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Skiing in Canada the first or second week in December? Any thing good there?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hi all. We are planning to exchange a timeshare we own for an early season ski trip. It would be the either the first second or third week of December. I know most resorts will have no where near 100% of terrain open but is there any place that usually has enough terrain open to keep us happy by then? We have never skied in Canada before.


One option we have is a two bedroom resort right near Whistler/Blackcomb. The dates would be Dec 04 2015 - Dec 11 2015. That is the only resort and date option for whistler showing up in our timeshare exchange website. I hear great things about Whistler but don't know how it would be that early?


The second week in December there is Northstar Mountain Village Resort in Kimberley, BC ski in ski out. The dates showing available for that are  Dec 07 2015 - Dec 14 2015 and Dec 11 2015 - Dec 18 2015


There are also some nice resorts showing up in out timeshare exchange in Fairmont Hot Springs, BC and Radium Hot Springs, BC but I have no idea what ski resorts are near by those locations.  They towns both have availability the first, second and third weeks in December.


Some other Canada town showing up in his exchange that I don't know if any ski resorts are around are:


Kelowna, BC

Osoyoos, BC

Canmore, AB

Banff, AB


Thanks all!

post #2 of 6

This is why timeshare exchanges are a bad deal. Whistler has an excellent early season track record and would be a fairly safe choice for third week of December, but there is no such thing as a safe advance booked choice for first week of December.


Kimberley is a small area with low snowfall, not a good choice.


Lake Louise and Sunshine are big areas (45 and 20 minutes from Banff, respectively) with relatively low snowfall but excellent preservation. This makes both of them better late than early season choices.  Both tend to open a lot of terrain early, but on thin 2+ foot bases, so lots of rocks.  Lake Louise has more snowmaking but Sunshine gets more natural snow. 


There are 3 areas (Big White, Silver Star and Apex) within an hour of Kelowna.  If you can get third week of December there, that's probably the best among the all questionable choices you listed.  Annual snowfall is in the 250 inch range, Big White getting the most of that group, but it's also a rockier mountain to cover adequately.


Osoyoos is about 2 hours south of Kelowna, farther from any skiing.  Canmore is 15 minutes farther from Louise/Sunshine than Banff.  Nonetheless 3rd week of December there is better than an earlier week at Banff.


Fairmont is about half an hour from Panorama, yet another low snowfall, good preservation area favoring late season, and 2 hours from anywhere else.  Radium is between Panorama and Sunshine/Lake Louise, a bit over an hour from either.


So here's the bottom line. 

1) You could try to get your exchange in January instead of December.  February/March would be better but I'm guessing you can't get those dates.  January post-holidays is still "low season" in many places, so worth a try.  On second thought, your best option is to try for Banff in April: very likely to be "low season" and usually great skiing at Sunshine and Lake Louise.


2) If you're dead set on December, do not lower your odds further by taking the first or second week instead of the third.  For that third week you should be choosing from the short list of best early season resorts I list here: http://bestsnow.net/fam_ski.htm  Most of these are not in Canada.  Some good options would be Salt Lake City for the Cottonwood Canyon areas, Bend for Mt. Bachelor and Steamboat.


This is not a "free trip."  You're paying airfare, lift tickets, other incidentals and burning vacation time for what could be very marginal skiing.  Don't throw good money after bad if you can't get an acceptable choice.

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the info Tony I will look for things you suggested around the third week of December

post #4 of 6

I'm guessing the timeshare is calendar year based, thus the constraint.   Seriously, I would let it go rather than commit to first week of December anywhere. Second week I'd let it go if I couldn't get Salt Lake (for Alta) or Grand Targhee.


In the future look to using it in April at one of the best spring areas I list in the same article http://bestsnow.net/fam_ski.htm .


April skiing is seriously underrated, so you should have an excellent chance of landing a nice timeshare exchange with these companies that won't let you do it in high season.


I have a better idea for this year.  Go somewhere tropical one of those first 2 weeks in December rather than shoot crap at a ski resort with questionable odds for having adequate snow. It's the dead zone of the travel business so I was able to score a high demand scuba liveaboard in Micronesia last Dec. 7-14 plus use cheap FF miles to get there.  I'm as addicted a skier as anyone, averaging 60+ days a season, but I didn't miss any worthwhile skiing going on that scuba trip last year.

Edited by Tony Crocker - 3/4/15 at 2:06pm
post #5 of 6

Tony, just wondering if you have any info on what the average base is DEC 1. For Alta or Grand Targhee. ???



I'd be pretty surprised if it was higher than Fidelity's 145cm average DEC 1.  (The parking lot of the pass average base dec1 is109cm). With November being the 3rd snowiest month, and colder than march/april too, Early december is usually really good in the interior. 





Not that this means anything to the OP. Cause rogers is not Big white . Sorry for the derailment. 

post #6 of 6
Quote = surfacehoar:
Tony, just wondering if you have any info on what the average base is DEC 1. For Alta or Grand Targhee. ???

I would have that info only on scraps of paper that would take some digging. The more relevant stat is that Targhee averages 70% open on Dec. 1 and Alta 60%.  Wolf Creek is the only other place in that ballpark. Most areas are in the range of 25% open Dec. 1.


Surfacehoar is correct that western Canadian snowfall is skewed more to the early season than Utah/Colorado.  But he's also correct that Mt. Fidelity gets nearly twice the snowfall of any of the lift served areas within range of the OP's timeshare options.

Edited by Tony Crocker - 3/4/15 at 9:11pm
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