Have you found this trip report?
    https://www.ski.com.au/xf/threads/powder-highway-jan-2018-epic.80380/

    Here's an article about working at Red from 2017, which is before the OPO done.
    https://www.snowseasoncentral.com/red-mountain-find-a-job-work-a-winter-season
     
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  20. Shouldastayed

    Shouldastayed First Runs

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    Pano doesn’t get the falls of other places such as Red, KH or Reve, but it still gets plenty and you will get your powder fix. It generally comes out better on the slopes than the gauges say as it gets wind loading on a lot of runs. You will get your chance at knee deep don’t worry. There is plenty to keep you both busy, and you’ll both be at Expert level before you know it. Taynton Bowl must be nearly 2 kms of ridge line (with more new terrain announced today) that you can drop into basically anywhere, then have about 600m of vertical, off piste, wind loaded steeps. Exploring all of those lines will keep you interested for ages.

    I’d suggest wherever you end up though will be magic and a bigger priority would be jobs and accommodation. The base wage in Canada is c##p so you need to get into hospitality for the tips to make any sort of reasonable money. Get over there as early as you can as you will be two of many trying the same thing and the jobs fill up. That’s where some of the less popular places might be an advantage. If you haven’t found it already Kijiji is huge over there for rentals and everything else so have a look there – its their Gumtree.

    While I go back to Panorama so have a soft spot for it, relating to other posters Red is at the top of my bucket list but I haven't made it there yet as its that bit harder to get to - both a positive and a negative. Hope that helps a bit and good luck.
     
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  21. FNM

    FNM Early Days

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    Hey! Thanks for the response. I had seen the last link re work, but not the first two. I enjoyed that trip review and will contact LDJ. It does sound like a cool little town and an intimidating mountain!

    I actually emailed what I think is the main restaurant/pub in Rossland town (The Flying Steamshovel) last night with a general enquiry regarding when employment starts for the season and what the prospects are like. Hopefully I can get a feel for how easy or difficult it might be to find work.

    I think I'll email the resort next to get a feel for their thoughts on the intermediate terrain.
     
  22. cookieman

    cookieman One of Us

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    Canmore is a good size town that has wealthy areas as well as cheaper/budget quarters. There is a large Aussie population that work and ski there so I don't think it will be too hard to share accommodation if that's what you want. Best if you get your own car if you need to ski outside of nakiska, sunshine, lake Louise and norquay.
    Great all season base.
     
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  23. FNM

    FNM Early Days

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    Awesome! Thanks! When you've been to Pano, do you stay on the mountain? How does Invermere seem to you - culture, amenities, nightlife, restaurants etc? (we'd prefer to stay in a town just for the non-ski days).. I did some digging re Invermere but it's good to hear first-hand experience. I love the sound of the backcountry hiking and the biking. It also seems to have very good cross country skiing at and near Pano. I think my brother is going to be a little harder to sway to consider Pano (having previously been to Whistler), but he did mention last night that he actually prefers 10cm of powder to a foot or two, so might be able to get him interested. He said that he loves tree skiing as well - does Pano offer that?

    I'm starting to get quite interested in Invermere/Pano now that I've had a couple of positive responses about it. It seems like the intermediate runs are awesome and that there is enough advanced/expert to satisfy skiers at that level as well!

    We're flying into Vancouver on October 16, so hopefully we're early enough to beat the majority of the crowds, though I don't know. As posted above, I've emailed a restaurant/pub in Rossland to try to get a feel for when seasonal employment openings are usually posted/filled, so I will do the same for a joint in Invermere. Thanks a lot for the response!
     
  24. FNM

    FNM Early Days

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    Ok, that's good to know re the accommodation. Whilst shared accomm isn't our first preference, we are certainly willing if required. I did a bit of reading on Canmore and it does sound epic, with awesome cross-country skiing as well. We're getting the pros and cons compiled, which will help us firm on what appears the best fit. Canmore definitely still in play! Thanks!
     
  25. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Another article about Red. It's from 2014 and the amount of terrain has increased since then. An important element that was missing was intermediate terrain so that families would be more interested in spending a week at Red. I would guess there is more than enough intermediate terrain for an aspiring advanced skier sticking around for an entire season.

    https://www.seattletimes.com/life/travel/skiing-red-bc-resort-gets-bigger-and-even-better/

    This overview is also from 2014 soon after Grey Mountain was added to bring the total acreage up to about 4000. According to the current stats on the Red website, about half of the terrain is rated Beginner or Intermediate. Of course, that's relative to the rest of the terrain, so could be somewhat steeper than other mountains in the same category. Total vertical is almost 3000 ft, which is high.

    https://www.evo.com/travel-guides/ski-snowboard/british-columbia/red-mountain

    My view point may be different from advanced/experts who enjoyed skiing chutes and trees before age 25. I only became a solid advanced skier after a knee injury in 2012 when I was over 50. I learned how to get recommendations for very experienced instructors. Was only skiing 25-35 days a season, only about 12 at big mountains. If you invest some time and money in early season lessons, you won't be an "intermediate" for long. Group lessons for intermediates can often be solo lessons before the Christmas holidays. I started learning the fundamentals required for bumps and trees at my home mountain that is almost all manmade snow, 75 acres, and a long run takes 4 min. I was working with an instructor who had 25+ years of experience.

    Many people think Alta or Snowbird in Utah are only for advanced/experts. That's not true. There is plenty of terrain for intermediates, even cautious intermediates in the case of Alta. I know from first hand experience for myself, my daughter, and friends. But few articles about ski resorts or posts on online ski forums are by intermediates. I found there is more than enough intermediate terrain at Jackson Hole, which is another destination resort people think is only for experts.

    Red knows how to make videos. Here's the one on the website for Grey Mountain. Think I'll be watching airfares for Spokane this winter to start thinking about how to fit in a trip there sooner rather than later.

     
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  26. Monsta

    Monsta Hard Yards

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    We've been as a family to Panorama and it's a really cool ski hill. 3 lifts to the top that gets progressively steeper as you go up do it really is the perfect place to progress your skiing. Then Taynton Bowl and the cat-serviced Monster terrain is there when you're up for it. Skiing wise it would be perfect for you.

    Very quiet though. Crowds are low and nightlife pretty limited. Invermere is a nice little town but lacks the atmosphere of some of the other Canadian ski towns. Awesome XC down on and around the lake too. I don't know if I could stick it out full time though. Unless you're VERY laid back you might find it a bit on the slow side, especially in the shoulder season/s.

    I'd look more to Canmore, Banff, Revy or Nelson for a bit more variety than one of the really small towns from a longer term perspective beyond just the ski season.
     
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  27. FNM

    FNM Early Days

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    Sweet! Thanks! I was born and raised in Melbourne, but have been living more of a quiet life for most of the last 10 years in the northern rivers of NSW. In saying that, this area attracts a lot of young travellers so there is an atmosphere about the place. I think I could handle the quiet town/resort for a season, but not so sure about my brother. For one, I may be studying online while I'm there so will be occupied with that... As a novel way to test a town's facilities, I check whether they have squash courts! :) Invermere doesn't by the looks; Nelson, Banff, Revelstoke and Rossland (Trail) do.

    The mountain sounds ideal, the life outside of the mountain may be limited.

    More pros and cons to evaluate! Personally, a quiet mountain with quality snow and terrain works for me, as long as there are a few restaurants and a couple of bars to visit. I'd take that over a lively town that has crowded mountains. I'm sure there is a happy medium.
     
  28. FNM

    FNM Early Days

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    I am excited to get lessons wherever I end up. Long gone are the days where my old man used to try, without success, to get us to have lessons at Hotham or Falls each year! Not sure if it's because we were shy or thought the idea boring or unnecessary, but we were quite forceful in our rejection for 10 year olds! I'm sure there are a number of poor technical habits I developed that some poor sod will have to train out of me in Canada! Can't wait.

    I've watched those Red videos - they are quality! Sounds like Red has it all going for it, if you're able to put up with the dated facilities, which I believe we are.
     
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  29. sly_karma

    sly_karma Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Invermere goes ballistic in the summer, complete beach town full of Albertans with holiday homes or just weekending it. Midsummer days are hot and dry, jobs will super easy to get and you may even be able to conduct a little bidding war. The mountain biking and mountaineering are outstanding, although that can be said for more or less anywhere you have been thinking about. Pano is 20 minutes from town, an easy drive and hitching is a snap if you don't have a car at first.

    Then there's my town, Penticton, and its ski resort, Apex. The stats online don't tell you much about what Apex is really like. It's a locals mountain, even more so than Red. The vert is 'only' 600 m but it's steep and intense with roughly two thirds of the terrain black or double black. Very few tourists, mostly local people so weekdays are crazy quiet. A midweek powder day will see you laying tracks right next to those you put down on the previous lap. There is a busy race and freestyle scene and the locals are very good bump skiers.

    Penticton is only 35,000 people but has facilities for double that because it is a beach town in summer. It sits on a 6 km wide piece of land between two large lakes in a deep semi-desert valley known for its hot dry summers and relatively mild winters. It is 1400 m lower than Apex village so it gets just a tenth of the snow they see up high. The region is famous for stone fruit and high quality wines, plus lots of outdoor activities: water sports, kayaking and fishing on the large lakes, extensive mountain bike trails radiating right out of the town, and a sport climber's paradise at Skaha Bluffs. Within city limits there are 35 wineries, 7 breweries, 3 cideries and 3 distilleries, so it's probably the booze capital of Canada.
     
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  30. FNM

    FNM Early Days

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    Thanks Sly - I have been eagerly awaiting your contribution! :)

    Penticton sounds like a lovely town that offers all the outdoor activities one could need. We know someone through work whose grandparents live there actually - just realised! Having always been an ocean person (and probably due to living in Australia), I never realised lakes were such a drawcard for holiday makers! Makes sense - especially in Canada.

    It's good to hear Invermere comes to life as well, and that it's an easy journey from town to the mountain. I'm quite taken by this idea.

    As you may have read, I contacted a venue in Rossland to try and get a feel for job prospects etc. Haven't heard back yet. Will try the same with Invermere and see how I go.

    Fernie seems a fairly logical choice for everything we require (given that my brother would probably like slightly more social life and is an advanced skier), but for some reason I just can't take to the idea of it... Possibly bc I feel like everyone there would be Australian? Or maybe because I know a bunch of people who have done seasons there? ... I have a (possibly silly) tendency to want to explore areas that haven't been explored by anyone I know already!

    Nelson/Whitewater was sounding pretty perfect until concerns were raised about the lack of variety for skiers at our level (ie, not backcountry skiers).

    Anyway, thanks for your response! I think it's time for me to take a step-back and review all the information to figure out a rough plan, which may yet involve sacrificing the early-bird season pass prices and instead road-tripping on arrival and stopping wherever feels 'right'. Cheers
     
  31. pedub

    pedub One of Us

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    " a quiet mountain with quality snow and terrain" = Whitewater. Its not only about backcountry

    RE your previous question. I dont think you will get bored at whitewater, and even if you did, Red Mountain is an easy day trip.

    Silver King lift has plenty of intermediate runs and so does Glory ridge. I think it has a nice progression of difficulties. It may not be a huge resort but its quiet and uncrowded (usually)
     
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  32. FNM

    FNM Early Days

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    Thanks pedub. It would be fun being able to live in Nelson as well. I assume job prospects would be better there too. It's only that concern about the size of the resort. If it were Nelson town at Red, it'd be a no-brainer. I think a case can be made for either Red or WW - eg, could live at Rossland and if feeling like a bit of socialising or partying, could head to Nelson for a weekend.. On the flipside, live in Nelson and if a bit tired of WW, could head to Red for a weekend!

    I really like the sound of Panorama and the location of Invermere (1.5hrs to KH, 20 mins to Banff NP, less than 2hrs to Banff town, LL, Fernie, Sunshine and many other natural attractions). Aside from the great downhill skiing, it does seem to have outstanding XC skiing, MTB and backcountry hiking and climbing. My only concern is that Invermere does appear very quiet - may make finding work difficult in winter and just might lack a little in the way of pubs! :emoji_confused:
     
  33. sly_karma

    sly_karma Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    After a season skiing any of these resorts, you will not be the skiers you are now.
     
  34. FNM

    FNM Early Days

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    Geez, I'm excited!!
     
  35. sly_karma

    sly_karma Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    * Provided you are willing to extend yourselves, step out of the comfort zone. Skiing with the locals does a lot more than show you around a new resort. I still vividly remember my mate and I arriving at Apex 30 years ago, fresh off the bus from Whistler and each of us with a shiny new level 2 instructor badge on his chest. I reckoned I was good to go. Snow school director says he'll set us up with a mountain tour, says to one of the instructors, "take these two Aussies out and scare them." We smirked a bit... and not long after, we were scared. And humbled. I've maintained since that I didn't truly learn to ski until Apex. Not so much the resort itself but the intense full time skiing and training with other instructors, plus learning the hidden lines with the shit hot locals. You can of course have this experience at any resort - if you're wiling to learn and grow. If you do it right, one full time season will give you solid skiing skills good for a lifetime.
     
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  36. Old Hack

    Old Hack Hard Yards

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    Wow, haven't posted for a long time and see not much has changed. Lots of Aussies seeking adventure in all the usual places - Kimberley barely gets a mention, perhaps just the way we like it! Not the biggest, steepest or deepest but definitely one of the more reliable hills in Western Canada, and still has something for everyone. Well placed on the Powder Highway with many resorts in easy striking distance. Excellent mountain biking, hiking, climbing and many other recreational opportunities. A 'real town' that just happens to have a great ski hill 5 mins from downtown, a lot more down to earth and friendly. 150km of single track all accessible from town. I moved here on a 2 year work contract 13 years ago - still stoked for another winter and not even close to bored.
     
  37. pedub

    pedub One of Us

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    Fernie was our first stop and it scared the shit of me... Canada is just another level
    Awesome skiers and riders everywhere
    Even the kids
     
  38. Crystal

    Crystal Sand skier extraordinaire Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yup Apex was he first hill to really scare me and change my skiing ability :) love skiing with the crusty locals ;) following them down nasty nasty shite and knowing they'll pick a great line...... I ski like a star.
     
  39. FNM

    FNM Early Days

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    Oh dear.. another one to start researching! Appreciate the response - will get digging! I didn't realise Kimberley was a proper township!
     
  40. Beerman

    Beerman One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    So that's why you moved there................:cheers:
     
  41. sly_karma

    sly_karma Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Very little of that was there in 1988. I had to build some of it myself.
     
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  42. BoofHead

    BoofHead One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Penticton would be very high on my list.
     
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  43. KneeDeep

    KneeDeep One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    No one has mentioned Golden?? Just saying, it is worth a look.
     
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  44. pedub

    pedub One of Us

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    Just wondering what other towns we could mention LOL

    Kimberley was a suprisingly big town
    The resort is probably the most different compared to all those powder highway resorts. Felt a bit like a Japanese bubble resort to me. A bit tired now.
    But the hill is fun
    IMO its one of the most mellow places on the powder highway
     
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  45. FNM

    FNM Early Days

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    Thanks! I did have a bit of a look after you mentioned it. While everything sounds very cool with regards to vicinity to other mountains like LL, Pano and the non-skiing activities on offer, I don't think KH is going to make it as a home base, unfortunately! Due to costs, we wouldn't be heading to other mountains often, so closest one needs to be the one that suits us most. Town reads slightly livelier than Invermere (basing it on number of pubs and restaurants - could be wrong), which would be handy for work and social life. The non-downhill skiing activities look amazing - it's got everything else we want.
     
  46. Crystal

    Crystal Sand skier extraordinaire Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Golden in winter is a very depressing town.
     
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  47. pedub

    pedub One of Us

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    Lol yeah. Better to stay up at The Horse
     
  48. KneeDeep

    KneeDeep One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Golden rated in the top ten ski towns in the world by Snow magazine. I have fond memories of the Mad Trappers pub way back when I was allowed to drink alcohol. This was before Kicking Horse was even thought of. Heli skied out of Golden 1982.
     
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  49. Monsta

    Monsta Hard Yards

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    We might have been on the same course?? I got my L2 at the end of season exams in April 88 and stayed there for the year after
     
  50. sly_karma

    sly_karma Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Did mine December 1988