New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Skiing in Canada...

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone. I just finished searching for Canada and skiing in Canada on the epicski search feature. Of course both of those keywords are very broad and I got many hits. I have noticed that there have been many threads related to Canada within the past year. Most of those threads seemed to be pretty specific (e.g., discussing only one resort~Whistler & Tremblant,etc...). However, I was hoping to get some feedback on the best places to ski in Canada. I have been skiing for two season and am most comfortable with blue trails. I have done black a few times, but am not completely confident/comfortable yet. I've been skiing at Timberline, Snowshoe(not the Western Territory though~I'm a wuss!), Canaan Valley, WinterPlace and Wisp in MD. I wanted to try out some new territory this coming winter and have heard good things about the ski terrain in Canada. I would love to make it out to the West Coast someday, but right now I am looking for a place within driving distance.
So what are some good places in Canada? Places for beginner/intermediate skiers is what I am looking for at the moment. However, I am working on developing my skills and welcome suggests of advanced resorts as well.
Thank you so much in advance for any help you may be able to provide
post #2 of 27
From West Virginia as an intermediate.... From first hand experience:

East:
Tremblant is the major area in the east. It's not all that far from Montreal and it has tons of intermediate terrain and a Whistler-like base village constructed by the same parent company. A better vacation is to stay in Quebec City and ski Mt. St Anne or Le Massif less than an hour away. Avoid Quebec in Janurary. You'll have warmer temps and more sun from mid-February onwards.

Far West:
I wouldn't recommend Whistler to a beginner/intermediate but it has some of the best terrain in North America.

There's some great snowcat skiing in British Columbia and several medium-sized ski areas around the Okanagan region. Monashee Powder Adventures, Sun Peaks, Apex, Big White, Silver Star... Great skiing at bargain prices but tough access from the east.

I've never made it to the Canadian Rockies.
post #3 of 27
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much for all the info. I will try and look for the websites of the places you mentioned.
I heard good things about Killington as well. How does it compare to the places you've mentioned in Canada? Is it for more advanced skiers?
post #4 of 27
i would go to http://www.skiodyssey.com/ and look for a few canada resorts that interest you as far as trailmap and their writeup,then reask.it lists green,blue,blsck trails, etc. to allow you to make an educated guess.
post #5 of 27
http://skiamericacanada.com/

This site is a good place to start with general info on North American resorts in general; if you browse through it in tandem with the websites of each resort listed there you should get a fairly good understanding of the terrain, pros and cons and general feel of each resort. Personally for beginner-intermediate reccomend Sun Peaks and Panorama, great fall line cruising and relatively mellow terrain in general. Good luck!
post #6 of 27
lilskeer, i'm an old eastern skier and have visited about 20 new england ski areas, but never made it to ski in eastern Canada. geoffd's picks are right on as two of the biggest and most interesting areas in eastern Canada. Since le massif has built up, I've been especially curious about the ste. anne/le massif combo trip to Q city. But the bottom line for me has been that there are so many fine US ski areas in the northeast that it's hard to pass them by for the trip into canada. you may hear some mixed reviews about killington, but imho on an uncrowded weekday it can provide some of the best fun for an intermediate skier in the entire US. i've been to about a dozen ski areas in american west. never been to western canada, which has MAJOR league skiing and mtn scenery in places like whistler and banff.
post #7 of 27
IMO, to drive from our area of the country all the way to Montreal to ski Mt Tremblant is kind of a waste. It's expensive, the terrain is decent at best and the snow quality isn't that great.


I only say this b/c to get there you have just passed some of New England's best terrain. Bigger mtns, more trails/slopes and more snow & better quality snow in less drive time.

Mt. Tremblant may be nice, but it's not worth the drive PAST places like Killington, Sugarbush, Okemo, etc to go to it.
I looked into last year myself, after the sketchy reviews from Epic brethren on MT I decided why bother? New England is as close if not closer and world's better.

Now if you're talking the Canadian Rockies (not exactly driving distance for us) that's a COMPLETELY different animal.
post #8 of 27
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much everyone for all the info and links!
Yes, I am interested in skiing the New England area! Very interested. I heard there is good skiing in VT,etc..how 'bout New Hampshire?
I know very little about Canadian geography. I was hoping to find a resort around Ontario (only a 6-7 hour drive). However, I've found that most of the good places are 2 days driving distance away! In that case I would go to New England first.
The Canadian rockies sound a bit intimidating! I do not want to dive right into expert terrain. I've only been skiing for two (wonderful) seasons.
Thanks again for your posts
post #9 of 27
I agree with the others that from where you are the extra driving time to Tremblant, especially for intermediate terrain, is not worth it (coming from somebody who has driven from MA to Tremblant 4 times).

For intermediate terrain, you can go almost anywhere in VT: Okemo and Mt. Snow in S. VT are both intermediate mountains. Smuggler's Notch is one of my personal favs in VT, though a new skiier may not appreciate the excellent trails there enough to put up with the slow lifts and long flat ski back to the base area.

With regards to NH, you also have some great areas there, but not so much the full service resorts (besides Loon, and maybe a few others I'm forgetting). The North Conway area is within driving distance of a bunch of places (Sunday River in Maine, Wildcat).
post #10 of 27
Thread Starter 
Thanks again for the info. VT is about 12-13 hours from me. So I would have to plan in advance for a trip there.
As I said before the reason I was thinking about Canada, was because Ontario is about 6-7 hours from my house. However, I was unsure/doubtful that there were any resorts there.
I think if I do ski Canada or New England it will be in the future...I am going to look in to the closer PA ski resorts first.
I just wanted to get some basic info on Canada and the places to ski there.
Thanks again for the links and info everyone
post #11 of 27
I'm trying to figure out where you are in WV. If Wisp is 45 minutes away, I'm guessing you are around Morgantown/Fairmont/Cheat Lake area? Maybe you're further South...


If so, 7S is probably closer than you think. I can be in Morgantown in 45 minutes. If this is the case, taking route 711 from 119 is the ticket to shaving some miles/time to 7S for you.
post #12 of 27
Lilskier, I strongly suggest Whistler. Do not be intimidated by it's expert image... there is still 3 times as much green/blue terrain as many other resorts. Most people find the long runs a great confidence builder, and their skills seem to improve greatly while they're here. The scenery beats Tremblant. The village has it all, no car required. At Vancouver airport, clear customs, and follow the signs to the Whistler busses. Get on one going to your hotel, and in 2hrs you'll be in paradise. All other resorts are measured by Whistler's success, so why compromise?

Re: driving to Eastern resorts; a long two day drive in summer can become a miserable 3-4 day trip in winter conditions... all to go to a resort with 2000 vertical ft or less?
post #13 of 27
"The Canadian rockies sound a bit intimidating! I do not want to dive right into expert terrain. I've only been skiing for two (wonderful) seasons."

lilskeer, I wouldn't be intimidated - Lake Louise, Sunshine Village & Fernie are pretty big hills so they have a lot of variety, definitely not lacking easier terrain for beginers/low intermediates. Kimberley, Panarama and Marmot Basin (Jasper) have tons of easier runs. Whistler/Blackcomb may be known for "extreme" terrain, but certainly aren't lacking in less gnarly terrain.
I just got my wife skiing last season, so she's only been out around 15 days total and loves Lake Louise and Fernie. In my humble opinion, the trip west (either in Canada or the US) would be worth the views you'd find in the western ranges.
post #14 of 27

Skiing in Ontario

Hey if your looking for a resort experience in Ontario check out Blue Mountain only 90 mins. north of Toronto. It is relatively inexpensive. It has a nice village area and is close to a number of small towns plus you can hit a night out in Toronto on your way home!!! A number of PSIA central ski instructors take their families up there near the end of season. They run some really cheap deals.

Here is the link: http://www.bluemountain.ca/

ed
post #15 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Powdigger
Hey if your looking for a resort experience in Ontario check out Blue Mountain only 90 mins. north of Toronto. It is relatively inexpensive. It has a nice village area and is close to a number of small towns plus you can hit a night out in Toronto on your way home!!! A number of PSIA central ski instructors take their families up there near the end of season. They run some really cheap deals.

Here is the link: http://www.bluemountain.ca/

ed
IMO, 720 feet of vertical is NOT worth the drive. Heck, I go there once/twice a season and I LIVE in Toronto. Weekends are very very crowded. The hill is skied out on weekdays quite early even when the snow is good. They don't run all of the lifts during the week, so you can spend a lot of time getting to the trails you want to run.
post #16 of 27

eastern townships

check out the eastern townships in quebec-
http://www.orford.com/home.php
http://www.owlshead.com
http://www.skibromont.com/
http://www.mt-sutton.com/index_en.php

good size mountains-generally get good snow-cold in jan and early feb
less crowded than tremblant-you used to be able to get a multi-day pass that was good at all 4 areas

and Jay Peak in Vt. is close by
post #17 of 27
Lilskeer if you decide not to go out west and don't want to drive all that far (and you dont seem to want anything too intimidating.) you might want to check out the Pocono Mt. areas in Eastern PA. As for W PA check out 7 Springs. There is plenty of gentle and intermediate terrain and some challenging stuff too but nothing to scare someone new to the sport. If you do New England, Stratton in S. Vermont is great for intermediates and has a nice village too.
post #18 of 27
I think when you Tremblant is a great place for intermediate skiers. I went in april last year and had great conditions and great accomodationsw for a reasonable price when you factor in the currency exchange. I would recommend going there but try to hit some other areas in VT on my way up to make the most of my trip.
post #19 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilskeer
Thank you so much for all the info. I will try and look for the websites of the places you mentioned.
I heard good things about Killington as well. How does it compare to the places you've mentioned in Canada? Is it for more advanced skiers?
This is off-topic but I'm happy to provide a point of view on Killington...

As an intermediate unfamiliar with the resort, do not ever ever ever go there on a weekend. Weekends, it's a sprawling crowded agressive place with lots of intersecting trails. Considering the size of the place, there isn't all that much intermediate terrain so a big slice of the weekend crowds get fed onto a relatively small number of acres. It's not family friendly at all due to the crowds and the many different base areas. Midweek is an entirely different universe. It's empty and quite friendly. The real strength of Killington is the woods skiing (and, of course, the nightlife). If you can handle fairly tight trees, there are interesting tree lines between virtually all trails that have been lovingly pruned of the worst of the brush by the regulars.

Southern Vermont has much better intermediate terrain. Mt Snow, Stratton, & Okemo are all stuffed full of groomed cruisers. Once again, they're a very different personality on weekends and you should get your days in midweek if you can.
post #20 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by JR
Lilskier, I strongly suggest Whistler. Do not be intimidated by it's expert image... there is still 3 times as much green/blue terrain as many other resorts. Most people find the long runs a great confidence builder, and their skills seem to improve greatly while they're here. The scenery beats Tremblant. The village has it all, no car required. At Vancouver airport, clear customs, and follow the signs to the Whistler busses. Get on one going to your hotel, and in 2hrs you'll be in paradise. All other resorts are measured by Whistler's success, so why compromise?
2 hours from Vancouver airport to Whistler by bus? Fat chance. Even if the bus doesn't stop at any of the downtown hotels or in Squamish, it's closer to 3 hours because of all the traffic through the city streets of Vancouver. Even after they finish rebuilding the Sea to Sky for the olympics, it still won't be a 2 hour drive from the airport. I drove up from Vancouver a couple of weeks ago to make some turns on the Blackcomb glacier. It took me 45 minutes to get from downtown to the other side of the Lions Gate bridge. That's not exactly unusual.

Airline tickets to Vancouver from the east coast ain't cheap. My sister has lived in Vancouver for the last 20 years so I buy them all the time. With the downturn in the airlines, there aren't many non-stop flights from the east so you end up dealing with changing planes at a hub airport in midwinter. Door to door, Whistler is a loooong trip compared to, say, Utah. With the fall of the dollar, Whistler is now as expensive as many US destination resorts. On much of the hill, intermediates are banished to groomed cat tracks... hardly the most interesting terrain. The intermediate parts of Whistler like the Emerald quad get huge liftlines and way too much skier traffic. The skiing surface certainly isn't what it was in the 1980's before they installed all those high speed lifts. When you get 2 million skier visits, "success" doesn't necessarily translate into a quality experience. I ski there a lot and I really enjoy the mountain but I think an intermediate can do much better with their travel dollar.
post #21 of 27
Thread Starter 
GeoffD: You mentioned that Whistler was expensive. I'm curious about lift ticket prices in Canada/New England and even on the West Coast. Since I've only been skiing in the East, I do not know about the prices elsewhere. During prime season I paid about 45 dollars for a ticket to SnowShoe. I think it was originally 50, but I had my student ID!
I was out of town for a while and have not checked this forum. I was surprised and happy to see all of the posts. You all have provided so much useful information Thanks!
post #22 of 27
For an intermediate skier, Sunshine in the Canadian Rockies has lots of good terrain. An added advantage is a very long season (early November to Mid-May, although the snow starts getting soft by late April). I found the RCR resorts (Louise, Fernie, Kimberly) a little more difficult, but still with lots of good intermediate terrain. Marmot Basin in Jasper is also a great intermediate hill. Castle Mountain and Kicking Horse are a step up in difficulty. Skiing is still a bit of a bargain here as most lift tickets are discounted 30% by the exchange rate on the Canadian dollar.
post #23 of 27
If you were thinking about Ontario, you might want to look into Lake Placid in New York. It might make for a shorter ride than going to VT, ME or NH. It's as descent of a mountain as the bigger resorts in New England. Yeck, it hosted the winter olympics once upon a time.
post #24 of 27
I lived in Canada for a while.

Believe it or not there is pretty doggone good intermedite skiing north of Ontario. I would say there are a dozen resorts around Georgian Bay that get good snow. That would be a great spot for an intermediate.

Fly to Alberta and stay in Banff. There is shuttle service to three large area (Louise, Sunshine, Norquay) and all have tons of intermediate terrain. There is a pass available to all three areas. Stay anywhere in Banff.....it's all good.

A ski dollar goes a long way north of the border.

There is a text called "The Insider's guide to Canadian Skiing" written by a guy named Clive Hobson ISBN # 0-679-02440-9. It was written in 92 but is still fairly up to date in terms of describing the terrain. It's a good place to start.
post #25 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilskeer
GeoffD: You mentioned that Whistler was expensive. I'm curious about lift ticket prices in Canada/New England and even on the West Coast. Since I've only been skiing in the East, I do not know about the prices elsewhere. During prime season I paid about 45 dollars for a ticket to SnowShoe. I think it was originally 50, but I had my student ID!
I was out of town for a while and have not checked this forum. I was surprised and happy to see all of the posts. You all have provided so much useful information Thanks!
Prices....

With the rise in the Canadian dollar, Whistler has stopped being a bargain. Expect to pay 80 to 90% of what you'd pay at a major US destination resort. Given that airfare to Vancover is quite expensive and it's unlikely that you'll find a ticket under $450.00, the overall trip cost is pretty much the same as a premium US resort. My sister lives in Vancover so I price shop airline tickets all the time.

The price of tickets and lodging in New England is inversely proportional to the ease of access from New York City. Weekend day ticket prices in southern and central Vermont are $70 plus or minus a few bucks. Lodging is similarly expensive on weekends. The resorts are pretty empty midweek and there are all kinds of midweek deals to be had. You'll pay much less somewhere like Smugglers Notch which is tough to get to from NYC. Great terrain for all ability levels, excellent snow quality, and very family friendly.
post #26 of 27

Package Costs for Banff/Lake Louise

If you (or anyone else) do want to come to the Canadian Rockies, I just picked up the brochure on Big 3 ski packages (Sunshine, Norquay, Lake Louise). Three day packages for two people range from around $C 550 to $C $750 depending on the time of the season. Six night/five day packages run from about $C 1000 to $1300. The packages include double occupancy room in a selection of reasonably nice motels in Banff, and two 3 day or 5 day tri-area passes. More expensive packages are available if you want to upgrade the accommodations. As mentioned before, Lake Louise and Sunshine have tons of intermediate terrain. Norquay is well groomed, but you need to believe those double blue ratings on some of the runs.

Travel costs to Calgary and transfer from Calgary to Banff are extra, but a number of shuttle buses connect Banff/Canmore to the hills. Remember if you rent a car that you will still have to pay the park fee of $7.00 per person per day on entry to the park. I think if you do the airport shuttle transfer from Calgary to Banff, you can get away without paying it.
post #27 of 27
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for the information. I will have to save some money and think about it for the future. Everyone one this forum is so very helpful. I really appreciate all of the information I'm not sure I'd be able to make it there this winter (with all the airfare,etc), but maybe sometime soon!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Resorts, Conditions & Travel