I had a great Canadian ski trip to Apex, Big White, Silver Star and Sun Peaks over Easter. Not only did we not have crowds, we had most runs to ourselves. Pictures below and a few random thoughts:
- Hard to choose the best ski area of the group because they were all good. All had good grooming and lots of advanced terrain. Not a ton of expert stuff but each had a handful, except Sun Peaks. Each area is a lot bigger than you might think with only a handful of lifts but tons of runs.
- Great natural beauty. Lots of lakes, good views (best views from Silver Star)
- Good snow but some closures. We got a powder day and lots of warmer clear conditions. Lower parts of mountains were completely void of snow. Percent open:
- Apex 100%
- BW 80% (gem lake closed)
- SS 70% (lots closed in Powder Gulch)
- SP 80% (lower Burfield closed but lift open)
- Roads were high quality except the ski area access roads which were narrow, steep and curvy, more so than nearly everywhere I’ve skied (I’ve skied at over 100 ski areas) Some were worse than others.
Day 1: Apex There were probably under 100 people skiing the whole mountain. Lots of fresh powder left over from days before although it was sometime very crunchy underneath. North facing and high elevation kept the snow fresh. Some runs took a lot of traversing to get to and get back to the lift but they were generally worth it.
Day 2: Big White It was 5" powder day and a Saturday which made it the busiest day but we still never waited in a line more than 2 minutes. The "Cliff" chair was closed but the skiing in this area was good expert stuff (took 2 lifts to ski) The Falcon chair also had some good expert stuff. There were a lot more runs than the trail map indicated with the high alpine stuff being great.
Day 3: Silver Star The combination of sun and lower elevation resulted in a lot more slush and lots of bare spots but overall the skiing was very good. There is some decent skiing on the front side, but all the good stuff is in Powder Gulch, but half of PG was closed. A lot of what was open, was still untracked from the day before despite being a holiday weekend.
Day 4: Sun Peaks Snow was a big issue at the base with just a few narrow ways down. That said, the upper mountain snow was as good as anywhere. I really liked the new Gil glade area. Be warned that Gil has two traverse exits, the 2nd of which requires 20 minutes of uphill hiking (A warning on the trail map would have been nice but the run was worth it) A few runs also required walking over dirt which is fine with me but again, a sign at the top would have been nice. Despite these minor issues, Sun Peaks was well run and was likely my favorite place of the trip. It was a bit bigger, SP also kept everything open despite there being only 100 people on the entire mountain. (even the t-bar was open, which we were the only people skiing while there)