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Gathering II the Canadian Connection - Page 3

post #61 of 69
Another reason for having a gathering in BC?

From annanova.com .

post #62 of 69
Thread Starter 
WTFH...Just think of shrinkage in the middle of Feb. anf I think that you will change your mind..
post #63 of 69
I just read through pretty much this whole thing (it's raining). I don't know where things are currently at for decisions but I'll throw in my 2cents on the various areas being discussed.

W/B About 2 hours or more from the Vancouver Airport and pretty crappy driving at that. First crossing through pretty much the middle of the city and then the overcrowded and underdeveloped Sea to Sky highway. At least that's my take and it seems shared by the IOC. By far the most expensive resort of the ones being discussed. Also by far offering the most services and facilities.
Once you are there a car becomes unnecessary and even a headache. Huge amounts of terrain with lots of variety. Tendancy for lots of bad weather. Rain and fog are very common and really limit the skiable areas of the mountain(s). Getting around isn't that tough unless the fog is in play and then it can be a nightmare. The Ski Espirit program is a guided teaching type thing and I don't think it's really what this group is looking for. With a sizeable group I'm sure you could organize exclusive tours strictly guiding by the marketing people or through their free snow hostess programs (twinkies). When the weather is on there it's really tough to beat what it has to offer. When the weather is poor (often and can easily be for one or more weeks at a time) it can be tough but also offer some extreme powder opportunties. They seem somewhat accomodating of ski school options and approached right it shouldn't be a problem. Through the marketing department is going to be the way to go here I'd say. Very, very busy place especially on weekends.

Banff: 1.5 hours from the airport of pretty easy drive going the right way. Lots to do and lots of options for entertainment in Banff. Lots of lodging options of various price levels still allowing easy get togethers in town. Of the areas considered Banff offers the best bets for consistent weather/snow in my mind. Lake Louise can get pretty firm on the front and down low without new snow but Sunshine gets more and can be a better option then. Sunshine gets socked in quite a bit but Lake Louise offers lots of great skiing below tree line. Norquay offers great groomed fall line skiing from a mid to high intermediate level and up. Great teaching hill for these levels. Lake Louise driving yourself is 40-45 minutes bus is probably closer to 50, Sunshine 20 and then 15 minutes up the gondola to the actual skiing. The drive times vary suprisingly little with the weather and the roads are generally very good. (I always hop on the 1A for the last half of the Louise trip). Kicking Horse about 2 hours with daily bus service with a great lift and bus package price. Yes that drive can be very grim. The overseeing body booking and running a ski school for Lake Louise, Sunshine and Norquay can get touchy about other ski school type programs. Best bet would be to work through marketing at Ski Banff/ Lake Louise, probably with Bart Donnelly as the best contact.
Approach it as a group with far reaching influence in the ski world (very true). You wouldn't believe what they do for airline groups and when's the last time anyone asked their pilot or attendant where to go ski? Downside is the drive and upside is price and consistency. The mid Feb to March is a very good time generally but we are lousy with Brits then. Mid term break or something and they come in droves, can tighten up hotel and restaurant access. It might vary year to year and one week may be better than another. First week of March often offers a slight lull before things heat up for spring. Little to no threat of rain that time of year.

Red Mtn. Pretty much dismissed already. It's hard to get to. Best bet is flying into Spokane and then about 2.5 hours drive. Probably pretty limited shuttle service and if driving need to pay attention to border crossing access hours. Small town, smallish mountain older and limited services. Rippin' terrain and good intermediate terrain too but not tons of variety on that count. Lots of snow normally and when it snows it goes off. Can get rain and lots of fog too. Slow turnaround on lifts so teaching time is eaten up but if you're going hard the rest is good because of the terrain. Lots of history and very cool place but did I mention small.

Okanagon. Little mention has been made of Silver Star which is also 45minutes from Kelowna airport. Connecting flights into there won't be as easy as doing it for Calgary or Vancouver. I really like Silver Star and it offers great cruising and intermediate terrain and steep long pitches of bumps that can make anyone loose their lunch. Mountain is spread out a little funny so getting around takes some time. GREAT village at the bottom. Lots of private homes that go into a rental pool and can sleep from 4 - 12. A couple of hotels as well. Transfers from the airport to Lodging and you can order groceries on the internet and have them delivered and waiting when you walk in the door. A lot of the private rental lodging is ski out and walk in. Works for lunches even. Cafeteria is lacking for big groups so that's why I mention this. Lots of snow but lots of fog too. Can easily stay below tree line for the fog but even then it can be pretty thick. Can get rain and some heavy goopy snow. Now the same ownership as Big White so the possibility of doing a half and half split is very good. Don't know that much about Big White. I has an extensive village at the bottom but it didn't appeal to me much. More fog and more snow than Silver Star and apparently harder to stay below tree line when it's socked in. Ski School at Silver Star has in the past accomodated other operators to some degree. Don't know if that's change much with new management. Either village will be a little isolated and not tons of eating/drinking/entertainment options. Not like it'd be a month there though.

Fernie. About 3 hours from the airport and not sure about shuttle availability. Most of it is usually not too bad of a drive but the last hour can be pretty snotty. To me Fernie is either 'on' or 'off'. When on there's tons of snow and lots of good terrain especially alpine powder and steeps. When off the place can be horribly socked in and too wet to ski much at the bottom. The best terrain up top can be closed for visibility/avalanche for extended periods leaving some pretty limited terrain. There's lots of lodging on the hill now but the village there is pretty limited really. Nightlife and eating options are limited but not non existant. I believe the ski school can be pretty tight about who goes on the hill but might be approachable.

Sorry for the long post and as I say don't know where things are at but thought I'd add my views. I've spent quite a bit of time at all to these areas and know quite a few people at most.
post #64 of 69
Jeez yer a long winded sucker .....
post #65 of 69
Thread Starter 
Leeroy, you got that right that he is long winded. If it wasn't for the fact that what he had to say was worth listen to I would think that that he was just full of hot air. I think that I could listen to him go into the early morning with the right spirits. Thanks for the great overview of Rockie resorts. At the end of the day though we are still left with the same questions: where, when, for how long, and can we have an academy? Time for a poll? Right......FLAWED!!!
post #66 of 69
Arti , your right the right "SPIRITS" help . and he's right about Banff being a good destination , You never know what's going to show up around here , We spent all day yesterday in powder in the trees at Sunshine.
post #67 of 69
If the gathering is in Canada I just might make it. Early days yet but there is a chance I will visit Silver Star in late January 2004.

post #68 of 69
Originally posted by Leeroy:
Jeez yer a long winded sucker .....
Did I mention it was raining? The last two days skiing made it worth it though. All that rain was snow up high where it mattered. I don't know if being referred to as long winded by the likes of Leeroy is a compliment or an insult. I do know that I would never try to out wind the lad with spirits involved.

I do agree with Leeroy that Banff offers the best combo of price, terrain, consistency of snow and weather. What is not offered is on hill or close by lodging to the skiing. I suggest .....wait for it..... a poll to determine the importance of on hill accomodation to the participants. If on hill is important than Banff is out. Then maybe another poll on the significance of cost because W/B is going to cost a lot more than the Okanagon. Holding it before the middle of February offers advantages in smaller crowds and more of a keeness for the hills to accomodate various requests.

Hope that was brief enough Leeroy

[ April 27, 2003, 10:10 PM: Message edited by: L7 ]
post #69 of 69
Perfect , just perfect ......and yes I did catch the snow , Thurs. at Louise then the suicide drive back out Sat. at six am (had to be the worst drive this season) to Sunshine ......nobody there and knee deep on Tee-Pee Town.
Kind of shame that we get all this "powder" with nobody around ....except us of course.
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