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Gathering II the Canadian Connection - Page 2

post #31 of 69
Originally posted by artimus:
[QB]WTFH: Please do explain the lower one. Is that something that should even be posted here at an unrated site? Remember my friend it is London Canada.[QB]
Artie, you may be in London, Canada, (I've made that mistake with you before! ), but it's all the same name! I mean, you guys have a Sydney as well. Can't you think of original names for your towns? [img]smile.gif[/img]

As for the lower photo, that was the final night of my trip to Whistler last season. A few of us had got the last lift up Blackcomb, and made some great turns all the way to the bottom, then we hit Merlins, and went upstairs to what we christened "The Sofa of Porn," with it's big soft seats and tacky zebra striped covering. When the photo was taken, it was around 7pm and I was still in my ski gear. Anyway, most of the rest had gone back to get changed - a few of us were going to Thai One On for dinner that evening, but I reckoned there was time for just one more drink. Then we decided that we should get a few photos. There are others, particularly ones featuring Emma and Martin. She is a fashion editor of a UK ski mag, and he was (in the 80s) one of the best ski racers the UK has produced.
That is all I'm prepared to say, except that it turned into a messy night.

post #32 of 69

You struck the exact nerve that I was thinking of. ..I was wondering if Big Mountain should be on the list, but wondered if it was a bit tame for some of the 'Better Bears'. Turner added in would sure take that arguement away, and it is still located close enough that anyone wanting to, could take in some of that 'foreign' powder just to the north. I think Big Mountain also gives our Canadian Bears a break on the cost of skiing there, and could probably be convinced to let the other 'International Bears' have those rates.

What do you think? A lot of us want to find a place that is unique, and still offer something to everyone willing to make the effort to attend. I think this one just might hold the 'Ace' that this discussion has been looking for. (I already checked the airline situation, and it seems that you can get there from most any direction you choose.)

Thanks for the 'spark'!!! [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #33 of 69
Originally posted by nolo:
I would not be in favor of Banff because the snow is so iffy. I have never been when the snow was good. But west of Banff there is a country called the Okanagan, which I think is native for "Big-a$$ SNOW."

That's an odd comment for a region that has successfully held every World Cup downhill scheduled for the 20+ years I've lived here. All most all of them in Nov and Dec. The comments about weather cycles and el Nino were right on. The Okanagon hasn't been great shakes this year either, nor Red or Nelson. Heli ski operators are having a rough time with good snow as well. We have a long season, pretty consistent snow, lots of snowmaking in the region for the lean periods and a lot of great weather. Sorry your visits haven't had the best timing.
post #34 of 69
You're probably right, L7. It was just a bit of bad timing. I apologize for mouthing off uninformed.

I will vote for any place with inspiring scenery, good snow, and a mountain that offers a lot of variety in terrain. Fast lifts, friendly people, clean cheap lodging, and good food are all big pluses.
post #35 of 69
Thread Starter 
So basically we have a list that consists of: Red, Banff, Whistler, and somewhere in the OK valley, right? The list that nolo provided I think covers it all. Note: I think that Rossland would have a problem with a fairly large group dropping in. Questions: Approx how many bears would show up? How long for a gathering?
post #36 of 69
Good question! This would depend upon whether or not the Academy and gathering are in the same place. At Fernie last year, we had about 17 for the gathering. But this year, for the academy/gathering combined, there must have been close to 40.
post #37 of 69
Sounds to me like this is headed toward Whistler. ...By concensus at least!!

It does seem to have all of the elements that have been brought up, and still some that we haven't commented on. The other major contender; Banff, might not fit the Gathering objective as well because skiing up there includes a 'given' that there will likely be a lot of traveling each day. I took it to heart when one of our more loyal bears made a comment about traveling out to Utah, only to have to ski by herself because she couldn't find which of the varied places the group was going to. Whistler solves that issue, and there shouldn't be anyone that can slander the skiing. I, for one would not mind going out there. If we could be guaranteed good cold weather, it would probably be a 'no debate' situation.

Now, Does this statement 'hold water'? [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #38 of 69
Its been a couple of years since I skiied Canada, but here are my comment from when I was there in 2000. I think no matter where you end up you need at least one local resident bear at the resort willing to do some planning.

Rossland is a small town, only 3600 population I think. Loved the feel of the town - very quiet and quaint, but could not buy a bottle of wine to go after 6:30pm Saturday night! Not many restaurents, most quaint and small. Even though there were only two of us, we were told we should have booked. So some advance meal planning would be required for every night assuming you wouldn't want to eat at the hotel every night.

We found the accomodation choices more limited than other resorts due to its size, so wed have to get in early to get a group deal. I'd say the only place that could handle us would be Uplander Hotel.It has two restaurents but not the best for large groups, they'd maybe use a function room somewhere. Rams Head Inn is closer to the mountain but more expensive. When I tried to book the Rams Head 6 months ahead we could not get a room, think they might have been booked for tour groups or something. There was talk of new resort being built so things might be a bit different now.

There are two parts to the ski area, Red Mountain and Granite. Spent most of our time on Granite, much larger. Luckily we met up with some kiwis who'd been there a few weeks and could show us around, trails were not well marked. I would not have enjoyed it near as much if I'd had to find my own way round. Once again, need to make sure we had some locals to follow.

Rossland is a bit difficult to get to, not somewhere you go for a couple of days. Whitewater is only an hour away for something different. Temperatures are a bit milder than Banff, making it a bit more pleasent.

3 ski resorts to choose from, plus KICKING HORSE is not far. Banff has lots of accomodation choices for all budgets, and plenty of restaurants, and close to Calagray airport. Both times I have been to Lake Louise, snow conditions were firm. Large area but still too many people about. Sunshine always had better snow, and with Goats Eye now has good terrain for all levels.

You have to stay in the resort village, is 40 minutes from nearest towm Kelowna, which has an airport. I did not stay on the mountain but appeared to be quite a few large resorts that could cater for groups. You'd be confined to one ski area, but it does have a lot of terrain, caters well for intermediates. Also a fun park for kids.

My choice? Someone I have not been before......
post #39 of 69
Artimus - I know a few people in Whistler... what did you want checked?

post #40 of 69
Thread Starter 
julie: Thanks for your honest report on your Canadian ski experience. You had hit on something that came to light to me a few days ago, but wasn't ready to admit, and that is Red is too small for our needs. There is next to nothing in beds. And a group that could EASILY hit 100 for ac/ga next year, we need to think REALLY big. NOTE: That is IF both events happen in Canada, else just a seperate gathering. I think that on that note alone we should remove Red from the list

feal: The twins are looking better by the moment. Beds, bars, restaurants, and runs galore. Quick shuttle or drive from VAN airport, and feet are all that you would need after that. Who do we know that is in Whistler or Van that skis there all the time?

What are the travel times from resort to resort in the Banff area? Having KH that close for an away day just is too tempting.....

ededted four speelin misstackes

[ February 22, 2003, 12:35 AM: Message edited by: artimus ]
post #41 of 69

Transit times to the Banff ski areas can vary quite a bit depending on weather. Also, if you use the ski shuttles, you have to factor in making the stops around town to pick up other skiers. From what I remember, the best times would be:

Norquay - 10 minutes
Sunshine Village - 20 minutes
Lake Louise - 50 minutes
Kicking Horse - 2+ hours
Panorama - ~3 hours
Nakiska - ~45 minutes

The big problem with a day trip to Kicking Horse is the fact that you have to cross over the pass between Lake Louise and Golden. It isn't particularly high, but is well known in that part of Canada as the deadliest stretch of road in the country. There is a lot of truck traffic on that road and it can be pretty scary doing the 'Big Trucks', 'Icy Roads', and 'Failing Light' thing after a day of skiing. A couple of years ago, we wound up driving all the way around through Radium Hot Springs after a day of snowmobiling in a heavy snowstorm. The guides we had with us said they wouldn't chance the pass in such conditions at night, so we drove about 4 hours in heavy snow the long way around. It sure made us wonder if it was worth it!!!!

The whole place up there is wonderful, but I have to question if it really is the BEST place for the Gathering. [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #42 of 69
Thread Starter 
feal: The $64,000 question is what is the best? For the most part the snow issue really is a crap shoot. I think that key items are transportation options, ammenities, terrain and vert. These are the fixed variables that should be focused on. What do you think would be best time frame?
post #43 of 69
The time should be centered around the needs of the ski industry professionals that honor this group with their presence. I like the lull between Presidents day and the first week of March, mainly because it usually has a better chance of fresh snow; but the time it was held this year is fine. I would never suggest it be moved one minute, if it kept one ski industry pro from attending.

Going to a gathering with a group of 'ski notables' has a very different tone from just a 'rowdy' bunch getting together.

I sincerely hope everyone who was able to attend this year will be able to make it a yearly event. Something like this on a yearly basis is sure to draw attention, once folks find out it's more than just a one time shot in the dark.

Now,........ where will it be??????????? [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #44 of 69
Thread Starter 
We still need some sort of conclusion on the other thread. It would be unfair and selfish to try to set something in stone here before the other "main" gathering/academy finalizes its desicion. As to where I favor the Banff area and Whistler due to logistical ease. I agree that sometime in Feb. has the best promise or snow.

disski: I think that we would be looking for instructors, and locals that have the mountians wired.
post #45 of 69
My Whistler instructor grew up there - like that?

Or my other instructor friends who work there?

Or the physios?

Tell me what you want them asked & I will send email...
post #46 of 69
Thread Starter 
disski: I've heard that the twins are so large that it can be alittle overwhelming for the first-timer. The local angle would be desired to help shrink the mountian. Instructors on deck for the possiblity of the academy being held there.
post #47 of 69

Sorry for the bold, but if you look at the Academy thread in the technique section, both Snomore and Oboe have said that its very very very very imporatnt that nobody except the academy organizing commitee, Nolo, Weems, BobB, Tom Burch, approach a resort. Not to go into details, Solitude did a last minute bail out because of a totally inocuos statement.
So approaching a mountain such as W/B, that already has a pretty established ski school, needs to be done with some decorem.

Note, I can't figure out what emoticoms to use to make this post sound less bitchy. [img]smile.gif[/img] But having done just a bit of work with the planning comitee, I realize that mountains are a bit touchy about the academy idea.

AT Utah, the possibility of Whistler was mentioned by academy commitee, so I'm sure that they are looking into it.

Artimus, I went to Whistler after about the 4th time I ever skied. There is really something for everyone.
post #48 of 69
Thread Starter 
LM: Point taken on the academy issue. (I don't think that you came across as bitchy ). I think that that point I was trying to make was instructors(Bears) at W/B that would like to participate. As far as the local knowledge, I've heard that W/B is so large that you could spend WEEKS there just figuring the place out, instead of hitting the terrain that appeals to the skier the most. One tip that I know is to treating the mountians like a three tier wedding cake, but as to where the good runs and snow are...not a clue. Plus the hope is that locals that know that we are coming will share some of those private stashes that are to be found.
post #49 of 69
For the first academy, one of the main qualifications for an instructor to be able to either coach, or be an assitant coach, was that tthey were a registered, consistant particpant on Epicski. That is what distinguishes the academy from simply going to a ski workshop. The forum members had the opportunity to get a sense of what the coaches weren like though their epicski posts.

But I just thought of a PLAN B. We still have not made any decisions as to where the actual academy will be. AS I've said, most of us want the academy and gathering to be at either the same place, or cloe enough to travel too.
But if the needs of the groups turn out to be different, we need to accept that.

When I went to Whistler, their were some British tour groups, that had arranged a group rate for Ski Espirit. It is also possible at Whistler to request a specific instructor to teach your group.
If Disski knows some instructors at W/B, perhaps they can teach some of the groups, and reccomend some instructors for others. Keep in mind, I doubt that the group will be made up exclusively of epicski particpants, but that should not be a problem.

The Ski Espirit is probably the best way for new comers to the mountain to get to know which trails are best, and more importantly, at what time of the day.
You can make some really bad mistakes, believe me.....
post #50 of 69
Originally posted by Lisamarie:
...some British tour groups, that had arranged a group rate for Ski Espirit...
I've also managed special rates with Extremely Canadian.

As for mountian size and not meeting people, I've been there with a group of 100+ and we would all ski the same mountain, so one day Whistler, the next Blackcomb, etc. We would arrange to meet for lunch, but would also meet up on runs occassionally. It may be bigger than most, but it's still a small resort.

post #51 of 69
Cool! That's another option, in case it ends up that the academy is at a different place. Artimus, W/B has many large bowls,with a cattrack that goes around them.People of varying levels can more or less ski together, without getting TOO lost from each other, although it has been known to happen! [img]smile.gif[/img]

[ February 25, 2003, 07:24 AM: Message edited by: Lisamarie ]
post #52 of 69
Thread Starter 
WTFH: You've got some great ideas. The thought of trying to keep every one on one mountian is a good idea. The thought of hiring Extremly Canadian is an excellent idea. Groups according to level could hook-up with one of the pros and see the resort for what it really has to offer.
post #53 of 69
I have sent an email to everyone who has asked to be put on the 2004 Academy Distribution List. If you think you are on the list, and did not get that email, or if you'd like to be added to the list, please email me at dwightcramer@msn.com or PM here on the website, and I'll add your address.

Yes, I know this is the Canada connection thread and not the Academy thread. I'm just trying tocover the waterfront. Here's the text of what went out.

Greetings to everyone!

This is going to be real brief. I'm sending it for two reasons.

First, it's a test of the 2004 EpicSki Academy Distribution List. I've spent most of February collecting names, have put the new list together, and am now testing it and posting a notice in the various academy/gathering threads.

Second, I want to thank all of the participants for their outstanding feedback in response to the survey that we distributed several weeks ago. With only one extension, we received responses for over 90% of the participants. Those responses will be invaluable in setting the course for next year.

That's it. I plan to send out occasional (monthly?) updates concerning the 2004 EpicSki Academy for the foreseeable future, but for the time being have nothing to report.

Dwight Cramer
post #54 of 69
I've got Ralph Forsyth's email address in front of me. He's the boss of Extremely Canadian. If necessary,I can supply this to whoever would be making contact.

post #55 of 69
Thread Starter 
sno'more: Spread the word!!

Foxie: Just hold on to it for now and we'll see if we need it down the road. From your POV was it a good experience?? Did they take you into thier 'secret' spots? Who did you ski with?
post #56 of 69
Thread Starter 
post #57 of 69
Sorry for not replying yesterday:
Yes and no.
When I did the 2 days with them, the conditions were terrible. In fact they were so bad, we got an extra 1/2 day free. We didn't do lots of extra stuff in my group, but what we did do we did at speed and enjoyed it. One of my friends did the same one last year, and skied a lot of stuff that most visitors wouldn't.
It was well worthwhile. I'll probably go with them again next year, if I make it to Whistler.

post #58 of 69
Hi people , this should be nailed down soon if it's going to happen . Accomodations are getting to be a year in advance at some areas now plus it gives everybody a good chance to plan a better trip. Most here know I would be more than happy to line something up at Fernie , I have a real good contact for on hill accomodations that includes a bar/resturant . (Incidently the conditions are epic at Fernie right now)
Another great location to gather would be Big White , great terrain and snow with tons of lodging to choose from plus an airport 45 min. shuttle ride away. Night life is great and there are a large number of good eateries plus supplies available in the village. There is also a heli-shuttle available to hop over to Silver Star for a price.
Banff would work well and give the option of a few different areas plus a ton of nightlife and things to see and do , there are places that would be able to accomodate the whole group if we have it worked out early enough and a big plus about Banff is the transportation is excellent.
Kicking Horse is ok but could be a problem if the roads get bad , you could be stuck waiting for them to open and accomodations and eateries can be limited.
Whistler , well it would be easier to say what isn't offered
but can be expensive.
As for conditions ......well right now they are awsome everywhere around here but a six weeks ago they were a bit on the rough side , so you never know what is going to happen .
Personally I would narrow it down to
1-Banff for convenience
2-Fernie for better chance of powder
3-Big White for a awsome group location

I don't think we can plan this based on what we want for snow but more what area works best for a group and then start praying for a dump , which some of you witnessed last year can happen at any time.
Anyway it's time to pack and head for Castle ....it's mid-thigh deep and still dumping 3-4 inchs an hour!!!!!!!!!
post #59 of 69
Thread Starter 
Hopefully things overseas will be over soon and THEN we can start some real planning......
post #60 of 69
I just posted a longish critique of 3 Oka. B.C. resorts (Big White, Silver Star, Sun Peaks) over here:B.C. Ski area thread

What I forgot to add to that note was that there is one more resort, Apex, within driving distance of Kelowna. It's smaller, and seems to have more expert runs.

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