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Banff - When Do They Get Snow?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

I was thinking of visiting a friend there in November or December. Seems way too early for snow. Probably just a fun visit without skiing but thought I'd ask anyways. 

post #2 of 13

Sunshine usually opens around November 15.  Norquay not that early.  Sunshine is one of the earlier resorts to open provided it actually snows.  It's cold early on.  I'd say you have almost 100% chance of skiing, not saying how much will be open though..  :-)

post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Are we talking like Mammoth in December last year level of skiing? More? Less? I somehow survived 4 days in those very limited conditions.
post #4 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by NonstopSki View Post

Are we talking like Mammoth in December last year level of skiing? More? Less? I somehow survived 4 days in those very limited conditions.

 

Some years yes, some no.

 

There is a great probability that the steeper runs will be closed.

 

Lake Louise has snow making but I'm guessing that most of it will be focused on the FIS DH course at that time of year and/or just a few runs covered.

 

I would suggest: Bring your ski boots and then rent skis and get damage insurance for a few bucks extra. They call the mountains The Rockies for a reason. If the conditions are so sketchy that they are not renting skis then that tells you all you need to know about whether to go skiing or to go for a drive up the very scenic Columbia Icefields Parkway. If you've never done this drive and you love looking at lots and lots of big rocky rugged mountains then prepare to have your mind blown. Keep your eyes on the road long enough so you don't run into any mountain sheep.

post #5 of 13

DanoT has it right.  Snowfall at these areas is modest and it's low water content, so coverage comes slowly, especially on steeper terrain.  I've been compiling "percent of terrain open" stats for early season for a decade or so, and both Lake Louise and Sunshine do better than one might expect.  This is the coldest major destination ski region of the West, so any snow that falls isn't going anywhere for awhile.  BUT these areas are liberal about opening terrain on thin snowpack, and locals make remarks about using a lot of P-Tex.  So perhaps DanoT's suggestion

Quote:
rent skis and get damage insurance for a few bucks extra

is a good one. 

 

I should also mention that even a mild El Nino is negative for these areas, and they don't have a lot of margin for below average snowfall.

post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
Great insight! Thanks guys.
post #7 of 13
post #8 of 13

Ranchlands Alberta today..

 

https://twitter.com/weathernetwork/status/507227252191289344/photo/1

 

By the way..this is more stoke than anything..still early days, no idea what the snow conditions will be in December!!  But woot woot!!  Snow!!  :D

post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 

Stoke is still fun though :D

post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Im getting into town next Friday but need to lay my bags somewhere and wait until my friend gets off work (I'm staying with him). I was planning on just going to a bar, but I dont know if any bar is going to love the idea of me bringing in skis, boots and my big bag into the bar.

Any bright ideas on where I can lay low (or where my bags can lay low) for a bit?
post #11 of 13

In the winter

post #12 of 13

Downtown? Most bars will be pretty empty until 4 or so, and I am sure they won't mind you stashing your gear somewhere while you have a pint. I really like Beer Revolution on 8th street and 11 ave southwest. Great selection of craft beers, and friendly staff. Pretty good pizza. Management is pretty relaxed. I doubt they would care about bags and gear in the afternoon. Might want to give them a ring if you plan on staying there in the early evening. Perhaps they can make some accommodation. Really, its not that much stuff. I go there with gear from MEC all time.

 

http://cal.beerrevolution.ca/

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NonstopSki View Post

Im getting into town next Friday but need to lay my bags somewhere and wait until my friend gets off work (I'm staying with him). I was planning on just going to a bar, but I dont know if any bar is going to love the idea of me bringing in skis, boots and my big bag into the bar.

Any bright ideas on where I can lay low (or where my bags can lay low) for a bit?
post #13 of 13

i'm sure any bar would be fine with it. Even one in NY city in August was although I am sure they thought I was a nut job. .

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