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May skiing at Sunshine Valley?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
We're an Ontario family thinking of our first trip out west ... looking at going to SSV in the late April, early May timeframe. Since our local hill will have flowers blooming in May it's hard to have confidence in the conditions.

How risky do you all think a late April-early May trip will be, conditions wise, in Alberta?

post #2 of 12
Should be plenty of snow but what is a crap shoot is warm temps. You can get into the days where it is frozen in the morning and often not worth getting there for and then in the afternoon it is so slushy it is painful and slow. As the spring goes on the window of good snow between the two extremes gets smaller and smaller. On the other hand you have about an equal chance of hitting full winter conditions. There will be lots of snow it's just the condition of the snow that's an issue. If it is freeze thaw at least it's a good place to catch rays.

It's Sunshine Village by the way, you'll stick out badly referring to it as 'the Valley'.
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks much for the reply. And I knew the correct name is "Sunshine Village" ... I've been looking at their ads all week. But I had just read a post about Squaw Valley and must have confused myself.

So the bottom line is, probably plenty of snow ... but snow conditions can vary significantly year to year.

Overall, would you say it's worth a trip? Or better to wait until next season?
post #4 of 12
I can't really assess what it is worth to you. I would think it is worth a trip and you have a very good chance of good snow. The national ski team thinks it's worth a trip at the end of may every year. 3 or4 years ago my best skiing of the season at Lake Louise was the week starting april 20. I still think we have a lot of winter left and have thought it would be a slow spring coming since the fall. Getting later in the season then too so you should be able to do some good hotel deals.
post #5 of 12

Current Conditions

For what it's worth I've been up there the last three days and current conditions are pretty darn good! 30 cm of powder over the past two days and the base has grown by about 60 cm in the past week. The next 10 days in the weather forecast have precipitation forecast for about 8 of them, and the precip should fall as snow up at Sunshine's elevation.
post #6 of 12
"Since our local hill will have flowers blooming in May it's hard to have confidence in the conditions. "
ya things are differnt in differnt places

according to env. cad SSV has the deepest snow base in the first week of May.

might be winter and 30cm fresh, might be ice in AM and corn in PM, might be inbetween.
post #7 of 12
I'm skiing Banff April 15-19. How does it look for then. Also, any suggestions on restaurants, cool activities, and what sections of the mountains to hit are appreciated.
post #8 of 12
search for banff and you should fine all that you are looking for

hard runs.

good eats.

post #9 of 12
Heres the deal folks, it's going to be sunny (bring the sunscreen) but it could dump like hell and you might need fat skis ( but any of the locals have skied this stuff for years on straights). Other than that if you want you can show up and buy any of us a beer .
post #10 of 12

Trip Report--Lake Louise & Sunshine 3/29, 3/30

Amazing that the snow can be so different at hills 20 miles apart. Louise was OK, but the snow was beginning to take on a definite spring quality. As my daughter said: "Lots of ice and lots of slush." We didn't do an extended tour of the mountain, but concentrated on the greens and blues on the Frontside and Larch. Those of you who've skied the high black runs on the backside can comment on the conditions there, hopefully still winter quality in the snow.

Sunshine was hit by periodic snow (at times heavy) during the time we spent there today. Conditions on the runs were very good (aside from the odd spot where the snowboarders had scraped it down to the hardpack). There were still some powder stashes available on the hill, particularly on the lee side runs. For those of you coming in April, Sunshine should still be in great shape. I enjoyed it so much I'm going to stop on my way up to Marmot tomorrow to catch a few more hours and try a few new runs.

We would have skied more at Louise, but the 25 minutes in line to buy lift tickets, the 20 minutes in line to buy a grab & go breakfast sandwich, and the 20 minutes in line to ride the gondola up to the backside took their toll. Just to compare, Sunshine: 5 minutes for tickets, 1 minute for breakfast, 5 minutes in gondola line. And I won't mention the RCR washrooms... :
post #11 of 12

Banff Trip March 24-29

I had such a different experience than Gnjantzie with Lake Louise. The snow was great all weekend and Monday. Plenty to go around. We skiied Sunshine on Friday in a foggy white out and nobody enjoyed it. Sunday and Monday were at Lake Louise and after that, I was sad I wasted a day at Sunshine (no offense to anyone) We got in on the first shuttle from Banff and were up the mountain by 8:40am. The crowds didn't show up til about 10am. Never had to wait more than 2 minutes for any chairlifts or the gondola except maybe 5-10 minutes waits on the Larch and Ptarmigan chairs, because the light got so flat and everyone migrated over there. But when the sun came through, the backside was out of control. We spend all the sunny times on Paradise going up and down. Great snow, fun bumps. We had lunch in the Temple Lodge both days and never had to wait more than 2 minutes for anything (we ate at 1pm)

We ate in our hotel (Banff Springs Hotel) for most of our meals besides lunch since they were included in our package, but did get out to the Maple Leaf, good, but overpriced for what you get, and the Grizzly House, which I HIGHLY recommend.

Have fun...we did!
post #12 of 12
If you get to the Lake early should be no probs as SM said. I don't really deal with the lift pass and food mind you. I went to Sunshine Tues and it was nuts still but that I went at prime time. Not really a factor for either hill when you plan to be here. Easter week is done early this year. I heard there was some thawing action at the lake this week but in general the front side bottom is not great. Sunshine will have better lower end to intermediate skiing with better snow as long as the weather lets you see it. Up and over at the Lake is quite stellar at the moment and should stay that way for a while.
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