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

Crystal

Sand skier extraordinaire
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Far far away Aussie expat
^^
yes, have probably spent the same amount of time in each of the 3 towns...... not a lot but what I have seen in winter Golden is the most depressing.. Rossland...loads of character and fun.
 
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FNM

Early Days
Jul 8, 2019
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^^
yes, have probably spent the same amount of time in each of the 3 towns...... not a lot but what I have seen in winter Golden is the most depressing.. Rossland...loads of character and fun.

Sweet, Rossland sounds good. What are your thoughts on Invermere? ... I'm more than happy with what I'm hearing about Rossland and suspect I'll end up heading that way but am just so taken by Invermere's location to other mountains, parks etc, as well as Pano's slightly more developed resort in terms of chairlifts and I think bars/eateries as well. I also like what people have been saying about Pano being a great mountain to progress your skiing on.
 

sly_karma

Green Bastard
Ski Pass
Dec 12, 2005
22,290
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Penticton, BC
People always diss Golden for some reason. I think it's fine. A working town with timber mills, railway and highway transport services. I guess it's different if you know people. Rossland has been trading on its historic mining town vibe for a long time, but there's no real industry there anymore. Locals either subsist on ski season pickup work and EI, or commute down to Trail for work at the smelter.
 
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Crystal

Sand skier extraordinaire
Moderator
Ski Pass
Jan 1, 1970
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Far far away Aussie expat
People always diss Golden for some reason. I think it's fine. A working town with timber mills, railway and highway transport services. I guess it's different if you know people. Rossland has been trading on its historic mining town vibe for a long time, but there's no real industry there anymore. Locals either subsist on ski season pickup work and EI, or commute down to Trail for work at the smelter.
absolutely would be a different vibe in Golden if you knew people. Speaking of Trail, it's a working industrial town but we liked it.
 

MarzNC

One of Us
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Jun 8, 2017
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Raleigh, NC, USA
over50skifitness.blogspot.com
Interesting change happening at Panorama. Offering a relatively cheap "season pass" for cat skiing for 2019-20. Powder.com sounds excited about the new Monster X snowcat and terrain.

Canadian Resort Offers Unlimited Cat Skiing for $150 (CND!)
The offer is part of Panorama Resort's 500-acre expansion this season

Prices below in CND $
Screen Shot 2019-08-22 at 10.46.27 PM.png
 
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FNM

Early Days
Jul 8, 2019
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I’ve sent an application off to Pano. The resort isn’t my preference (as opposed to a town job) but would like to head over knowing I have a job to walk into. Will also apply at Red and Fernie and see where I end up :)

Can’t really go wrong! So pumped.
 
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sly_karma

Green Bastard
Ski Pass
Dec 12, 2005
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Penticton, BC
Pano has a good bike park operation in summer too. Always enjoy my July visits there. Loads of XC riding as well all the gravity stuff.
 
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DPS Driver

A Local
Jul 18, 2014
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Best of luck with your applications. You'll have fun in whatever town you end up in.

There's always somewhere top get a quiet beer but not always somewhere to party with the opposite sex, (ie Kimberley Ha ha, sorry MB) if that's high on your list of priorities.

I've travelled and skied through most resorts from Banff to Whistler over many years. My pick would be Nelson. I was lucky enough to spend a couple of seasons in Lake Louise and that was a blast. Would be more than happy at Rossland. Done Revvie for a few months, AOK. Spent lots of time in Kimberley and it's OK but limited nightlife. Love Banff. Fernie is good but most of my time was on mountain, so didn't get into the town life too much. Decent Aussie contingent there now.

I'm jealous.
 
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FNM

Early Days
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Best of luck with your applications. You'll have fun in whatever town you end up in.

There's always somewhere top get a quiet beer but not always somewhere to party with the opposite sex, (ie Kimberley Ha ha, sorry MB) if that's high on your list of priorities.

I've travelled and skied through most resorts from Banff to Whistler over many years. My pick would be Nelson. I was lucky enough to spend a couple of seasons in Lake Louise and that was a blast. Would be more than happy at Rossland. Done Revvie for a few months, AOK. Spent lots of time in Kimberley and it's OK but limited nightlife. Love Banff. Fernie is good but most of my time was on mountain, so didn't get into the town life too much. Decent Aussie contingent there now.

I'm jealous.

Yeah thanks! ...and it's nice to hear that you've experienced and loved many of the resorts! I'm very excited. We fly out in 11 days (been waiting about 18 months for this)!! It's been a crazy time packing up our lives in NSW and getting our important possessions back into our folks' garage in Vic. Now we can turn our attention to getting organised for Canada (looking at cars, contacting landlords and agents, skis are on their way)!

If I were ranking where I think we're most likely to end up (ie, where we'll most likely focus our initial efforts, while keeping an open-mind!), I'd probably still be going:

- Invermere/Panorama at #1 (Location main drawcard (within reach (1.5-2hrs) of many other resorts and only 20 mins to Banff NP), quality and relatively quiet mountain, -ve: not much going on in Invermere, jobs?)
- Penticton (has made a late charge up the rankings! My main concern here is the 45 minute drive to Apex, but it's definitely a real option for us now) (beautiful region, lovely and lively larger town with lots of activities on offer - thanks Sly!)
- Nelson/Whitewater (lively town that definitely appeals to us, more options away from mountain, -ve: we're not backcountry skiers so terrain may be unsuitable)
- Rossland/Red (charming town and quality mountain, -ve: remote)
- Sun Peaks
- Banff
- Fernie
- Revvie

It's funny - Revvie started out as number one but then slipped for various reasons - work, housing etc.

All that being said, we don't really know what we're in for at any of these places so could easily end up at any of them, or somewhere else again! Fun times ahead! :)
 
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DPS Driver

A Local
Jul 18, 2014
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Yeah thanks! ...and it's nice to hear that you've experienced and loved many of the resorts! I'm very excited. We fly out in 11 days (been waiting about 18 months for this)!! It's been a crazy time packing up our lives in NSW and getting our important possessions back into our folks' garage in Vic. Now we can turn our attention to getting organised for Canada (looking at cars, contacting landlords and agents, skis are on their way)!

If I were ranking where I think we're most likely to end up (ie, where we'll most likely focus our initial efforts, while keeping an open-mind!), I'd probably still be going:

- Invermere/Panorama at #1 (Location main drawcard (within reach (1.5-2hrs) of many other resorts and only 20 mins to Banff NP), quality and relatively quiet mountain, -ve: not much going on in Invermere, jobs?)
- Penticton (has made a late charge up the rankings! My main concern here is the 45 minute drive to Apex, but it's definitely a real option for us now) (beautiful region, lovely and lively larger town with lots of activities on offer - thanks Sly!)
- Nelson/Whitewater (lively town that definitely appeals to us, more options away from mountain, -ve: we're not backcountry skiers so terrain may be unsuitable)
- Rossland/Red (charming town and quality mountain, -ve: remote)
- Sun Peaks
- Banff
- Fernie
- Revvie

It's funny - Revvie started out as number one but then slipped for various reasons - work, housing etc.

All that being said, we don't really know what we're in for at any of these places so could easily end up at any of them, or somewhere else again! Fun times ahead! :)
Penticton is a good call but I wouldn’t discount Nelson/Whitewater based on backcountry versus piste. Even if I were a beginner knowing what I know, about Canada I would choose Nelson.
 

blowfin

One of Us
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Nov 3, 2012
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Penticton is a good call but I wouldn’t discount Nelson/Whitewater based on backcountry versus piste. Even if I were a beginner knowing what I know, about Canada I would choose Nelson.

Agreed, a month of riding anywhere and you should be able to tackle most of the inbounds stuff. It's good to have some gnarly goals too :D
 

FNM

Early Days
Jul 8, 2019
82
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Penticton is a good call but I wouldn’t discount Nelson/Whitewater based on backcountry versus piste. Even if I were a beginner knowing what I know, about Canada I would choose Nelson.

It wasn’t so much the difficulty but more the variety/size of terrain .. a couple of people have said that there might not be enough there to keep one interested for an entire season? But then I guess the flip side is that Nelson is there to enjoy as well.

A Canadian friend of ours reckons we’ll end up in Nelson. I’d say it’s a pretty good chance of happening. I hear that it’s regarded as the Byron Bay of Canada, which is where I’ve spent most of my last 10 years.. I’ve been tired of Byron for a while now, but I think the Canadian version would still be a great place to be! :)
 
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Summit

Old n' Crusty
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I've just come back from 3 weeks in BC and Alberta, and spent most nights in ski resorts/towns. Ok, so not winter, but I was still able to get a feel for where I'd like to live if I was ever there for a couple of years. As far as the biggest tourist towns (read better work prospects for those working in hospitality), I'd much prefer the real town of Banff over Whistler. Banff is only about 8 blocks and once you get away from Banff Ave and Downtown it's a town I really liked, particularly staying a few blocks from downtown in the eastern part of town. I was able to snaffle a nice B & B for only $60 a night :eek:, but imagine getting quality long term housing there is difficult and expensive. Oh yeah, and to live there in winter you'd want to like the cold..the very cold.

Three hours drive away on the other side of the mountains is a warmer winter town, Revelstoke was my favourite smaller place. A compact historic town with a very nice central area with a great feel to it. Some great recently opened bars in town and it had a progressive feel to it, probably to do with the ambitious plans for the ski resort expansion....but watch out for the laundromat there..it shrunk my shirts LOL
 
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FNM

Early Days
Jul 8, 2019
82
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A little update on where we're at.

We fly out tomorrow - Melbourne to Vancouver. We settled on Invermere/Panorama. Using Kijiji (Canada's Gumtree equivalent), I was able to keep a close eye on property rentals. I also joined the Facebook groups relevant to property rentals in Invermere as well as looking at local real estate websites. We found a nice house on Kijiji, had a bit of back-and-forth with the owner, a little FaceTime and it is now ours. We take over the lease Nov 1st for 6 months. That has allowed us to buy our season pass so we save $160 there. The owner of the house is a Calgarian who uses it for a summer holiday house. She spoke glowingly of Invermere as a town - gave us pointers on where to find work and the like. Also said we will have no trouble finding work. Very exciting to have a house to walk into.

My thinking at this stage, which of course could all change at anytime, is that I'll move to Penticton for the summer.

I've also been using Kijiji and Autotrader.ca to keep an eye on cars. We have one lined up, pending inspection, on Vancouver Island (we are a few days in Van Island regardless as we are visiting family there). Plan is to take a few days driving to Invermere so that we can sightsee along the way - Whistler, Kamloops, Clearwater, Penticton, Nelson etc - might involve a bit of backtracking. Temperatures at the moment are lows in the low negatives, highs in the high single digits.

Serving It Right is the equivalent of the Vic RSA - we've got that organised so that we can start applying for jobs as soon as we get there.

Now it's on to travel insurance. What I'm discovering is that travel insurance for a ski holiday sucks so much! ... I think AAMI only does 6 months so we're looking at Bupa Global. It all looked pretty decent with Bupa and then I realised I was looking at USD. With Medical and Non-Medical (personal liability for property and bodily damage), we're looking at around $3300 ... Not sure I can afford that .. We could go medical only, which would come in at around $2400 ... I'm willing to pay that for good off-piste cover (ie, allowed to ski without a guide) and with backcountry (whether or not it has to be with a guide). Am worried about personal liability though.... 1Cover is ok for off-piste, but then doesn't seem to cover backcountry at all, regardless of whether with a professional or not and has no search and rescue (I think that only applies to out of bounds) .. Same for iTrek. I spoke to AIG and they said they only cove off-piste when with a commercial operator and that was the same as Good To Go even with their winter sports pack. Down Under Insurance (DU) doesn't cover off-piste even with there IEC policy + winter pack ... What a PITA. I'm going to sit on it for a few hours and see if I can bring myself to pay $3300 with Bupa Global for peace of mind - though I still need to confirm with them exactly what is covered and can't call at the moment due to time difference.

Aside from the Insurance, super pumped. It has come around so quickly the last few weeks. Still very disorganised but about to start packing. Anything else I pick up on the way that might be useful to others, I will include in time!
 
Fastcover - we used them for our 2 years away as a family. I just double checked - they will cover you for off piste and I did a dummy quote for a single 25 year old with ski pack inc for `12 months and it was just over $1500. You can extend into a second year if needed as well.

Have an awesome time! Did the same thing 30 years ago
 

FNM

Early Days
Jul 8, 2019
82
23
8
Fastcover - we used them for our 2 years away as a family. I just double checked - they will cover you for off piste and I did a dummy quote for a single 25 year old with ski pack inc for `12 months and it was just over $1500. You can extend into a second year if needed as well.

Have an awesome time! Did the same thing 30 years ago

Thanks for the tip. It did look good but it has the same condition as many others - must be with a licensed instructor. D'oh!!
 

Summit

Old n' Crusty
Ski Pass
Nov 25, 2004
22,653
7,903
1,063
Perth
The Columbia Valley is a very nice part of the world. Spent a couple of nights in Radium Springs in September. Drop into the Horsethief Creek Pub for a beer.

upload_2019-10-15_14-28-24.jpeg
 
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Summit

Old n' Crusty
Ski Pass
Nov 25, 2004
22,653
7,903
1,063
Perth
Also spent two nights in Panorama, and here's two more fine establishments. Found out from the locals that Panorama basically shuts up from late September until early December.

Earl Grey Smokehouse
cabin1_resized_1__FocusFillWzE4MDAsMTA4MCwieSIsNjVd.jpg


Cliffhanger Restaurant

Restaurant-and-bar-high-res-2015__FocusFillWzE4MDAsMTA4MCwieSIsNjFd.jpg
 
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Summit

Old n' Crusty
Ski Pass
Nov 25, 2004
22,653
7,903
1,063
Perth
Had some excellent meals in there the last couple summers.
With the closure of the golf course about this time of the year, I had a google and confirmed it is open in winter. Quite a distance from the compact town centre with most of the accommodation.
 

sly_karma

Green Bastard
Ski Pass
Dec 12, 2005
22,290
16,075
1,063
Penticton, BC
The helicopter ski operation uses the golf course area during winter so it's not totally isolated. Plus a lot of private homes in that area too.
 
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FNM

Early Days
Jul 8, 2019
82
23
8
Currently on the flight from Auckland to Vancouver .. 10hrs to go!! Ran out of time to keep digging travel insurance so went with 1Cover (adding winter pack) .. it covers off-piste and my understanding is they’ll rescue as long as in-bounds, so it works fairly well for us. Bupa Global got back to me and said they follow the rules of the mountain - if skiing off-piste is allowed, then they’ll cover it but if not, they won’t. Was a bit late for me to suss those details. Had I had more funds, I probably would have gone Bupa Global + Non-medical ... going only medical is a reasonable price (~2600) but I wanted personal liability protection, which isn’t included without adding non-medical. 1Cover + winter pack came in at around $1750 (and includes personal liability cover). Not certain that it was the best option, but had to pull the trigger!
 

FNM

Early Days
Jul 8, 2019
82
23
8
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.

Currently enjoying a Overtime Brown Ale at Pedal & Tap! It is a nice town and definitely has a friendly vibe. Thinking about it for summer!
 
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