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Big 3 ski area -- Sunshine, Lake Louise, Norquay - Page 2

post #31 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by albertanskigirl View Post
 

You'll have fun @RC1090nc - you got great deals and it'll be unlike anywhere you've skied before! Enjoy!!! Post your travel dates, or PM if you want a ski buddy. You'll have local connections, but just in case...

I'm not dead set on the dates yet but thinking of flying up on Jan 27th (Fri) and skiing Sat, Sun, Mon, Tues, Wed then coming home on Thurs.  My cousin from the Wetaskiwin area will be coming at least for the weekend, he's been to Banff several times so luckily I've have a guide at least for a couple days! 

 

& I found out my grandparents honeymooned at Lake Louise back in the 40's! My grandmother grew up in Alberta. Looking forward to visiting again!

post #32 of 46

Alberta was a tough place in the 40's.  She must have been a heckuva woman.  :)Thumbs Up

post #33 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by RC1090nc View Post
 

 

Thanks for sharing your experience! Alot of good info! I'm counting down the days now for sure!! Did you go to Norquay at all? I probably won't devote a day there but I plan to go night skiing for sure.

 The only thing I have left really to decide is renting a car or not. Does anyone know how often the free shuttles run? I don't want to end up waiting around or having to rush if they're infrequent but I'd also rather not have to deal with driving! From Banff, what's the approximate driving time to the 3 different resorts?

 

Norquay is nowhere near on the same scale as SSV/LL.  Runs are narrow, steep, fast, and mogul-y.  Nice old school vibe at the chalet but you'll ski the whole place in less than a day no problem. Definitely not a "resort" style place.  I did it so I could say I went there, but I wouldn't travel out West to go to Norquay.  It's essentially the locals' hill.  Or go night tubing at Norquay instead!  That would be fun.

 

Approx Drive times: LL: 45 min, SSV: 15 min, Norquay: 5 min

 

Shuttles run every 40 minutes I think.

 

You don't need a car if you stay in Banff.  Shuttles to ski hills, busses around town (if needed). 

post #34 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunnerbob View Post

Norquay is nowhere near on the same scale as SSV/LL.  Runs are narrow, steep, fast, and mogul-y.  Nice old school vibe at the chalet but you'll ski the whole place in less than a day no problem. Definitely not a "resort" style place.  I did it so I could say I went there, but I wouldn't travel out West to go to Norquay.  It's essentially the locals' hill.  Or go night tubing at Norquay instead!  That would be fun.

Approx Drive times: LL: 45 min, SSV: 15 min, Norquay: 5 min

Shuttles run every 40 minutes I think.

You don't need a car if you stay in Banff.  Shuttles to ski hills, busses around town (if needed). 
Thanks for the info on the shuttles. If they run that frequent I probably won't mess with a car then and just use them since they're included in my lift ticket. As for Norquay, yeah I think I'll just use that for some night skiing since it doesn't appear SS or LL has night skiing and Norquay is included with my lift ticket.
post #35 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by RC1090nc View Post
 

 

Thanks for sharing your experience! Alot of good info! I'm counting down the days now for sure!! Did you go to Norquay at all? I probably won't devote a day there but I plan to go night skiing for sure.

 The only thing I have left really to decide is renting a car or not. Does anyone know how often the free shuttles run? I don't want to end up waiting around or having to rush if they're infrequent but I'd also rather not have to deal with driving! From Banff, what's the approximate driving time to the 3 different resorts?


No,I did not ski at Norquay because it is more "challenging" than LL.  I know with my level, I won't be able to handle Norquay.  Plus I only had 2 days in Banff, I opted for LL and SSV.  

When its getting closer to your trip, google "Brewster Ski Shuttle Banff" (link is provided below, the schedule is not yet posted. I just checked).  The ski shuttles run fairly frequent in the morning and afternoon hours, less frequent in mid days.  

 

 

https://www.skibig3.com/ski-shuttle/

 

If you do opt for shuttle:

1) there are 3 diff ski shuttles go to 3 different mtns. (Norquay, LL, and SSV).  Make sure you get on the right bus!  

2)  Because the transportation time between the 3 mtn., you probably won't be able to hit 2 diff mtn in 1 day.

3) there are multiple buses (routes) going to the same destination.  On the first day that I finished skiing in SSV, I missed the bus that I supposed to take.  Instead of waiting for half an hour, the bus attendant said I could hop on another bus, but I just had to walk few more blocks.  So I did.  I admit, it was a bit of a pain to carry my skis and walked on my boots for several blocks, but it was fine, kinda fun to stroll along the Banff ave. while carrying skis on my back...  

 

On a side note, SSV does not have snow making, it relies on natural snow.  But it does use "snow farming" technique to get snow.  They do it by setting up nets to "catch" snow and then redistribute it... per my tour guide..  

post #36 of 46

A couple points for clarification:

 

1) Norquay isn't more challenging than the other resorts. It tends to be icier, but apart from the North American chair, it is an intermediate focused resort. I learned to ski there and literally had my first dozen days on skis there. It should be fine. But it isn't overly exciting unless you want high speed cruisers or bumps on the North American Chair. I would skip it and spend another day at your LL or Sunshine.

Also note that night skiing is extremely limited. It is also cold in Alberta at night. I would ski hard during the day and skip the night stuff.

 

2) Sunshine does make some snow in lower areas and high traffic areas. The ski out really benefits from this. Their 100% natural snow claim is out of date, but snowmaking is pretty limited.

 

I agree with the previous poster. Don't change resorts mid day. You'll kill your day in transit. The buses don't run between resorts anyway.

 

The popular opinion states that Lake Louise has better terrain than Sunshine, but Sunshine has better snow. I agree with this, particularly on the intermediate runs. Front side cruisers at Lake Louise tend to be icy. Larch is better, but the runs there are a touch more difficult than the ones on the front side (per grade). There isn't much intermediate terrain in the back bowls, apart from Boomerang, but the summit platter scares most away. The backside has the best snow, and the steepest terrain. This in in contrast with Sunshine. The steepest terrain (apart from the dive) is South Facing, and often has challenging snow conditions.

 

Sunshine grades its runs easier than other resorts in the region, so keep that in mind when switching resorts. At least half of the Sunshine blues would be green at lake louise and half the blacks would be blue. 

post #37 of 46

Agreed.

 

1. I would never go to Norquay by sacrificing LL or SSV.  Skip Norquay.  Hit LL for high speed wide-open groomers and top to bottom thigh-burners. Hit SSV for shorter greens and easy blues if someone is a novice skill level.

 

2. Do NOT change resorts mid-day.  Absolutely not worth the time kill.

 

3. Skip the night skiing.  It sounds better than it is.  Better off going tubing.  Your legs will be shot by the end of the day at LL, plus it'll be COLD at night.  Think -30C (-25F) plus windchill.  Been there, done that.  Not fun.  Instead, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND a trip to the outdoor Hot Springs at night instead.  Get there as the sun sets and it's utterly sublime.

post #38 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by RC1090nc View Post
 

Bummer. Just wrote a long response that somehow didn't show up. But the jist of it was, I'm an advanced beginner. I live in NC and will ski blues and blacks here. When I went to Telluride there were a few intimidating blues and I didn't dare try any blacks. I plan on taking a few lessons locally before my trip to hopefully bring my skill up a notch.  I do have a lot of family in Alberta and have been many times but never in the winter! I wasn't planning on getting a rental car but rethinking it now.. Might be easier to drive myself vs waiting on the shuttle depending on how often it runs. I'm assuming the roads are usually clear from Calgary and in between the 3 resorts so I wouldnt need a 4wd? I think I'd plan for two days at Sunshine and 2 at Louise and night ski only at Norquay then spend the last day at whichever was my favorite.  I'll be going with 1-3 friends, all about the same level and my cousin who lives in the area is planning on meeting there for a few days as well, will be nice to have a guide!

If you do decide to get lessons in Banff, send me a message, and I can ensure you get hooked up with some of the best of the best instructors here in town. The exchange rate does make the cost less than the states, so worth thinking about. 

 

Cheers,

 


Roland 
Ski Instructor Trainer at The Lake Louise Ski Resort

post #39 of 46
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info! January can't come fast enough!!
For the shuttles is there a central spot they pick up and drop off from in Banff or do they go hotel to hotel?
Quote:
Originally Posted by rollo87 View Post

If you do decide to get lessons in Banff, send me a message, and I can ensure you get hooked up with some of the best of the best instructors here in town. The exchange rate does make the cost less than the states, so worth thinking about. 

Cheers,



Roland 

Ski Instructor Trainer at The Lake Louise Ski Resort

It's tempting! My thought is, and the same reason why I didn't do instruction at Telluride is I want to get all the time in I can on the slopes! But on the other hand, the instruction I could get at a big resort could be better than I would get here in NC. is a private lesson usually an hour?
post #40 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by RC1090nc View Post

Thanks for the info! January can't come fast enough!!
For the shuttles is there a central spot they pick up and drop off from in Banff or do they go hotel to hotel?
Quote:
Originally Posted by rollo87 View Post

If you do decide to get lessons in Banff, send me a message, and I can ensure you get hooked up with some of the best of the best instructors here in town. The exchange rate does make the cost less than the states, so worth thinking about. 

Cheers,



Roland 

Ski Instructor Trainer at The Lake Louise Ski Resort

It's tempting! My thought is, and the same reason why I didn't do instruction at Telluride is I want to get all the time in I can on the slopes! But on the other hand, the instruction I could get at a big resort could be better than I would get here in NC. is a private lesson usually an hour?


What I've found most cost effective is a semi-private lesson for 2 hours with a friend.  Usually on the second ski day.  But I was an advanced skier going off-piste 25% of the time.  So most of the lesson is not spent on groomers.  There is nothing like that possible in NC.

 

Some resorts have group lessons geared to intermediate/advanced skiers.  Mid-week sometimes that can mine a solo lesson for better skiers because most people on ski vacations don't take lessons.

 

Taking a lesson during a trip out west is an investment for the future.  Meaning 3-4 years down the road assuming taking at least one ski trip out west per season.  Less likely to end up a "terminal intermediate" who "gets down" ungroomed terrain but is really tired or sore after the run.  I was an intermediate for decades as a working adult.  Started taking semi-private lessons after a knee injury.  Wish I'd started sooner.

post #41 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post


What I've found most cost effective is a semi-private lesson for 2 hours with a friend.  Usually on the second ski day.  But I was an advanced skier going off-piste 25% of the time.  So most of the lesson is not spent on groomers.  There is nothing like that possible in NC.

Some resorts have group lessons geared to intermediate/advanced skiers.  Mid-week sometimes that can mine a solo lesson for better skiers because most people on ski vacations don't take lessons.

Taking a lesson during a trip out west is an investment for the future.  Meaning 3-4 years down the road assuming taking at least one skip trip out west per season.  Less likely to end up a "terminal intermediate" who "gets down" ungroomed terrain but is really tired or sore after the run.  I was an intermediate for decades as a working adult.  Started taking semi-private lessons after a knee injury.  Wish I'd started sooner.

I'm kinda leaning more toward taking a lesson or two while there after your post. I'll be with a friend who's about the same level as me, maybe just s little more daring but form wise the same. So I'd do either a private lesson or a lesson for two. Not interested in group lessons. I do want to get better and I feel maxed out right now. At Telluride I could ski fast down all the greens and most blues, never fell but I know my form sucks and I wouldn't dare try a black. I want to be able to do any black and one day try heli skiing.
post #42 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by RC1090nc View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post


What I've found most cost effective is a semi-private lesson for 2 hours with a friend.  Usually on the second ski day.  But I was an advanced skier going off-piste 25% of the time.  So most of the lesson is not spent on groomers.  There is nothing like that possible in NC.

Some resorts have group lessons geared to intermediate/advanced skiers.  Mid-week sometimes that can mine a solo lesson for better skiers because most people on ski vacations don't take lessons.

Taking a lesson during a trip out west is an investment for the future.  Meaning 3-4 years down the road assuming taking at least one skip trip out west per season.  Less likely to end up a "terminal intermediate" who "gets down" ungroomed terrain but is really tired or sore after the run.  I was an intermediate for decades as a working adult.  Started taking semi-private lessons after a knee injury.  Wish I'd started sooner.

I'm kinda leaning more toward taking a lesson or two while there after your post. I'll be with a friend who's about the same level as me, maybe just s little more daring but form wise the same. So I'd do either a private lesson or a lesson for two. Not interested in group lessons. I do want to get better and I feel maxed out right now. At Telluride I could ski fast down all the greens and most blues, never fell but I know my form sucks and I wouldn't dare try a black. I want to be able to do any black and one day try heli skiing.


In that case, you should PM rollo and get a few recommendations by name of experienced instructors.  Then in the fall, make a reservation by name.  In my experience, the best instructors are booked up far in advance on weekends.  Note that the advantage of doing a lesson on a weekend is that if there is a lift line, then you don't care because you're with an instructor.  The first private lesson I had out west was at Bridger (low rate for private lessons).  I got two names from an EpicSki member I didn't know at all via PM.  Worked out great.

 

There are plenty of people who can ski fast down a western groomed blue who would crash and burn on any sort of ungroomed terrain.  The good news is that you can learn basic skills in NC that will help when you are out west.

post #43 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post


In that case, you should PM rollo and get a few recommendations by name of experienced instructors.  Then in the fall, make a reservation by name.  In my experience, the best instructors are booked up far in advance on weekends.  Note that the advantage of doing a lesson on a weekend is that if there is a lift line, then you don't care because you're with an instructor.  The first private lesson I had out west was at Bridger (low rate for private lessons).  I got two names from an EpicSki member I didn't know at all via PM.  Worked out great.

There are plenty of people who can ski fast down a western groomed blue who would crash and burn on any sort of ungroomed terrain.  The good news is that you can learn basic skills in NC that will help when you are out west.

For sure, I'd be lucky to make it down anything ungroomed!
post #44 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by RC1090nc View Post


For sure, I'd be lucky to make it down anything ungroomed!

Remember, they probably groomed yesterday afternoon and into the night. If it's been snowing ever since (likely in January and February), it'll be more like "ungroomed" by morning. They might regroom some greens in the AM, but these are big areas, they won't be regrooming the whole place.
post #45 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post


Remember, they probably groomed yesterday afternoon and into the night. If it's been snowing ever since (likely in January and February), it'll be more like "ungroomed" by morning. They might regroom some greens in the AM, but these are big areas, they won't be regrooming the whole place.

True. I more so meant off piste type runs. 

post #46 of 46

Sherpa Cinemas Made a few short videos about all three https://www.skibig3.com/

 

Norquay

 

 

 

Lake Louise

 

 

 

Sunshine Village

 

 

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