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Banff - Biggest snowstorm in 40 years! - Page 2

post #31 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by awegrzyn View Post

Would it still be possible to go on April 26-30th? 

Which out of those resorts there would be best?


There will still be close to six more weeks of good skiing at SSV before they traditionally shut down on the holiday weekend near the end of May.
post #32 of 52

I just got back from 10 days at Lake Louise and the coverage and skiing was great. 2 days we got 13 to 15 cm (15cm=6in) and 3 days we got 2 to 6cm (some snow and rain mix). The Paradise Bowl was, well, paradise. I stumbled upon Rodney's Ridge last Thurs and there was untracked powder from the previous Tues night snowfall. So when it snowed again on Thurs night, Rodney's was boot top with small soft moguls and steep terrain.

 

I bought the $400 Spring Season pass which included a $25 credit for food and retain purchases and goes from March 1 to May 6. I will be buying the spring pass again next year if LL has even close to this year's snowfall.

post #33 of 52

Just came back.  Lake Louise is the most beautiful place I have been to.   I'm afraid there is nothing better in terms of views. 

 

I was so lucky, because it was a blue bird day all Saturday.  GoPro recorded everything so pretty I'm going to create a stunning movie out of it.

 

The only thing was missing was powder snow.  Will have to come back during winter. 

 

P.S.  I was also at Sunshine Village on Thursday, but it rained a bit and I could not see much.  Will come back for D. Dive in the winter.

post #34 of 52

I had forgotten how scenic Banff/Lake Louise really is. Not just the Lake and Temple Mountain but the backside mountain views from Larch, Ptarmigan and Paradise areas, the drive up the Icefields Parkway (said by some to be the most scenic mountain highway in the world), and the drive between Banff and Lake Louise isn't exactly chopped liver either. I guess Banff National Park is world renowned for good reason.
 

post #35 of 52

Here are the pictures:

 

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post #36 of 52

More pics:

 

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Pic editing lost some of the quality (click on the picture for better quality), but one can see why Lake Louise is probably the nicest ski area ever.

post #37 of 52

Thanks for sharing photos.  That area is on my bucket list. 

It would be interesting to know how western Canada did with skier visits this winter since it had consistently superior snow conditions over the rest of North America.

post #38 of 52

As far as skier visits to western Canada, I heard that Revelstoke was up slightly to just under 100k (loosing $) and Sun Peaks down slightly to just over 300k. According to the SP marketing dept. "Sun Peaks pays its way" which means probably not much profit but no need for $ injection from the parent company, Nippon Cable.

 

Any increase in skier visits from the US probably went mostly to Whistler/Blackcomb who usually get over 2 million skier visits. Most ski resorts in Canada get about 10% US visitors, Sun Peaks gets about 15% of its skiers from the US, due to its proximity to Seattle, but with great snow in the PNW this year there would be no increase to western Canada skier visits from the PNW this year.
 

post #39 of 52
Quote:

It would be interesting to know how western Canada did with skier visits this winter since it had consistently superior snow conditions over the rest of North America.

 

Coming back from Calgary, at US Customs they asked me how come I did not ski at Mt. Bachelor as it is still open.  Next year I will be hitting West Cost USA more :)

On a serious note I did not see any stats, but everyone I spoke to was not from USA. 

 

Side note, Lake Louise resort has the potential to become the best ski resort ever, but it would require some work.  I will go back one more time to take 360 panoramic pictures.

post #40 of 52

Lake Louise is stunning.  How would it need some work, it what ways?  On site accommodations?  Keep in mind, it's located inside a National Park, there are restrictions as to what can be done, developed, etc.

 

DanoT, do you have any links to skier visits, and some of the other info you mention?  I'd be very interested in reading some of that stuff if it's publicly available.  I'd really like to see how some resorts out there stack up.

post #41 of 52
Quote:

Lake Louise is stunning.  How would it need some work, it what ways?  On site accommodations?

I'm not going to list all the ideas as one day I would like to have my own resort, but for a start LL needs a lift from the backside to the top (Mt. Whitehorn).  Just like the Peak chair on Whistler.  Right now, once you get down from the backside, you have to ski on the green in order to get to a chair (slow) that will take you to the top. Once at the top you have to come down to the Platter lift and use that to get back to where you start it.  Totally unacceptable. 

 

Please note I was there in April/May, so I'm not sure what the snow looks like in the winter.  In case they have good powder snow there is no stopping them from making a resort number 1 in the world. 

 

Btw, Mark, thanks a lot man.


Edited by awegrzyn - 5/1/12 at 9:17pm
post #42 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanoT View Post

 I guess Banff National Park is world renowned for good reason.
 

 

But sadly it seems it gets no respect anymore since the advent of the tarted up, party resorts like Whistler/Blackcomb (which I stopped wasting my time at years ago because of the fog, rain, and crappy snow).

 

I was on a chair with a couple of vacation skiers last Saturday at Sunshine who told me it was their first time to Banff and they had no idea that the weather and snow was so much better here than at WB.  They told me Banff would be their first choice for spring skiing in the future.

post #43 of 52

Ya, I've talked to many people who have done WB and LL and they all say the same thing: LL is superb.  Truly special, though not quite perfect (nod to awegrzyn) wink.gif

post #44 of 52

Lake Louise's biggest negative is that it is prone to stretches of no snow. The winter that I spent there, they were 2 weeks into a -20 to -30C deep freeze when I arrived. The cold snap lasted 4 more weeks and then snowed 3 feet in 2 days, then a Chinook Wind came in from Texas and it was room temperature outside in mid Feb.

 

The other negative is that being located in a National Park means limited real estate development and limited amenities This might be good for some, but no on hill accommodation means no ski-in, ski-out. Lots of problems for nearby accommodation for staff and locals.

post #45 of 52

A 'perfect' ski resort that has unanimous acclaim is just about unattainable as we all look for different things. From my standpoint LL is as close as it gets. Had 10 days skiing there in early April and was blown away by everything. Simply the most stunnung mountains, great skiing for all levels, well organised, friendly, the list goes on. I don't even find the lack of slopeside accommodation a problem. Me and my wife stayed at the Lake Louise Inn. The bus picked us up from reception onto at worst a half full bus then dropped us right outside the lodge. I figure it's less walking than most areas with slopeside lodging. Surely undertaking an energetic sport we're not so idle and lazy that we can't carry our skis just a few steps. If not maybe it's time to take up knitting (no disrespect to knitters) I wouldn't change a thing except the length of holidays and the snow season!

post #46 of 52

I like Lake Louise quite a bit myself, but this year's record snowfall of 293 inches so far (in a year when numerous well known places were hurting) presents a distorted view. Average annual mid-mountain snowfall is 162 inches.   So low snow years are to be avoided and you have to be very lucky to get much powder.  March/April is usually the best time to get maximum snowpack and since it's a cold area it can be uncomfortable mid-winter but is often comfortable but not too warm in early spring.

 

What's good:

Everyone mentions the scenery and there's no argument there. A strong contender for #1 in North America.

It's a big area at 4,200 acres with diverse terrain.

Lake Louise gets about 500K skier visits per season, which is about half of any other mountain that big in North America.  So lots of elbow room. 

 

I would oppose increasing lift capacity to the upper mountain much.  I've never had to wait much for that platter.  With the modest snowfall I would not want to put much more skier traffic on the steep terrain.

 

Obviously as the numbers geek that 162 inch snow average stands out to me like a sore thumb.  But my personal experience in 5 different seasons has been quite good.   The cold weather, high latitude and low skier density go a long way toward snow preservation.  And unlike most of the interior B.C. places that get more snow, it does not rain at Lake Louise.

 

 

Quote:
Most ski resorts in Canada get about 10% US visitors

That's what I read too.  It doesn't make much sense to me, especially in a year like this one; I'm up there essentially every season since 1997.

post #47 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post

I like Lake Louise quite a bit myself, but this year's record snowfall of 293 inches so far (in a year when numerous well known places were hurting) presents a distorted view. Average annual mid-mountain snowfall is 162 inches.   So low snow years are to be avoided and you have to be very lucky to get much powder.  March/April is usually the best time to get maximum snowpack and since it's a cold area it can be uncomfortable mid-winter but is often comfortable but not too warm in early spring.

 

Very true... and that's the reason I generally avoid Lake Louise (I ski it maybe 3 or 4 times per decade).  Many of us call it Rock Louise or Lake Lousy, and I got fed up with $100 repair bills to my skis every time I went there, so I stopped going.  This year's excellent conditions were an exception, so I made the effort to get there once.

 

Re: Canadian ski resorts only getting 10% U.S. visitors.  I find that low number very strange as well, but I chalk it up to Americans not knowing anything about Canada and not caring less.  I estimate that, in Banff at least, we get four to five times as many skiers coming over from Europe (particularly the U.K.) as we get from stateside.

post #48 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by exracer View Post

 

Very true... and that's the reason I generally avoid Lake Louise (I ski it maybe 3 or 4 times per decade).  Many of us call it Rock Louise or Lake Lousy, and I got fed up with $100 repair bills to my skis every time I went there, so I stopped going.  This year's excellent conditions were an exception, so I made the effort to get there once.

 

Re: Canadian ski resorts only getting 10% U.S. visitors.  I find that low number very strange as well, but I chalk it up to Americans not knowing anything about Canada and not caring less.  I estimate that, in Banff at least, we get four to five times as many skiers coming over from Europe (particularly the U.K.) as we get from stateside.

Another reason US skiers don't ski much in Canada is that with the CDN $ at par with the US $, it is more expensive in Canada for food, lodging, and travel and there can be a lot of travelling to get to Canadian resorts . Lift tickets are about the same. Also imo, with the exception of Whistler, most major US resort offer more of what the skiing public is looking for i.e. restaurants, shopping, bars, non ski activities.

 

What most US skiers don't know is that most of the B.C. interior is very uncrowded even at Xmas and especially MLK weekend and Presidents week. Keep in mind the US has 10 times the population of Canada, so for me as a Canadian, the biggest adjustment for skiing in the US is getting comfortable with having people all around me when going down a run.

post #49 of 52

Lake Louise is one of my favorite places to ski. I always have a decent day there even when the snow is spotty - ski the backside. Front side is pretty lame even on a good day and tends to be horribly icy on many others. Some of the most memorable runs I've ever had have been on the Whitehorn chutes and I love looking at the peaks we climb in the summer. Many of my ski buddies are not big fans because of the traditional low snow pack. But we still never miss it while in the area. In Canada the area is a must see.

But major development isn't likely to happen, even when Calgary hosted the Olympics in 88 they were unable to get approval from Parks Canada to expand the facilities to use of the ski area for the Alpine events and relocated same to lesser hills. There has been talk of improved lifts for years including up Mt Richardson but there is just as much opposition to increased traffic in the Park in general.  

post #50 of 52

awegrzyn, did you finish that movie edit yet?  Would love to see it!

post #51 of 52
Quote:
Another reason US skiers don't ski much in Canada is that with the CDN $ at par with the US $, it is more expensive in Canada for food, lodging, and travel and there can be a lot of travelling to get to Canadian resorts . Lift tickets are about the same. Also imo, with the exception of Whistler, most major US resort offer more of what the skiing public is looking for i.e. restaurants, shopping, bars, non ski activities.

Even at par I think Whistler is the only place in Canada that I would define as expensive by U.S. ski resort standards.  Interior B.C. is still quite reasonable, though not the screaming bargain it was when I first started going up there in the late 1990's.  Where the exchange rate hurts the most is for cat and heliskiing.  In the late 1990's a week in Canada including 2-3 days of cat was less than a week at a typical U.S. destination.  Those days are sadly gone, but for me it's still worth doing every year.  It was a delight to spend the second half of January in interior B.C. in 2012, especially considering what most U.S. skiing was like at the time.

post #52 of 52

Probably the best deal for cross-border skiing to Canada is Banff.  The reason is that tourist visits are 5-times higher in the summer (winter is considered low season), so hotel prices are lowest during the winter.  It's a perfect scenario for skiers.
 

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