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Alberta/Eastern BC - 2016/17 - Page 3

post #61 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kulharin View Post

 

Were most ski resorts in eastern BC / west Alberta built in snow/rain shadows; is that just the nature of those mountain ranges or was it the accessibility to towns and the only viable locations?  Fernie looks to be the only one that gets a lot of snow ! 

The reason Fernie gets the snow is that the Elk Valley has the eastern most temperate climate in North America and therefore has more moisture than anywhere else that far east. You will see green grass (in summer),deciduous trees and cedars. It's an anomoly and if you drive west out of the valley it becomes bunch grass and pines.

 

Kimberly and Panorama are west of Fernie but are in snow/rain shadows and usually get half the snow of Fernie.

 

Castle is on the other side of the Continental divide two hours east and south of Fernie and doesn't get as much snow as Fernie but gets the most snow of any hill in Alberta and is higher, colder and bigger than Fernie so when it rains in Fernie it's usually snowmaggedon at Castle.

 

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

mainmtnChutes Trail Map 

post #62 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kulharin View Post
 

I think I am understanding now why so many from Calgary drive to Revelstoke... Any time I seem to check the Banff / Lake Louise weather forecast it's cold, sunny and dry even when Revy is getting multiple consecutive days of snow... the jet stream must need to be very specific for these areas to get a good dump?

 

Were most ski resorts in eastern BC / west Alberta built in snow/rain shadows; is that just the nature of those mountain ranges or was it the accessibility to towns and the only viable locations?  Fernie looks to be the only one that gets a lot of snow ! 

 

Most resorts in B.C. started out as a local small ski hill near (30 min. or less) a small town and then expanded and have tried to become destination resorts resulting in the interior of B.C. being over built for lifts...not a bad thing for us skiers. By way of comparison, a lot of US resorts where built after studying snowfall records.

post #63 of 123

I guess the push for Jumbo and Valemount then is due to the high elevation and high annual snowfalls?

post #64 of 123
Thread Starter 
Did you make it to Castle thus weekend, Dave?
post #65 of 123

We have moved to Penticton so Apex is now our home hill. For what we like Apex is better than Big Whitout or Silver Star but my heart will always belong to Castle. Hopefully we will be able to get out there for two or three weeks this winter.

post #66 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kulharin View Post
 

I guess the push for Jumbo and Valemount then is due to the high elevation and high annual snowfalls?


The developer also seems enamored with the idea of summer skiing on glaciers for race training.

 

Dave, I think Apex is the sleeper of the Okanagan hills. It gets the least snow but it's mostly north facing.   I have no doubt it has the fewest skier visits.  A powder day there last Feb. 17 had little competition: http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=12063

 

While Castle's more open topography is more to my taste, Apex is not dissimilar to Castle in terms of low skier density.

post #67 of 123

Temperatures are rising in the Bow Valley! And lots of snow is in the forecast for the whole week starting tonight! I'll be skiing later this week at Sunshine!

post #68 of 123
Thread Starter 

I need to check out Apex sometime. I have heard that it is a really great place to ski. We just have to pass so many other great resorts on the way from Calgary. It can be hard to keep driving.

 

Castle can be a lot of fun. I lived in Lethbridge for a couple of years and had a pass for the 08-09 and 09-10 seasons. The biggest downside was semi-frequent wind closures. I guess it can also be pretty lean at the base in warmer winters. The terrain was great though!

 

I skied Lake Louise this weekend. While the cold snap has allowed for a lot of snow making, opening almost all of the lower mountain, we are in need of a good dump. Front side was typical hardpack with some icy patches. The backside the summit had decent cut up snow, but the old snow wasn't exactly powder. Bad vis too, so it was mostly a bump-day. I had fun, but I am really hoping this week's forecast delivers.

 

Fernie is still getting the goods. 

 

I am off work from the December 22 to January 8th. Will likely ski loacl(ish).

post #69 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by manchester81 View Post
 

I need to check out Apex sometime. I have heard that it is a really great place to ski. We just have to pass so many other great resorts on the way from Calgary. It can be hard to keep driving.

 

Castle can be a lot of fun. I lived in Lethbridge for a couple of years and had a pass for the 08-09 and 09-10 seasons. The biggest downside was semi-frequent wind closures. I guess it can also be pretty lean at the base in warmer winters. The terrain was great though!

 

I skied Lake Louise this weekend. While the cold snap has allowed for a lot of snow making, opening almost all of the lower mountain, we are in need of a good dump. Front side was typical hardpack with some icy patches. The backside the summit had decent cut up snow, but the old snow wasn't exactly powder. Bad vis too, so it was mostly a bump-day. I had fun, but I am really hoping this week's forecast delivers.

 

Fernie is still getting the goods. 

 

I am off work from the December 22 to January 8th. Will likely ski loacl(ish).

 

Apex is well worth the effort to visit,.... It's a "little hill" (ie: not many lifts), that accesses a crap load of terrain,..... & some pretty epic terrain at that.

post #70 of 123

What systems actually give Panorama snow anyway?

post #71 of 123

Panorama is in a serious snow shadow, which probably means it gets the same storms but only half the snow as west of the Selkirks/Purcells. 

 

In Panorama's favor is that it's a cold mountain so it rarely rains. It's also predominantly north facing, which is surprisingly rare among resorts in interior western Canada.  Thus during the excessively warm and rainy 2014-15 season Panorama actually had the best conditions in the region when I passed through in late February.  http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/viewtopic.php?t=11734

post #72 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kulharin View Post
 

What systems actually give Panorama snow anyway?

 

Panorama gets the least snow of any of the B.C. resorts (and less than Lake Louise) and AFAIK has the most snow making.

 

Edit: Whistler might have more snow making but Panorama has a greater % of their terrain with man made snow.

post #73 of 123
Quote = DanoT:
Panorama gets the least snow of any of the B.C. resorts (and less than Lake Louise)

I skied Panorama and Lake Louise on consecutive days in February 2004, and that was definitely my impression too.

post #74 of 123
Anyone been to Lake Louise in the past week? Wondering what conditions are like. Thanks!
post #75 of 123

I was last up on Christmas Day... conditions were great (and finally blue sky), some additional stuff on the back opened (ER3 and some other stuff that I don't yet know the name of).  Snowing lightly in Banff right now.  Traffic driving into Banff in the morning has been heavy for the past two days (I live in Canmore, work in Banff), although sounds like most of the crowds are going to Sunshine.

post #76 of 123
Thread Starter 
Skied Louise on the 23rd and 27th. Conditions were good, but not spectaulat. Really nice skiing in whitehorn 2 and er7. Only did a lunch run and end of day run on the frong side. Meadowlark and upshhots were good, juniper was crowded and "icy".

Lots of families out. Family areas are busy, but there was room elsewhere.

Ill be heading up again tomorrow. Taking my neice and nephew to COP today. smile.gif


I was at fernie yesterday. It might have been the best day of the season. Long drive fir a day trip, especially with the snow and wind in the pass, but worth it!
post #77 of 123
I am trying to plan a trip out west April 21st and it seems from my research that banff is the place to go. Is this too late? Seems like it might be wishful thinking.
post #78 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skiandgolfnut View Post

I am trying to plan a trip out west April 21st and it seems from my research that banff is the place to go. Is this too late? Seems like it might be wishful thinking.

The Banff resorts have excellent snow preservation and I think they still offer a Spring Pass both Monday-Friday and 7 days/week options.

 

Also, Whistler in April is my preferred time to ski Whistler, the crowds are gone (except for snowfest week or whatever they call it), everything is on sale, it is the most likely time to get some sunshine.

post #79 of 123
April 21 is a great time - it'll usually still be snowing and much warmer then. We usually ski until mid-May.
post #80 of 123
No new snow for about a week, and with the holiday crowds, most of Sunshine village is skied off. But there are beautiful soft bumps all over lookout, and they were especially nice once the sun came up. Goat's eye is open but the coverage is pretty poor - all areas but the groomers are pretty rocky. We tried to go through some glades on the lower half, and there were just so many rocks poking up. Best spots today were in the boundary bowl/Viking ridge/angel flight area (actually had tons of fun in here), and also the choppy and bumpy area on the divide between the groomers. Groomers are running nicely and not very icy. Looking forward to more snow!
post #81 of 123

Been a cold and dry season so far with really only 2 weeks of somewhat consistent snow and normal weather since the start of the season.  Novemeber was wet, but much too warm... Half of Decemeber and January so far have been bone dry and deep cold.

post #82 of 123
Thread Starter 

I was on the coast, well Whistler anyway, for the start of the year, but stopped by Lake Louise on our drive home. 

 

Finally a sunny day!

 

No fresh snow, but the upper mountain and back bowls were skiing great! Didn't get much of a tour of the mountain this time, doing one run in the Ptarmigan trees (nice coverage) and then lapping Paradise and the back side of the Summit until quitting time.

 

Conditions were mostly fast, predictable winter chalk. Easy to edge and let, em rip. Entrances/cruxes were a bit scraped, but there was a lot of soft snow (sluff) below them. We found some untracked snow in the North Cornice area, but it was heavy/wind affected and there was some avy debris to negotiate at the end. The run was too short for a repeat.

 

Highlight was Big 7 in the ER 7 area. Upshoots to steep and flat also made a good end of day'er. We finished off on Men's Downhill, which was pretty icy. I am guessing that most of the cruisers would have been hardpack.

 

Some pics:

 

Liz on upper Big 7.

 

 

Liz in ER 3

 

Liz in the Top of the World Area, skiing towards the summit lift

 

I am taking in Mount Hector on the Boomerang traverse

 

I am kicking up some of the "chalk"

 

I am on Upshoots. Last run of the day. 

 

 

Liz is racing the sun down. 

post #83 of 123
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kulharin View Post
 

Been a cold and dry season so far with really only 2 weeks of somewhat consistent snow and normal weather since the start of the season.  Novemeber was wet, but much too warm... Half of Decemeber and January so far have been bone dry and deep cold.

 

I think it has been a good year, overall. Decent base at most areas. Almost every area has received 20 to 30% more snow than average. Earliest ever opening for delirium dive (sunshine) and Whitewall (kicking horse).

 

It has been cold, and there have been longish dry stretches, but the storms are coming. 

 

I would definitely rate this winter as better than the last two....for the Rockies, anyway. 

post #84 of 123

I have interior western Canada at 114% of average snow since Nov. 1.  A few areas like to pad their totals with September and October. 

 

November was much better in Canada than anywhere in the US.   Despite rapid December catching up in the US, western Canada was probably the best overall region at Christmas.  The past week has been intensely stormy in several US regions but fairly dry in Canada. But at this time of year the Nov/Dec snowpack in Canada isn't going anywhere.

 

I will be in Canada for my annual trip Feb. 16, staying until March 7 through part of the Whistler Gathering.

post #85 of 123
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the clarification, I am probably Rockies biased, and we get a little excited with any amount of snow at Lake Louise. :)

post #86 of 123
Thread Starter 

On Saturday I made my first trip to Castle in a year. 

I lived in Lethbidge from 2008-10, and I was a Castle passholder at that time. I have always loved the terrain there. Extremely low skier density, and long, fall-line runs. There isn't much that would qualify as extreme terrain (in bounds anyway), but the upper mountian is pretty solid black diamond territory. Nothing too scary, but nothing really easy either. It is fast and fun!

 

The winds at Castle are a blessing and a curse. Castle is definitely the windiest ski resort I have visited. 

 

On the plus side, the high winds deposit the light snow on lee features, cover tracks and smooth out bumps. The wind sift has a silky texture that is a blast to ski. Very fast, but smooth and easy to edge. 

 

Unfortunately, high winds often mean chair closures. When the upper chair (red) is closed, Castle becomes a very small hill that isn't really worth the drive from Calgary. This happens far too often, and it really limits my trips. I always check Mountain Forecast for Mount Haig before I go, and I won't visit if the winds are forecast to be higher than 50 km. 

 

It is getting insanely windy tonight and tomorrow.

 

http://www.mountain-forecast.com/peaks/Mount-Haig/forecasts/2612

 

 

Anyway, the skiing was mostly good. Reverse winds left a crust on the near chutes, but High Rustler was skiing great. The trees on the north side held some powder pockets, but most of the snow in the north was wind affected and heavy. Still fun to ski, just more work. Coverage was good, overall, but the Alders on north aren't buried yet. The highlight was definitely High Rustler. I think we did 4 laps here. 

 

A pic of me skiing High Rustler late in the day. Mount Haig is behind.

 

 

 

 

On Sunday we returned to Lake Louise. We brought our touring gear and spend most our time away from the resort. Whitehorn 1 was skiing great. Ptarmigan chutes have finally opened for the season, and they are good at the top, but the Christmas Trees at the bottom aren't close to being buried. Front side wasn't too icy on our one trip down.

 

Skied most of the day on Wolverine Ridge, accessed from Temple Lodge / Skoki trail. The snow on the treeline glades was fantastic and deep! Scenery was great, as always. A shot from our skin-up. You can see some cut runs from Larch in the background. Lake Louise (the lake) is also visible, Along with the Louise Group of mountains. Mounts Victoria and Lefroy are on the divide, and in a cloud. The clouds seem to stay on the BC side of things all day...

 

post #87 of 123

Just got blue balled hard in Revelstoke... usually the snow forecasts are more conservative and we end up getting more... this time was pretty brutal... environment Canada was calling for 35cm in Revelstoke Mon/Tues with a heavy snow fall warning... RMR was forecasting 50-60 for the alpine at the resort... By the time the "dust" settled we had 6cm as the storm tracked and stayed just slightly to the east all night and all day. with a week forecast calling for 86cm downgraded to 30cm and in the course of the last 24 hours.

 

Conditions are pretty bad on the mountain right now as we are in a repeat cycle of December with an incredibly cold and dry first half... we've had maybe 25cm since the start of the month... January has been pretty shit the last few years and this is shaping up to me no exception... coverage is very poor below 1800m; this week looked like just what we needed but it doesn't look like we'll get much as we trend to now warmer and drier weather after this week.  The later half of Dec saved a very bleak start to the season, I don't have much faith in January to do the same.  Average January snowfall is close to 200cm... we've had just over 10% of that.

post #88 of 123
Thread Starter 

Bummer on the storm. We will be getting even less in the Rockies....

 

It seems Revelstoke always has "bad" years, or the stated 9-14 meter seasonal average is optimistic at best.

 

8-12 seems like a more realistic range.

 

http://www.revelstokemountainresort.com/conditions/historical-snowfall

 

Though with over 700cms reported to date (great pace but crummy snow conditions), snowfall totals can be misleading.

 

I have been lucky to experience a few really great days at Revelstoke, but I haven't fallen in love with the resort. I'll try to make my way there for the next storm cycle though. I know you locals love a good stampede of Calgarians.. ;)

 

Do you tour much? I would love to live closer to Rogers pass. 

post #89 of 123

Hi Manchester81, I was under the impression that Castle has legitimate steeps, like scary steeps. Was I wrong?

post #90 of 123
Thread Starter 

Out of bounds - definitely.

In bounds - there are cliffs and these can spice things up, but I don't find the marked runs extreme. If you are in the Calgary region, Kicking Horse is your best bet for Steep Terrain. 

 

In my opinion, Lake Louise and Sunshine (dive and wild west only) have steeper terrain than castle. The big difference is Castle lacks intermediate terrain. It is ALL (apart from huckleberry) pretty steep, and the runs are very long, fall line skiing. The Chutes, for example, are quite sustained with no exit. They aren't THAT difficult though. By comparison, Sunshine is primarily an intermediate hill. Lake Louise has a pretty even balance. Castle is not balanced at all. Neither is Kicking Horse, but Kicking Horse is steeper, or at least scarier. 

 

To give you an example of the relative steepness of the runs, the run in the picture above is rated double black. It is probably the easiest double diamond on the mountain, but the angle should give you some scale. 

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