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Ski Powder Highway

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Hi, 

 

"basic" question, maybe someone had been there and did exactly the same route.

I am trying to hit a Powder Highway maybe in Feb.

I am planning to visit 3 resorts: Revelstoke, Kicking Horse, Fernie.

I might spend up to 10 days for the whole trip.

 

What would be a better route:

 

1. Fly to Calgary -> Fernie -> Kicking Horse -> Revelstoke -> Calgary

2. Calgary -> Kicking Horse -> Revelstoke -> Fernie -> Calgary

3. Kelowna -> Revelstoke -> Kicking Horse -> Fernie -> Calgary

 

oh, I would be flying from Bay Area/California

 

thank you

 

P.S. if trip would be like 10 days, that means about 2 days in each resort, probably not enough, is there (out of 3 above) any could be just 1 day and add extra day to another?

like: Fernie: 1 day, but Kicking Horse 3 days or so

post #2 of 16

Is there a reason for those in particular ?

Not that they aren't all good hills but you also pass directly by a few others.

 

Calgary in and out unless you can return your rental to a different airport cheaper than me 

Also if any layover time is needed to connect to Kelowna from either Vancouver or Calgary it might make it take longer than the drive  

post #3 of 16

An interesting plan. The problem is Fernie. Its much easier to do Calgary-Revelstoke_KH- and perhaps a day at Sunshine/Lake Loiuse. Fernie is South towards the Montana Border. There is lots of skiing at Revey and KH

Day 1- Fly to Calgary

Day 2" Drive all the way to Revelstoke in the morning

then  travel to KH after revelstoke

then go to fernie

or

the to Calgary

 

I have been to KH and Fernie-there great. I plan on hitting Revelstoke this year.

 

Consider Flight costs and rent a car costs and flight times

 

It seems cheaper to fly in Calgary with more flights going in and out.

post #4 of 16

Hi 

I have lived in the East Kootenays in the winter for the last 10 years and drive those roads all the time. Calgary is definitely the preferred starting point. Weather permitting, drive times are reasonable all round. The longest leg would be Golden (KH) to Fernie and that's easily doable after skiing @ 4 hours max with flat highway and no passes to worry about. All the rest are even shorter so go wherever you like when you like. I know you didn't mention it but don't bother with Panorama nor Kimberly. Also watch for big game on all these roads especially in winter especially in the dark. Also don't underestimate Kicking Horse or Rogers Passes. They can be very serious in winter so rent something with snow tires and/or four wheel drive

post #5 of 16

You also may want to look at flying SJC-GEG (Spokane) on Southwest. While you will stop somewhere which adds to the time to get there, flights, especially including baggage, and rental cars should be a lot less expensive. Then you can add Red Mountain and Whitewater to your trip. See http://www.ski.com/powder-highway for list of resorts (skip Kimberly).

 

You also have to be flexible as we were in Feb 2014 when we skipped Fernie and Whitefish while traveling between Panorama (definitely was worth a day in Feb 2014) and MT due to high rain line in many storms that year.

post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by tseeb View Post
 

You also may want to look at flying SJC-GEG (Spokane) on Southwest. While you will stop somewhere which adds to the time to get there, flights, especially including baggage, and rental cars should be a lot less expensive. Then you can add Red Mountain and Whitewater to your trip. See http://www.ski.com/powder-highway for list of resorts (skip Kimberly).

 

You also have to be flexible as we were in Feb 2014 when we skipped Fernie and Whitefish while traveling between Panorama (definitely was worth a day in Feb 2014) and MT due to high rain line in many storms that year.

It's a tough drive to get from Red/Whitewater up to Revy/KH and you will lose a day of skiing each way coming and going from Spokane. Fernie isn't so bad although you have to go over Kootenay Pass which is higher than Rogers or Kicking Horse passes. 

 

I have no experience bringing a rental car across the border but I guess lots of people do it. You might want to check. Speaking of borders bring your passport but no dope (yet) and no guns

 

Panorama is a great hill if you are an intermediate groomer skier. It gets much less snow than Fernie, Revy or KH . Don't expect powder but it has good ski in/ski out accommodation and hot spring baths.

post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Castle Dave View Post
 

It's a tough drive to get from Red/Whitewater up to Revy/KH and you will lose a day of skiing each way coming and going from Spokane. Fernie isn't so bad although you have to go over Kootenay Pass which is higher than Rogers or Kicking Horse passes. 

 

Even though I've never done it, I agree with the tough drive, especially if doing it in the dark or storm. But you don't necessarily have to lose a day, especially if you have two drivers and start and quit skiing at Red or Whitewater early. You would want to time the ferry to avoid losing almost an hour (NB it leaves on the half hour), but Google maps has Whitewater to Revy at just under 4 hours and at just over 4 hrs from Red. Some other discussions:

http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=9871&p=63072 - Tony Crocker recommends Spokane as gateway to Powder Highway

http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=10350&p=66416 - These guys re-routed one year to Lost Trail and Discovery and had some great powder days

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Castle Dave View Post
 

Panorama is a great hill if you are an intermediate groomer skier. It gets much less snow than Fernie, Revy or KH . Don't expect powder but it has good ski in/ski out accommodation and hot spring baths.

Correction: My trip was Feb 2015 and we also skipped Revy which had recently experience rain to the top. For Panorama, you can stay 20 minutes away in Invermere for a lot less.

 

While the steeps at Panorama are not as numerous or easy to get to as at Castle and Kicking Horse, you are selling it short. Both Tayton Bowl and Extreme Dream are not intermediate groomers. See http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=11734&p=73650 - I am the skier in the pictures.

 

I also have to ask if the OP is considering Powder Highway instead of or in addition to his Whistler trip. AFAIK you can spend $80 and upgrade your Tahoe Local Pass to an Epic Local Pass and get 5 'free' days at Whistler.


Edited by tseeb - 10/20/16 at 7:29am
post #8 of 16

I didn't think the drive from Nelson to Revelstoke was that bad, we did it both ways after skiing.

It is a mountainous dark drive, but there sure isn't much traffic.  You need to time the ferry right as well. 

You could always stop at Halcyon hot springs,  if you need to break up the drive. 

 

I'm a big fan of Southwest Airlines and Spokane (GEG), because of the flexibility.  You can change or cancel your flights based on current conditions.

 

You can also fly into Glacier (FCA) for a Fernie, Castle and Whitefish tour.

post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 

looking at the map, the drive from Calgary to Kicking Horse or Calgary to Fernie is about the same (may take up to 1 day, means skiing next day).

the problem I see (based on the google map research) that

 

Kicking Horse -> Revelstoke and then

Revelstoke -> Fernie ( based on the road map, I would have to path throw Kicking Horse again), so maybe I should drop Revelstoke completely and just do the loop: 

Calgary->Kicking Horse->Fenie->Calgary

post #10 of 16

You are right - they are about the same. I do the Calgary/Fernie run frequently and it takes max three hours from the airport unless it's rush hour in Calgary. I did Calgary/Golden two weeks ago and it was about three hours in an RV but without snow. Arrive than drive then ski the next day. You will lose an hour going from Pacific to Mountain time. 

When is your arrival time? For example if you land at 1 pm mountain time, take an hour to get your luggage and vehicle then start driving at 2 pm (beating Calgary rush hour) you would be in Revy by 8 pm latest unless they are doing avalanche work on the Rogers Pass. 

 

As a wild and totally distracting suggestion, if you decide to forgo Revy you might think about putting Castle into a Fernie/KH loop particularly if you can hit it mid week. 

 

http://www.epicski.com/a/unofficial-guide-to-castle-mountain-resort.           My favorite and totally different.

 

BTW there are lots of holidays in the last three weeks of February so everywhere will be pretty busy. The first week of February or first week of March would be optimal.

Don't hesitate to drop me a PM

post #11 of 16
I did similar a few years back. Flew to Calgary and drove to Island Lake (next to Fernie). Skied both. But, if I were to do it again I'd fly to Kalispell and drive to Fernie. Can't speak on other locations but I did love Fernie (not as much as ILL though).
post #12 of 16

Agree with @Castle Dave on all of the above. I would just stress that weather can be highly unpredictable - and there are two spots where closures are not infrequent. Highway 1 between Golden and Revy can close on occasion for avalanche work (intentionally or unintentionally), and, if there is a lot of snow, it can be slow-going. I've done that drive in everything from a little over 3 hours, to 9 hours. It can be hard to predict...With Fernie, if you are going from Calgary, you'll have to go across Crowsnest Pass and the weather/visibility can be hairy there, especially because of the wind. There are also closures sometimes on that section. Again, neither of these are a problem if the weather is decent. But take most seriously the recommendations for 

 

1) a rental car with snow tires and/or AWD (this is really important!)

2) building in a few 'buffer' days in case of bad weather. 

 

But we do those drives regularly in winter and it's no problem! 

post #13 of 16


If flying out of Calgary just make sure you are on the east side of Rogers Pass a day before your flight leaves.

post #14 of 16

Be sure to stay in either Golden or Revelstoke if your intending to ski their hill next day because any closure on Rogers Pass overnight will probably not be cleared before the chairs start running. It's always better to do Rogers right after your day skiing - views are nice, easier to spot wildlife on the road and the afternoon always has less closures

 That being said I have been doing ski road trips in this area for a long time and have rarely been delayed so I wouldn't over worry it.

If there is heavy snow forecasted or worse a warm up in the weather report the advice above is good, be on the side your flight leaves from.   

post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 

thank you all. I hope I got the main idea "how"... and "what should" Now, I will try to figure the exact dates. 

post #16 of 16

Keep Castle Mountain (http://www.skicastle.ca) in the back of your mind if you're stuck in Calgary due to weather - the place is way more fun than you'd think from the trail map!

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