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Whilster in mid-March and Banff in mid-April? Or reverse?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

I got a ton of FF miles and an MCP. So I'm tempted to hit Whistler, which I've not been to, for a few days.. say a long weekend in March? And then do the same at Banff (Sunshine/Lake Luise), which I've only done it once really late in the season (May/June). 

 

I can't combine them in one trip due to work restriction (besides I got miles so the flight will be free anyway). Either trip will be a long weekend kind of trip.

 

Question is which mountain will be better at which month? I'm guessing March will be prime season with good condition on either place. But mid-April could be a bit iffy in terms of snow condition? So which mountain will (statistically) be safer bet to hold off till April? Also, will Whistler be madly crowded in March? 

 

Also don't want to bump into any Canadian national holidays in either trip. I'm not aware there're any in mid-March or mid-April, right?   

post #2 of 19

In March you want to be aware of the timing of school Spring Break for BC and possibly different dates for Alberta.

 

I usually ski WB in April because at that time of year it is less crowded, there is a better chance for sunny weather (although I had 2 ankle deep to boot top pow days last April:D) and everything is on sale.

In April there is a week long spring snow festival which means extra partying, demo days and a bit of a young crowd that you might want to avoid...or not.

 

As for Banff, if you can avoid March Spring Break then it is only ever really crowded on weekends when Calgary skiers show up.

 

So my recommendation is Banff in March, WB in April.

post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 

When are spring breaks for Alberta and British Columbia? Are they the whole province-wide thing or more individual school district thing varying over a few weeks like in the US? 

post #4 of 19

Try Googling Vancouver school board and Calgary sb.

 

Might as well Google Toronto sb as well.

post #5 of 19

Understand also that school breaks south of the border in WA affect the crowds in Whistler.  It's quite easy to get from the Puget Sound region to WB in short order by loading the family in the car and heading north.  Our spring breaks happen around the last week of March and the first week of April.

post #6 of 19
Spring break in BC starts March 14 until the day after Easter Monday for most schools. The second of those weeks looks busier at the moment; that said it tends to be less crazy compared to MLK weekend and President's Week. Once the first hint of Spring is in the air, locals explore other leisure pursuits such as golfing and biking. Snow in March is usually still decent and plentiful.

If you're looking for accommodation deals, check out www.powderrangers.ca. Often way cheaper than online booking agents.
post #7 of 19
Also, Telus festival takes place in Whistler in April. Lots of live acts in outdoor arenas in the village. If you're into the scene, good time to visit. Snow is not reliable at that time though.
post #8 of 19

Whistler in March tends to be less busy than major U.S. resorts as they do not market to many of the major markets. But this year could be different with the exchange rate. Easter is a busier time for Whistler, this year it is early so last week March first week April will be busy. For me early to mid March is the best time in Whistler, longer days and usually still winter conditions.April is cool as well maybe the best spring skiing anywhere plus later in the month there is the World Ski and Snowbird Festival a big party. I don't know too much about the snow around Banff at that time.

post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cockalorum View Post
 

Whistler in March tends to be less busy than major U.S. resorts as they do not market to many of the major markets. But this year could be different with the exchange rate. Easter is a busier time for Whistler, this year it is early so last week March first week April will be busy. For me early to mid March is the best time in Whistler, longer days and usually still winter conditions.April is cool as well maybe the best spring skiing anywhere plus later in the month there is the World Ski and Snowbird Festival a big party. I don't know too much about the snow around Banff at that time.

 

Whistler gets the most visits out of all the North American resorts by a large margin. I would guess that if iit feels less busy, it is because it is much larger than the next biggest resort.

 

Is March really that quiet? If so, I want to visit!

post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by manchester81 View Post
 

 

Whistler gets the most visits out of all the North American resorts by a large margin. I would guess that if iit feels less busy, it is because it is much larger than the next biggest resort.

 

Is March really that quiet? If so, I want to visit!

 

April is when WB is least crowded (ski/snowboard festival excepted), least expensive (most stuff is 30-50% off), and the best chance of sunshine although snow and rain are still possible, so that is when I go to WB.

post #11 of 19

Yes, not super quite but not as busy as some other times especially the first week. The major U.S. markets that they market to are WA, CA and the New England we see less people from the south east. Whistler is so international that the busier weeks are international school holidays. February is busier than March. But this year with the weak CAD all bets are off we are already breaking records.

post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 

I'm not going Easter time. It's a bigger holiday in Canada than in the US. So I'm staying home for Easter. 

 

Early to mid-March is my "target zone" date. It's just making a choice between Whistler vs Banff. Then going to the "loser" in mid-April

post #13 of 19

both regions are good well into April and  have little traffic in April so I don't think it really matters for conditions.

But be aware April 17th is last day for Whistler (they close one side for lack of customers not snow)

then it's only Blackcomb, no Peak to Peak access. Sunshine and Louise should both be running past that date

post #14 of 19

Conditions in Banff are great in both March and April - those are our best months for now. I actually love April because there's tons of snow and it's much warmer. All of the terrain at Sunshine will be open. Louise will be best in March to early April - usually by the end of April, the base will be getting smaller - but then again, it really depends on the year. No matter the ski area, you'll have a great time in Banff in April. 

March break in AB will coincide with Easter - so in 2016 it is during the last week of March. But to be honest, both Sunshine and Louise are so big that, if you come mid-week during March break, you should be fine and have few lineups. We've skied every possible type of day/holiday etc at both places and, with a few crowd avoidance tips, its been great and never more than 5 mins in a lift line. If its a busy day, get to either place early. At Louise, park at the Skoki parking lot and ski down to the lodge from there. Go to the backside first thing in the morning to avoid the crowds, take the skiout back to Skoki parking at the end of the day. For Sunshine, get there early, take the Gondola up and get high up on either Lookout or Goat's eye. The crowds will thin out as soon as you get up. We also eat early lunch at 11, and do a break around 2 - and skiing between 11.30 and 2 is awesome and empty. 

post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by albertanskigirl View Post
 

Conditions in Banff are great in both March and April - those are our best months for now. I actually love April because there's tons of snow and it's much warmer. All of the terrain at Sunshine will be open. Louise will be best in March to early April - usually by the end of April, the base will be getting smaller - but then again, it really depends on the year. No matter the ski area, you'll have a great time in Banff in April. 

March break in AB will coincide with Easter - so in 2016 it is during the last week of March. But to be honest, both Sunshine and Louise are so big that, if you come mid-week during March break, you should be fine and have few lineups. We've skied every possible type of day/holiday etc at both places and, with a few crowd avoidance tips, its been great and never more than 5 mins in a lift line. If its a busy day, get to either place early. At Louise, park at the Skoki parking lot and ski down to the lodge from there. Go to the backside first thing in the morning to avoid the crowds, take the skiout back to Skoki parking at the end of the day. For Sunshine, get there early, take the Gondola up and get high up on either Lookout or Goat's eye. The crowds will thin out as soon as you get up. We also eat early lunch at 11, and do a break around 2 - and skiing between 11.30 and 2 is awesome and empty. 

 

How do you get to the Skoki parking lot at LL?

post #16 of 19

@DanoT You drive up the road from Highway 1 towards the resort, you pass the Bow Valley Pkwy on the right and you keep going, then before you get to the resort, you will see a sign on the right that says Skoki Lodge, and will have an arrow pointing up a small road. Go up the road and you will get to a lot. That lot is on the ski-out from Larch - if you make a left on the run, it will bring you down to the lodge. 

post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanoT View Post
 

 

How do you get to the Skoki parking lot at LL?

 

 

Also known as the Fish Creek trail head.

post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the information! 

 

Right now, I'm leaning towards Whistler in March and Banff in April. But won't be making a decision till next month. By then, I'll also have better idea what the season looks like.

post #19 of 19

If you care about snow than likely Banff for April, Whistler for March... the Rockies gets most of their snow in the later season it seems... cooler temperatures also on average... Whistler does get snow in April still but it could also be spring skiing. 

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