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Pick a mountain [for western Canada, coming from Australia] - the separate thread

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Hi all- I'm from Australia, planning a Canada trip with some family in early/mid Feb 17 (most likely, otherwise late Jan).

Should I start a separate thread or add my questions here?

Looking for some detailed verdicts on Kicking Horse, Revelstoke and Fernie primarily, but also interested in Red Mtn, Whitewater, Panorama, and perhaps even flying down to Big Sky in Montana at some point. I've got plenty of questions about both the skiing and off-piste elements; have done hours of research, but I want some first hand opinions.

Thanks in advance

 

Mod note: split out on 8/29 from original related thread

post #2 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdsarg View Post
 

Hi all- I'm from Australia, planning a Canada trip with some family in early/mid Feb 17 (most likely, otherwise late Jan).

Should I start a separate thread or add my questions here?

Looking for some detailed verdicts on Kicking Horse, Revelstoke and Fernie primarily, but also interested in Red Mtn, Whitewater, Panorama, and perhaps even flying down to Big Sky in Montana at some point. I've got plenty of questions about both the skiing and off-piste elements; have done hours of research, but I want some first hand opinions.

Thanks in advance


Welcome to EpicSki!  Since the original question was fairly general, perhaps you can get some answers without starting a new thread.  But feel free to start a new thread in a few weeks when more people in North America will be checking in as kids get back to school.

 

Have you looked at any of the EpicSki Resort pages?  If you scroll down to the bottom, can get to a list of recent relevant threads.

 

How many ski days for this vacation?

post #3 of 15

if you liked big white and sun peaks, then you would like fernie the best. Another place you may want to consider is banff. you have the choice of lake louise and sunshine. you have to shuttle bus to get to the hills, but town of banff is nice to stay. Lake loise is a great mountain, with something for everyone

post #4 of 15

KH Revy and Fernie are all a fairly short distance from local towns

for towns Fernie>Revelstoke>Golden although none are as nice as Banff

if your booking on hill Fernie has a more but is the most expensive of the three.

the largest crowds are at Fernie>Revelstoke>Golden but other than weekends crowds are not usually an issue

for advanced/expert skiing KH>Revy.>Fernie

for intermediates Fernie>Revy>KH

for the possibility of new snow Revy>Fernie>KH

Revy and Fernie are more often effected by warm weather events than KH

 

Red and White Water are best considered together. they are fairly isolated from other hills in B.C. so do both if  you take the extra effort to get there. 

Whitewater is known for its snow. Red for its terrain. Red is often effected by warm weather

 

Panorama is best for long blue cruisers and sunshine. Some nice skiing in Tayton bowl but limited snow falls.

 

Never been to Big Sky

Whitefish and Castle are a lot closer if your in Fernie. both are good.    

post #5 of 15
We're less than a two hour drive from Fernie. Theoretically, you could do it in a day trip, I used to do that all the time, but really it would be better to make it part of a Powder Safari.

Look in my signature for pics.

They're running a 25% off sale right now on lifts and lodging.
post #6 of 15

Whitewater has no ski-in/ski-out lodging, of course. No lodging at all on the mountain, actually. Unless you haul your very own ski-in/ski-out RV up there. Could be brutal for a whole winter, but fun for a few days.

 

There is a shuttle from town, but it isn't free.

 

Whitewater is different.

 

There are no detachable chairs, no quads, no snowmaking and no pavement. The lockers in the basement are all season rentals and the basement floor is made of 1" drain rock.

 

There are only three lifts. Earn your turns. Almost all the trees are open for skiing, even areas that have not been gladed out.

 

If you get there early enough in the morning, you can park right in front of the lodge (unless they've changed something over the summer, which is always possible) and have an excellent breakfast before the bullwheels turn. Don't park in my space. :D 

post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone. More details about our trip format:
-Previously max 12 ski days. Could maybe stretch out to 15. Likely choosing between Banff-KH-Revy OR Banff-Fernie.
-a group of 7-10, mostly aged 40-53 with a 17yo and two early-20s.
-A couple of strong intermediates (confident on anything groomed, and some gentler powder/bumps/black), are the 'weakest' skiers, and the rest of us are comfortable exploring all over the mountain. Previous trips have been to Japan, Jackson Hole, Alta/Snowbird, and Whistler & JH in January just gone.
-Backcountry not a consideration.
-Almost certainly travelling very late Jan-mid February. Could push out to mid-late Feb. Hence most interested in likelihood of new snow through Feb, rather than Revy averaging more across the whole season (if the Feb likelihood is similar between the 3 resorts?)

Have been disturbed by reports of huge crowds for the Revy gondola on snow days, waiting in the rain at the bottom. I imagine Revy gets tracked out very quickly (like JH or AltaBird) due to the # of hardcore skiers? Is KH similar? Revy crowds on a midweek powder day? How does Fernie compare to those two on those fronts?

In early-mid February, will any of these 3 be notably better than the others?
Likelihood of rain at the bottom of Revy in Feb? Or is this always the case when it's snowing up top, due to low base elevation?

The focus is purely on skiing deep, steep (deep>steep) and varied terrain, with fast groomers for when there's no new snow, and plenty of apres beers at the end of the day. We'll be staying in the mountain village at each location (except Banff ofc), perhaps heading into town for one night per stop. A few of us have been to Banff before and loved it, hence heading back for a few days.

Will KH and Revy villages have adequate apres and dining options? From my research, KH much more developed. Both still seem to have a couple of good pubs, restaurants etc.

To put things in perspective, we will never ever return to AltaBird and the skiing was incredible... Alcohol laws ridiculous, both villages lacking too much.
On the flipside, we think JH (staying in Teton Village) is the best place on Earth and have considered scratching all other plans, and simply returning there for 1-2 weeks.

Perhaps Fernie is a better overall choice?
Coming all the way from Melbourne Aus, we should probably be skiing both Revy and KH? Rather than picking one for more days?
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 

I should add that we don't need nightclubs, boutique shopping etc in the villages. Just somewhere fun to have some apres drinks at the end of the day, and a couple of different dinner options. 

 

If (touch wood) you got no new snow at KH or Revy, could you still have a good time on the groomers? Does the snow quality hold up well enough to explore off piste? (I imagine that's more so the case at KH due to better snow quality).

 

Fernie snow quality????????

post #9 of 15

If the strong intermediates are your limiting factor in terms of enjoying the mountain - I would definitely suggest Fernie>Whitewater/Red>Revy>KH. KH you should be comfortable on black runs, and quite comfortable in ungroomed/bumps/powder to really enjoy. KH is steep and very minimal when it comes to grooming - I find there's nothing else like it in the Rockies. I went there as an intermediate and it was not a great experience - the minute I was comfortable on ungroomed black terrain though - an entirely different matter. Fernie really does have much more terrain to suit all of your abilities and everyone would enjoy it and likely progress a ton while there. If you want to do more than one resort, then you could go to Banff, then Castle and end it off in Fernie. This would be a great combination. If you want to skip Banff this year - then Castle, Fernie and Whitefish would be great. I've never been to Whitefish but am planning on it due to all the great things I've heard about it.

 

re: crowds. Yes, people complain about crowds. But I would also take that with a grain of salt - the crowds in Canada are not like crowds at big resorts in Colorado, California or Utah. They are really concentrated just at the very bottom of mountains (like the gondolas), and they also disperse very quickly. The mountains here are really big enough, and the skier numbers small enough that it's not that big of a deal. On a powder day at Revy or KH, yes you may have to wait 15-20 minutes for a gondola. Fernie, I've never waited more than 5 minutes. Lake Louise/SSV, I've never waited more than 12-15 minutes (and that was first thing in the morning on a powder day). Don't let the fear of crowds dissuade you. We're crazy spoiled here in Canada with the lack of crowds :) and...we don't want that to change. If you liked Banff, know that none of the BC resorts have lines even close to those in Banff.

 

Any of these places will be great end of Jan/beginning of Feb. - you will miss both BC and AB family day weekends, and crowds shoudl be minimal.

 

In terms of apres - if you're looking to recreate Banff, it will be tough. Maybe you should just go back there? Of the places on your list - Fernie will be the best for apres. Although, I love the town of Nelson too! So if you do Whitewater, Nelson is an incredible place. 

post #10 of 15
Whitefish has good apres. Whole slew of good bars, plus two breweries and two distilleries. Crowds won't be your issue, either. Whitefish has a good supply of intermediate cruisers and a whole lot of tree skiing. Point and click your way around my site, see link in my signature.
post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdsarg View Post

Thanks everyone. More details about our trip format:
-Previously max 12 ski days. Could maybe stretch out to 15. Likely choosing between Banff-KH-Revy OR Banff-Fernie.
-a group of 7-10, mostly aged 40-53 with a 17yo and two early-20s.
 

 

Groups that large, with multiple destinations, start to be logistical nightmares.  Do you really want to rent three cars?

You'd be better off picking a destination with an airport and good public transportation.

 

You really should start your own thread, because your requirements are quite different than the OP's.

post #12 of 15

I work at a ski shop at Sun Peaks and often get to talk to skiers who have just arrived from other resorts. One family in particular that I recall, mom was an intermediate and hated Kicking Horse and dad and the kids were blacked diamond skiers and loved KH.

 

At Revy it is not so much about rain at the bottom, it is about a 2,900 vertical gondola that is often heavy snow for the bottom half of each run. Strong intermediates can do ok at Revy but I wouldn't recommend more than a couple of days there as the amount of terrain that intermediates would enjoy is limited.

 

The problem with doing both Banff and Fernie is that they are quite a ways apart. If doing Banff, if you rent a car you could let the intermediates ski a day or 2 at Lake Louise while the advanced skiers drive the the less than 1.5 hours to KH.

 

If skiing Fernie, once there you are then about 2 hours in one direction to Whitefish and 2 hours in another direction to Castle. Castle is a throw back to the 1970s with fixed grip lifts and imo the best kept serious skiers secret in North America. It is absolutely deserted mid week.

post #13 of 15

I would recommend the Calgary loop" trip I've done twice on one week trips.  Castle, Fernie, Lake Louise, Banff.  Panorama is on that loop between Fernie and Lake Louise, with KH being a 2 hour addition beyond. Whitefish as 2 hours south of Fernie.  Revy is an extra 2 hours beyond KH, could daytrip there from KH/Golden.  With 2 weeks all of these diversions should be doable if you want.

 

For the apres:

Castle has almost none, but if you ski there on the way to Fernie you won't regret it.

Fernie and Whitefish should be good.

KH and Revy have compact base of the resort developments like AltaBird.  In both cases you want to stay in the nearby town (Golden in the case of KH) for apres.  I think Revy is a better resort town than Golden.

post #14 of 15

X2 what Tony said about Castle. It has a nice hostel but zero nightlife so hit it on the way from Calgary to Fernie or as a one day outing after you settle into Fernie.  Castle is very different than Fernie and it's something you want to experience at least once in your life. If you hit it midweek you will have pretty much your own private mountain plus you will have a whole new definition of steep if you go over to the Chutes

 

http://www.epicski.com/a/unofficial-guide-to-castle-mountain-resort

post #15 of 15

mod note: This thread was split off from a similar thread. Have a great ski holiday mate!

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