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Best snow close (3hr. drive) to Calgary?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Okay, fools that we are, we've booked our flights to Calgary, for a week of skiing in early March, even tho' the snow reports are looking grim. We've got to book accomodation soon. Is there anyone out there who knows where we will likely find the best snow?

We're strong skiers, preferring the steep and deep but will stick to the groomers if it will save our bases... the rocks at Lake Louise were not very kind to them in the last El Ninio year : ! We're considering Kicking Horse or Fernie but are open to anything within a 3 hr. drive of Calgary.
post #2 of 11
Kicking Horse or Sunshine, and no whining about bases allowed.
post #3 of 11
Went to all three last year, and Sunshine had the most, best snow by far. Although I did some rock skiing at LL, I REALLY tore up my skis at Kicking Horse. I would take a day trip to Kicking Horse, LL. Stay in Banff and ski Sunshine the rest of the time. There is also nothing to do in Golden (Kicking Horse) and a lot to do in Banff!
post #4 of 11
I'm also going up to that area soon also! Definitely want to try Sunshine, Lake Louise, and probably Kicking Horse, but I wondered about some other places as well....

Are Mt. Norquay, Nakiska, or Fortress worth a try? They seem reasonably close, but small. Hard to tell from the trail maps if they would be disappointing or if they would be uncrowded gems. We are advanced skiers who like bowls, glades, and moguls...if all the advanced stuff is just steep groomers, I'm not interested!

Also wondering about Panorama - that's not too far of a drive is it? Is it worth a day?

Thanks for feedback. I can hardly wait to get on the plane to Calgary!
post #5 of 11
Heres the deal guys, we are behind on snow everywhere around here . As for who has the best coverage thats the million dollar question , and what will it be like next week is another good question. The thing about the Kootenays and right through to the eastern slopes is the big snows on normal years don't even show up till mid Feb. , so keeping this in mind and praying to the god of snow is where we're at right now.
Staying in Banff will give you the most options and let you go where the fresh stuff falls . Fernie could be awsome or stay the way it is right now but who knows . If your thinking Kicking Horse , Panorama and Kimberly look at a resort area called Fairmont Hot Springs , it's central in the valley and will give you the choice to go where the snow is in that area.
Overall it's ok and should be better by Mar.
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Leeroy, Thanks for the local perspective and the suggestion of Fairmont Springs, I will check it out and will be praying to the snow gods... for all of our sakes!

DC_skier, Banff is our fall-back position, precisely because if the skiing is a washout, there's lots of other things to do. We first heard "Painting Daisies", at a pub in Banff and have been waiting for the world to discover them, and they have! The CBC Music Dream featured them (www.cbc.ca) in a kinder, gentler version of "Popstar" and they have advanced to the finals. We'd love to discover new talent if we go back.

B40, Based on prior experience...
Mt. Norquay is the closest to the town of Banff & has less altitude than LL & Sunshine, so that it gets less snow and more rain. Given the poor skiing thru-out the Rockies, I don't think that it'll be a good bet for this year.

Leeroy probably could give you a more informed opinion of Nakiska, we've only skiied one day (on a weekend) there and found that the conditions were akin to what is normal for us in Ontario... crowded, heavily groomed and hard-packed. I don't know if that is typical, but they do a lot of race training there (it was the site of the downhill events for the Calgary Olympics) so they might like their runs in that condition? That being said, grooming does preserve the base, which could be a good thing in a bad snow year. It is also the closest of the major ski areas to Calgary and there were a lot of day skiers the day we were there.
post #7 of 11
We went to Banff 2 winters ago (it was their worst winter in 50 years - very little snow). We skied Louise, Norquay, Sunshine and Kicking Horse. Sunshine had the best snow of the group. I think this may be due to the nice location stuck in a high mountain valley. Kicking Horse earned the name 'Kicking Ass' for us that year... Rocks, ice, tree stumps, oh, and occasionally a patch of snow.

We're headed for Big White and Silver Star next week... We sure do know how to pick our years for ski trips to the Canadian Rockies....
post #8 of 11
Hey guys Fernie is having one of it's epic dumps as we speak.
There has been close to two feet in the last 36 hrs. up to 6 am this morning and another 6-7 in. in the parking lot of the Griz Inn to now at 10 am. They have had so much that it has caused electrical problems and the lifts are down , on top of that my sources say that nobody can get from town up to the resort. This holiday Monday seems to be cursed , big snow and lift problems occur on this day almost annually it seems .
Later guys , gotta go wax and pack the van.
post #9 of 11

Perfect for your family get away!!! Same time every year is it not? You a re good luck and I am going to ski with you every year. [img]tongue.gif[/img]

Hey lay some track in the Lizard Bowl for me and say hi to your kids,

Later eh! and have fun!!!!


[ February 17, 2003, 11:00 AM: Message edited by: PowDigger ]
post #10 of 11
I will be up there about the same time as you. I have a wedding to attend in Kananaskis on March 8th. I'm staying close to Nakiska, but most likely will make the drive to Sunshine on Thursday.

On Sunday, the 9th, my wife and a couple of friends arrive. We're heading to Fernie for the week.

Thanks to Leeroy for the Fernie update. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img] It looks like we might have some fresh powder after all.

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Whooo-hooo! I'll never underestimate the power of prayer again! The ski god has blessed Fernie. [img]graemlins/angel.gif[/img] I wish that I were in your ski boots right about now... have fun!
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