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Going to Banff - challenging runs to ski?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I want to make the most of my chance to ski there. I love steeps like Couloir Extreme and Pakalolo on Blackcomb. Enjoy moguls, too. Great views, too - but who doesn't.

I'll be alone so I don't want to go backcountry, but I don't want to miss the big double-black diamond challenges - and with 217 runs or whatever it is that wouldn't be hard.

Any advice or thoughts on various black and double-blacks at Lake Louise would be most appreciated!
post #2 of 19
I never got to Banff per se but I loved Lake Louise. No steeps as extensive as Whistler/Blackcomb but a great area overall; I loved it. Absolutely don't miss it. And the way to get to do some stuff that a singe skier shouldn't do alone is to join up with Lake Louise "Mountain Host" tours and hope that there are enough good skiers that day to form a black diamond group. That's what happened when I was there; and we were taken on a very intense afternoon of tree skiing in what I believe is the only part of the area to provide anything close to real double black skiing.

Sunshine. OK and I guess if you are coming from so far you'd want to see it.
Nakiska. Nice big wide groomers but not worth a day.
post #3 of 19
I'll assume you will be going to Sunshine Village, as the other mountain closer to Banff (Norquay) isn't very challenging.

At Sunshine the most challenging terrain is at the Goat's Eye mountain (disembark from the gondola at the mid-station). That mountain is, unfortunately, usually pretty heavily beaten by the wind, so expect rocks at the double-blacks. It's a bitch (sorry) to ski in white light. Off the quad take the left for some chutes and tree skiing (Saddledome, Wildside, Cleavage and Mother-In-Law), also a short hike will take you to the chutes. Take the right for some exciting double-blacks like Hell's Kitchen and Freefall. Have somebody with you.

The Tee-Pee Town chairlift also serves mostly black terrain, which holds a bit more snow.

There's also the Delirium Dive:

http://www.skibanff.com/mountain/extreme.html

As the previous poster said Louise is very nice too, so alternate the two mountains. They're part of slightly different weather patterns, so it could dump at one while the other is bone dry. Ski the back side of Louise. If this doesn't sound exciting I don't know what does:

http://www.skilouise.com/trailmaps/backbowls.html
post #4 of 19
Quote:
That's what happened when I was there; and we were taken on a very intense afternoon of tree skiing in what I believe is the only part of the area to provide anything close to real double black skiing.
If you want to see what the Lake has to offer, take the Top of the World chair and drop down to the backside. When you get to the bottom, turn your head 360*'s - it's all skiable if there's enough snow. There's a fair bit of double black terrain that isn't in the trees - assuming you'd consider steep, tight chutes, cliffs and cornices as double black.
Goats Eye at SSV can be good if there's been fresh snow and not much winds, otherwise it can be pretty rocky/icy. Most of the legitimate good terrain at Sunshine is in the Dive and Wild Wild West, both areas require a partner and avy gear.
Agreed on Nakiska, generally just groomers although it can be fun after a big storm. Norquay's much the same, it's got some seriously steep runs that are good on a powder day but can be all huge bumps if it hasn't snowed in a while.
I'm generally not opposed to touring someone around the Banff hills, unless Fernie's been dumped on.
post #5 of 19
[quote]That's what happened when I was there; and we were taken on a very intense afternoon of tree skiing in what I believe is the only part of the area to provide anything close to real double black skiing.[quote]

That's rich. If you want to be sure you miss all of the best skiing hook up with the ski friends for the free mountain tour.

If you want to ski the steep demanding terrain take JeffW's advice or just hook up with me, it can be arranged.
post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by seaskier
That's what happened when I was there; and we were taken on a very intense afternoon of tree skiing in what I believe is the only part of the area to provide anything close to real double black skiing.
just to clear up some of these problems..

the steepest stuff at louise is definetly not in the trees...
(a black diamond group with the snow hosts thats hilarious... thats like asking a lifty where the good snow is... lmao)

ride the summit platter at louise or get a beacon and a shovel and a helmet and head for delerium dive at sunshine,,
norquay is super super steep,, thats where alow of locals go when its snowing,,
there is an extreme skiing competion at louise in a few weeks,, im sure it wont be held in the trees,,,

Double Blacks at louise=== er3, er6, whitehorn 2 gullies, there are lots of others,,
i would also be willing to show any visitors the goods let me know if your interested
post #7 of 19
snort away, friends.
you weren't there.
post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by seaskier
snort away, friends.
you weren't there.
i have skied lake louise probably 4 or 5 hundred times i just looked at the map and there are maybe 5 or 6 true double black diamonds in the trees,, and most are not that steep they are just marked double black because they are in the trees,,
there are 25 marked double blacks that are all considered high alpine and treeless,, are are truly very very steep

im sure you had a good day seaskier its just too bad you didnt get too see more of what the lake has to offer..
the tree skiing is gr8,,,
the super steeps are even better,,,
post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by seaskier
snort away, friends.
you weren't there.
No offense meant by commenting on the real steeps at the Lake, but I did grow up here and started skiing the Lake 28 years ago. I can safely say that you didn't hit the only runs "close to real double black skiing" at the Lake while in the trees.
If you make it up back here I'd be happy to take the place of the hosts and show you around.
post #10 of 19
1. To my understanding, black/double-black etc etc do not refer solely to steepness but to overall difficulty. It is generally the custom that a black will go to double-black when in the trees to acknowledge such greater difficulty.
2. The area I was talking about included Big Trees, Bernies, Mind Bender etc. They are indeed marked as double black. If you read my post you would see that I did not say that those trails are toughest, gnarliest, toughest, steepest etc. at LL and in fact I specifically downgraded them as "close" to real double black as they are not severe; but our Host skied them well and fast so it was a challenge, especially with the tricky snow in the trees -- light powder over ice.
3. I was merely offering Old School the idea --- who said specifically that he would be skiing alone -- that if he hooked up with the right Host group he might get to ski, and safely, some of the tougher runs with folks who know the mountain well,
4. If there are other much steeper, true double blacks at LL where a visitor can be wowed & impressed by local experts, I stand corrected.
5. Now that I have reviewed the map, I am reminded we also skied the area around ER 3 and Swede's, which were quite steep enough for me.
6. But the significant point I was trying to make is that a newbie to an area can sometimes hookup with the right "Mountain Host" group and do some really fine skiing -- such groups are usually but not always for intermediates on gentle groomed runs. I learned at LL that joining one is not as cheezy as some people like to make them appear. In fact if I were managing a large ski area like Whistler, Alta etc I would make sure that such advanced groups were common as it makes the mountain a much more vivid experience for the vistitor. My day at Lale Louise was made truly memorable because I got to ski parts of a great mountain which I wouldn't have skied (properly so) as a lone skier unfamilar with the terrain.
post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by seaskier
If you read my post you would see that I did not say that those trails are toughest, gnarliest, toughest, steepest etc. at LL and in fact I specifically downgraded them as "close" to real double black as they are not severe;
Originally Posted by seaskier
"""""That's what happened when I was there; and we were taken on a very intense afternoon of tree skiing in what I believe is the only part of the area to provide anything close to real double black skiing.""""


im sorry if i somehow misread that ??????? but you can see how it might happen....
post #12 of 19
keep it in the forums,,no need to clog up my email with this drivel,,, i never should've responded in the first place ,
your post was very misleading,, snowhosts are notoriously bad and yes i have been on tours with them ....


Private Message: snorting
Today, 03:38 PM
seaskier
Member
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 28

snorting
laugh all you want buddy.
post #13 of 19
Delirium Dive.

But wake up early one day and do Kicking Horse.

You need to check it out.
post #14 of 19
Lake Louise: clear days- any of the ER's, whitehorn, Whitehorn 2,
cloudy days- any of the runs in Ptarmigan trees


Sunshine: only runs that are really even black are on Goats Eye, the Warden's Chutes (whatever they're called on the map these days, far skiers left runs) and Hells Kitchen are some of the best.

If you really want hard, follow this procedure. Go to Sunshine. Go into the Dive and hike all the way across Galaxy Ridge. Ski part way down and enter small bowl on right. Ski down the bowl until it cliffs out. Huck the 20 footer onto a 10 x 10 landing. Step turn and huck the 15 footer into the narrow chute. Make sure you have enough speed to clear the cliff you are standing on, but not enough speed that you hit the other side of the chute. Proceed to straight line the chute since there is not enough room to turn anyways. If you want to check out the line it is visible from the Goat's Eye chair. Enjoy!
post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the help! I'll be at LL for the Lake Louise Big Mountain Challenge finals on Saturday (watching only), and I think I'll try Kicking Horse on Sunday - as my wife has designated it her "spa day".
When she suggested it might be fun for us to just lounge, hit the spa, then go for tea I simply raised the magazine I was reading (the final Freeze) and all was settled.

I'll let you know how it all goes. Thanks again!
Where we stay...

Where we play...uh, I play
KH

LL
post #16 of 19
Thread Starter 
And thanks very much for the offers to ski with - I would love to do that another time.
Isn't the internet great - I can't think of too many situations pre-Internet in which strangers would offer to take you skiing.
You guys are great!
post #17 of 19
The epic ski gathering is at kicking horse on the weekend. Myself oneLarry and Leeroy will be down and have some treats at least on Saturday.
post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 
Sadly, my wife was ill, so the only skiing I got in was when she was at her conference - went to Lake Louise and as suggested by you guys, I hit the Back Bowls!
Fantastic time! Down the backside of Whitehorn was a LOT of fun. I'll be back there asap!

No Kicking Horse this time, sadly, but having missed it this time it is pencilled in as MUST SKI in my Ski-To-Do book.

Thanks for all the help. ---and yes, the best steeps/double blacks at LL are NOT in the trees!
post #19 of 19
Glad to hear you got some of the goods.
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