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Mid-April conditions at Lake Lousie / Sunshine?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
We're thinking of taking the kids out to Lake Louise and Sunshine for four or five days in mid-April. Is this too late to get good snow? Does anyone know what conditions we can expect at that time of year out there? Will it be cold enough that skiing will still be good, or will we be pushing slush and mashed potatoes? It would be great to hear from someone who knows this area really well.

Thanks in advance...

Svend
post #2 of 11
Thread Starter 

Oops - can't spell Louise!

Must be going batty. Can't even spell Louise right. Title should read Lake Louise, not Lake Lousie. No offense to any locals out there....
post #3 of 11
Mid-April isn't too bad at Sunshine, but it is still spring conditions, so not the best skiing. I would recommend Sunshine over Louise for snow quality due to its higher elevation. It'll probably be a little sloppy in the afternoon, but reasonably good skiing can be had.

I was at the Slush Cup last year at Sunshine and we started the day with about a foot of fresh at the top of Divide and Angel chairs, in late May. That season can be good, but it's pretty variable. Still, the weather's usually beautiful and you can grab a burger on the deck.
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks Bobatt. Sounds like it could be hit-or-miss in mid-April. Will have to see if we can bump the timing up a bit and go at the end of this month. At least we'll get to ski Louise -- we really want to take the kids there to experience it...my wife and I were there for the first time in January, and loved it. Incredible scenery. We'll try to make it an annual trip.

Regards,

Svend
post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by SGN View Post
Thanks Bobatt. Sounds like it could be hit-or-miss in mid-April. Will have to see if we can bump the timing up a bit and go at the end of this month. At least we'll get to ski Louise -- we really want to take the kids there to experience it...my wife and I were there for the first time in January, and loved it. Incredible scenery. We'll try to make it an annual trip.

Regards,

Svend
Louise is pretty gorgeous, for sure, but I'm a much bigger fan of Sunshine's snow. If you could somehow combing Louise's terrain and Sunshine's snow, it'd be great. If you're able to, I would recommend getting a big 3 ticket, for 3 days at any of the Banff resorts, because they're all really worth it. If Norquay's open that late in the season, I would recommend it for a first day, it's not as big as the other 2, but has some of the best skiing in the Rockies off the big chair (The North American). I've found that I'm spending more and more time at Norquay, as it's closer to Calgary and about $30 a day cheaper, which makes it great for a starving student like myself. Smaller lift lines too, but they do occasionally break down.

Timing-wise, would I choose skiing in April over skiing in Jan or Feb? Of course not, but it's still pretty good skiing. Lots of snow cover still, and I haven't had too many really, really slushy days, even into May. I can only think of one day in the past few years when it's been bad, and that was on May 27 2006, when it was super slushy on the upper mountain. But it was 20 degrees out and I got a pretty nasty sunburn skiing in a t-shirt.
post #6 of 11
We've just experienced about three weeks of warm sunny weather so unless we get some more snow soon, we might be into spring skiing earlier than normal. Sunshine seems to hold winter conditions two or three weeks longer than Louise. I usually begin to lose enthusiasm for Sunshine around the second week in May, so mid-April in a normal year is generally pretty good. The big three ticket (two by mid-April since Norquay will almost certainly be closed) will allow you to pick between the two. Marmot may also be open in Jasper, but most of the other hills will be shut.
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the insight! Always good to hear from locals in the know.

Quote:
Louise is pretty gorgeous, for sure, but I'm a much bigger fan of Sunshine's snow. If you could somehow combing Louise's terrain and Sunshine's snow, it'd be great.
Hey, I've heard that Sunshine's scenery is not too shabby either! Met some New Yorkers recently on a trip to Lake Placid, who were raving about the views from the top of Sunshine. They were more excited about that than Louise. Besides, from my vantage point, anything west of Calgary is jaw-dropping scenery; even the foothills. Skied yesterday at Blue "Mountain" north of Toronto...the riverbank in Edmonton has about the same vertical drop. Still, ya takes what ya gets, and at least we're all out having fun, and Blue is a fun place to ski. The view over Lake Huron is nice.

As for timing, it looks like we might be able to go to Banff in the last week of March, which, hopefully, unless your warm spell keeps up, will still give us good conditions. I've heard about the Big 3 ticket -- sounds great, and we'll definitely get those. Good tip. Would like to ski Norquay when we're there -- I've heard it can be challenging, but is all fall-line skiing.

When does the season (reliably) start in the fall/winter out there? mid-November...? early-December...?

Svend
post #8 of 11
If the family is up for it, Kicking Horse might be a good bet for a day of skiing.
post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by SGN View Post

As for timing, it looks like we might be able to go to Banff in the last week of March, which, hopefully, unless your warm spell keeps up, will still give us good conditions. I've heard about the Big 3 ticket -- sounds great, and we'll definitely get those. Good tip. Would like to ski Norquay when we're there -- I've heard it can be challenging, but is all fall-line skiing.

When does the season (reliably) start in the fall/winter out there? mid-November...? early-December...?

Svend
Norquay actually isn't that challenging, there's one lift (North American aka the Big Chair) that has some of the best fall line skiing in the Rockies and never sees a snowcat. You can usually see the bumps from the Trans Canada Highway in late season. After that, there are three other lifts that access green and blue runs, mostly highly groomed. That combined with the lower amount of skiers allows for some really good runs if fast groomers are your thing. I've had my best days in that respect at Norquay, and it's a great family resort with something for everyone.

The bad: sometimes the lifts break down, but I've never been stuck for longer than a few minutes and they are very accommodating to get stuck skiers back to the lodge via snowcat. Because it's in a valley, it doesn't get as much snow as the more exposed Sunshine and Louise resorts, so it can be bare sometimes, and the season doesn't last as long.

Sunshine's usually open around mid November, but I wouldn't really count it really open until early December. Louise is a little later for top conditions, say mid-December for most of the mountain, and even then some runs are a bit bare.
post #10 of 11
I was at Kicking Horse a week ago and conditions were pretty good. Forecast is for more snow over the next week so it should be well worth a day trip. Unfortunately Revelstoke is little far away for you to take in this time, but it is spectacular and scheduled for some big dumps over the next couple of days.
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
I've heard that Kicking Horse was a great place. Met a young couple on a flight to Calgary last summer who lived in Banff (lucky stiffs!), who were major ski nuts, and their favourite resort was Kicking Horse. That's saying something, when people who have some of the best skiing in the world out their back door say good things about this place. As for Revelstoke, that place looks amazing too. Saw a piece on it on the World of Skiing show (Sportsnet). Would be great to ski there before the rest of the world catches on. Yet another place on my list of "gotta get there" resorts.....sigh...so many mountains...so little time.

Thanks all, for your feedback. Much appreciated! I'll post back here if the spring trip works out (crossed fingers).

Cheers,

Svend
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