Pacific NW/AK/BC Necessary BC areas

Discussion in 'General Resort Discussion' started by tch, Sep 13, 2019.

  1. tch

    tch What do I know; I'm just some guy on the internet. Skier

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    A friend and I are planning a 2+ week trip in BC. We're both advanced/low-expert skiers in our 60's, and are looking for good, but not hair-ball, skiing. For reference, we're good on most all diamonds at Alta and Snowbird, but very few double-diamonds. We're good skiing intermediate slopes, too; in truth, an ideal day might be 50/50 black/blue. So, for example, we're probably not looking at Kicking Horse, since its reputation is pretty gnarly. But.... we could be convinced. Conditions are most important.

    We are also fans of the lesser-known, more laid-back places: I often ski Snowbasin, PowMou, and Brighton rather than LCC b/c of crowds and attitude. Currently, we're looking at Red, Panorama, Revelstoke, and Fernie, but again, need confirmation/correction beta. Big White? Silver Star? Whitewater?

    Any insight/thoughts/reviews would be helpful.
    We will probably ski Whitefish on the way home.

    Edit: Oh, by the way...is March too late, or OK? We're either last-two-weeks in Feb+ or first two weeks in March+.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2019
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  2. Mike Rogers

    Mike Rogers Getting off the lift Skier

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    I ski Fernie or Kicking Horse most weekends. I can help with particulars there. The Black Diamond chutes at kicking horse are pretty stiff, so you might be right about the terrain. Still, if there is fresh snow, the hill is much more approachable.

    I think Big White and Silver Star would really suit skiers looking for a mix between blue and black runs. Big White is a highly developed resort by BC standards. Probably second to Whistler for skier visits and village (although Sun Peaks also has a bunch of condos). So maybe not exactly the resort you are looking for...but the terrain is nice.

    Whitewater is small, but a real gem. If you don't like skiing trees, a day would be enough, but it is worth it. Nelson is a fun town too.

    I'm not a big fan of Kimberly. It isn't on your list, but I wouldn't be super keen on investigating. Panorama has good long groomers, and some nice terrain in the Taynton Bowl (access is a bit of a hassle though), but it doesn't get a lot of snow. I am not the biggest fan...

    Castle Mountian is about an hour and a half east of fernie (and in Alberta). It definitely qualifies as a lessor known/laid back place. Might be worth a look.

    How long is your trip? How many ski days? Do you have IKON, EPIC, Mountain Collective, Powder Alliance, or Indy Pass discounts?

    If you don't have a discount, look into the RCR card for good discounts to Fernie and Kicking Horse, if you try it out. The Louise Plus card gave discounts to Panorama, Silver Star, and Red last year (also Lake Louise and Schweitzer in Idaho). The Sunshine Super card helps with Revelstoke and Castle (and Sunshine in Banff).
     
  3. Tony

    Tony tseeb Skier

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    +1 on Castle even if it’s a few miles into AB.

    If you are considering Big White(out) and Silver Star (where a lot of best runs drop to lower elevations), consider Apex out of Penticton. I only have two days there, but both included more untracked than expected. It seemed like locals left early leaving some areas for visitors to skiout

    Reports at http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=12824 (2019) and http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=12063 (2016 with some upside down pictures)
     
  4. noncrazycanuck

    noncrazycanuck Getting off the lift Skier

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    when your going, and where your starting from makes a big difference.
    some places change pecking order depending on which month
    best way for linking hills depends on where your starting.
    here are a lots of good areas fairly close together so no shortage of options .
    along with looking into the card info above, also consider how far your willing to drive after a days skiing to the next hill.
    my advice is always do the drive to next hill after a day skiing rather than in the morning, better optics and less road issues
     
    Mike Rogers likes this.
  5. DanoT

    DanoT RVer-Skier Skier

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    If given the choice, last 2 weeks of Feb would be my choice as it is more likely to be winter weather vs. first 2 weeks of March which could be warmer but still very good skiing. Most BC resorts don't close until mid April and that is due to lack of skiers in late season rather than lack of snow.

    Distances between resorts in B.C. can impact the number of resorts that it is reasonable to visit even in a 2 week+ trip.

    If flying to Spokane (likely cheapest flight) and then driving 2.5 hours to Rossland gets you skiing Red Mt, with Whitewater (the anti-Whistler) another 1.25 hrs (accommodation is in Nelson). From Nelson it is about 4 hours to Revelstoke.

    If flying to Kelowna, Big White and Silver Star are 3/4 hrs from the airport (in different directions), Revelstoke is about 3 hours with Silver Star sort of on the way. On a clear morning from the top of the Stoke chair at Revy, you can see Sun Peaks' Burfield Chair but it is almost 3.5 hours away.

    I never recommend Big White due to its well earned nickname: Big Whiteout.

    If flying to Calgary, Fernie and Castle would be my choices and as I like to tell people: Castle is the greatest mountain in North America that you have never heard of. With around 100k skier visits annually and 2800' continuous vertical it is another anti-Whistler. Off the top lift at Castle there is a road similar to Snowbird's Road to Provost where you just drop in wherever, except the road goes in both directions off the lift.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2019
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  6. Bad Bob

    Bad Bob old n' slow Skier

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    If you were following the @DanoT route, which seems like a good one, Consider 49* North on the way to Canada. About 1 hour from the Spokane Airport on the road to Rossland. Bonus points possible if you hit it on a Powder Friday, they are normally closed Wednesday and Thursday so the odds are good. Great low to moderate angle trees, and small crowds.
     
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  7. Thread Starter
    TS
    tch

    tch What do I know; I'm just some guy on the internet. Skier

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    Thanks so far.
    We will be driving (I know, I know) from Sacramento, CA. So proximity to airports is not a thing...though logical driving progression is.
     
  8. Jack skis

    Jack skis Ex 207cm VR17 Skier Skier

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    Some good suggestions here. Apex is certainly worth a visit, as Tony mentioned. Every time I skied Big White the sun was out and visibility was great, it was really a nice day. Red Mountain is a dandy area, and like Apex worth a visit if you've got two weeks, or even a day to spare.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2019
  9. David Chaus

    David Chaus If I am skiing the world is a perfect place. Skier

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    Red Mt and Whitewater are two that meet the description for low key. Red in particular has a lot of off-piste to explore. Neither of them have a lot of groomed blues, though.
     
  10. jmeb

    jmeb Stereotypical Front Range Weekend Warrior Skier

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    Given you're driving from Sacramento -- I'd seriously consider looking into a season pass at a resort that has Powder Alliance benefits. Ideally a resort you might get out to and use a few more days. You could break up your to/from BC driving with a bunch of free days at laid back areas. Here's a sample skiing only places along the way on the Powder Alliance pass -- including up to 6 days at White Water / Castle combined. Bridger is a bit out of the way, but you could add a day at Lost Trail/Discover/Whitefish (Whitefish has 3 free days on the Loveland pass) between it and Schweitzer/BC.

    https://goo.gl/maps/bNCUqso5iTTi1FTB8
     
  11. DanoT

    DanoT RVer-Skier Skier

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    I suggest getting on highway 97 in northern California and it takes you thru inland Oregon, Wash, and B.C.'s south Okanagan to the small city of Penticton about 20 minutes from Apex. From there you can head north continuing along 97 to Silver Star and/or Revelstoke and Sun Peaks.

    Alternately, from Apex you can head east to Red Mt, and then north to Whitewater and Revelstoke.

    You can also turn the above suggestions into a loop or retrace your original route on the way home, re-stopping at a favourite resort, or not.
     
  12. Sibhusky

    Sibhusky Making fresh tracks Skier

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  13. jmeb

    jmeb Stereotypical Front Range Weekend Warrior Skier

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  14. Sibhusky

    Sibhusky Making fresh tracks Skier

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    You left out Silver and Fernie. In fact there's probably a slew of places you're passing by.
     
  15. jmeb

    jmeb Stereotypical Front Range Weekend Warrior Skier

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    Yep -- those are just the ones on the Loveland season pass. I'd have 2 weeks if I'm lucky and would want to carve out some time for skiing backcountry if conditions permit along the way.
     
  16. noncrazycanuck

    noncrazycanuck Getting off the lift Skier

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    last 2 weeks of Feb are good most places.
    only possible negative is could still not the optimum base at Kicking Horse Lake Louise and Panorama

    by first 2 weeks of March, Red, Revelstoke, and Fernie often get spring conditions, we usually don't head to Whitefish later than 1st week of March either
    in that same time period all the higher hills will be prime

    Driving from Sacramento is 14hr to BC border so consider what's on the way to ski to break up the drive
    I5 gives you Crystal Stevens or Baker if you want to start with Apex-BW-Silver Star all are good hills and from Silver Star it's 2hr to Revy
    97 is a slower drive, but gives Bachelor and the others mentioned, if your planning on the Red Whitewater area only it's faster than via the coast,
    Red and Whitewater are a bit more isolated from other hills in BC so you do a bit more driving to include them in a BC loop

    one of my favorite loops is Revy-Kicking Horse, Lake Louise, Sunshine, (4hr) to Castle, Fernie Whitefish (with the exception of Banff to Castle all are under 2hr apart)
    or from Golden head south to Panorama -Fernie Red Whitewater and go back via Spokane

    I never have much trouble just showing up in a ski town and getting a room, allows for easy snow chasing,
    but recommend for sure to book rooms in Fernie and Revelstoke. and on weekends it's a good idea to have a reservation at most places now.
     
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