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Snow tires important in Banff Last week of March?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Snow tires important in Banff Last week of March? We're doing a Banff and eastern BC adventure trip and planning on renting an economy car and going to Banff, Panorama, Big White, Silverstar, Mt Norquay, Revelstoke, Sun peaks, Calgary olympic park, maybe Whitefish. So we are gonna be driving over a thousands miles in 9 days. Anyone have a recommendation about driving the BC area in late march? Should I get snow tires on the rental car at $15 bucks a day. One monster snow storm and its probably all worth it to do so. What are the roads like in late march? I'm from New England so I'm used to snow driving in cars with snow tires or without. (we got the descente passport if anyone else wants to join us on this ultra cheap adventure.)
post #2 of 8

I frequently drive that highway west of Banff as my home resort is Lake Louise.  The weather can still be unpredictable at that time so I would recommend having winter tires.  About 20cm of snow fell in one day a couple of days a go in that area.  Driving conditions can get hairy with little warning.


I can't speak for Whitefish but I'm heading there in a few weeks myself for the first time.


I once drove to Boston from Ontario several years a go through a nor'easterner.  I survived however I swear it took years off my life but at least if I went off the road there wasn't a 800ft drop.


 I hope that helps!

post #3 of 8
FWIW, they just threw gravel on the road to my house for only the second time this winter, but where the road becomes asphalt, it's totally dry. We are getting more snow on the mountain tomorrow and Thursday, but the valley may get rain. So, ice is more likely than snow on the roadways. In general, this has been a snowier, but warmer winter, so by the end of March, the driving could be a non-issue.
post #4 of 8

March usually has clear pavement. Always make the drive to the next stop right after skiing. Its the warmest time of day, best chance of clear roads and you have most choices in digs on arrival. We take 4x4s with snows (rarely engage the 4x4 except in parking lots)  If its a Canadian rental the all seasons will be decent. $15 a day for snow tires sounds a bit like scam to me but you might appreciate having them if you hit a snow storm on the Rodgers Pass.


A different hill a day is very easy in B.C/Alberta but at least sub Sunshine for Calgary Olympic Park. You also can't miss Lake Louise and Kicking Horse. With Norquay Panorama, and Revelstoke you already have 6 so if you want more it's a choice of either down to Whitefish plus Fernie and Castle or head to the Okanogan hills . Even an optimist can't ski more than 9 in 9 days. Might cross paths    

post #5 of 8

I'm traveling to that area for the first time to ski Sat-Monday(solo).  If a local wants to show me to some of your finer pitches, please PM me.

Sat - KH

Sun - LL

Mon - SV

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys. Thats great info. Yea the only reason we are going ot olympic park is because we have a free pass and we can do it on or flight out day. We would like to to hit Lake Louise or Sunshine. Help me prioritize which resorts I HAVE to also go to while there. Revelstoke VS Banff, what would you recommend, any other ones you say I 'd HAVE to go to in my few free days? We have free tickets to: Panorama, Big White, Silverstar, Mt Norquay, Whitefish (might not go) Calgary Olympic Park BOGO free: Sun Peaks (might not go) So if you had those free tickets and 9 days, where would you go in your 3 or 4 free days
post #7 of 8

so sounds like you fly into Calgary - don't know from where or what terrain you like to ski but here goes my take on your freebies

1: best hills you have a free tickets for are Silver Star Whitefish and Panorama but all are in different areas 

2: if you just want to take advantage of the free lift tickets

 add Sun Peaks and Big White to Silver Star and drive to the Okanogan. Hit Panorama enroute

  all are good hills.

3: Norquay is a better choice than Olympic park for a half day. (more if you like bumps) Stay in Banff you can ski it, check out and hit the airport or ski it on arrival (also has night skiing)


but consider  the drive from Calgary to the Okanogan takes you directly past what I consider the 4 top ski hills in Canada beside Whistler and Blackcomb.

  #1 Kicking Horse #2 Lake Louise #3 Revelstoke #4 Sunshine. 


 Personally I would do the shorter drive ski the better hills and pay for lift tickets as needed.

 When would you be back to try them next and how much of the trip cost is extra tickets ?  

post #8 of 8

Honestly, the thawed and refrozen stuff is the nastiest driving conditions a winter traveler usually encounters.  You end up going from a nice, warn. 100% safe road day to deviously hidden sheets of slick, wet, glazed ice patches.  I sometimes avoid skiing after 3pm and try to get back down the mountains before it gets too cool when taking spring ski trips for that reason. 

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