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Where would you go in Canada?

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
If you could only go to 5 western Canada resorts what would they be and why? :
Looking to travel there next year so any info would be appreciated. :
post #2 of 29
Go to the town of Banff and ski Norquay, Sunshine and Louise.

All very different, all very good.
post #3 of 29
Depends on what you like. Whistler/Blackcomb is probably the ultimate "resort" type skiing, with everything you need right there in the village.

If you are a powder freak, Fernie, hands down.

Sunshine is my favorite. Wide trails, not too overcrowded.
post #4 of 29
would consult w/Powderhoundin.
post #5 of 29
Bella Coola.
post #6 of 29
well I look at Canada as one of the best places left for a true intimate ski experience - you know, a place where you can see it and ski it without jostling crowds.

Whistler was like that up till the 90's and now the entire B/C & Whistler terrain gets skied out in less than an hour after a storm. Gee, I just love rushing for fresh tracks! Fernie's been getting to be a zoo too since '98.

If you want to enjoy a place for the skiing, not highspeed quads or nightlife, I'd try:

Kicking Horse, Red M, Smithers/Terrace, Big White, and maybe look into the Cayooish Creek Project (if it's ever gotten under way?)
post #7 of 29
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Powkeg:
[QB]If you could only go to 5 western Canada resorts what would they be and why?QB]<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I just got back from western Canada. Here's where I'd go.

1 - Kicking Horse. It's lift accessed terrain, I'd argue must be some of the best in Canada. There is some crazy skiing to be had at this mountain. My only warning is that there isn't much intermediate terrain accessible from the Gondola, and it's really the only way to get to the top right now. However, it's an expert skiers paradise. And they have more terrain on the way!

2- Fernie. They had a 4 meter base when I went on the 5th of April. Lots of variety, a huge amount of skiable terrain, and gords or snow.

3- Sunshine Village. Great resort, with a lot of variety, and amazingly light, fluffy, and dry snow. Go during the week, cause it gets busy!!

4- Lake Louise. Never skied it but it is in the same area as the other three, and known for a vast amount of skiable area, and varied terrain. Same as Sunshine, go during the week.

5- Mount Norquay. The smallest of the mountains mentioned, however has a good reputation. Also in the vicinity of the others, and worth checking out.

If you were going to ski all of these in 5 days, it would be a pretty kick butt ski vacation. Fly into Calgary, get a rental car and do a loop. From Calgary, you'd go to Fernie B.C first (two hour drive), then drive up to Golden B.C (Kicking Horse, three hour drive), then back to Banff (2 hour drive) to catch the other three. Then you're only an hour's drive back to Calgary. It would work out perfectly, and you'd get to experience a variety of Canada's best mountains. With warning though, that's a lot of serious skiing to pack into 5 days!!!
post #8 of 29
Thread Starter 
Yeah I am flying in to Calgary as my plans now stand. Probably use buses to get to Fernie, Kimberly, and around the resorts near Banff. Then Hire a car to Vancouver to do some toursity stuff ie Jasper, Lake Louise etc. In vancouver will look at doing a day trip to whistler and a few of the resorts around Van like Grouse or Cypress. The big issue is money. I will need to do it as cheap as possible (due to $$ air fares from OZ and poor exchange rate). Any suggestions on saving money would rock. Looking to stay in hostels and stuff. Wanted to spend some time at Red Mnt but this looks unlikely now as it may cost too much to get and stay there.

[ April 16, 2002, 08:02 PM: Message edited by: Powkeg ]
post #9 of 29
Powkeg - I'd say Powderhoundin is right on, almost.

Hiring a car is new info, so I'd replace Norquay with Red Mountain. Other options there would be Big White and/or Silver Star. Just a different route to the coast.

I'd also skip Kimberley, in favour of Panorama, about two hours up the road on the way to Banff.

For saving money, if you are hitting Louise and Fernie both, buy a Louise card. You get the first day "free" and a discount on every day after. Funny, cost of the card is generally spot on the cost of that free day. If you do stop at Kimberley, the discount applies there too.

Enjoy the planning. Truth be told, I enjoy the planning and dreaming darn near as much as the holiday.
post #10 of 29
I hope this works. (Now you know why Red is my Home Mountain.)

The Insider's Guide to the Best Canadian Skiing
The only guide to the best skiing
and ski resorts in Canada

By Clive Hobson

How I Picked the Resorts

I created 25 catagories and nominated five top choices for each, A follow-upsurvey to the numerous people who helped with this book was factored in,and a 1-5 point system was applied to each resort, to provide the winnerin each category. The categories were broad enough to give each resort ashot at scoring well, and the results (found on page xii-xiv) I believeendorse this system. In addition to the top 20, the last pages of this bookcontain a short list of 10 more resorts that are definitely worth a visit.

Here are the categories:
1. Top 5 for Vertical
2. Top 5 for Annual Snowfall
3. Top 5 for Snowmaking
4. Top 5 for Powder Skiing
5. Top 5 for Terrain Variety
6. Top 5 for Weather
7. Top 5 for Off-Piste
8. Top 5 for Glade Skiing
9. Top 5 for Giant Slalom Cruising
10. Top 5 for Skiing Days
11. Top 5 for Lack of Crowds
12. Top 5 for Alpine and Cross-Country Skiing
13. Top 5 for Scenery
14. Top 5 for Instruction
15. Top 5 for Lift Capacity
16. Top 5 for Ambience
17. Top 5 for Nightlife
18. Top 5 for Dining
19. Top 5 for Singles
20. Top 5 for Couples
21. Top 5 for Families
22. Top 5 for Luxury Accommodation
23. Top 5 for Small Inns
24. Top 5 for Urban Options
25. Top 5 for Ski to Your Door Convenience

Ski Survey Results
Top 5 for Vertical
1. Blackcomb
2. Whistler
3. Panorama
4. Skiing Louise
5. Red Mountain

Top 5 for Annual Snowfall
1. Red Mountain
2. Fernie Snow Valley
3. Sunshine Village
4. Blackcomb
5. Whistler

Top 5 for Snowmaking
1. Nakiska
2. Mont Ste-Anne
3. Panorama
4. Gray Rocks
5. Stoneham

Top 5 for Powder Skiing
1. Red Mountain
2. Fernie Snow Valley
3. Sunshine Village
4. Big White
5. Silver Star

Top 5 for Terrain Variety
1. Blackcomb
2. Skiing Louise
3. Red Mountain
4. Whistler
5. Marmot Basin

Top 5 for Weather
1. Silver Star
2. Big White
3. Red Mountain
4. Sunshine Village
5. Skiing Louise

Top 5 for Off-Piste
1. Skiing Louise
2. Whistler
3. Blackcomb
4. Red Mountain
5. Fernie Snow Valley

Top 5 for Glade Skiing
1. Mont Sutton
2. Marmot Basin
3. Red Mountain
4. Skiing Louise
5. Silver Star

Top 5 for Giant
Slalom Cruising
1. Skiing Louise
2. Blackcomb
3. Whistler
4. Panorama
5. Kimberley

Top 5 for Skiing Days
1. Mont Ste-Anne
2. Gray Rocks
3. Whistler
4. Blackcomb
5. Mont St-Sauveur

Top 5 for Lack of Crowds
1. Red Mountain
2. Fernie Snow Valley
3. Kimberley
4. Panorama
5. Silver Star

Top 5 for Alpine and Cross-Country
1. Mont Ste-Anne
2. Silver Star
3. Mont St-Sauveur
4. Mont Tremblant
5. Mont Sutton

Top 5 for Scenery
1. Skiing Louise
2. Sunshine Village
3. Marmot Basin
4. Silver Star
5. Mont Tremblant
Top 5 for Instruction
1. Gray Rocks
2. Mont St-Sauveur
3. Silver Star
4. Ski Norquay
5. Mont Sutton

Top 5 for Lift Capacity
1. Blackcomb
2. Whistler
3. Skiing Louise
4. Mont Ste-Anne
5. Sunshine Village

Top 5 for Ambience
1. Mont Temblant
2. Silver Star
3. Stoneham
4. Skiing Louise
5. Mont Sutton

Top 5 for Nightlife
1. Whistler
2. Blackcomb
3. Mont St-Sauveur
4. Ski Norquay
5. Mont Ste-Anne

Top 5 for Dinning
1. Mont Ste-Anne
2. Mont St-Sauveur
3. Stoneham
4. Mont Tremblant
5. Sunshine Village

Top 5 for Singles
1. Whistler
2. Blackcomb
3. Ski Norquay
4. Mont Tremblant
5. Mont Ste-Anne

Top 5 for Couples
1. Stoneham
2. Skiing Louise
3. Mont St-Sauveur
4. Mont Ste-Anne
5. Mont Sutton

Top 5 for Families
1. Silver Star
2. Big White
3. Panorama
4. Mont Orford
5. Gray Rocks

Top 5 for Luxury Accommodation
1. Skiing Louise/Château Lake Louise
2. Blackcomb/Château Whistler
3. Sunshine/Banff Springs
4. Nakiska/Lodge at Kananaskis
5. Stoneham/Hotel Stoneham

Top 5 for Small Inns
1. Red Mountain/Ram's Head Inn
2. Skiing Louise/Skoki Lodge
3. Mont Ste-Anne/L'Adventure
4. Mont Tremblant/L'Escapade
5. Mont Sutton/La Capucine

Top 5 for Urban Options
1. Mont Ste-Anne
2. Stoneham
3. Mont Orford
4. Mont St-Sauveur
5. Whistler

Top 5 for Ski to Your Door Convenience
1. Silver Star
2. Big White
3. Sunshine Village
4. Whistler
5. Panorama


Top 20 Final Standings
1. Skiing Louise
2. Blackcomb
3. Whistler
4. Silver Star
5. Mont Ste-Anne
6. Red Mountain
7. Sunshine Village
8. Mont Tremblant
9. Big White
10. Marmot Basin
11. Fernie Snow Valley
12. Mont Sutton
13. Panorama
14. Stoneham
15. Mont Orford
16. Ski Norquay
17. Kimberly Ski & Summer Resort
18. Nakiska
19. Mont St-Sauveur
20. Gray Rocks
post #11 of 29
Powkeg- How long is this trip going to be?
Other points - can't take a bus to fernie to ski for the day and then back again to Calgary if that what you meant. There is shuttle from airport but really cheap Aussies take the Greyhound bus. Renting a car is not that expensive if two people are sharing. However picking up in calgary and then dropping off in Vancouver will be. Would suggest a loop route. If trying to save money then Whistler should be bypassed. Gotta go for now
post #12 of 29
Thread Starter 
Jimmy P and others
All great info and I would love everyone else to put in their $0.02 as well.
Yeah I am hanging to go to Red Mnt but it comes down to cost really. It is a bit out of the way and any days lost in driving I could spend on snow or doing other stuff. I have been getting huuuge raps on the place but I may have to come back on another trip sometime.
Is there a site where I can get all the info about deals on lift tickets etc. I know a few of the resorts are linked so would be keen to make saving wherever possible. I suggested a day trip to Kimberley as you can do this from Fernie. I was hoping to minimise the time with a hire car as they are a bit pricy. Panorama is a def possibility. May get a car from Banff and drive back down there and visit the hot spring etc as well.
Keep the info coming [img]smile.gif[/img]
Also if anyone is coming to the snow in Oz it is no hassle to crash with me for a while. Canberra is abt 2hrs from the NSW resorts.
post #13 of 29
PowKeg,
Guess that there are a few here planning a trip for BC. I'm goning Jan-Feb '03 come hell or high water. Found this ski hostels. This is by far the best deal yet that I've seem.
I totally agree with the planning and daydreamig aspect. I have trip maps on my tool box lid to get through those long hours of OT.
post #14 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by dougw:
Powkeg- How long is this trip going to be?
Other points - can't take a bus to fernie to ski for the day and then back again to Calgary if that what you meant. There is shuttle from airport but really cheap Aussies take the Greyhound bus. Renting a car is not that expensive if two people are sharing. However picking up in calgary and then dropping off in Vancouver will be. Would suggest a loop route. If trying to save money then Whistler should be bypassed. Gotta go for now
Looking at abt 3-4wks in canada. I was looking at taking the bus to Fernie for the week and getting the shuttle to Banff on the sunday or whenever it leaves. I think they are all the greyhound options, I am not completely pov but the more money I save the longer I can stay. Not so keen on whistler, due to it being full of Aussies and Kiwis. Can find plenty of them over here.
On renting a car, was hoping to pick up in Banff and drop off in Vancouver. Trying to avoid as many internal flights as possible ie cal to van. Everything is still open at the moment so all suggestions and options are appreciated.
Keep the info coming!
post #15 of 29
Powkeg

I've done two trips to Canada now, both around 3 weeks. On our first trip we just did Whislter, Blackcomb, and the 3 at Banff. On our next trip we could not decide where to go, so thought we'd do two days each at a variety of resorts, pick our favourite and next time go back for at least 7 days at each. So we rented a 4WD from Vancouver and did a loop, going to Silver Star, Big White, Red Mountain, Whitewater, Fernie, and Lake Louise.

Well, I'd like to go back to all so not much help there. They are all great. The resorts at Banff are the coldest, around -23 C when were were there in Feb 2000, whereas Silver Star and Big White were -7, -10, Fernie was -14.

Getting a rental one way is expensive. The Hertz SNO rate is great but must be delivered back to same point. On our last day we drove from Banff to Vancouver, think it took about 10 hours? Suggest you find some others and get together to rent a evhicle. We paid $90 NZD a day for our Ford Explorer in 2000. Don't think it has gone up too much since then.

You say you are avoiding Whistler/BC because of lots of OZ and Kiwis, well - we saw more of them at Red. Kiwis seem to love it there. Not so commercialised, and cheap lodgings.
post #16 of 29
Thread Starter 
julie from unzed
So approximately how much did the trips cost you? You have a bit of an idea on what I would be doing, so how much do you think it may cost me?
Sounds like you had a great time though. I think no matter where I go I will be hearing some accents from home!
post #17 of 29
Powderkeg - Calgary can be a very expensive ticket. Have you looked at Vancouver as your POE ? I live an 8 hour drive south of Red Mountain. Can do Whistler in about the same. We have done the Banff thing but not Kicking Horse. We ski Red, take a day off for the drive to Fernie and adore both places. Both hills offer fab. terrain and in general get great cover. They are also among the least expensive resorts available (especially Red). Were I you, I'd take a pass on Banff as except for the scenery which is unreal, the skiing is pretty average. I'd take a pass on Whistler except for maybe a two day trip. The terrain is very cool, but it's kind of like going to Disneyland ...way too resorty for me. I'd head for Red Mountain, day trips up to Nelson for Whitewater, maybe a cat skiing day at Baldface with all the money you'll save by not going to Banff or staying long at Whistler and then head to Fernie.

For a radical thought. Big Mountain, MT is about 2.5 hours south and across the border from Fernie. It is as expensive as Banff or Whistler for the day pass but there is reasonable lodging in Whitefish. Or maybe down to Schweitzer in Idaho. Just a great hill, cheap lodging in town.

In the part of the world you're headed to, you'll do better with a car. If you can possibly do that it will be a big help. There are a ton of great hills to be skied in the interior. BC is the home of steep, deep 'n' cheep! My kind of place!
post #18 of 29
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice. My gf has friends in Calgary/ Saskatoon/ Edmonton etc so we are going to start form there in part so she can catch up and we are guarenteed some free accomodation and maybe even a lift to Fernie. We should be able to get a good deal coming from OZ on the link to Calgary anyway. I am busting to go to Red, but as I said above I do not think I will get the time. A car would be great but coming from OZ, where most people have never seen snow, driving around a fair bit would be a bit overwhelming. Even though the sking around Banff is not supposed to be the best, it will still be better than OZ conditions and will be a relatively affordable experience. I am also coming over to check out the scenery and stuff as well, Banff is the spot to base yourself for this. Also in Banff you can do day trips out to a heap of resorts and this should save us some serious cash when compared to hiring a car etc.
The problem with heading anywhere in the US is the crap exchange rate. 1 OZ dollar is like 50c US, wheras it is 85c Canadian. This means crossing the border double all prices!

thanks though Mal@hood your advice will be really helpful. Our season starts in about 2 months and I am busting to rip some turns!

Anyone else what to contibute. Would be keen to hear more about Panorama and which resorts around Banff should not be missed?
post #19 of 29
Mate, ANYTHING is better than Oz conditions
post #20 of 29
Some info on taking buses.
The fare from Van to Fernie is $107can
Calgary to Fernie $50
Fernie to Banff $58
Important - If the tickets are bought 7 days or more in advance the companion rides for Free. The ticket is good for a year. So if you have people in calgary get them to get your tickets ahead of time then you save 50%.
If you want to save money and make it a 4 week trip then stay at hostels. Now as you a couple unless wnat to be seperated can get a room for $60 as opposed to 2 singles at $20 each. Where you would save is in food. In Fernie pancake batter is provided you have to cook and wash up. Hostels in Red, nelson for Whitewater and in Banff.

[ April 21, 2002, 07:27 PM: Message edited by: dougw ]
post #21 of 29
Helpful links
http://www.louisepluscard.com/main.htm
or the season pass route
https://secure.skircr.com/

The reason I post the season pass thing is that when I stayed at the Hostel at Fernie was an Aussie in the room who had just arrived , end of Feb , who had go a mid week pass. So if Ski during the week and travel on weekends may be a way to go. For a little more and RCR pass that will give you Lake Lousie. And if you have a season pass most other hills will give you a 25% discount. To make it worth while would have to ski more than 10 days at RCR resorts. A pretty cheap option is Fortress in that rooms are only $50 though its not a hostel so end up paying more for food. But its quite cheap on the hill. Please note that a Lousie Card is only available before ~Dec.24. So will have to get someone to buy for you before you get here.
post #22 of 29
Powkeg
I'm with Pete, once you ski Canada you won't want to ski old Oz again. I am passing on NZ this year to get extra time in Canada next northern season. We are going back to Big White. Having a family, it is just a fun place to go.
Wherever you go, have fun.
Nothing sustains one over the months than where the next ski is.
Cheers
nomad
post #23 of 29
Want reliable pow? Go to the coast range, which in Canada basically means Whistler for a destination resort. Anywhere East (ie: +300km from the Pacific) just doesn't get as many dumps; period. Can't beat Whistler village, either. It ain't cheap though, at least not by Cdn standards. But it's big, and you'll find plenty pow for everyone. I don't know where/when these people are skiing who say it tracks out in a few hours, but I've never had to look too hard to find uncut the second day after a storm.

For a pleasant side trip with double Whistler's dumps (!), spend a day at Mt. Baker WA about 4hrs away. It's close to the US border, so close in fact, that where I live in Canada is closer to the hill than the nearest US town (Bellingham) of any size. The post-911 paranoia with the US border guys has now calmed, so crossing isn't a hassle.

Hey, what's this hype I'm hearing about... BELLA COOLA??? I just about fell over laughing when I saw the press it's gotten. Obviously a few ski journalists made the mistake of going there, and had no choice but to try to salvage their rather expensive trip by hyping the place. Reality is the town is dying a slow death with a depressed logging/fishing industry, and there is a desperate bid to promote any kind of tourism. The fog-plagued mid-coast mountains, which go from un-navigable alpine (except for idiots) to gullied heavy timber are not heli-ski friendly, though a slick photographer can be quite selective. Though there are plenty of helicopters around, they mostly service the forest industry, and the pilots are not knowledgeble in ski tourism. Sorry, but I would hate to see someone influenced by hype when there are much better heli-ski destinations.
post #24 of 29
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for helping out with ideas and experiences etc etc.
I have lots of things to think about now and talk over with the gf. Wherever I go will depend on how the cash flow is looking really. Will let everyone know my final plans later this year if interested and maybe I can catch up and have a cold one with a few of you [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #25 of 29
Powkeg

The trip in 2000 cost us $18,000 NZD for two of us for 23 nights in Canada. This includes everything, but only one airfare of $2600. One ticket was on air points. We stayed in nice B&B's, and rented a Ford Explorer thru Hertz, ate in reasonable restaurants and did not cook any of our own meals. We found the B&B's good value, get to meet some locals, and if you have a big cooked breakfast you can just have a small lunch.

You can save money by doing the group tour thing, but we liked the freedom of going where we pleased.
post #26 of 29
If you are heading to Fernie, you need to travel for 2.5 hrs and head into Golen BC and ski Kicking Horse. By far some of the best overall terrain of any mountain I have seen from top to bottom. One Gondola ride and you are off for 4,100 feet of vertical. Cannot beat that except for Whistler and you never want to go below the mid point at Whistler anyway.
SO, go to Kicking Horse, it is the sheet.
post #27 of 29
Absolutely Kicking Horse. The terrain is as good as anything I've skied in Europe, and there is a far more exclusive, homely, special feel then can be found at Whistler. It's like a small Chamonix but you feel more privileged to be there.

If you do go there, check out Trapper's pub. Free pool, good beers, friendly staff...
Enjoy

Cheers

JB
post #28 of 29
My favorites are:

Whistler/Blackcomb- been there five days in last two weeks, some powder, lots of sun, awesome cruising runs, and best steeps, above treeline stuff in North America. Too many people!! Gunning to do the Spearhead Traverse!!

Red Mt- Go here for bona fide triple diamonds- and great off piste touring. We spent an hour filming on "The Microwave" (not a normal ski run, now off limits, I think.) ~48 degrees for 800 vert, two pro patrol heard we skiied it, tried it, and needed a rescue.

Lake Louise- doesn't snow enough, but great terrain. Great b/c.

Sunshine- most is kinda flat, but Goat's Eye is good. Delirium Dive had not reopened when I was last there.

Fernie- very nice, major dumpage, didnt get to ski the legendary pow.

Whitewater- phenomenal off piste.

Kicking Horse- I'm kicking myself for not getting there yet, I know it rules!!!
post #29 of 29
Thread Starter 
sweeeet
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