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Question -- Trip to BC looking for family friendly spot

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Hi All,  Heading back out west at the beginning of March for a 10 day trip.  My last three days will be at Sun Peaks as the whole family enjoys it there.  We have a wide disparity of skill in the family.  We range from everything and anything to easy does it.  

 

So the question is:  What resort within a reasonable drive from Sun Peaks would fit the bill?  (Maybe 5 hours or so)

 

Unfortunately there are some exclusions.  Have done Silver Star and Whistler a ton so something new is on the menu.  Revy is out for lack of variety at the low end. 

 

Considerations so far are Big White,  Apex and Kicking Horse.  

 

Big White I know fits the bill and Kelowna is close enough for days that Wife may not ski.

 

I have not been to Apex or Kicking Horse.  

 

Not stuck on any of these, I am sure there are a bunch that have not been considered.  

 

Opinions greatly appreciated. Thanks.

post #2 of 15

Paging @DanoT , the EpicSki Ambassador for Sun Peaks.

post #3 of 15

Revelstoke might work if the "easy does it" can ski easy groomed black diamond runs like Sun Peaks' Spillway, Broadway or Sting. Revelstoke has some very long runs as well and way, way less variety for intermediates. Their Ripper chair has 2 intermediate runs plus the lower half of the lift line, but it requires being able to ski a usually smooth but exposed easier black diamond off the Stoke Chair to get to the Ripper Chair. Then a ski-skate and skis-on walk along a cat track to get back to the rest of the resort.

 

Kicking Horse's only intermediate runs are on a lower mountain chair that may not have very good conditions in March. I have had the only intermediate in a family tell me that she hated Kicking Horse but her husband and 2 boys loved it.

 

Big White's nickname is Big Whiteout. When it is foggy there even if the resort is not too busy it gets really crowded at the Gem Lake Chair because it is the only chair that has runs with trees on the sides of the run. Thus I don't recommend it

 

Apex would work and is very uncrowded, about 4 hours drive.

 

Lake Louise is about 5-6 hours drive but it means driving through Rogers Pass and thus subject to road closures due to avy control so you could get stuck for the day in Revy or Golden waiting for the road to open. This is not likely but possible. Banff/Lake Louise is worth it just for the mountain scenery if that appeals to you or your family but the place will be over run with Calgarians if you are there during Alberta Spring Break. LL has outstanding terrain variety and once in the Banff area skiing at Sunshine Village is also a possibility.

post #4 of 15

poor reading-missed you had been to Silver Star a bunch


Edited by Maineac - 11/6/15 at 2:33pm
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks, thats good info.  

 

We will be pushing up against the Alberta spring break and for that reason we are staying away from the Calgary spots.  

 

Good to know about Kicking Horse.  It is a mountain that is definitely on my to do list,  but might be a mid season trip sans family.

 

Nice call on Revy,  but my wife strongly dislikes the resort, which is funny because it was my home for almost 3 years.  I also get there every second year.  Plus when I say easy does it.  She would be content to roll along meandering greens all day long.  

 

Looking more and more like Apex if we stay interior.

 

The other option is always to head back to Whistler,  no shortage of terrain for everyone.  

post #6 of 15

Big White (biggest, most family friendly / diverse terrain, most snow in the Okanagan, more vulnerable to crazy fog and wind, but Black Forest is often sheltered)  March is usually awesome...

Silver Star (just did 150 acres of tree glading, so plenty of new terrain to explore)

Apex (Apex I wouldn't go with family friendly, the beginner terrain is short and that lift is very slow... Apex's best terrain off the high speed quad is advanced terrain)

 

Your gambling on the coast this year since everyone is sounding alarm bells with El Nino, but so far it's been snowing on Whistler)

post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kulharin View Post
 

Big White (biggest, most family friendly / diverse terrain, most snow in the Okanagan, more vulnerable to crazy fog and wind, but Black Forest is often sheltered)  March is usually awesome...

Silver Star (just did 150 acres of tree glading, so plenty of new terrain to explore)

Apex (Apex I wouldn't go with family friendly, the beginner terrain is short and that lift is very slow... Apex's best terrain off the high speed quad is advanced terrain)

 

Your gambling on the coast this year since everyone is sounding alarm bells with El Nino, but so far it's been snowing on Whistler)

I agree with the gamble on the coast this year, however we have to get out to Kelowna for a family event anyways.  If I am paying the airfare to get out there have to do some skiing as well.  

 

Thanks for the advice on Apex.  Also cool to hear about silver star adding more skiable terrain.  

 

I have a feeling some of my decisions will be made by weather anyways as time gets closer. 

post #8 of 15

Waldo,

 

If you are flying in to Kelowna and the weather is sunny, then Big White would work and continuing  south from Big White along Hwy 33 will eventually take you to Rossland's Red Mtn., and Whitewater, just over an hour from Rossland. Red has fantastic tree skiing, Whitewater does as well and gets tons of snow. Both offer good family skiing and good variety although Whitewater is kinda small but worth checking out as is the nearby funky town of Nelson, populated by hippies young and old.

 

If those three areas work for you then you might want to skip Sun Peaks, however if you do make it to SP, look me up at Elevation Ski and Bike Shop in the lower level of the Sun Peaks Grand hotel and if I have returned from my truck camper ski tour of the USA by early March, then I might be able to show you some places at SP that you may not have yet discovered.

post #9 of 15

I second the mention of LL and Sunshine.  I took my family there first week of April last season (Easter break) and the kids are still talking about both.  Especially Sunshine.  Very diverse, and well served by its lift system.

post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by kitchener View Post
 

I second the mention of LL and Sunshine.  I took my family there first week of April last season (Easter break) and the kids are still talking about both.  Especially Sunshine.  Very diverse, and well served by its lift system.

 

IMO March and April are the best times of the year to ski the Banff resorts because there is a far less chance of running into the brutal cold that can sometimes happen in the Alberta Rockies in Dec, Jan, or Feb and it can stay cold there for weeks. LL (possibly SSV as well) sells a Spring Pass starting in March that IIRC costs the equivalent of 4 or 5 day tickets. There is a mid week version and an every day of the week version.

post #11 of 15
I wish Sun Peaks was a late season mountain. I have yet to try it and have always liked what I've read, especially all the ski in/ski out lodging. But my 15 yo is getting too old to pull out of school so I am a slave to Easter Break when taking the kids.
post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by kitchener View Post

I wish Sun Peaks was a late season mountain. I have yet to try it and have always liked what I've read, especially all the ski in/ski out lodging. But my 15 yo is getting too old to pull out of school so I am a slave to Easter Break when taking the kids.

Easter is March 27 this coming year, so Sun Peaks will be open but a long way to travel to from the east for just a long weekend.

 

Sun Peaks is a good choice for the Xmas Holidays as it is not crowded and does not get lift lines of more than 10 minutes very often. While some of the lower mountain steep runs might be closed at Xmas the rest of the mountain will have well over 100 runs open and in good condition due to an extensive summer grooming program and some snow making.

 

While it is expensive to fly from the USA to Canada, once in Canada a US dollar is worth over $1.30CDN, so everything is on sale.

post #13 of 15
They get a week for Easter, but is Sun Peaks reliable that late?
post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by kitchener View Post

They get a week for Easter, but is Sun Peaks reliable that late?

 

All of the resorts in the BC Interior usually close in early April due to lack of people, not lack of snow. Once Easter Monday has come and gone you will have the mountain to yourselves and the Sun Peaks village will feel like a ghost town.  At this point they sometimes close the Burfield Chair because hardly anyone is riding it.

 

That said by late March the south facing runs under the lower Burfield Chair: Challenger, Freddy's Nightmare, Burfield lift line, Expo, and Roller Coaster could be closed or be open but have poor quality snow. Most of the rest of the mountain should be fine. The height of the snow pack usually occurs in mid March but I have also seen cold snowy weather in April with the height of the snow pack coming in late April after the mountain closes.

 

One thing to keep in mind is that because of the decades of summer grooming at SP, their reported base depth can be 30-50cm less than other resorts and still have better coverage than their competition because there is so much less brush to cover.

post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 

DanoT,

 

I would love to do Red and Whitewater,  Red is amazing, one of my favorites.  I have always wanted to ski Whitewater but have never had the opportunity, heard great things about the mountain.  But we would have to end up in Sun Peaks and it is just too far to get back.

 

The reason we would be in Sun Peaks to end the trip is to meet up with a group of people that we rarely get to see.  They are already committed, and if I was in the region at the same time and did not make the effort I would be a giant ass.  

 

Will definitely let you know what we decide,  if Sun Peaks is one of the destinations will look you up for sure.  Always looking to get some info from the people that know the mountain best.

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