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Recommendations for first time skiing in Canada. - Page 2

post #31 of 40
Originally Posted by DanoT View Post

The OP also stated that she is a beginner (green runs) not a intermediate (blue runs) so 3x as many blue runs on the upper Whistler mountain may not do her any good.


Town of Banff vs town of Whistler. As another poster mentioned, Banff is a real town, although downtown is, as it always has been, kinda touristy. Whistler otoh with 62k beds is not a town, it is a city with a skyline and has such fantastic shopping that you could call it a shopping mall that you can ski at.


No worries about the rain in downtown Whistler or on the slopes mate as they sell green garbage bags with their WB logo on them and arm and neck holes already cut.

A beginner who was listening to advanced skiers, likely why Kicking Horse and Lake Louise got mentioned to her as advanced skier destinations.  And typically reason folks go on ski trips is to advance from beginner to intermediate to expert.


Current Banff is about as "real" as current Whistler, both old towns rebulit for ski resorts.  Whistler did provide some things the original poster did ask about, lots of equipment rental choices and no need for long waits and long rides on shuttle buses.


Since SNOW is the main feature of Whistler weather in March per the stats vs. people's recovered memories, I wouldn't worry too much about it.  Typically hop in the Gondola and go above it on the off chance it's rain vs. snow. Same issues in Lake Louise, just less area to ski above the rain and then there's the two hours of waiting for buses in the rain, driving two hours in the rain every day...ugh.


March 1-2, 2013 Whistler 52 cm of SNOW, -5 C

March 1-2, 2013 Lake Louise, 23 cm of SNOW 0 C


The snow gods have spoken, colder, more snow...typical.

post #32 of 40
Originally Posted by Posaune View Post

It looks like we have one person who is adamantly for Whistler and everyone else is for Banff.  Many of the Banffites are from the Whistler vicinity, hmmm...  The same stuff is being said over and over.  Isn't it time for the OP to make a decision?


Of course, we can argue this for several years if we like, but I think I'll find something else to do.


Those for Banff are from WA, New England, Ontario, Tennessee, Milk Way, Australia and one from Sun Peaks which seems to contradict demographic assumptions above.


I would go more by what most skiers consistently report in large surveys.



post #33 of 40

Moving on until the OP checks in again makes sense.  Remember this the Beginner Zone so the debating might have scared her off by now.  Hopefully she's learned something useful in the mean time.

Originally Posted by Posaune View Post

It looks like we have one person who is adamantly for Whistler and everyone else is for Banff.  Many of the Banffites are from the Whistler vicinity, hmmm...  The same stuff is being said over and over.  Isn't it time for the OP to make a decision?


Of course, we can argue this for several years if we like, but I think I'll find something else to do.

post #34 of 40

I am a beginner and highly recommend Whistler since there are lots of nice green runs, such as the Upper and Lower Whiskey Jack and the Upper and Lower Olympic run, which are interesting but not too terrifying.  Further, for us beginners who have not built up enough of the right muscle strength, on the hill there are nice places to stop here and there when you are tired that you can just ski up to easily and get a coffee while you rest your legs and recharge.  It is very easy and convenient.  The chairlifts are much easier to get on and off of than the other hills I've been on, and they are slow to pick up and drop off so that getting on and off of the chairlift is not traumatizing, like at some other places (I have not skiid in Banff so can't compare to that).  There are easy green runs in the higher Alpine area, so you can still ski in the nice snow even when a beginner.  

Also, the Max4 ski program, you can take a one full day lesson so there is an instructor and no more than 4 students, which they match you up with so you are at similar levels, and the instructor tours you around the mountain and you all ski together all day while he or she gives pointers, which is a very nice thing for a beginner, kind of like having a little guardian angel hovering around to watch over you and make useful suggestions as you go along.  The price is actually extremely good for that level and quantity of time of instruction.

The bus is free all over the village, there are lots of places to pick up anything you forgot or get food, and it is all very convenient and easy, especially for someone not used to skiing.  


If you do go to Banff rather than Whistler, please put a review on here or SkiDiva referencing Banff for the Beginner, I'd love to get another beginners perspective of Banff as I have not been there and would be interested. :-)

post #35 of 40

whistler is great and you can visit vancouver for a day or two also, if you prefer a day off on your way back. (I live in vancouver)


also banff/lake louise are also fine choices; and it you choose this area then

 you MUST take a bus up the stunningly gorgeous Icefield Parkway

and check out Jasper too for a few days (do a google search under 'icefield parkway' or 'jasper' and click

 on images...you'll get the idea).  Marmot mtn is Jasper's ski resort; and Jasper is such an

awesome quaint mtn town, so unlike Banff...the 3.5 hr drive along the famed Icefield Parkway is rated repeatedly as one of THE

premiere mtn highways in the entire world....try to do it on a clear bright sunny day...'tis like seeing 12 switzerlands one

way and another 12 switzerlands the other as you return to Banff.  just stunning views with lots of "WOW!!" factor

...use it for a day off even.   


Imo going to Banff/Lake Louise without visiting Jasper and the vistas and 'animal jams'

that dot the Icefield parkway is doing oneself a great disservice.

Edited by canali - 3/2/13 at 4:20pm
post #36 of 40

This!! ^^^^

post #37 of 40

I've only been to Banff in summer and never to Whistler but I'm going to recommend Banff just on the basis of how much we enjoyed it there!

Stunningly beautiful!  Some great restaurants!  Lots to see and do, really enjoyable and varied!  This was a vacation where the husband picked destination and I was humoring him.  Wow, was I wrong!  I LOVED it!!!  I would go back in a heart beat!  If you go, definitely follow earlier advice and stop at Chateau at Lake Louise and get a window side table!

post #38 of 40

I live in the greater Vancouver area and have skied both Whistler/Blackcomb and Banff/Lake Louise ski areas. Because of proximity, I have skied Whistler many, many more times. But I took a spring break vacation years ago to Banff/Lake Louise and it was just for skiing - one of those one week, 5 day ski pass with accommodation deals that covered shuttle service to the three ski areas - every day you could go to any one of your choice: Lake Louise, Sunshine or Norquay. I remember one day, we took a rest and spent the day in Banff, but got to go night skiing at Norquay - so we didn't lose a day skiing to sight seeing and spending a day in the "village". There is no night skiing in Whistler. I find that downtown Banff is practically a reproduction of Whistler Village, but not as high end or nice. The shops and restaurants are way better in Whistler. In Banff, the shops are more touristy and the restaurants are just OK and expensive. But, as for the skiing, I loved Lake Louise and found it was just as exciting, challenging, huge and varied as Whistler, in a way - I was a beginner back then so I may see it differently now. It obviously isn't as big as WB, but it's still massive and big enough. Both places have a beautiful history and amazing natural beauty, and plenty of things to see and do apart from shopping and dining. You really can't go wrong - you will absolutely fall in love with both places, so it's a win-win. That being said, if you hate the loud party atmosphere and busy big city/commercial thing (I think it's kind of fun and love Whistler Village), Whistler is more like that and you may not like it as much. My impression of Banff/Lake Louise is that it's a much more calm, peaceful at one with nature type place (think yoga retreat and organic food). I've never been to Kicking Horse - but I have the impression it's pretty low key and a destination for skiing only - nothing much else. The closest town is Golden which is a small town - at least it was the last time I drove past it from Calgary to Vancouver. In other words, Kicking Horse is pretty much in a "one horse" town. duck.gifBut obviously, the skiing there must be spectacular. 

post #39 of 40

Note: recent posts about flooding in Banff were moved to the International Zone since this thread is in the Beginner Zone and the OP hasn't been back in a while.



post #40 of 40
Originally Posted by Eagles Pdx View Post


I wouldn't call Whistler a "resort like any other".  I've skied all over West and Inter-mountain following the kids ski racing from PCST juniors to NCAA and the kids (now adults) who have REALLY seen it all including Europe ski races and Revelstoke heli-skiing ALL love going back to Whistler.  Huge terrain (bigger than Lake Louise, Sunshine and Norquay combined) great international atmosphere, real village that you don't need a car or long bus ride (especially valuable for folks coming from overseas). 


Banff is another 400 miles and then having to take long bus rides (36 miles to Lake Louise) to go skiing, takes up a lot of time and money traveling and transporting vs. Whistler you can go "home" for lunch or to take a break.  Much more time on mountain.


Ozzies and Brits I've skied with at Whistler are able to ski day of arrival  and day of departure (8AM in Vancouver, settled into Whistler by noon for half day of skiing on arrival and full day of skiing on departure and catching the 11PM flight back to Sydney).


Banff is not what I'd recommend for first Canada trip. Too much schlepping around and less days skiing.  Banff would be best second choice if Whistler is out for some reason.


This outline helped me a lot just now.  Our local club has a couple of slots open in the Whistler/Blackcomb trip that coincides with my spring break for my sons (April 15th->20th).  Since it's with a group, the price is attractive and flights (now) are still reasonable (under $500 each) so we started looking more deeply into it.  One of my boy's has skied with me in Austria and a number of times in the Denver and Salt Lake City areas and I told him that our next trip may well be Banff but this deal is about 50% the cost of Banff (on our own) so I will call the coordinator in the morning to see what I need to do to get us into that group.  From the pics on the site it looks similar to Obertauern in Austria (above tree line and spread out).  We had a good time there so hopefully this will be similar.

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