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Banff

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
By the way, the name Sunshine is a misnomer! Still, lots of fine skiing to be had there. I recommend the Shiraz in Trappers, especially for a black run called Rockledge which we accidentally strayed onto after lunch.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Cathy-we skied last year with our two teens. As we didn't need the bus, it was much cheaper to buy ticket for individual mountains as there was a youth ticket. We bought a 5 from 7 day Sunshine ticket and a 4 from 6 (?) day ticket for Louise. We didn't ski Norquay as th snow wasn't very good. With a bit of careful planning it worked quite weel, and we even got a day off to go dog-sledding (definitely worth missing a days skiing for-hubby took some persuading but it ws worth it).
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
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Cathy,

I'll echo what's said about KH: Its a great mountain if you're a great skier (I'm not). If you're less than comfortable with the super-steep, you're pretty much confined to the lower half of the hill, or to falling down a lot.

Other day trips from Banff worth thinking about are Nakiska/Fortress (Nakiska has a load of good cruisers) and Panorama (where the lift system has just been substantially upgraded with two new high-speed quads replacing the T-bar to the summit) - although the snow conditions can be a bit thin and icy/slushy in late season, depending on weather. There are bus trips from Banff for all of these.

If you are renting a car, it's worth thinking about spending a couple of days in Jasper. This is about a 4-hour drive from Banff: do this in full daylight, as it's one of the most spectacular drives in the Canadian Rockies - along the Icefields Parkway, which runs along a valley bottom into which a number of glaciers discharge. Jasper itself has quite a nice little ski area which you can exhaust in a couple of days.

Dog-sledding is.....umm....an experience. It's amazing what these dogs can do while running flat out. I can testify to sitting in the back of a sled and watching a flying turd miss my head by a whisker.
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Looks like a case for a snowHead helmet! I HAD always fancied dog-sledding, standing at the front, whip in hand ... Twisted Evil

Drive to Jasper sounds really nice - wish I was going for 3 weeks now. Hmmmm, up at daybreak, drive there 4 hours, 2 days full skiing, back the following afternoon - do-able Laughing Laughing

KH doesn't sound for me - defintely scared of super-steep Skullie Skullie

Can't believe how much useful advice & tips I've received, thank you - snowHead is THE place to go Smile
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I'm so proud of this! Smile This was taken last Thursday morning about 2 hours before I had to catch the bus back to Calgary - why waste a morning hanging around the hotel huh? Beautiful blue skies, fab views and the snow still pretty soft on the back of the summit.

http://www.skilouise.com/slideshow/index.asp?pic=3
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You're famous!!! Though you do look suspiciously like Twisted Evil .....

I wanna be on one of those Cool
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
How cool is that - on the official site! Nice hat!
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Yeh all that chatting up of the bloke with the camera on the top of the world lift certainly paid off! Toofy Grin

I ought to add that the hat scares children and so is the most marvellous item I've ever purchased! Laughing
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Alex you are wicked Twisted Evil
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Hurray - the day has finally come! Last day at work today, off tomorrow. This has only been booked since last May - can never bear to wait to get last minute bargains.... Thanks for all your recommendations & tips - still haven't worked out what type of lift pass to get, never mind, don't care Very Happy Very Happy

It's my birthday on Saturday so I'll be having a drink on behalf of all you snowHeads (well, perhaps not on behalf of each of you.... Shocked ) Don't be getting up to bad things whilst I'm away, like upsetting those nice people over at SCGB Twisted Evil
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Have a great time Cathy and Happy birthday for Saturday.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Enjoy yourselves, Cathy, and have a very Happy Birthday!
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Thank you! Very Happy
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Meant to say, I found a good website with nice photos of practically anywhere - some good ones of Banff: http://www.trekearth.com/search.php?phrase=banff&type=
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Cathy Coins wrote:
KH doesn't sound for me - defintely scared of super-steep Skullie Skullie


It's not that bad, Cathy. I'd only been skiing 2 weeks when I went there, and it was great! Take the gondola up to the top, the views from the summit are breathtaking (and the restaurant is superb), and the vast expanses of easy slopes (to the right at the top) are a cruiser's dream. To the left at the top is the aptly named "terminator ridge" (it's not called that on the piste map, presumably so as not to put people off!)... It's a single black, but only because of the steep moguls at the top. once you get down those (I traversed a lot snowHead ) it's a fantastic bowl which I found easy (you have to schuss a bit to get up a slope but that's about the hardest bit).

The blues on the lower slopes are easy as pie.

Go on, you'll love it snowHead
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Have a great time Cathy.
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
If you're into the green/blue cruisy runs, then Norquay might be worth a look, particularly if you only want to ski for a couple hours one day. Its always quiet, and provided theres been some snow (which there is plenty of right now) conditions should be ok. Its all alpine tree runs, but it is a nice change from the bigger resorts for the day. You can buy lift tickets per hour too.

Steer clear of the N. American chair if you don't like your super steeps! Toofy Grin

Watch out for the racers...
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Ah, back now - where has the time gone?! Just thought I'd give an update report on what was the best hols ever.

Thanks to everyone for all their suggestions - we took up a lot of them. Regrettably the Caboose restaurant is no more Sad after having given away one too many lobsters..... Can recommend Saltlik restaurant, excellent food, service, jazz music - bit more expensive but worth it. Thought the Maple Leaf was over-priced with poor service & not so great food. One of the best deals is to go to the Banff Springs Hotel (the one that stands in for Colditz) - you can have a great buffet dinner there with every type of food imaginable for $36, great value.

Went dog-sledding - great fun & our guide stopped the sled at appropriate moments so we weren't hit by flying dog poo Smile . Managed snow-shoeing as well on one of our days of 'rest', though as we followed that by an afternoon's shopping then a walk to the Cave & Basin hot springs, we were more knackered than if we'd gone skiing.

Ended up not hiring a car - nothing to do with the snow storms that we had the first few days, honest Very Happy . So went on a touristy 2 day trip to Jasper which was really excellent. The drive along the Icefields Parkway was soemthing else & seeing the clouds rolling in off the Columbia Icefield truly 'awesome'! The cost for 2 days was about $160 - first day spent getting to Jasper with the guide keeping us informed ALL the way Cool . Spent the night at the Jasper Park Lodge which is the posh luxury hotel there & then skiing from 8.45 am to 2.30 pm the next day at the local slopes, Marmot Basin. Nice slopes, but wouldn't want to spend more than a few days there.

Skiing: skiing was great. Really dumped it down our first few days with a few top-ups throughout the 2 weeks. Was so lovely skiing through the powder on-piste! Sunshine Village should definately be re-named! Though our last few days we had glorious sunshine (though slushy afternoons - we had record high temps at the end in the 20 degrees celcius!) Was great skiing for 2 weeks (first time we'd done that) - I really improved my skiing the second week & was able to consolidate all I'd learned the first week. Skiing much more of a downhill variety now rather then from side to side! Club Ski was good - M. Coins really liked as he got gold medal in his group 5 class race. I got bronze but was in a lower group Cool .

I know some people say they'd never ski in Europe again after N America - although I really liked it I did miss the sense of 'travel' that you get skiing in Europe. I love skiing to a nearby village for lunch and the feeling that you are skiing for a purpose. The resorts we went to in Canda it was more a case of taking a chair up the mountain to come down it again, up and down. Although did enjoy at Lake Louise skiing down the back bowl, up the Larch area & then stopping at Temple Lodge for a burger in the sun.

As the slopes were so slushy the last day we only had a few hours skiing, then went to vist the 'Chateau Lake Louise' where we lunched in style with burger, chips & champagne - nice to see they let the rabble in....

Monarch flights surprisingly OK.....

Busy looking in Early Birds brochures to book for next year now! I had said there's so many resorts to go to I wouldn't go back to one we'd previously been to until we skiied all the places we wanted to - I think Banff has just proved me wrong! Excellent value for money, great for non-skiing activities (yes, I know it's hard to imagine not skiing all the time but my legs can't take 14 days of it!). Really efficient skibus system (I'd imagined it would be like in France, stupid!) - can't wait to get back there now....


Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Sun 4-04-04 14:33; edited 1 time in total
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Cathy Coins, a most excellent report! snowHead I've been to Banff in the summer - flew into Calgary.
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Must be lovely in the summer Ian, but I hear just so many people! I was surprised before we went to hear that summer is their high season but can understand it now...
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Great to hear you report Cathy.

I am close to booking our honeymoon in Lake Louise. Early December, thinking of 2 weeks. We were thinking of staying in the Chateau Lake Louise.
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johnboym, the chateau is lovely, but transport from the lake louise area to the ares at norquay and sunshine is limited: conversely, there's excellent links from Banff itself to all three ski areas, and the banff chateau looks just as nice
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Glad you enjoyed yourself Cathy, thanks for the report.johnboy, The Banff Springs would I think be a better option for the same reasons as nbt highlights. I honeymooned at the Banff Springs.
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Snow can be patchy around that time of year, this year was an exception with a HUGE dump in November, but 2002, 2003 and 2001 both had to wait until nearly xmas to get a decent covering and even then they could've asked for more.

Staying in Banff will give you a better bus service but it will depend on where you want to ski. The Chateau in Louise is all well and good if you like seeing ugly tacked up buildings destroy a naturally beautiful place. The Banff springs at least fits the environment.
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Cheers for your comments folks. I was really thinking of Lake Louise as I thought the ski-ing looked more limited at Banff/Norquay. What about the Lake Louise Inn?

How far away are all the areas ?
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Lake kouise in general is not theplace to stay, being just the resort and a handful of hotels, whereas Banff os a real town. the ski area at louise is about a 45 minute journey from banff, sunshie is about 25 minutes and norquay is 15 minutes or so
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Fair enough, Banff is a decent sized town, but where is the best ski-ing to be found, I was under the impression it was LL and not Banff.
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
But you have the evening to consider too, you can ski all day at lake louise then go back to banff - conversely, if you stay at LL for two weeks, you'll find opportunitites to visit banff extremely limted (or extremely expensive if you tak a taxi)
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I've spent 4 weeks at the Lake Louise Inn and like it - go for one of the superior queens or studio's in building 5 or push the boat out and get one of the suite type things. However if you want out and out luxury the Post Hotel is the only place to go - fancy your own butler sir? Wink

The skiing is far better at LL, I've skiied 7 weeks there and I'm still not bored with it! snowHead

It's true there is not an enormous amount of nightlife in LL, however how much do you want to do on your honeymoon? combine that with a full day's skiing at jetlag... only the die-heard peasants party all night. rolling eyes
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Well basically, I'm looking for some good quality relaxed ski-ing, nice scenery, good food and a few pints in the evening, so I'm still tempted by LL. What do you think of the Chateau Alexandra?
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I think it's an ugly monstrosity owned by a bunch of yanks intent on ripping off tourists - lots of people like it though! Wink If your idea of heaven is a mini-complex containing 700 rooms then go for it! When I left in Feb they were in the middle of building new and larger bits onto the side... it's such a shame as it's a uniquely beautiful spot and this company obviously have no respect for the fact it's in a national park. Sad

Although I like Banff I do find it a bit tacky after a while and I prefer to stay in Louise and make a day trip into Banff.
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Welcome back Cathy! Glad you had a good time. Thinks - How could you not in the Canadian Rockies? snowHead

johnboy, this is the Lake Louise Chateau. Personally I think it looks like a prison. My favourite view of it is this one, which is taken from the Top Of The World at LL and is about as far away as you can get from it and still see it. Wink

johnboy wrote:
Well basically, I'm looking for some good quality relaxed ski-ing, nice scenery, good food and a few pints in the evening, so I'm still tempted by LL


The skiing at Lake Louise Inn fits this bill IMO. As for a few pints in the evening, the basement bar at the Lake Louise Inn is very comfortable (I think we were in there every single one of our 14 nights trying very hard to drink them out of Rickards Red!); you can eat there too (the Inn has three places to eat, from the bar up to a full-on restaurant with THE best AAA Alberta Steaks in the area). If you cringe easily, however, beware the bar's "themed" evenings - karaoke, "talent" night, etc. Shocked

If it's nightlife you're after, LL is not the place to go.

Wherever you end up in the Banff National Park you're sure to have a fantastic time and end up wanting to keep going back snowHead
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Thanks everyone! For my two pence-worth johnboy, , I'd stay at Banff but at the Rimrock Hotel, - I think the Banff Springs and the Chateau LL are ugly as hell, rooms at Banff Springs are apparently tiny so if you do stay there make sure you upgrade to the better room/suite. Although I prefered the skiing at LL I don't think I could spend a whole 2 weeks skiing there - it is limited skiing by European standards & if you're staying at LL it's VERY hard to get to Sunshine/Norquay. Staying at Banff gives you the option of variety & it really is a very efficient ski bus system, involving walkie-talkies, back-up coaches hiding round the corner & minibuses for those one or two extra bodies. Plus you have the variety of restaurants & bars at Banff, some of which really are very good.

I echo what moosepig says: Wherever you end up...you're sure to have a fantastic time & end up wanting to keep going back - that's us!! snowHead
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Another wee question,

Most of the brochures quote the area as having 33 ft of snow with sunshine in brackets.

Then, Iv'e seen others that quote LL as having only 12 ft. Is this so as both resorts seem to be at the same altitude 1600m?
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Aren't they on different sides of the continental divide or something? They do seem to have different weather patterns and traditionally Sunshine gets more but the last couple of years have been terrible anyway and a friend caught a lot of rocks in sunshine this year.
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Sunshine & LL are the same side of the Continental Divide, but regarding the valley going east from Banff, Sunshine is on the South side and LL ski resort is on the North side about 35km further on. (Lake Louise -the lake itself - is on south side, and LL village is in the valley).
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DOesn;t the continental divide run right through sunshine, hence the nameof one of the runs?
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nbt, Indeed it does and Sunshine definitely gets more 'weather' - could be a lovely sunny day in Banff, blizzards in Sunshine. The second day we were there Sunshine got 20cms overnight whereas LL just got a few cms
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Most of Sunshine is on the west side of the continental divide.

Strangely, there is no restaurant on the east side at Sunshine. BC's PST would have nothing to do with this of course! (It's the terrain honest).
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When you say continental divide what exactly do you mean?
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