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Travel partner - Snow Safari Canada February-March 2004

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Travel partner - Snow Safari Canada February-March 2004

Once again I am planning to spend about 5 weeks in Alberta and BC. The following resorts are on the list:

Sun Peaks
Big White
Red Mountain
Kicking Horse
Castle Mountain
Sunshine Village

It all depends on the snow and the weather forecast.

Most probably I am going to hire a care in Vancouver. After a few days in Whistler the weather forecast will be my/our guide. It’s all about powder and tree skiing.

I’ll be on my own for about 3 weeks and this is what I don’t like at all and off piste all day will be too dangerous as well.

Anyone interested to join this safari for a few days / weeks?

post #2 of 24
Hi Paedde,

I will be heading out west (alone) in January and February. I will also be "following the snow" and I expect to be in Canada around February 15th, doing the Rockies and interior BC. I have been to most resorts in these areas, but I want to go back to Red, Fernie, Kicking Horse and Lake Louise for sure. It would be great to have a skiing partner.

This is all very tentative, I am taking a leave of absence from work and I might be called back before I ever get to Canada.

I will have internet access during my trip, so just send me a private message with an e-mail or phone number where you can be reached and we'll try to join-up.

post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 
Sounds great!!

I will have some more details in a few days.

It would be great to travel together for a few days or even weeks.

Happy New Year

post #4 of 24
Thread Starter 
Some more details:

Date of arrival 4th of February in Vancouver
Date of departure 15th of March in Vancouver
Preferred runs: steep, steep, powder, powder, trees …

Skiing days:

Whistler 3-4*
Apex 2*
Sun Peaks 2
Big White 2
Silver Star 3-4
Red Mountain 3-4
Fernie 2
Castle Mountain 2*
Panorama 2
Kicking Horse 2

Possible other resorts:

Grouse Mountain 1*
Marmot Basin 2*
Sunshine 1 (only if Delirium Dive and new Extreme are open)

* = new resorts, others are well known from 2001/2002/2003

Between each resort a travel day to find an accommodation, buy some food and relax.

Accommodation type will be mainly 3-4* Hotel, Apartment, Suite, Condo …

For the whole trip I’m going to rent a car, which will be big enough for 2 or 3 skiers incl. Ski/Board.

To get an impression of my last trips to Canada check this: http://community.webshots.com/user/paedde31
post #5 of 24
Hi Paedde,

Cool pictures [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img] Looks like you spend more time than me on skis! The La Grave pictures brought back some good memories...

Are you going to do the mountains in Alberta/eastern BC first or last? I don't expect to go any further west than Red Mountain on this trip and I will be in the area the last 2 weeks of February if everything goes as expected.

Check your private messages, I left my e-mail + phone.

post #6 of 24
Thread Starter 
Hi Steve

It looks like we could ski a few days together most probably on short notice. I don’t know yet where I’m going to be at this time but I have a rough idea how the trip could be. It all depends on the snow and weather forecast.

04.02.2004Flight to Vancouver
05.02.2004Grouse Mountain or Trip to Whistler
06.02.2004Trip to Whistler and or skiing Whistler
07.02.2004 Whistler
08.02.2004 Whistler
10.02.2004Trip to Apex
13.02.2004Trip to Sun Peaks
14.02.2004 Sun Peaks
15.02.2004 Sun Peaks
16.02.2004Trip to Jasper
19.02.2004Trip to Golden
20.02.2004Kicking Horse
21.02.2004 Kicking Horse
22.02.2004 Trip to Panorama
25.02.2004Trip to Silver Star
26.02.2004Silver Star
27.02.2004Silver Star
28.02.2004 Silver Star
29.02.2004 Silver Star
01.03.2004Trip to Red Mountain
02.03.2004Red Mountain
03.03.2004Red Mountain
04.03.2004Red Mountain
05.03.2004Trip to Fernie
06.03.2004 Fernie
07.03.2004 Fernie
08.03.2004Trip to Castle Mountain and skiing
09.03.2004Castle Mountain
10.03.2004Trip to Big White
11.03.2004Big White
12.03.2004Big White
13.03.2004 Open
14.03.2004 Trip to Vancouver
15.03.2004Departure Vancouver
16.03.2004Arrival CH

Right now I wouldn’t go to Jasper due to only about 50cm of snow. Panorama only if they get some significant new snow otherwise it will be “IceOrama” like last year.

Instead of Jasper I would probably add Sunshine Village and/or Lake Louise. I have to be at Kelowna Airport on the 26th late afternoon to pick up my sister but from there it would be possible to go to Red instead of Silver Star. I know a very nice accommodation in Rossland. It’s a 4 bedroom Chalet and would be perfect for the three (or more) of us. How ever let’s see what Griz is going to do in February and March.

I’ll send you a PM with my email address and my cell phone number. Most of the time you can reach my on the cell phone (expect Panorama, Sunshine Village and I’m not sure about Apex and Castle)

Just 30 days to go

post #7 of 24
Comment, though Marmot is nice thats a hell of drive from Sunpeaks in winter. I'd go Sun Peaks to Kicking Horse which is very doable after skiing and add a day of skiing rather than driving. KH is a big hill so I'd bump up the days there. Also KH to Banff is a pretty easy drive so without changing hotels could hit Banff- LL or Sunshine for a day in there. Also keep an eye on Kimberly vs. panorama for snow . Kimberly can some pretty good snow and have some pretty good back areas.

Long drive from Castle to Big White. Whitewater ( which is great little hill lots of snow and BC) would be an easier drive.

[ January 05, 2004, 03:19 PM: Message edited by: dougw ]
post #8 of 24
After just being to Apex, Big White and Silver Star two weeks ago and was in the red, Kimberly, Fernie and other Kootney resorts. I think your trip plan requires too much uneceesary driving. I would do the following:

Whistler to Apex to Big White to Silver Star to Sun Peaks to Kicking Horse to Castle or LL or Sunshine, to Panorama to Fernie to Kimberly to Red/Whitewater and then entering USA from Rossland

I do not see any other way would hit the most resort with shortest driving. A Sothern Route will hit

W/B, Apex, Red, Whitewater Kimberley, Fernie. Panorama, KH, Castle, LL/Sunshine, Sun Peaks, SS, BW and entering USA from Osoyoos is a longer route and will have some duplication there.
post #9 of 24
Jack , just a small point Castle is about an hour east of Fernie in the same pass. So could go KH then Banff ( SS & or LL) then ( via near Calgary) Castle then Fernie Kimberly Whitewater ... with complete bypass of Panorama
KH then Banff then Panorama then Kimberly(optional) Fernie then Castle then Whitewater then Red....
post #10 of 24

You are absolutely right. Now I see it. The route 3 does go to Pincher Creek. I thought you have to go through the KH pass on route 1 to reach Pincher Creek. Route 3 is a beautiful drive. I liked the Lizard Valley scenaries. I don't know if the driving from Fernie to Pincher is good or not. We never drove pass Fernie before. Stay in Cranbrook and you can go almost every where.

[ January 06, 2004, 10:30 AM: Message edited by: JackW ]
post #11 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thank you very much for all your proposals. It gives me some more ideas and eventually I can even find a better solution.

As a matter of fact I had some similar routings but the only problem is the 26th of February when I have to pick up my sister @ Kelowna Airport. She will stay in Canada until the 15th of March and within this time I would like to show here the “Best of Skiing in Canada”. This means that Red, Fernie and Silver Star are almost a “must do”. Other resorts are great as well but e.g. the risk of IceOrama instead of Panorama and Taynton Bowl eventually even closed would make it unnecessary to waist even a day. In addition there are several resort where I really need a ski partner otherwise the off piste risk will be too high. Especially Red Mountain where I skied two years ago in the trees on my own for 2 days but didn’t feel good at any time. Silver Star isn’t exactly the same but still better with a partner. Panorama, KH, Kimberley and some more are not a big deal.

Last but not least the whole trip could changed at any time due to adverse weather conditions, like rain, extreme avalanche danger, Rogers Pass closed like last year and don’t forget I’m following the snow or even try to be there a day before.

I spend a day @ Whitewater last winter but the limited vertical seems to be a disadvantage of this resort. If you like hiking it’s for sure a great and even big resort, but without I would spend another day @ Red or Fernie.

No. 3 from junction 22/3 or 2/3 is a nice and “easy” drive weather permitting. My experience so far is not the best. In 2002 I started in Calgary during a snowstorm and had to stay on Crowsnest pass for the night. Quite often they close from there towards the BC boarder. In 2003 we started in Fernie and right when we arrived at the BC boarder they opened the pass but unfortunately after just a few minutes we ended up again in a snowstorm and where hit by another car. Our car was completely damaged. The following cars couldn’t see this and the result was 8 cars and 2 trucks heavily damaged.

As you can see the whole planning gives me some headache.

If you don’t mind I’ve got a few questions:

-Jack: Why should I enter the USA?
-Dougw: No. 5 from Kamloops to Jasper was a very nice drive in summer, is it that bad in winter?
- Dougw: What do you think about the new extreme zones @ Sunshine Village?
-Right now the base a Marmot is only about 50cm. How much do the need to open all runs?

Any future ideas and suggestions are more then welcome!

Thanks again! [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]


[ January 06, 2004, 03:34 PM: Message edited by: paedde ]
post #12 of 24

I highly recommend Marmot. Great little mountain with nice open bowl at the top. You can hike the final 300' from the top of Knob chair to get nice powder runs. By the time you get there, it should normally be in full operation. The town of Jasper is really cool with deers running all over the place. The drive from Jasper to Banff is the nicest road I've ever been on. Of course, it depends on the weather...

I have done route 5 in winter without much problem (weather was good), but it's a long drive, people drive slow. Was around 6 hours if my memory is good.

post #13 of 24
Originally posted by paedde:

-Jack: Why should I enter the USA?

My thinking is that if you got stuck with Roger's Pass by snow, you may want to explore Schwitzer and even go down to Jackson Hole for a change. We drove around a bit, so we visited Sun Valley and Alta in the mean time. Or if you had the extra time.

The Rossland crossing is not bad for heavy snow conditions. I never got to explore Osoyoos crossing.

In addition, you need plan for extra driving time, the route 3 is no joke under heavy snow.
post #14 of 24
Originally posted by paedde:
-Dougw: No. 5 from Kamloops to Jasper was a very nice drive in summer, is it that bad in winter?
- Dougw: What do you think about the new extreme zones @ Sunshine Village?
-Right now the base a Marmot is only about 50cm. How much do the need to open all runs?


Paedde, you seem to be a very seasoned traveller in this neck of the woods and I'm no local expert by any means. I was thinking that as it goes through some heavy snow areas it might be a bit of a problem. Though I've never driven it in winter. So if going that way keep an eye on road reports. My comment is thats a hell of a drive to get to Marmot. Been there , nice , but doesn't get the snow Banff gets. Personally I'd spend the driving day saved at KH. I've had 2 great days this year ( dec).

Doesn't surprize me that Marmot only has 50cm, we're at 100cm at Sunshine and my skis are hurting. Four coreshots in one day is even a record for me, but thats me on rock skis. I would think you'd need 150cm base not to use your P-tex repair every night.

New areas at Sunshine haven't opened yet and won't for a while. We started out great in Nov. but haven't got much in Dec. So much so that the base is being to be ground down. Looks pretty good at Fernie and the BC interior.
post #15 of 24
Oh forgot, now in a couple of years there will be a big ski resort on that road half way between Kamlopps and Jasper near Valmout (sp?) It was approved thai fall.
post #16 of 24
I just returned from a trip to Kicking Horse and Lake Louise.

I stayed at a place called Kicking Horse River Chalets. It's east of Golden about twenty minutes or so. The first right turn after you leave Golden. Really great log A-frame chalet. You take your stuff for meals if you want. It's about 30-40 minutes West of Lake Louise.

If you want more, info let me and I can hook you up with one of the owners.

post #17 of 24
Thread Starter 
Sculhane thanks, sounds great. The road from Banff to Jasper is definitely spectacular in summer. Even in winter it’s quite nice but not to compare with summer. We drove that road last winter on our way from Banff to Powder King. If you ever think about this resort make sure that you like driving a lot.

JackW, I didn’t know anything about “Schweitzer Mountain”. Looks like a small hill with some nice tree skiing. I’ll keep it in mind. Jackson Hole is more then 1000km from Rossland. That’s definitely to far away. 2005 again Canada but in 2006 a USA Ski Safari is “planned”.

Dougw, I experienced Sunshine Village with only 90cm or less in 2001, which was really bad, in 2002 with over 200cm and Delirium Dive + WestSide open – just great and last year again with only about 120cm and that’s not enough. The really need 150++ to talk about excellent conditions and to be able to open the real challenging stuff.
I tried to find any future information about the new resort but no success. Hopefully with a lot of expert terrain.

Rob, if I can find a travel partner(s) that would be a very nice place. If I’m on my own it’s too big and expensive. I’ll let you know as soon as I know more. Thanks anyway!! [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #18 of 24
Originally posted by paedde:
I tried to find any future information about the new resort but no success. Hopefully with a lot of expert terrain.

Thats just been announced so it will be , who knows 2-3 years before lifts go in. Just for future ref. it would make that Sun Peaks marmot banff loop a lott better.
post #19 of 24
Thread Starter 
For sure and I’ll be there for the opening or at least within the opening season.
post #20 of 24
Schwietzer is not a small ski hill, I think it is as big as Silver Star. But I don't blame you not coming to the US this trip. If I were you, I will keep my options open for Montana or Upper Idaho, just in case.
post #21 of 24
Thread Starter 
And specific resorts?
post #22 of 24
My information on Montana resorts is out dated. Perhaps some one else can fill that in.
post #23 of 24

Montana: Closest is the Big Mountain in Whitefish. About 2 hours from Fernie. Yes it is BIG, at least twice as big as Fernie, good tree skiing, not a lot of steeps. There is also Turner Mountain, in Libby. Open only on weekends, their motto is Steep, Deep and Cheap. Never been there, but it looks cool. I will definitely try this place in February.

Also to consider: Baker Mountain, about 2 hours from Vancouver. Smallish, but great steeps and sick amounts of snow.

If you have not done it and the weather is nice, 99 North from Whistler towars Lilloet, then Kamloops (Sun Peaks) is a fabulous road. You can also avoid Vancouver traffic when leaving Whistler. About 4-5 hours to Sun Peaks if memory is good.

Leaving tomorrow for Jackson Hole Hopefully, we'll get to ski together in February.

post #24 of 24
Thread Starter 
Hi Steve

Thanks for info.

Just 3 weeks to go and the safari can start. Let’s pray for a lot of snow and some cooler temperatures.

I’ll probably change my route and hope to ski with you one of the steep and deep resorts.

I have 4 more days for skiing back home. Don’t know yet where to go. It will be any Austrian or Italian resort. Starting on Sunday and a lot of snow is on the way. Just a little bit too warm right now.

Have fun!

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