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Canada or Montana end of March?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I’m looking to burn some flyer miles  (UAL)  end of March and take my teen son skiing. 

Where might the best conditions be found at that time this year?  I know there’s no guarantees but what does your spidy sense tell you?    

 

I’m looking at Big Sky,  Banff, or Whistler.  I’m looking at these as flights with miles are easier to get than to Denver or Salt Lake City and they currently seem to have some of the better bases.  I also considered Mammoth but figured it would be an iffy drive there to Mammoth.  Bozeman looked good and back when I had a life I skied Bridger and Big Sky every year.  Never did the ridge.  The perils of life took over but then things changed and I got back in the game a few years ago.   Calgary and Vancouver were flexible as well so I’m a bit torn.  I’ve never been to the Canada sites. 

 

Things I’m wondering in order of importance,

#1, where might the best snow be at that time this year?    Siberia?

#2, Would the bottom of Whistler be just mush?  Would it be crowded?  Lots of posers?

#3, Is it a major pain to get out to the three Banff areas each day?

 

I got about a week to figure this out.  Meanwhile I’m visiting my daughter in Ft. Collins CO and will hit Eldora. 

post #2 of 11

Our base is similar to the current base at Big Sky and we are in-between your destinations geographically.  So, our local conditions are sort of representative, I'd think.  Frankly, after what we've seen this winter, I'd say that forecasting by anyone using any method (throwing playing cards in the air, using a magic 8 ball...) would be totally useless.  Last year we had a ton more snow arrive after closing (like six feet if I recall) than in any time in the past, suggesting that this so-called La Nina year will produce the same late snow effect this year.  But....this year is NOTHING like last year, so ..given the much lower snowpack that we've got so far...  I'm guessing that things could be sketchy.  But, that's assuming that a typical warm up period will be starting, rather than tons of snow arriving well past its due date.  

post #3 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by TJM1209 View Post

I’m looking to burn some flyer miles  (UAL)  end of March and take my teen son skiing. 

Where might the best conditions be found at that time this year?  I know there’s no guarantees but what does your spidy sense tell you?    

 

I’m looking at Big Sky,  Banff, or Whistler.  I’m looking at these as flights with miles are easier to get than to Denver or Salt Lake City and they currently seem to have some of the better bases.  I also considered Mammoth but figured it would be an iffy drive there to Mammoth.  Bozeman looked good and back when I had a life I skied Bridger and Big Sky every year.  Never did the ridge.  The perils of life took over but then things changed and I got back in the game a few years ago.   Calgary and Vancouver were flexible as well so I’m a bit torn.  I’ve never been to the Canada sites. 

 

Things I’m wondering in order of importance,

#1, where might the best snow be at that time this year?    Siberia?

#2, Would the bottom of Whistler be just mush?  Would it be crowded?  Lots of posers?

#3, Is it a major pain to get out to the three Banff areas each day?

 

I got about a week to figure this out.  Meanwhile I’m visiting my daughter in Ft. Collins CO and will hit Eldora. 



1. Out of the mountains you listed, Whistler, with Banff not to far behind based on the snow they've gotten so far.

2. Hit or miss on the mush. When i went at a similar  time a few years ago, you couldn't move at the base. Mush almost up to mid-mountain. But i've also been told that Whistler can have some of the best spring conditions anywhere.

3. If you're staying in Calgary yes. About an hour to nearly a two hour drive to Norquay and Lake Louise respectively. Sunshine is in between. My advice would be to stay in Banff. Norqauy's only a 5-10 minute drive, Sunshine 20-25 and Lake Louise 45-55 minutes.

Plus Sunshine has the longest season in the rockies. open until mid-may. I've been to SSV as late as april 25th and the conditions were excellent.

 

post #4 of 11

Banff has a high alititude and their season last year went until May. March should provide some of the best skiing in the Rockies.  You likely won't end up with much mush because the base elevation is high and so are the peaks.

 

Don't stay in Calgary.  Fly into Calgary, drive into Banff and stay there.  Mt. Norquay is smaller but steep, and is literally a few minutes away, practically in town.  Sunshine Village is 5 minutes down the highway and there are shuttles running to the mountain all the time, so a car isn't needed to get to the slopes.  Lake Louise is excellent and HUGE, and is about 30 minutes or so further down the highway.  All 3 are accessible from Banff, and Banff is one of the prettiest places you'll ever come across.  Hit the Hot Springs while you're there, it's outstanding.

post #5 of 11

You will have great skiing in Whistler.  Bottom might be mush....but you dont ski the bottom, you ski the top.  You could even potentially have great Powder in March...or typcially clear sunshine.  Whistler in March is awesome.  Whistler ski season runs to May also.

post #6 of 11

^^^^^ and having mid winter conditions and fresh in April in the alpine isn't unusual. ^^^^^  

 

post #7 of 11


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

^^^^^ and having mid winter conditions and fresh in April in the alpine isn't unusual. ^^^^^  

 


In the last few years its even been common.  The weather is definatly changing.

 

post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the help.  I'm making it Banff.  trip report will follow

post #9 of 11

I don't know about Canada but we did Big Sky/Moonlight/Bridger last year at the end of March, beginning of April and had a range of stuff.  Some slushy stuff, some great soft stuff, and our last day 10 inches of gorgeous powder at Bridger.  :)  I think that was the weekend before they closed.  Conditions were fabulous.  

 

We're looking at the same time again this year but waiting to see how things play out.  Really enjoyed Montana!

post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 

Trip to Banff was great.  I'm certain at Sunshine they will be skiing into June.  See trip report at Trip Advisor

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g154911-i221-k5294589-Ffantastic_Banff_ski_trip_report-Banff_Banff_National_Park_Alberta.html

 

 

post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by TJM1209 View Post

Trip to Banff was great.  I'm certain at Sunshine they will be skiing into June.  See trip report at Trip Advisor

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g154911-i221-k5294589-Ffantastic_Banff_ski_trip_report-Banff_Banff_National_Park_Alberta.html

 

 


Glad you enjoyed your trip.  Sunshine could probably stay open until the end of June every year if they wanted, but they traditionally close on the holiday weekend near the end of May.  Even at that point they still typically have about 90% coverage. Most of the Alberta customer base has moved on to cycling, hiking and golf well before then, though.

 

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