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from vancouver bc: choosing 10-14 day ski trip in feb or march: lower kootenays/bc vs banff, norquay and jasper?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

from vancouver bc:

choosing 10 day ski trip in feb or march: lower kootenays/bc vs banff and jasper?

 

thinking of doing a 10-14***day ski trip taking in 2-4 or these resorts,

1/hit the lower kootenays feb or early march:

rossland, red mtn, whitewater then kimberly and fernie

****but could be 7-10 days too...i'm flexible

 

OR

 

2/fly from vancouver  to calgary and splitting same time up between banff, norquay, lake louise and jasper (my fav ski town thus far)

 

i'm an intermediate/advanced intermediate skier so won't be doing extreme double blacks...hope to explore some great powder

 skiing (getting more into it this yr w my new 'used' bent chetlers) as well as enjoying some quaint small town charm.

 

imput is appreciated.


Edited by canali - 10/30/12 at 4:43pm
post #2 of 19

often do this - in 10-14 days you can hit just about everywhere.  Check out the Louise plus card    before it's too late it might save you some money. If you have a car with good snows strongly recommend driving. You get a better chance to catch the best snow, do as many hills you want and can pack enough stuff for the trip. (you need a cooler for beer and munchies)  Once you do the initial 6 hr drive to Revy  all hills become less than 2 hours apart, easy travel distance after a day's skiing. Other than Banff and Jasper none of the interior towns are very interesting but they all have plenty of accommodation and food options. Winter rates are cheaper so you should be able to find a motel within your budget. Just time it so you do not arrive in Banff on a Friday night, we usually do Revy Kicking Horse stay another night in Golden followed by Lake Louise then drive to Banff/Sunshine to avoid it. For cheaper accommodation try the Hostels. Being solo you have a good chance of connecting with others doing the same thing and maybe help split some fuel costs. To add Red/ White Water is quite a bit more driving, Hwy 3 is slow but they are worth doing. Personally I prefer  coming back via Banff to Castle - Fernie - Whitefish and then the i-90 (11 hr )

with a break back to Vancouver. There are also some smaller US hills en route if your legs are still up to it. Lodging and gas is cheaper in the US..    
 

post #3 of 19

The further east you go the less snow you get so for powder the Kootenays win. Quaint small town charm - Rossland, Nelson, Kimberley and Fernie qualify. Banff not so quaint (tourists and T shirt shops) so Kootenays win again. Where ever you go if you have a choice avoid the peak holiday period in February.

post #4 of 19

true about the snow. Other than Whistler the most usually falls at Revy/Whitewater/Fernie. Whitefish is often good and Castle creates its own. But if snow is expected in the dry zone- Kicking Horse, Lake Louise, Sunshine Panorama go there it will be great.. 
 

post #5 of 19

I squeezed option 1 and 2 into a 14 day skifari many years ago.  I liked Red/Whitewater/Fernie far more than Banff/Lake Louise.

post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 

first my thanks for everyone who's replied...nice to hear that the lower kootenays have some charm in them cities

(nelson i know about but not so much the others, despite kimberly having their famous 'bavarian' festival)

 

noncrazycanuck

 

but  doing the whole circuit of both upper.lower kootenays and lake louise is a BIG circuit...it';s nice to relax too to

rest the legs and just walk around taking in the small town charm...i just don't want to rush from place to place: really wish to take it in

 

.....i might do a 2 day trip via a company called 'destination' for 320 in mid jan

http://www.destinationsnow.com/trips-more/...pretty good price for 2 nights...heck with the price of gas alone

i'ts worth it...

 

then will later do either the lower/southern kootenays circuit in feb as suggested. ie whitewater, red, fernie and kimberly

spending 2-3 days at one or more of them.


Edited by canali - 10/30/12 at 8:49pm
post #7 of 19
Reading what you want from your trip I would recommend heading to Jasper and Banff. You cannot get more laid back then Jasper in the winter but it can be cold. Also, I would recommend heading to Maligne canyon and hiking the Knob if you head that way and want to see some things. Plus, the highway between Banff and Jasper I would consider one of the most scenic in the country. It also goes by Moraine lake and the Columbia ice fields to tour around if you don't want to ski for a day or two. If you are in Vancouver and want to take a trip with destination snow I would recommend looking into the Pacific Ski Club or Inside Edge. Both ski clubs do the odd trip and have a club cabin in Whistler with low rental rates.
post #8 of 19

Based on what you've given us thus far, I'm going to assume that you are perfectly happy with a predominantly intermediate mountain as long as it has lots of snow/powder, that you want a place with a bit of apres action, and that you are not too concerned about prebooking for cheaper rates. That being the case, here are a few sample itineraries assuming 5 or 6 hours travel time with no skiing on the first day, and similar travel time or less on the final day (with the option of a half-day's ski).

 

Trip 1:  D1 Fly to Calgary drive to Fernie (option: drive to Pincer Creek/Castle ski Castle one day), Ski Fernie 2 days drive to Kimberley, Ski Kimberley 1 day drive to Golden, Ski Kicking Horse 1 day, Ski Lake Louise 1 day with morning start from Golden and after skiing drive to Jasper, Ski Marmot 2 days, Drive to Banff, Ski Sunshine & Louise 3 days, Ski Norquay for the morning of the final day, then drive to Calgary airport. This gives you 11 days with some skiing (12 with Castle option) and an option to add one more day somewhere along the trip. It also covers the best resorts in the Rockies and East Columbia region. Longest drive time is from Calgary airport to Fernie. Discount cards: RCR Fernie/KH/Kimberley, Lake Louise/Castle, Sunshine/Marmot

 

Trip 2: D1  Drive to Okanagan, Ski Apex or Baldy 1 and drive to Rossland, Ski Red 3 days drive to Nelson, Ski Whitewater 2 days, drive to Kimberley Ski Kimberley 2 days (1 day optional day trip to Fernie), Drive to Rossland or Nelson, Ski Whitewater or Red 1 day drive to Okanagan, Ski Apex or Baldy 1 day. Drive back to Vancouver on next day. 10 days skiing (11 with Fernie option) and an option to add one day somewhere along the trip. This itinerary includes two smaller hills (Apex and Baldy) that can have superb powder and few people (I've skied fresh lines all day at Baldy after a knee deep powder dump on a Thursday). Note that Highway 3 while scenic is not fast and unless you want to spend a full 8 hours or more driving you won't be able to make it to the Kootenay's in a single day (or return). Flights to Castlegar airport do not seem to be scheduled with skiers in mind (at least from Calgary) so driving is required.

 

Trip 3: D1 Drive to Sun Peaks, Ski Sun Peaks 3 days,drive to Revelstoke. Ski Revy 1 day, drive to Nelson/Rossland. Ski Red/White 5 days, drive to Big White. Ski Big White 3 days, drive to Vancouver. Sun Peaks and Big White are large intermediate mountains with lots of your preferred terrain and good snow. This circuit gives you 12 days of skiing and pretty good apres at the BW/SP mountain villages. Optionally you could go to Silverstar instead of Revelstoke and then take Highway 6 over into the Kootenays. You didn't mention the Okanagan/Shushwap but it lies athwart your path to Red/Whitewater and it does have a lot of good skiing at your level.

 

Obviously you can mix and match the itinerary in several different ways (Sun Peaks--Jasper--Banff--Golden--Revy--Vancouver as a driving route from Vancouver is yet another possibility) and with two weeks you can easily hit five or six hills and still enjoy the night life without too many killer driving days. You may want to keep several itineraries in mind, and just go where the conditions are best when February rolls around as well. Have fun.

post #9 of 19

If you're contemplating flying into Calgary to ski Banff and vicinity, you can drive a perfect circle route and hit, in order, Castle (fantastic snow usually), Fernie, Kimberly, Panorama (I haven't seen Pano mentioned yet, but it has one of the biggest verticals in North America), Kicking Horse, Banff.  From the Banff townsite it's a short commute to four ski areas (Lake Louise, Sunshine Village, Norquay, Nakiska).  Jasper's a bit of a hike from Banff, so if you decide to go up there, spend a couple of days to make it worthwhile.  The longest leg would be from the Calgary airport to Castle Mountain, which is about 250 km on good highways (less than 3 hours if you don't dawdle).  All the others are a relatively short drive from each other.
 

post #10 of 19

either way you go  will be a good trip but be sure to check your distances if your thinking flying to Calgary and driving from there

I would fly if staying in Banff area and maybe doing a day trip as far as Kicking Horse or Panorama. But Calgary -Castle and the loop back up to Banff is 15 hours of driving plus car rental flight time/cost. You can drive from Vancouver--Revy-Kicking Horse-Banff return, 5 hours total more. Red/Whitewater is further from Calgary than it is from Vancouver. From Vancouver getting there is about the same time as the drive to Banff, longer if you add side trips to any other area on the way. Whitefish is also pretty close to the same time from Vancouver as Banff is. Linking Vancouver-Banff-Castle-Whitefish is a big drive but doable if you have the time. Red/Whitewater is best as a separate trip.

post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by noncrazycanuck View Post

either way you go  will be a good trip but be sure to check your distances if your thinking flying to Calgary and driving from there

I would fly if staying in Banff area and maybe doing a day trip as far as Kicking Horse or Panorama. But Calgary -Castle and the loop back up to Banff is 15 hours of driving plus car rental flight time/cost. You can drive from Vancouver--Revy-Kicking Horse-Banff return, 5 hours total more. Red/Whitewater is further from Calgary than it is from Vancouver. From Vancouver getting there is about the same time as the drive to Banff, longer if you add side trips to any other area on the way. Whitefish is also pretty close to the same time from Vancouver as Banff is. Linking Vancouver-Banff-Castle-Whitefish is a big drive but doable if you have the time. Red/Whitewater is best as a separate trip.

 

Your times are a bit off.  It's about 10 1/2 hours one way from Vancouver to Banff with no detours, and it's only 11 hours total drive time to do the circle route between Calgary, Castle, Fernie, Kimberley, Panorama, Kicking Horse, Banff, and back to Calgary (that's 1.5 hrs between destinations on average).  Driving direct to Banff and back from Vancouver, without detouring to any other resorts, is about 21 hours of driving.

post #12 of 19

One thing to keep in mind is that Castle, Fernie, Lake Louise, Sunshine can all get real busy when weekend Calgary skiers show up.

 

Here is another suggestion which imo delivers the best scenery. Take the Coquihala Hwy. through Kamloops to Vernon and ski Silver Star, then Revelstoke (not recommended for timid intermediates but ok for advancing intermediates), then through Rogers Pass to Kicking Horse (same intermediate caveat), ski Lake Louise, then up the Columbia Icefields Hwy to Jasper and ski Marmot, then down the Yellowhead Hwy through Blue River to Sun Peaks, then back to Vancouver.

 

If it was me, regardless of the itinerary, I would go with less resorts and travelling, and more days skiing at each resort.

post #13 of 19

re: times

10.5 Vancouver to Banff is pretty close (if your taking your time) - Calgary Castle-Pano-KH-Louise and back to Calgary airport I would have though is closer to 15 than 11  (Sunshine to Castle is close to 5 hours C-Fernie aprox 2, F -Pano about 3 P-KH -2 KH-LL 1.25 LL-Banff/Sunshine 1) Regardless its a lot of driving. Unless you crave the variety not many do it. Personally I like taking a week-10 days and skiing a different area either every day or a few days at one area if the snow's good. I also find when if you add up the driving it is no worse than just as many single day trips to Whistler and back (for me that's about 3 hours of driving)  And bonus I get a holiday by telling my clients I'm taking off skiing and the signals won't work in the mountains.   
 

post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 

thanks for the helpful suggestions.....man is it tough to decide which 2-4 resorts to visit over 7-14 days.....ay vay.

 

while i love and adore those  schwarzeneggar like rockies around banff,  lake louise and jasper,

(let alone the jaw droppingly stunning drive of the icefield parkway between banff and jaspereek.gif)

there is something equally appealing about the quaintness of visiting the smaller resorts of

red, whitewater, kimberly and fernie too.

 

decisions, decisions....at least i have a few months to mull things over.

 

lastly, are there any good links to maps of ski resorts that one can kindly suggest showing those in both bc and alberta
as well as the many wonderful places in the good 'ole USA?  i'd like to explore the terrain

in colorado, utah, montana, washington state (etc) eventually too.

 

many thanks again for helpful suggestions (and for any others to come too)smile.gif

 

lastly one site i'd like to share called 'snowseekers' which has coupons and reviews of cdn resorts i just came across

http://www.snowseekers.ca/coupons

http://www.snowseekers.ca/

post #15 of 19

Well, if you like pictures, go to my Whitefish site, linked below as Local's Guide.  Interactive maps, click on the trail name to see pictures of the trail.

 

Vancouver to Whitefish, 11 hours.  Doable as a day of driving, but personally, I'd pick up Schweitzer on the way because I start maxing out my driving (if I'm the sole driver) around 6 to 7 hours.  With a partner, I could do 11, but I don't think it's the best idea for safety reasons.  

 

And if you go to our Resorts tab at the top of this page, you'll find that most of the write ups include trail maps.  

post #16 of 19
Thread Starter 

when i was at the van ski/snow boarder show and speaking with a gal at the red mtn booth

(it was her who put the bug in my ear for the lower kootenay hills of red, whitewater, kimberly and rossland

OR revelstoke/kicking horse and panorama)  she ALSO suggested an equally good trip would be

to dip into the USA, doing some resorts in idaho and looping back into washington

ie  schweitzer  and a few other mtns (she seemed equally interested in that alternate USA 'loop'

more and more actually as she thought about it...)

 

can't recall the resorts however (doh on my part) aside from schweitzer.

 

thank goodness for google and maps of ski resorts, too ...just thought about trying that one...and it worked as per a google search

 

http://maps.google.ca/maps?hl=en&biw=1092&bih=522&q=washington+and+idaho+map+of+ski+resorts&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&bpcl=37189454&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=X&ei=C1GVUOO_DOKrigKCz4DABw&ved=0CAgQ_AUoAg

post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by canali View Post

thanks for the helpful suggestions.....man is it tough to decide which 2-4 resorts to visit over 7-14 days.....ay vay.

 

lastly, are there any good links to maps of ski resorts that one can kindly suggest showing those in both bc and alberta
as well as the many wonderful places in the good 'ole USA?  i'd like to explore the terrain

in colorado, utah, montana, washington state (etc) eventually too.

Have you looked at the EpicSki Resorts section?  Most of the write ups include a trail map.  These days, all resorts have a trail map on their website.  For larger resorts, usually some sort of interactive one so that it's easy to spot all the runs of one type.

 

http://www.epicski.com/products/category/resorts

 

Sounds like quite an adventure.  Have fun!

post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by canali View Post

when i was at the van ski/snow boarder show and speaking with a gal at the red mtn booth

(it was her who put the bug in my ear for the lower kootenay hills of red, whitewater, kimberly and rossland

OR revelstoke/kicking horse and panorama)  she ALSO suggested an equally good trip would be

to dip into the USA, doing some resorts in idaho and looping back into washington

ie  schweitzer  and a few other mtns (she seemed equally interested in that alternate USA 'loop'

more and more actually as she thought about it...)

 

can't recall the resorts however (doh on my part) aside from schweitzer.

I fly Southwest as much as possible, partially because you get 2 free checked bags.  So starting at Spokane for a 1-week driving trip is on my bucket list.  Drive to Schweitzer, then Red, and back to Spokane.  Did you see that Red is expanding access to one of the mountains starting this season?

post #19 of 19
Thread Starter 

pls do also feel free to share your fav hotels, b&b, pubs etc at any of these towns

 whether it be the lower kootenays (rossland, nelson, kimberly, fernie)

or

the banff, lake loouise/sunshine and marmot areas

(still haven't decided which area).

 

many thanks

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