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Lake Louise or Sunshine

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I just moved to Calgary from Colorado where I was spoiled with the buddy passes. The last five years I've had a pass to Keystone, Breckenridge and A basin. Now that I'm up here I'm forced to choose one area for all my skiing next winter. Therefore I was hoping that some locals would be able to give me some advice on the pros and cons of each area. I'm an advanced skier who prefers steeps and powder.
post #2 of 16
Drive past those and go to Kicking Horse or Whitewater.
post #3 of 16
I am no local, but I have skied both several times. I liked LL's terrain; it is a huge area, but they get half the snow of Sunshine. Also Sunshine's layout is not very fluid and although it is probably a coincidence, the single most crowded ski-day I ever spent anywhere was at Sunshine. Sunshine is closer to Calgary; LL is another 45 minutes.

I have been to Kicking Horse and unless you are a true expert, it won't be much fun (although there are a few small bowls that don't require extreme skills) It is also another couple of hours from Banff so not too easy to get to.

Hope that helps.
post #4 of 16
Well, I'm not local, but visited the area last winter. Both Sunshine & Lake Louise have great terrain which would meet your requirements. I'd be hard pressed to pick - but, if you are really in Calgary, Sunshine is significantly closer, which would sway me. Easier to get to.

There is a Big-3 season pass (saw on www.skibig3.com), which would get you Lake Louise, Sunshine, & Banff at Norquary - but, I'm guessing that's a lot more expensive than just picking one place. Sunshine's own season pass gives you discounts at other resorts, I noticed.

Wish I had such a decision to make!
post #5 of 16
Or you can get a Rocky Moutain Pass RMP = Lake Louise, Fernie, Kimberly, Fortress, Panorama, Nakiska, Norquay, and Sunshine Now this one is advertised in the fall but the banff one is not, maybe more for Banff locals. Getting more than SS or LL costs about $1000 on a family so $500 for a adult. An option is to get one pass and then get a card at the other. Cards cost about one day price give you two days and the rest of the season at discount. The SS pass also gives you a discount at Kicking Horse which is about as good as the KH card discount. Also gives you a discount at Red in B.C..

Now to your original question. It used to be that SS had great snow but so so terrain and if you could have SS's snow and LL terrain that would be perfect. Now with SS having goats Eye and the Dive that doesn't really hold anymore. We had a pass at Fortress which gave us early and late skiing at LL but choose to go to SS last year and this year. I've had some great days at LL but it tends to be icier as it has snowmaking and SS gets way more snow.
post #6 of 16
My wife and I spent a few days at Sunshine and LL in January. While LL was beautiful, it was also one massive ice sheet. Sunshine had much better snow and the views were spectacular at Sunshine, too. The snowmakers were running non-stop while we were at LL. It was a low snow year pretty much everywhere for January so maybe we just hit it at the wrong time.
post #7 of 16
One persons massive ice sheet is another person's 'packed powder'. I have skied at LL and Sunshine and thought both were fabulous, but there was fresh snow almost every night and some sun during the day in the week I was there. The slopes were uncrowded, there was lots of uncut snow in the woods and on the edges of trails. I thought LL was easier to navigate around than SS and didn't require a gondola ride every morning and I did get stuck in the base lodge drinking Kokanee when a slide buried the road out to the Trans-Canada Hwy, but I'm getting picky.

Being an Eastern skier my tolernace for sub-optimal snow conditions is very high. I have been shocked by 'ice' comments by some while skiing in the west on decent snow. It is all in the eye of the beholder.
post #8 of 16
Another big vote for Lake Louise but I've never been a big Sunshine fan. Lack of fluid terrain and access problems mentioned above are a couple of the reasons. Not mentioned is socked in can't see squat weather a lot, screaming winds and wind slabbed snow and one truly challenging run (delirium dive) that is far from reliable for opening and tough to do circuits on. Last year was a bad start and while Lake Louise had snow guns you had to tolerate they did make snow that allowed skiing without trashing skis. Sunshine was rough. Sunshine can be awesome for late spring skiing though and fun when the visibility is good. The big 3 pass is about $1000 or as dougW points out the Resorts of the Rockies pass that gives you the Lake and Fernie. Big 3 pass deadline is Sept 18th I think and it's still pretty good value compared to other areas.
post #9 of 16
Can't go wrong with either LL or SS, although my vote goes for multi-area passes - RCR Superpass in particular. Sunshine may get better snow than LL, but Fernie is on the pass and blows SS away. If cash isn't a huge issue, the new Rockies Passport includes LL, SS, Fernie, Kimberley, Norquay, Nakiska, Fortress, Panarama, blah, blah blah for $1299 cdn - 20 days pays for the pass and I don't think the terrain available for that price can be beat anywhere. Just my thoughts.
post #10 of 16
My vote goes to the Larch area at Louise.I wouldn't even go back to Nakiska.Speaking of Norquay..anyone skiied "Valley Of The Ten"?I really like those big enough signs around Norquay "DANGER of uncontrolled sliding falls"..and the little logo of the skier falling/sliding..
S/S,L BOTH are SPECTACULAR!,BEAUTIFUL!..both are close to 10,000' so both can get get fabulous snow..neither of them get ugly very often..then of course there's Whiteface(that I love)..that SOMETIMES isn't ugly..
Ski them both!
post #11 of 16
I think the RCR pass would be the go IMHO, How far is Red from where you live?
post #12 of 16
Originally posted by FLI355:
I think the RCR pass would be the go IMHO, How far is Red from where you live?
Caglary to Red. 8-12 hours in winter roads
post #13 of 16
hmmmm just a touch too far to be a viable option [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #14 of 16
Sunshine is outrageously crowded at the top. LL has a terrific lodge and the Larch area offers fantastic skiing. Back bowls are challenging - the platter is a drag though. Found myself alone on many slopes.
post #15 of 16
Originally posted by Mookie:
the platter is a drag though.
I hope this was an intentionally bad pun.
post #16 of 16
I don't know. This is kind of like asking if you want chocolate ice cream or vanilla. You have just moved to heaven. Enjoy the feast!
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