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Proposed Trip-What can you Tell me

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
This, like every winter-my loyal ski buddy and I will make our annual trip to the real mountains--We try to hit different places every year (though Utah has seen a fair bit of repeats!). This Year we're thinking of Using Kalispell, MT as our starting point-heading out to Big Mountain/ White Fish-and then driving where the winds (or rather snows) may take us--but probably target Fernie and maybe a few smaller BC places along the way--the two most intriguing are WHITEWATER< BC and RED MOUNTAIN--what can anyone tell me about any of these bc places (Fernie too as I've never been there). Worth a Day? I like Big and small-new and old--mostly I like interesting terrain (be it hard or just Interesting) and places that are different and unique. I'll have the usual 7-8 days to kill--I don't mind a little sojourning on vacation in the adventuruous spirit of the Great West. But Basically we'll kick off in Whitewater and probably end there as well.

That is all of course if there's snow by mid January, I usually cough up the dough to book these trips as latre as possible, because I don't like going on ski vacations in places w/out snow!

Ah-I love planning these trips!
post #2 of 15
I live in Whitefish (one word) and ski Big Mountain. It's pretty laid back and we like skiing the trees, primarily because of the FOG. You might miss it in December or March, but January you should expect to ski "with instrumentation" for at least one day and maybe every day. I had one week that after the fifth day in a row I was getting just a tad irritated with the lack of scenery. But the days we have inversions are the days that compensate for the foggy days. And the foggy days USUALLY keep the less gifted skiers off the hill. So, you could wait ten minutes on a trail until someone showed up. And off trail? Well, best to ski with a buddy or it could be an hour or so inbounds until help arrives.

Not sure why you would want to stay in Kalispell. We've got a great bar scene and great restaurants in Whitefish. Staying in Kalispell just adds to your commute time.
post #3 of 15
Hey Liam, I dug up a thread by carvemeister on Red Mountain with a link to lots of pics. Enjoy.

http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=18983
post #4 of 15

Ski Trip

Liam, I'm planning trip like this (you could fly into Spokane Airport) and duplicate this route. Red Mt., Whitewater, Kimberly, Fernie, Big Mt. and Schweizer Mt. back to airport. Can't help you a lot just moved to North Idaho 3 yrs ago from jsut west of Tahoe. Know a lot of people up here who have skied these resorts and say this will be a great trip. I'm going to take my camper and park in the catskiing park lot in Nelson BC and get on standby if theres room, big $ save, if no room go ski a resort etc. I've skied Schweitzer,k good mountain, midweek no one there. If theres powder it is really cool as there are open slopes virtually everywhere. There are some other med and small resorts up here that are really great midweek. If you are coming during busy season you may want to consider; Silver Mt. Idaho and 49 degrees North, Wash. Both great for one day and off piste powder is great at either place. If you have questions or whatever on these contact me. I'm going to make it to Big Mtn and ski with sibhusky this year too. Also JHCooley this site is in the Nelson Bc area maybe he can help you out.

Good luck
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post
I live in Whitefish (one word) and ski Big Mountain. It's pretty laid back and we like skiing the trees, primarily because of the FOG. You might miss it in December or March, but January you should expect to ski "with instrumentation" for at least one day and maybe every day. I had one week that after the fifth day in a row I was getting just a tad irritated with the lack of scenery. But the days we have inversions are the days that compensate for the foggy days. And the foggy days USUALLY keep the less gifted skiers off the hill. So, you could wait ten minutes on a trail until someone showed up. And off trail? Well, best to ski with a buddy or it could be an hour or so inbounds until help arrives.

Not sure why you would want to stay in Kalispell. We've got a great bar scene and great restaurants in Whitefish. Staying in Kalispell just adds to your commute time.
Thanks for the tips on BM--I wasn't planning on staying in Kalispell--I was planning on flying in and out of kalispell
post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete No. Idaho View Post
Liam, I'm planning trip like this (you could fly into Spokane Airport) and duplicate this route. Red Mt., Whitewater, Kimberly, Fernie, Big Mt. and Schweizer Mt. back to airport. Can't help you a lot just moved to North Idaho 3 yrs ago from jsut west of Tahoe. Know a lot of people up here who have skied these resorts and say this will be a great trip. I'm going to take my camper and park in the catskiing park lot in Nelson BC and get on standby if theres room, big $ save, if no room go ski a resort etc. I've skied Schweitzer,k good mountain, midweek no one there. If theres powder it is really cool as there are open slopes virtually everywhere. There are some other med and small resorts up here that are really great midweek. If you are coming during busy season you may want to consider; Silver Mt. Idaho and 49 degrees North, Wash. Both great for one day and off piste powder is great at either place. If you have questions or whatever on these contact me. I'm going to make it to Big Mtn and ski with sibhusky this year too. Also JHCooley this site is in the Nelson Bc area maybe he can help you out.

Good luck
That is a very possible itinerary--my buddy will be driving a truck he's getting from his uncle back to the east coast (and hence-with a vehicle in hand is why we want to make a journey around this area) so Sppokane as a launching point also makes sense.

I've always been curious about Schweitzer (trail map looks inviting, anyway) and Silver--never heard of 49 degrees North and that makes me want to check it out...I really like the sound of your itinerary--how long is your trip going to be (in days that is--Unfortunately-my wife takes time off of work so I can go skiing eventualyu I have to get back home!).

Liam
post #7 of 15

Trip

Liam. Aren't reallysure on day length or when I will go. My ski partner and myself will wait till we have good snow to take off. If your partner has a truckl and you want to join us thats great. Flying into Spokane has to be cheaper and easier than Kalispell. Sorry I can't be more precise on dates etc. We were going to more specifically do the following.

Driveto Red Mt. ski 1 or 2 days depending on snow, experience etc.

Driveto whitewater/Nelson and park in catskiing park lot and maybe get on if theres room at discount rate of standby (depends also on snow quality and weather), or ski Whitewater 1 or 2 dAys.

Drive to Kimberly ski 1 day

Drive to Fernie, ski 1 or 2 days

Then either drive home or on the way ski Big Mt. or stop at Schweitzer and ski there. Or if we're pooped or out of time just go home.

All depends on snow/weather. I don't know how flexible youare on time but at the least check with me for ski snow report and or join us. Pete
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
Pete,

your itineraryy sounds wonderful--though, just checking driving distances et al-I probably couldn't swing the necessary time to pull it off.

But I think I could pull off half your trip--if you had to makke a call--with equal snow ('cause who knows)--what are the must hit places on your journey--if Red is a must hit-I'd probably come into Spokane, if it's fernie and Big Mountain than i'd start in Kalispell/Whitefish.

And either way-if you had to cut part of the trip would it be Idaho? Or is Silver/ Schweitzer on the same level as Red/ Fernie..etc??

Thanks ((man, I love thinking about ski journeys!)

Liam
post #9 of 15

Haven't been to the others,

but spent a week at Fernie a couple years back. If you like the off-piste and ungroomed, this is a great place. If the snow is good, you'll definitely want at least a couple of days. Check out Craigs unofficial Fernie page

It has archived snow reports going back a few years. During the season it will have no-BS locals reports updated every few days with a writeup and pictures. There is also an amazing trailmap with pictures and writeups covering most trails/areas of the mountain.
post #10 of 15
I have lived and skied out of Missoula and Spokane, and have since flown into Spokane, rented a car and done a trip similar to what you are proposing. The first leg is easy up to Red and Whitewater, but from there I believe the "direct" route to Ferrnie requires taking the Ferry, which only runs a couple times a day, so be warned that you need to match its schedule or spend many hours hanging out.

Fernie is great but kinda hard to get to because of the lack of east/west roads. As an alternative I would suggest Red Mt., Whitewater, back down to Schweitzer, then over to Snowbowl in Missoula, and up to Big Mountain. You could also reverse the end of the loop.

Fernie has very good skiing but because you have to go "up and back" to get to it you will spend a lot of extra time driving. Sounds like a great trip however you go. I love skiing those areas because they have excellent terrain and a much more laid back non-resort atmosphere compared to the Colorado/Utah areas, plus the lift tickets and motels are much cheaper.

My one tip is to befriend some locals at Whitewater. Much of the best skiing is legal off-area going from the top of the lifts down to the entry road and hitching back up, which would be best with someone who knows where they are going.
post #11 of 15
Liam

I've been to Big Mountain and loved it. It was about 4 years ago, maybe. We had just spent Christmas at Attitash in the rain. I came home and immediately sat down at the computer to book a trip west --- anywhere West! It turned out to be Big Mountain, and I'd never heard of the place, but it came up in Expedia, I think. We flew out of PVD on Northwest on Jan. 1, at about 5:30 pm and got to Kalispell around mid-night. A very, very nice shuttle driver met us at baggage claim and drove us to the Kandahar Lodge on the mountain. I was very glad not to have driven up there myself! We stayed 4 nights. It was such a cool place. Everyone was so nice. The Kandahar Lodge was fabulous, food was great put pricey. We loved Big Mountain. It was cold (-46 windchill, -23 actual); it was foggy; and it was a blast!

Something very cool was that they discount lift tickets and lodging if you have a season pass to any other resort. I think it was 35% off. I guess they still do that, but don't know.

Have a great trip!
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
Kim and Mudfoot,

Thanks for the info--Yeah if the snow is lining up by late december my buddy and I will pull the trigger for a mid-late January to the Northern interior---the starting ponts and end points are a little in question (Spokane or Kalispell)--but Big Mountain and fernie figure into all of our plans (Utah is always the fail safe if the weather isn't cooperating and they're worse failsafe's than Alta!). But Seriously-I'm really excited to explore the Northern Rockies/ Continental Divide/ interior BC regions.

So far, I haven't been further North than Jackson Hole to Ski--But Northen Rockies are next on the list--I always tell people one of the best things about ski travel is the chance is that ski resorts are located in the most amazing, stunning locales on Earthh and seeing these places is reason enough to hop on a plane in January.

Let's hope for big season east to west!

Liam
post #13 of 15
One more tip on skiing the great northwest is to be aware of the frequent tempurature inversions. Often times the valleys are totally fogged in but the ski area is above it so you ski in sunshine while looking down on a sea of clouds. This is very common at Snowbowl in Missoula, but also occurs at all of the other areas you are considering. The moral is to never judge the ski day by what you see out the window in town in the morning.
post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mudfoot View Post
One more tip on skiing the great northwest is to be aware of the frequent tempurature inversions. Often times the valleys are totally fogged in but the ski area is above it so you ski in sunshine while looking down on a sea of clouds. This is very common at Snowbowl in Missoula, but also occurs at all of the other areas you are considering. The moral is to never judge the ski day by what you see out the window in town in the morning.
Yeah-that's wild how that happens-First time I experienced that full blown was a few years ago at Snowbird--Sandy was socked in by a misty-drizzly Fog-but the top of the tram was absolutely blue-bird (and we had been getting hammered by snow all week--it was-a top 3 day!).

Liam
post #15 of 15

You don't have to take the ferry...

Quote:
Originally Posted by mudfoot View Post
... The first leg is easy up to Red and Whitewater, but from there I believe the "direct" route to Ferrnie requires taking the Ferry, which only runs a couple times a day, so be warned that you need to match its schedule or spend many hours hanging out.

Fernie is great but kinda hard to get to because of the lack of east/west roads. ...
You don't have to take the ferry. There is a direct road through Salmo and over the Kootenay pass to Creston, Cranbrook, and on to Fernie. Total trip from Nelson to Fernie (assuming reasonable winter driving conditions) is about 3 1/2 hours.

If the pass is closed you are forced to use the ferry which might add 45 to 90minutes to this trip. There is a smaller hill in Kimberley that might be worth a visit (belonging to RCR which owns Fernie as well so you could tie in a multi-day ticket).

All three Canadian hills you've mentioned are great. I spent a happy three days at Fernie late last year, and I've vowed to return earlier on in this season for a similar trip.

Other Canadian options include Castle Mtn. in Alberta (probably 90 minutes from Fernie) or driving up the Columbia valley to take in Panorama and Kicking Horse. Of course that puts you right next door to Banff.......are you sure you don't want to take an extra week on this trip?
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