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Banff Area

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I have 8 or 9 days in Banff in January and would be interested in how you would go about splitting your time up between the resorts.

I am an advanced skier, enjoy off piste, but love steep groomers as well (don't we all) . We don't have too much steep stuff here in Australia but I can ski everything here, I will have done 17 days in Whistler before arriving in Banff on a Yes Improvement course.

I also have days up my sleeve to head to Kicking Horse, Nakiska, Castle Mountain (if reccommended how do I get there from Banff?).

I am heading to Kimberly and Fernie after this so no need to reccommend these resorts.

So really just looking at how to split the time up between LL, Sunshine and Norquay.

Any other resorts or activities I should look into?

Thanks again.

[ October 15, 2003, 03:25 PM: Message edited by: Moose21 ]
post #2 of 17
You've got to follow the weather, especially that time of year.

I would suggest 2 days each at LL, Sunshine, and Kicking Horse, with a day at Panorama. That should leave you a day to ski Norquay if the weather skunks you out elsewhere.
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
So Norquay is better to ski at if there is a snowstorm?
post #4 of 17

You'll be getting the tri area pass right? Do a day at each and then decide where you want to spend the rest of your time.

If I had 8 skiing days in Banff iself, I would probobally spend 4 at LL, 3 at Sunshine, and 1 at Norquay.

I would go to Panorama as well for at least a day, its around 1.5 hours drive from Banff, south of Kicking Horse. The bus is $69.00 (plus GST) return from Banff to Panorama, with a full day adult lift included.

You can do the same thing to Kicking Horse for $75 (plus GST).

Have fun.
post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
yep, tri area pass.

Panorama was not on my original list, thanks for the reccommendation.

Nakiska is only $55 including bus and ticket.
post #6 of 17
Norquay is accessible in most kinds of weather, and very close. On an eight day stay there should be a good chance that at least one of those days will include conditions that aren't very travel friendly. Sunshine is pretty easy to get to also, but if its a snowstorm, much of the mountain will have very poor visibility. ...Hence; a chance to sample Norquay. I suggest you not plan a day at Norquay other than as a back-up. The skiing is good, but just not at the level you will experience at the 4 bigger resorts. You can always ski Norquay on Friday night if it doesn't work out that you have to ski it on a weather day.

Nakiska also isn't in the same league as LL, Sunshine, Kicking Horse, or Panorama. If you just want another ski area on your life list, you might consider doing Fortress in the morning and Nakiska in the afternoon. They are in the same vacinity. I think the lift ticket is still good at both ski areas the same day. You will have to pay attention to the exact days Fortress is open. I understand they have gone to a partial schedule.

Sounds like you are doing the 'dream trip'!!

post #7 of 17
Originally posted by feal:
You will have to pay attention to the exact days Fortress is open. I understand they have gone to a partial schedule.
Open every day except Monday & Tuesday. Looks like the mountains future is questionable.

From RCR...
Faced with skyrocketing power and insurance costs, RCR conducted an extensive review of the economic viability of the Kananaskis resort, a favourite for boarders, freestylers powder hounds and families.

Although operation of the resort remains financially questionable at best, RCR decided to operate Fortress this season while working collaboratively with the provincial government to explore longer-term sustainability options. The company had actively considered consolidating Kananaskis resorts at its nearby Nakiska this winter.

Fortress Mountain will operate on the same powder-preservation schedule as it did last season, opening Wednesdays through Sundays inclusive, with additional operating days scheduled for the following holiday periods:

Christmas and New Years: December 17, 2003 to January 4, 2004
Family Day Weekend: February 11-17, 2004
Easter: April 7-13, 2004
post #8 of 17
4 days LL
2 days Sunshine
1 day Norquay

And a day at Nakiska just to tell Sharky he's a t0sser from me
post #9 of 17
I agree with Oz's breakdown, except that I would replace Norquay with Kicking Horse.

I went to Banff thinking I would be skiing at Sunshine (over LL)most of the time because of the better snow. But I ended up skiing at LL 5 of 6 days.

January is a questionable month for snow coverage at LL, so depending on the weather, you might be better off at Sunsine.

LL is incredible. Huge with a great variety of terrain and low crowds.
post #10 of 17
I hear that it gets Reeeeaaaaaallllllyyyyyy Cold in the banf resorts.

can somebody tell me how cold is cold. Are we talking sub-15F in Christmas. How about Mid Feb?
post #11 of 17

You've heard correctly. I was there over Christmas 2001 and it was frigid. I think it got up to (edit) minus 10-15 on some days. But there was a "temperature inversion" (I think it is called) which meant that it was actually warmer on the mountains than in the valleys. It also didn't snow at all the whole week we were there, but each day was beautiful and sunny.

[ October 17, 2003, 10:50 AM: Message edited by: snowflier ]
post #12 of 17
Can I jump on this temperature bandwagon?

My GF and I are heading somewhere the first week of March. The Banff area is on the short list and it tops her list. I am afraid of it being too cold for comfort for her. (We're from Bama.) Just what would be normal and semi-likely extremes for that time of year? What about at the interior BC areas? Thanks.
post #13 of 17

By March you should expect temperatures to be very similar to what you would expect in Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana.
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
Just to clarify;

8 days at the 3 Banff resorts. All the others I have planned and will be heading there afterwards, eg KH, Nak, Fortress, Panorama, Castle etc.

I will actually be visiting Sunshine and LL on a tour later in the trip as weel. So it will be more like 10 or 11 days at the 3 resorts.

Thanks for the responses so far.
post #15 of 17
I've been there twice, late Feb / early March. Both times it was -18 to - 23 celcius. Was the same temperature in Banff as it was up the mountain. The weather was clear so that helped, but I made sure no skin was exposed. Be prepared but don't let it put you off.
post #16 of 17
January is traditionally our coldest month but the last 2 or 3 have been pretty kind. The 1 and 2 week cold snaps of 30 below can get a tad tedious though. The advice to go with the weather is your best bet. Norquay in the back pocket is good but better for a semi rest day when you want to putz around or just need a bit of a break. Avoid Wed. and definitely avoid weekends. They do a 2 and 3hour pass that you can use morning or afternoon. You can get a lot of vertical in that time. Not a great place when it's really cold because you ski a ways away from the lodge and it gets little sun that time of year. If it's warm/wet the elevation is lowest so again not the choice. The Nakiska and Fortress in a day is tougher then you might think, poor access road to Fortress makes it close to an hour from Nakiska. Personally I wouldn't really go there at all. If it threatens low cloud or there's a chinook and high winds you might pass on Sunshine. Little shelter or trees to give definition in bad light. For that matter don't go to Nakiska when a chinook is approaching. I've always been pretty sure Nakiska is the Stoney tribe word for 'place where the wind frickin' honks'. If you want to see insane wind go to the top of the Gold chair as the chinook first hits. Lake Louise gives better options to stay out of it. Lake Louise can be good in bad cold too as you're never far off of one of 3 lodges. The Lake has snowmaking to cover when things are lean. Sunshine gets more snow. Sunny days at Sunshine when the snow is good can be pretty sweet. You can do a day excursion by bus to Kicking Horse any day so just eye the weather and decide from there. In viscious cold snaps that side of the divide is usually warmer which goes for Panorama as well. When Kicking Horse gets the snow coming there can be lots. Fernie? When it's on it's really on so again weather watch.
post #17 of 17
Been to LL and SSV. I was told not to waste time on Norquay, so since I didn't go there, can't give an opinion on it. I really liked SSV and LL. Was very impressed with the above tree line skiing at SSV. Lots of open territory to explore and Goat's Eye is awesome. This WAS in April and it was sunny and in the 30's. I hear and have read on this post that it can be a bugger of a time at SSV if it is cold because of the exposure and if that blamed Alberta Clipper is moving thru. [img]smile.gif[/img]
Banff is a great town(lots of wonderful food choices|<killer sushi> and shopping) and you have shuttles that run from most hotels to the three areas. Very convenient. If I remember correctly LL was closer(Norquay being the closest)???? But only by 10 min. Anyhow, I would spend more time at SSV if the weather is right. IMO.
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