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Road trip thru Montana & B.C., need help fast???

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Okay so I haven't had a real powder day this season, & I'm tired of waiting. Can anyone give me some ideas or comments on conditions at areas around Nelson & Rossland, British Columbia? Also thinking about Kicking Horse? What about Cat & Heli-skiing around those areas? Do they do stand by?
Also, how are conditions at Big Mountain in Montana?
I am getting in the car & going on safari within the next few days & heading north through Idaho, Montana & B.C.. What would you do, where would you go, where would you stay, if you had a few weeks, or more?
Any input would be greatly appreciated!!!
Thanks!
JF
post #2 of 15
Thread Starter 
PS..... Anyone wanna go?
post #3 of 15

Road trip Mt., Idaho and BC

4Ster. Just got back (Sun) from 6 consecutive days 2 days at Silver Mt. Idaho, one day at Big Mt. Montana, 2 days at Fernie and 1 day at Schweitzer. Good news is the snow was great, bad news is that it rained on Sunday (at least in No.Idaho). I also went to Red about a month ago and it really rained on me, came home. I don't know if it rained in BC or Mt. here's my concise comments on some resorts:

Big Mt. Montana, plenty of snow, great groomers they were wide, long and had really fun terrain features. They even had an area where the trees were groomed ( that is the area around the trees). The off piste skiing would be best described as mostly upper intermediate and advanced and very open. When we were there it hadn't snowed in awhile and the off piste consissted of frozen ruts. Would sure like to hit it on a powder day or even just a good snow day.

Fernie, BC. Big, beautiful scenery and really variable terrain. Really good advanced and expert skiing. Found some good snow thanks to Newfydod on the North slopes of Lizard Bowl and skied the trees a lot. We got 3-4 inches one night and the skiing off piste was pretty decent the 2nd day. I was really impressed with this ski area - a LOT of skiing.

I am very familiar with Schweitzer, Silver Mt., Lookout and pretty savy on Mt. Spokane and 49 degrees North. Where are you coming from and have you skied any of these before. Forsake of some brevity I will stop now but PM me or just ask any question and I'll answer as best as possible. Pete
post #4 of 15

Trip

4ster, forgot. Google Valhalla Cat Skiing out of Nelson they have a standby policy where you'll save mucho $$. The guy I went on the 6 day trip with, his son the same week went Helo skiing out of Kicking Horse and had nothing but praise for the 4 days and the snow.
post #5 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4ster View Post
Okay so I haven't had a real powder day this season, & I'm tired of waiting. Can anyone give me some ideas or comments on conditions at areas around Nelson & Rossland, British Columbia? Also thinking about Kicking Horse? What about Cat & Heli-skiing around those areas? Do they do stand by?
Also, how are conditions at Big Mountain in Montana?
I am getting in the car & going on safari within the next few days & heading north through Idaho, Montana & B.C.. What would you do, where would you go, where would you stay, if you had a few weeks, or more?
Any input would be greatly appreciated!!!
Thanks!
JF
Not sure when you are showing up, but we are about to start the Doug Smith NorAm races tomorrow. Which means that LOTS of the mountain is roped off and closed. Add to that that every time we get some snow we get some warming and some rain on top of it and it means off the groomers is still not pleasant. Groomers are firm in the AM, soft in the PM.

We ARE supposed to get snow tomorrow, so I'll file a report if things improve. But, the races will still be an issue until the end of next week.
post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hi Pete & sibhusky,
Thanks for the input... I am assuming you are refering to Nor Ams at Big Mountain?
I would be very interested in what the weather is doing in the next couple of days before I leave. All these places sound great, & I've never been to any of them. I am coming up from Utah & planning to stop at Targhee first, as I've heard they have had decent conditions. Which of the Montana/Idaho (besides Sun Valley) areas would be the shortest drive from Targhee? I am trying to figure out a loop where I can ski a day or 2, and then move on without a huge driving day. I may have more questions tomorrow...
I appreciate your help! This is a very spontaneous trip, but if the snow won't come to me, I'll go to the snow.
Thanks,
JF
post #7 of 15

Road Trip

4ster, the best drive and ski would be to go north i.e., Big Sky, Discovery Basic, Montana Snowbowl (Missoula), Big Mt., Fernie and then you can choose l) goint West to Whitewater, Red Mt., Schweitzer and then south to home ? Other resorts you can Google that are on this loop: Silver Mt. Kellogg Id, 49 degrees North Wash, Brundage, Tamarack etc. depends on route you pick. Or you can continue N. from Fernie to Kimberly, Panorama, Lake Louise, Sunshine and Kicking Horse.

I'm in Northern Idaho @ St. Maries (50 minutes from Silver Mt) and will post a weather report tommorrow. The weather man says snow tonight but they're rarely right. Google up Lookout Mt. and click kon weather and you'll see a great satellite map of this area.

Weather report for North ID. tommorrow when I go out on my deck and look - a real weather report. Glad to help out - Pete.
post #8 of 15
Got back from Kicking Horse this weekend- what a mountain! Even though they haven't had fresh snow in a while, conditions were not bad. Its been cold, so no ice and the chutes were still fun. FWIW, they are supposed to have some snow all this week.

For cat skiing check out Monashee powder- they should have any stand by spots posted on their web site. Great skiing and I bet they still have great fresh runs. Its located near Kelowna
post #9 of 15
Judging from the responses I guess "conditions" is very subjective. We ski Fernie, Sunshine, Lake Louise, Kicking Horse, Panorama every weekend and I would say coverage is good, conditions are poor. For us there needs to be fresh snow for conditions to be good and it hasn't snowed in weeks.

Along with the lack of snow, temperatures have warmed quite a bit so some resorts are in the thaw-freeze-thaw cycle.

I suggest looking at Mt. Baker if you are looking for power. The best all around conditions in Canada this season have been at Fernie, Big White (Kelowna) and Whistler.

The closest Montana resort ot Targee is Big Ski near Bozeman. I think Bridger Bowl is in southern Montana and they got some big dumps last week.

How long ago was this trip Pete? As far as I know it hasn't snowed in a few weeks in Fernie, or any of the other Canadian resorts. A quick check of Fernie's website reveals 3cm over the past week. A good site to get an unbiased review of conditions at Fernie try http://far.redtree.com/cgmrep.html

If you want powder I'm afraid cat or heli skiing is probably your only option. Even cat-skiing may be iffy right now. Revelstoke and Golden are your best bases for either. There is snow forecast for the next 2-3 days, but there is no indication that it will be anything substantial.

Hope this helps...even though it's on the negative side.
post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4ster View Post
Hi Pete & sibhusky,
Thanks for the input... I am assuming you are refering to Nor Ams at Big Mountain?
I would be very interested in what the weather is doing in the next couple of days before I leave. All these places sound great, & I've never been to any of them. I am coming up from Utah & planning to stop at Targhee first, as I've heard they have had decent conditions. Which of the Montana/Idaho (besides Sun Valley) areas would be the shortest drive from Targhee? I am trying to figure out a loop where I can ski a day or 2, and then move on without a huge driving day. I may have more questions tomorrow...
I appreciate your help! This is a very spontaneous trip, but if the snow won't come to me, I'll go to the snow.
Thanks,
JF
Since you are coming from Utah I suggest Targee, Jackson, Big Sky, Big Mtn, Fernie. The drive from Big Sky to Fernie is a long one. A stop at Big Mtn will break that drive up. Once at Fernie I would not head to north unless it starts snowing quite a bit.

I don't recommend Panorana at all unless you are traveling with the family, Kicking Horse without fresh snow, and I caution that Sunshine and Lake Louise could have up to 7,000 skiers on the hill on the weekend. From Fernie I would consider heading west through Red Mountain and Whitewater and then heading to Big White. Or from Fernie you may want to head into Idaho and ski a few of their resorts on the way back home.

Like I said previous, look into Mt. Baker in Northern Washington if you are loking for powder. That's a lot of driving so Fernie may be as far north as you can get depending on you time trip duration.

Unfortuantely, I'm sitting up hear in Calgary also thinking if the snow won't come to me I'll go to it. The problem is it's not really snowing anywhere, not even Alaska. At least with a road trip you will change your scenary!
post #11 of 15

Cdn snow forecast website

A good site for Canadian forefasts. I like it because it includes an estimate of the amount of snow expected in the next 36 hours. I see the snow forecast through Thursday has been upped to 5-10 cms (2-4") at most resorts.

http://www.theweathernetwork.com/features/ski/index.htm
post #12 of 15

Road Trip

4ster.

Snowing, intermittent and very wet here in St. Maries.

Silver Mt. webcam shows its in a very dense and wet cloud, can't tell if its snowing.

Temp in St. Maries 2200 ft ele is 34 degrees.

Cour d alene paper: Fri Rain and Snow
Sat Rain and Snow 40/32
Sun " " 43/31
Mon " " 43/31
Tue Cloudy 42/32
Wed Rain and Snow 43/32

Of course they're usually wrong - but still doesn't look too good.

Check the webcam's Silver Mt has one, Schweitzer has one, Red Mt has one. The only real prblem is we usually get a "thaw" every year and it looks like kthe one we usualloy get in early January is here in early Feb. Most of the local resorts are pretty low in elevation and are really susceptible to these warm periods, lst one this year. Sucks!
post #13 of 15
The first NorAm race scheduled for today, the women's SC, was cancelled due to weather. Basically, top to bottom really dense fog and snow. I skied most of the day, but I can't say it was a blast. Visibility was bad, conditions were "challenging" on the groomers and according to one of my ski buddies, he wouldn't take a friend down Good Medicine (easier non-groomer). The backside is not too bad and will be the best skiing tomorrow unless everything changes over to rain. Right now, the snow in the back is drier stuff over crust. The snow on the front has a LOT of moisture in it over crust. Add the flat light of dense fog and it's tricky. I put in 30,000 feet today, but I left early due to mental exhaustion.

The next three days I am working, so won't be skiing. Current NWS forecast for Big Mountain:

Tonight: Snow. Probability of measurable precipitation 60 percent. Northeast wind 7 mph. Low 16.

Friday: Mostly cloudy. Chance of snow. Probability of measurable precipitation 50 percent. Northeast wind 10 mph. High 24.

Friday Night: Snow. Snow accumulation 1 inch. Probability of measurable precipitation 70 percent. North wind 8 mph. Low 12.

Saturday: Mostly cloudy. Chance of snow showers. Probability of measurable precipitation 50 percent. South wind 3 mph. High 25.

Saturday Night: Mostly cloudy. Chance of snow. Probability of measurable precipitation 40 percent. Low 16.

Sunday: Snow. Probability of measurable precipitation 60 percent. High 29.

Sunday Night: Mostly cloudy. Chance of snow. Probability of measurable precipitation 50 percent. Low 22.

There are web cams on the Big Mountain site but things can change rapidly.
post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the info everyone! I would have responded earlier, but I didn't get the usual notification. Been busy planning & checking out all the websites. I should be on the road Sat. headed for Targhee. Hope the weather situation gets better (or worse, depending on your inclination) as I go.
I began this trip in 2000, visiting over 30 areas in the Western U.S. & Europe over a 5 month period. Big Sky was as far North as I got, so I'm trying to finish what I started.
My plan right now is after Targhee to hit the following areas:
Ski Discovery
Montana Snowbowl
Fernie
Kimberley/Panorama (maybe catch a heli day)
Kicking Horse
If time & $'s permit I will head to...
Sun Peaks
Big White
Red Mtn.
etc.
On the way home I will visit...
Big Mountain
Big Sky/Moonlight
Jackson
Anything I'm missing or should miss? I have about a month if I find some good skiing.
I will post a trip report upon my return.
Thanks Mucho,
JF
post #15 of 15

Road trip

4ster, looks like a nice trip hope the weather cools off. Its still raining here in No. Idaho, 5 days in a row.
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