New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Fernie v. Banff/Sunshine

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

A friend and I are flying from California to Calgary in late January and have not yet decided on a ski resort.  We have three days to ski and are both advanced skiers.  Difficulty of terrain is important (prefer Squaw, Jackson Hole, Alta type slopes), but apres ski options are also a factor.  I'd appreciate any recommendations about which to choose or information about either or both resorts.  Thanks!

post #2 of 11

Fernie (and don't forget Castle Mt. on the way if you like Jackson/Alta type slopes)  get more snow than Banff/Sunshine and furthermore are running above average so far while Banff is below average. http://bestsnow.net/seas11.htm Lake Louise is still less than 10% open while Fernie is 90+% open. Sunshine claims 60% open, but with only 41 inches snowfall and a 22-inch base it has to be bony. Castle is not open midweek now, but has had 67 inches snow, rates to be fine in your time frame with normal snow going forward.

post #3 of 11

Hey Guys,

 

I can give you a run down on Fernie for sure.  I'll let the crew from Sunshine throw you some info on the skiing up there.

 

In terms of terrain breakdown, Fernie sits at 30/40/30 and the 30 allocated to advanced has some serious gnar if you want it.  Fernie's 5 bowls see about 9m of snow (and we're off to a huge start for 2010-11) annually but as you've probably seen, we're heading into a la nina winter and Fernie skiers are excited because this usually bodes very well for us (last la nina - over 11m).  I would consider myself an aggressive advanced skier and this mountain suits me well.  Big steeps off the ridges and so much quality tree skiing. January is the highest snowfall month in Fernie and you're looking at an average temperature of -7 celsius during that month.  Apres ski - we're not Whistler or Aspen but there is a great live music scene and some humming snow town bars.  Town is only 5 mins drive/shuttle from the resort so whether you stay on or off mt, you're going to have easy access to apres.  Late January - you might catch the Kokanee Snowdreams Party - good fun.

 

Hope that helps.  You'll find more info at www.tourismfernie.com and you'll also see some more January deals in a few days time.

 

Cheers and happy skiing!

post #4 of 11

Kicking Horse should be considered from Calgary.

JF

post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by TourismFernie View Post

Hey Guys,

 

I can give you a run down on Fernie for sure.  I'll let the crew from Sunshine throw you some info on the skiing up there.

 

In terms of terrain breakdown, Fernie sits at 30/40/30 and the 30 allocated to advanced has some serious gnar if you want it.  Fernie's 5 bowls see about 9m of snow (and we're off to a huge start for 2010-11) annually but as you've probably seen, we're heading into a la nina winter and Fernie skiers are excited because this usually bodes very well for us (last la nina - over 11m).  I would consider myself an aggressive advanced skier and this mountain suits me well.  Big steeps off the ridges and so much quality tree skiing. January is the highest snowfall month in Fernie and you're looking at an average temperature of -7 celsius during that month.  Apres ski - we're not Whistler or Aspen but there is a great live music scene and some humming snow town bars.  Town is only 5 mins drive/shuttle from the resort so whether you stay on or off mt, you're going to have easy access to apres.  Late January - you might catch the Kokanee Snowdreams Party - good fun.

 

Hope that helps.  You'll find more info at www.tourismfernie.com and you'll also see some more January deals in a few days time.

 

Cheers and happy skiing!



A bit sugarcoated, but at least he identifies himself for what he is.

I lived there for three years and generally agree.  Great chutes, steeps, bowls.  Horrible avy situation, so nothing is open while a storm is on.  Lifts so-so.  Not as freakin' cold as Banff, and more snow..  Not much good high speed cruising in between storms, but some tough bumps if you are into that..

 

The Griz bar at the base is pretty good for that type of place. Live music???? The bars in town have a mindless beat track blaring on one side and a hockey game on the other.  They aren't real expensive though and you can hit several of them without needing to drive.

post #6 of 11

Forget Banff & Sunshine - Castle, Kicking Horse & Revelstoke are really serious mountains & Fernie isn't bad either.

post #7 of 11

Revelstoke is not a particularly realistic destination from Calgary in view of the limited time.  Fernie/Castle is probably the limit vs. Banff, but strongly indicated with this year's weather.

 

Quote:

 We have three days to ski and are both advanced skiers.
post #8 of 11

I'll be making my way out to Calgary one of these years, remotely this year or maybe next.  I have very convenient flights on United from my regional airport (Scranton, Pa) there.  Also, they have this freq flyier 15K miles plus $100 RT deal, you can't beat that.  It's worth getting my kids a card for that kind of deal! (so i can steal their miles<g>)

So even though Fernie/Castle look like they would be a little more diving, they would be much better for a 2-3 day trip than Sunshine/Lake Louise?  I didn't realize they would be a better choice for challenging terrain.  Do Fernie/Castle generally get better snowfall too??

post #9 of 11

Snowfall mid-mountain averages: Fernie 366, Castle 271, Sunshine 248, Louise 161.  Fernie's weather comes from Washington State so it can get rain.  Castle is on the same track but higher and farther east so typically rain on the lower 1/4 of the mountain if Fernie has rain on its lower 3/4.  Louise and Sunshine are in a much colder and drier climate and virtually never see rain.

 

With regard to terrain my personal order of preference is Castle, Louise, Fernie, Sunshine.  Sunshine has some very extreme stuff, but it's not open all that often (very rarely before February) and requires avy gear.  Overall Sunshine is more intermediate oriented while the others skew to advanced/expert.  Fernie is the place if you like trees.  The others are more alpine and subalpine.

 

If I'm any indication, most "Snowbird devotees" would be quite enamored with Castle.  I've described its terrain as a taller and steeper Alta with Powder Mt.'s skier traffic.  Unfortunately only half of Alta's snow but you can't have everything.  TR and pics from Feb. 6 last season: http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/viewtopic.php?t=8635

post #10 of 11

you can ski the banff area without a car too.  lots of shuttles from the calgary airport, right to banff.   bus service from town, to the hills too.   Day trips to kicking horse on a bus too.

 

fernie also has an extra provincial tax too.   (HST vs GST only)

 

fernie/reve snow can be epic, but with that also comes rain sometimes.  It is high risk stocks, and will be the best skiing of your life, or you will have a BAD hangover and coffee jitters as you dont want to ski.  

 

 

why not book a flight, and play the rest by ear a few days in advance....

post #11 of 11

Thanks, I will be definitely making my way up there, either sooner or later.  But I first have two other ski trips to work through and that'll take me to the beginning of Feb.  When I come, it will likely be just for a few days of skiing, and I'll probably shoot for Fernie/Castle, but if there is the threat of rain I can ski Banff.  Actually, it looks like I could have three trips up there, if I added KH and Revelstoke.  My wife is a pretty good sport about my ski trips, but three trips, even short ones, in a year might be pushing my luck. 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Resorts, Conditions & Travel