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planning a 1-2 wk trip to alberta rockies: sunshine (banff), lake louise and marmot (jasper)

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

i've always wanted to explore the Albertan rockies for skiing....sunshine, lake louise and jasper (have bicycle toured and driven through these areas and never cease to be enthralled by their postcard-like beauty)

 

trying to get some good ideas for trip planners, ski groups I could join and inexpensive yet decent accomodation ie I know for instance jasper is almost a cottage industry with it's bed and breakfasts: almost every home in that wonderful mtn town does this as a 2nd income.

 

looking to visit in feb sometime....haven't yet decided if this will be a 7, 10 or 14 day trip ($$$)

 

cheers and thanks for any ideas


Edited by canali - 10/16/10 at 10:29am
post #2 of 13

I stayed in Banff for 5 days last year at the Mount Royal hotel (right on main street), and ended up getting a great deal that included lift tickets.  Pickup was steps away from the back entrance to the hotel, which then shuttled you to any of the Ski Big 3.  I booked through Brewster Vacations on a Travel Zoo deal that included everything but air and meals.

 

Sunshine does have a single on mountain hotel, which I actually remember being reasonable.  Not too sure about staying in Lake Louise.

 

I wouldn't hesitate to go back, and I would stay in Banff again in a second (great little town).

 

Enjoy it.

post #3 of 13

IMO Lake Louise has some of the best in bounds terrain in Canada, however snow volume is often an issue as they usually get less than half the annual snowfall of Whistler or Fernie. They do have some snow making but they are in the ROCKY mountains. OTOH this is a La Nina weather year so they could get decent snow coverage.

post #4 of 13

Well, for a start, the nice thing about Banff is that winter is considered low season and you will be able to get hotels for a fraction of their summer rate.  You might be able to extend a one week travel budget into two weeks by skiing Banff and Jasper. 

 

My second comment is that you might be better off making your trip in March or April. Snow conditions will be better and your chances of getting hit by one of the two or three cold snaps that occur in the winter (sub -20C) will be lower if you avoid the January/February months. Average temps are generally reasonably good in February, with low humidity, but you never know when a crazy cold snap will occur that will ruin your trip.  Pushing your trip back slightly will increase your odds of avoiding it.

 

 

 

 

 

post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 



as per your suggestion below (bolded) is the snow still decent in that area in March, however?

....i was told it can be sketchy

Quote:
Originally Posted by exracer View Post

Well, for a start, the nice thing about Banff is that winter is considered low season and you will be able to get hotels for a fraction of their summer rate.  You might be able to extend a one week travel budget into two weeks by skiing Banff and Jasper. 

 

My second comment is that you might be better off making your trip in March or April. Snow conditions will be better and your chances of getting hit by one of the two or three cold snaps that occur in the winter (sub -20C) will be lower if you avoid the January/February months. Average temps are generally reasonably good in February, with low humidity, but you never know when a crazy cold snap will occur that will ruin your trip.  Pushing your trip back slightly will increase your odds of avoiding it.

 

 

 

 

 

post #6 of 13

To avoid warm weather travel would be better first two weeks of March.  Look here for Lake Louise weather and click on LL Climate Page for monthly snowfall average totals, which should hold steady through most of March.  Surprising that December is the snowiest month.

post #7 of 13


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by canali View Post


as per your suggestion below (bolded) is the snow still decent in that area in March, however?

....i was told it can be sketchy


 


 

It's not sketchy in March at all.  March is getting into the thick of the ski season in the Banff area and a lot of locals don't even bother getting into serious skiing until late February unless it's been an amazing snow year.  We ski dry mid-winter conditions at Sunshine Village right through to late May, and hit the cutoff about a month earlier down the road at Lake Louise.  In general, though, conditions are better at Sunshine Village versus Lake Louise due to L.L. being out of the snow belt and at a lower elevation, but if you hit it right L.L. can be great.

 

The biggest issue we have here regarding coverage is that, because the snow is extremely dry, it doesn't stick well to steep rocky pitches and tends to blow off.  Unlike the west coast where the heavy snow sticks like glue, extreme pitches here often don't become skiable until February and occasionally later in a bad snow season.  Groomed and treed areas are fine early in the season.


Edited by exracer - 10/22/10 at 2:44pm
post #8 of 13

March is the best month for skiing at both Lake Louise and Sunshine (in my opinion, of course).

 

As Exracer said, the snow here is dry...and we don't get a whole lot of it (even at SSV).

 

The snow preservation in Alberta is fantastic though. The mountains are cold(ish), high (for Canada), and the best terrain is in the shade. This means that the conditions continue to improve throughout the season...or at least up until April.

 

 

 

post #9 of 13

This video is Sunshine Village, 3rd week of April 2008, snow everywhere, blizzards and generally great conditions, when Whiteout prevails, one skis in the trees on the lower parts of Goat's Eye and Wawa bowl. Its a real nice place and NO lines.(10min video, so just scroll through it) Later you go, the better usually though 2009 was not the best snow year we heard.

 

post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 

thanks everyone...i realize that in jasper it seems almost everyone has a b&b as a 2nd income...any particular ones (or reasonable motel/hotels) that one has stayed in and particularly enjoyed?  or a good b&b in banff or lake louise?

 

cheers

canali

post #11 of 13

Not sure about the B&B situation, but for the heck of it I pulled some photos I took in mid April 2008 to show you typical conditions for that time of year in Banff.  These were taken off the Divide chair at Sunshine Village.  In my opinion, there's no better place to ski late in the season.  These types of conditions are typical well into May.

 

In Lake Louise, you might want to look into the hostel.  As far as hostels go, it's amazing (better than a lot of hotels) with great character and quality, and good food service.  You can check it out at http://www.hihostels.com/dba/hostels-HI---Lake-Louise-Alpine-Centre-011028.en.htm

 

Pano from the top of the Divide

 

 

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Edited by exracer - 10/27/10 at 10:32am
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 

LOVELY pics...mucho thanks for hostel lead too.

 

i might be skiing by myself...any clubs ones could recommend that I might hook up with for some company (esp the apres festivities after being on the slopes)?

post #13 of 13

Two relatively inexpensive hotels in Jasper are the Whistler Inn and the Astoria Hotel. They're both attached to very good bars for apres. If you are looking for skiing companions, you probably should look at staying in one of the hostels: IYH or Samesun in Banff, the IYH rustic Castle Mtn hostel midway between Banff and Lake Louise, the joint Alpine Club/IYH hostel in Lake Louise, or the IYHs in Jasper. If you are skiing Lake Louise, you really should push across the pass into BC and ski Kicking Horse (I'd recommend also going one range further and skiing Revelstoke as well).

 

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