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Lake Louise for Feb long weekend from DC? [Adv beginner]

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Hi, I am interested to know if it is worth to fly from DC to Lake Louise, Sunshine village for 4-day skiing next Feb. in President's week?  I plan to stay 5 nights/4 days.  I've been reading the thread for this discussion and I am not familiar with any of the ski places mentioned here.  I have limited vacation time and $$ is a factor also.  

There is an early bird sale with big ski 3 for $240 for 4 days skiing and I have been debating if I shall purchase it?  I am a adv. beginner (at best) and am interested to venture out of east coast skiing.  I've been skiing at Killington VT, Snowshoe, WV and PA ski places.  

 

Mod note: thread created from post in another thread about skiing in BC

post #2 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by fosphenytoin View Post
 

Hi, I am interested to know if it is worth to fly from DC to Lake Louise, Sunshine village for 4-day skiing next Feb. in President's week?  I plan to stay 5 nights/4 days.  I've been reading the thread for this discussion and I am not familiar with any of the ski places mentioned here.  I have limited vacation time and $$ is a factor also.  

There is an early bird sale with big ski 3 for $240 for 4 days skiing and I have been debating if I shall purchase it?  I am a adv. beginner (at best) and am interested to venture out of east coast skiing.  I've been skiing at Killington VT, Snowshoe, WV and PA ski places.  

 

If you are a beginner of any level then going west to ski is a waste of money imo because what the big western resorts have to offer is not really accessible or suitable for a beginner. You are better off spending money on lessons and postponing a western ski trip until you are a solid intermediate.

post #3 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by fosphenytoin View Post
 

Hi, I am interested to know if it is worth to fly from DC to Lake Louise, Sunshine village for 4-day skiing next Feb. in President's week?  I plan to stay 5 nights/4 days.  I've been reading the thread for this discussion and I am not familiar with any of the ski places mentioned here.  I have limited vacation time and $$ is a factor also.  

There is an early bird sale with big ski 3 for $240 for 4 days skiing and I have been debating if I shall purchase it?  I am a adv. beginner (at best) and am interested to venture out of east coast skiing.  I've been skiing at Killington VT, Snowshoe, WV and PA ski places.  

 

Mod note: thread created from post in another thread about skiing in BC

What is included in the $240?  I doubt that it's worth the travel cost for an adv. beginner who has mostly skied in the Mid-Atlantic.

 

What are you favorite trails at Snowshoe?  How many days did you ski last season?

post #4 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanoT View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by fosphenytoin View Post
 

Hi, I am interested to know if it is worth to fly from DC to Lake Louise, Sunshine village for 4-day skiing next Feb. in President's week?  I plan to stay 5 nights/4 days.  I've been reading the thread for this discussion and I am not familiar with any of the ski places mentioned here.  I have limited vacation time and $$ is a factor also.  

There is an early bird sale with big ski 3 for $240 for 4 days skiing and I have been debating if I shall purchase it?  I am a adv. beginner (at best) and am interested to venture out of east coast skiing.  I've been skiing at Killington VT, Snowshoe, WV and PA ski places.  

 

If you are a beginner of any level then going west to ski is a waste of money imo because what the big western resorts have to offer is not really accessible or suitable for a beginner. You are better off spending money on lessons and postponing a western ski trip until you are a solid intermediate.


While I agree that in the OP's situation, money would be better spent on lessons first, for a beginner who has the money and/or FF miles, going out west can be worth the travel cost.  Assuming someone is already completely hooked on skiing.  Especially someone who mostly skis on the very short trails in the Mid-Atlantic.  It's a lot easier to improve when spending more time on snow than on a lift, which is much easier to do at big mountains out west.

post #5 of 18

Banff is spectacular (and can be very cold in February).

 

Is it the very best place to go? Nowhere is the best. If it is a place you would like to go to, do it. Great skiing, neat vibe, incredible scenery.

 

If you have a DWI on your record, go somewhere else other than Canada.


Edited by Stranger - 8/10/15 at 10:10am
post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanoT View Post
 

If you are a beginner of any level then going west to ski is a waste of money imo because what the big western resorts have to offer is not really accessible or suitable for a beginner. You are better off spending money on lessons and postponing a western ski trip until you are a solid intermediate.

There is truth to this statement, but I heartily disagree. If a beginner is still having trouble making wedge turns, travelling West from the East coast is usually overkill. But by the time a beginner has visited the variety of resorts reported and has curiosity about Western resorts, new rules apply. There are many big mountain Western resorts that have beginner options that allow access to the "big mountain" experience. The likelihood of skiing in natural snow is greatly enhanced on a Western trip. A Western trip can help to transform a beginner into an intermediate in ways that most Eastern resorts can not. Would a trip to Jay Peak or Sunday River provide more bang for the buck? Sure. Would a trip to Lake Louise be more inspirational? Hands down.

 

It's easy to turn a beginner into an intermediate by widening the trails and softening the snow. On one trip to Sun Valley I even encountered moguls on a green run that had a ton of beginners on it and absolutely no carnage. My snowboarding skills took a quantum leap on a trip to Wolf Creek. In 4 days of riding I went from green trails at Whitetail to black runs at Wolf Creek. These kinds of experiences do not happen for everyone, but they are doable. Of course, there are also people who have traveled to Taos, taken one look at Al's run and sworn off skiing for good.

 

Lake Louise is stunning and should be absolutely doable for a beginner to get around a lot of the mountain. Sunshine will be a little more (cough) intimidating. If you've found a deal that fits your budget, I'd say go for it. At the worst it will provide motivation to get better to more fully enjoy the next trip.

post #7 of 18

I get where folks like @DanoT are coming from -- but I'm voting for totally worth the trip if it makes sense financially.

 

I don't know Lake Louise, but as someone who was a low intermediate skier the first time I came out west -- it was pretty mind blowing. Especially if you haven't spent time in the western mountain ranges prior. Runs are so long, scenery from the top of the hill is spectacular, snow conditions are better than 95% of days back east. (Except last season in New England -- weird winter.) I'd aim for a place (and I think Lake Louise is one of these) that is a full on vacation, not just skiing. You'll be done skiing by 3 or 4 (no night skiing out west) and if you're not too tuckered out, there's something about wandering around small cozy mountain towns covered in snow. Perhaps even after a few pints or glasses of wine if you're into such a thing. 

post #8 of 18

I haven't been.  However, if the price is right and the OP is looking for a fun and adventurous trip then why not.   Sure there is plenty of terrain for a novice to ski close to home, but sometimes we all like to get away and from what I hear Banf is beautiful.

post #9 of 18

My $0.02, Lake Louise doesn't have a lot of beginner friendly terrain.  You kind of get funneled into a few runs Wiwaxy I think is the main one.  Scenery?  Awesome..  Sunshine is a little spread out and it's hard to get a consistent long run there.  I hate to say this because the place is a bad word in Alberta, but Nakiska is a much more beginner/intermediate friendly place.  The snow is not great but they have snowmaking and great grooming.  And the Delta Kananaskis Lodge is a beauty and reasonably priced.  And it's empty.  Or maybe try the interior BC resorts like Big White.

post #10 of 18

if you have the time and desire I would do it. Beautiful  vacation.. Prices are low in winter, even cheaper with the recent  drop in Canadian dollar. Sure you won't be able to access a lot of the terrain but there is always an easier way down if you find something too challenging. Normally you get the three mountian pass which includes shuttles to the hills from your lodging or you can rent a car if you want a see more of the area at your own pace.

Do both Louise and Sunshine in the first days then ski your favorite afterward. The third hill Norquay is much more suited to ski on  a travel day or for a few runs on a rest day.

Banff is the better choice for variety in lodging meals and entertainment  Lake Louise village is pretty small and does not have a lot of options in evening. 

post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 


To: Marznc:  $240 Canadian, covers 3 different areas - sunshine village, LL and Norquoy + Shuttle buses to the 3 ski places - must book by Aug. 31st to get this deal.  I will not visit Norquoy because i heard it is full of "black diamond" runs and that will be beyond my ability. Yes I am hooked on skiing and winter is so short here in mid-atlantic.  Plus the trials are so short and I felt i only make marginal improvement when I ski at liberty / whitetail, not to mention the long lift lines.

 

To: Jmeb: I plan to spend 2 days each at Sunshine and LL.  I won't bother norquoy.... because of the reason above. 

 

To the rest of you all: 

So, one reason I choose LL/Banff is because of the transportation. I don't need to worry about driving at all if I ski there (I don't like driving in snow.) I will consider visiting ski places that require no driving (I only need to take buses). SLC was on my list (because requires no driving as I can take buses) but then I realize the cost, it is more $$ to w/ the Epic Ski pass then skiing in LL/Banff. Besides, Canadian $$ is much weaker than before, so it is actually a good deal. Also, the snow condition is better than the east coast.  
I see you guys point about being a beginner, not justified to spend all the efforts to a "hi-end/challenging" west coast ski resorts.  But the way I see this is (as many other things in life): when I took biostatistics in undergrad, i struggled w/ the core concepts.. then I did a masters program. In that program, we are required to take masters level biostat., I struggled also. But after taking 3 sem quarters of biostat at masters level, i looked at what I studied in undergrad. Those concepts that were challenging to me before, they no longer appeared to be difficult. My point is, I need to push to a higher level in order to progress. Otherwise, I will only move at a snail's pace (with Herculean effort) if I keep skiing in PA resorts like Liberty/Whitetail.  

 

Also, I hope my skiing will be improved by the time I make out to LL in Feb.  Because I will be going to Stowe VT for 1 week in early Dec. (got a good deal on time share), and then Sugarbush, VT for 1 week in Jan. (another good deal on time share).  So hopefully by Feb., I will be a beginner Intermediate.  I skied in Killington, VT the past season.  I managed fine with some of the blue runs, e.g. bear trax, Great Northern (was green before).   
 

post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by fosphenytoin View Post
 


To: Marznc:  $240 Canadian, covers 3 different areas - sunshine village, LL and Norquoy + Shuttle buses to the 3 ski places - must book by Aug. 31st to get this deal.  I will not visit Norquoy because i heard it is full of "black diamond" runs and that will be beyond my ability. Yes I am hooked on skiing and winter is so short here in mid-atlantic.  Plus the trials are so short and I felt i only make marginal improvement when I ski at liberty / whitetail, not to mention the long lift lines.

 

[snip]

 

Also, I hope my skiing will be improved by the time I make out to LL in Feb.  Because I will be going to Stowe VT for 1 week in early Dec. (got a good deal on time share), and then Sugarbush, VT for 1 week in Jan. (another good deal on time share).  So hopefully by Feb., I will be a beginner Intermediate.  I skied in Killington, VT the past season.  I managed fine with some of the blue runs, e.g. bear trax, Great Northern (was green before).   
 

So the package includes lodging and lift tickets for 5/nights and 4 days skiing?  How much is a flight from DC to the nearest airport?

 

Yeah, when you can only ski weekends, it's tough to get much mileage on green/blue trails in the Mid-Atlantic.  Do you ever ski at night?

 

Are you going to take lessons in VT?

post #13 of 18

Well, at the end of the day, if you're set on going to Lake Louise and Sunshine, I wouldn't really try to discourage you.  They are beautiful ski resorts and Banff is a great town.  Pray for good snow and enjoy!  :)

post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 

To Marznc: No i have not done night  skiing because the condition can be icy, no?  I skied in WI one time, it was icy during the day and close to 5 pm., it was like skiing on a ice rink!  I will go w/ my friends to VT for both trips, I will see what they will up for. I may take a lesson on the days they are not skiing.  I heard good things about Smuggs, so probably i will do lesson there when my friends are not joining me.  (I still have mental blocks on taking lessons.  I am a visual learner and hard for me to listen and not able to see how the body move/coordinate, esp. if the instructors are wearing layers of clothing. Difficult to see how their legs shift weights and "pump" the turns?  I feel like for almost every lessons I took, i get frustrated at the end of the lessons and instructors feel the same way about me - a stubborn student just don't get it.)  

post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by fosphenytoin View Post
 

To Marznc: No i have not done night  skiing because the condition can be icy, no?  I skied in WI one time, it was icy during the day and close to 5 pm., it was like skiing on a ice rink!  I will go w/ my friends to VT for both trips, I will see what they will up for. I may take a lesson on the days they are not skiing.  I heard good things about Smuggs, so probably i will do lesson there when my friends are not joining me.  (I still have mental blocks on taking lessons.  I am a visual learner and hard for me to listen and not able to see how the body move/coordinate, esp. if the instructors are wearing layers of clothing. Difficult to see how their legs shift weights and "pump" the turns?  I feel like for almost every lessons I took, i get frustrated at the end of the lessons and instructors feel the same way about me - a stubborn student just don't get it.)  


WI is not the same as the Mid-Atlantic.  Not to say there aren't icy nights, but the temps are quite different.  Besides, you said you wanted to improve, correct?  More mileage in assorted conditions, not just good conditions, will make a difference in the long run.

 

Have you checked out this thread about ideas about how an intermediate in the flatlands can improve?

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/137287/how-does-an-intermediate-adult-skier-in-the-flatlands-get-to-the-next-level-a-beginner-zone-thread

 

Note that driving from Stowe to Smuggs during the winter takes a bit more than an hour.  The Stowe ski school is very good.  Don't see much reason to go to Smuggs.  A bit more expensive at Stowe, but not worth the extra travel time if your friends aren't interested in checking out Smuggs.

post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by fosphenytoin View Post ...My point is, I need to push to a higher level in order to progress. Otherwise, I will only move at a snail's pace (with Herculean effort) if I keep skiing in PA resorts like Liberty/Whitetail....

 

First - by all means, go to Lake Louise (or anywhere out west). The mountains are amazing and I'm sure you'll have a great time.

 

But, as someone who skis Liberty and Whitetail, and did their first western trip last year, I disagree that going to Lake Louise is at all required for you to improve. Going to a bigger mountain with longer/more runs is not a magic bullet - you'll get better, and perhaps it will have a positive psychological effect. And it will give you more time on snow, but I don't think it will be much more than if you could sneak away for a couple of weekdays to Liberty or Whitetail and avoid the crowds.

 

Do read that thread that Marznc posted. You also might want to PM TheRusty or speak with someone in the Liberty or Whitetail ski schools and see if they might have an instructor recommendation for someone who fits your learning style.

post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 

To Dbostdeo:  Thx for your advice.  Yes, I read Marznc's post about plateau intermediate last night.  I agree w/ you 100% on the psy. effect. I have a fear of speed and that's one of the main reason why I am progressing very slow.  (however I love skiing).  This will be my 5th year (?) and I am still at Green.  Bit frustrated.  I did check into the Liberty wknd. program (starts every Jan.).  2 years go, I had to drop out after signing up the program because the group of students were mostly beginner blues and can do Heavenly Pete (at liberty).  At that time, I was struggling on dipsy doodles.  That's why I have been holding off on doing the ski programs there.  (I am in b/w levels and not sure where I fit in.)  I will email TheRusty and seek for some recommendation Thanks again and have a good day!

post #18 of 18

Go, the place is great and right now canadian $ is a bargain

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