Canada Advice Please!

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  Thread Started By:   Spencey   On:   Saturday 16/02/2019 @ 16:48 Show Newest First    
Posts: 38
  #1  Canada Advice Please!  Posted 16/02/2019 @ 16:48
Coming up to the big 40 next year and I've been saying for the last few that I'd like to spend my birthday in Canada riding pow.

It's looking more likely to happen now, with a group of 4 of us free mid Feb. Question is where to go to get the best conditions and also not spend and absolute fortune.

Me and the wife have been checking out the various deals and it all seems bloody expensive , even in comparison with our usual (France).

Interested to hear about peoples experience and what they would recommend for us. We're thinking 2 weeks to take full advantage.

Live for the day, it's a gift, that's why it's called the present!
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  #2  Re: Canada Advice Please!  Posted 17/02/2019 @ 01:26
In reply to post #1...
Hi, I think I’m the only person left on this site posting replies but perhaps some of the others will give their opinion. Everyone seems to have moved to Facebook or instagram but, to me, this site is self-contained which I like.

I have been travelling to Canada for 30 years. Mainly to Banff and sometimes Whistler and also Europe - France and Austria. The best powder I have come across recently has been 1. Austria Zell am See in January 2016 I think. 2. Big White Feb 2010 (possibly) 3. Couchevel 2013 and Snowmass USA 2015.

Hence I would say that you never can be sure where the white stuff will land. Mid-Feb is Half-Term ( which I expect you know) which leads to silly prices from the tour companies. It’s not such a problem for Canada if you book in advance but next week I’m off th Banff in the middle of half term with much lower prices. This year ba have stopped winter flights to Calgary which means higher prices from Air Canada due to lack of competition. You can go on Westjet but extras to pay for.

Snow-wise Banff tends not to have huge amounts and any powder is skied out very quickly by hordes coming out of the city. Big White and the smaller resorts in BC are much better in that respect as they are not near any big cities. It can dump it down in Whistler but can be wet and is expensive.

Perhaps a road trip would be in order. I would suggest going before half term If possible because the Canadians have Family day in the same week and in the US it is ( god help us) “Presidents Day” or week.

Personally, I like Canada for it’s wide, open tree-lined and empty slopes. Powder is a bonus. Last year I was in Banff for 10 days in half term without any snow. However it was very cold so the slopes were in good condition. I was riding some of the steep slopes on Norquay and had the place to myself. Europe is very crowded in comparison although they don’t come out when it’s cold and snowing !

I hope that help a little but really pot luck regarding powder. Colorado would, statistically, be more powder sure but the USA is much more expensive.
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  #3  Re: Canada Advice Please!  Posted 17/02/2019 @ 05:32
In reply to post #2...
Love Canada. We are down in Idaho but heading up to Red Mountain tommorow. Been going here almost every Winter for over 20 years now and it never lets us down.
In recent years we have visited a lot more ski hills down in the USA and our favourite is Ski Discovery at Philipsburg, Montana. This is a real gem of a place with some of the best and steepest tree skiing you will find anywhere.
Very quiet and locals are friendly and welcoming.
Going to review/upgrade a few of my old reports on here when I get home.
Just spent today at Silver Mountain in Idaho, busy for Presidents weekend but snow was excellent.

smcwilliam smugmug photos.

smcwilliam flickr photos.
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  #4  Re: Canada Advice Please!  Posted 17/02/2019 @ 06:59
In reply to post #3...
Morning Gents,

Thanks for the responses. Yeah I know what you mean about getting a reply. Like you say I think the majority of people just use facebook or insta these days.

I said mid Feb but I maybe should have said has to include Feb12th as that's my birthday. We can certainly plan around that to avoid high prices and normal holiday times and dates.

We've been to East Coast Canada, Tremblant before but that was when I just started riding. It was a beautiful location but had very icy pistes.

Based on what you've said about prices and the monopoly on flights we might actually be better to just do Europe as usual, though that does seem a bit defeatist.

I'll have a look into ski safarai type trips and see what sort of prices that throws up.

Thanks for your help guys!
Live for the day, it's a gift, that's why it's called the present!
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meth mouth
Posts: 575
  #5  Re: Canada Advice Please!  Posted 17/02/2019 @ 20:04
Revision #1 (Last edited: 17/02/2019 @ 20:05)
In reply to post #4...
Dude don't give up so quickly, whatsdamaddawidya?

I can't recommend north America for snowboarding enough, its just a different experiance. To get the best deals, start looking now and try american ski classics. Best deals to be had early and 2 weeeks can cost roughly the same as two (separate) weeks in europe.

Utah so far is my fave but prices have crept up since we went in 2015.
Banff is great and easily affordable for 2 weeks. As an idea, it cost us £1650 B&B Aspen Lodge Banff, flights, transfers and pass in 2017.

To choose between them I'd go back to Utah in a heartbeat but probably not Banff but the heli there was amazeballs!

Going to Whistler soon let you know how that goes later.
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  #6  Re: Canada Advice Please!  Posted 17/02/2019 @ 22:08
In reply to post #4...
No don’t be put off going. It is a great experience. If you put your birthday at the tail-end you will miss half term.

As above - Banff is probably the best value resort. There are free buses to the three hills which you would pay a fortune for if it were a sightseeing trip. American Ski Classics are uk based and will do just accommodation, ski hire and lift passes if you want to sort your own flights.

If you want to explore the incredible range of smaller resorts further West - probably flying to Seattle or Vancouver - send Stuart (above) a message.
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  #7  Re: Canada Advice Please!  Posted 18/02/2019 @ 18:51
In reply to post #6...
Yeah I've had some of my best ever riding in Canada. Just go do it, it's a brilliant place.

Of course conditions depend on timing and location. If you absolutely must avoid 'icey pistes' then try watching ice hockey instead of snowboarding.
For Sale:
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  #8  Re: Canada Advice Please!  Posted 18/02/2019 @ 18:52
In reply to post #7...
Canada... try this on the average weekend in the alps..

For Sale:
- HangTime Snowboard Wall Mounts in black or white colours. £25 including UK postage. Just send me a message, or see the classifieds section!
- Giro Basis Goggles (White frame, black strap, gold flowers design, gold / amber lens) £75. See the classifieds section for photos!
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  #9  Re: Canada Advice Please!  Posted 21/02/2019 @ 09:26
Revision #1 (Last edited: 21/02/2019 @ 09:27)
In reply to post #4...
Spency .....

I've had about thirty weeks in Canada over the last twenty years, so have a fair handle on the place, for a tourist.

Not sure what your looking at as regards flights and prices, but a package to Canada can still be done for less that fourteen hundred quid for two weeks*, if you know when and where to book, flts/tfrs/carriage/pass included ..... but you will have to fly from LHR

Everyone should go at least once but you'll struggle to do Whistlerland for that ...... although unless partying is as important as riding you won't miss much compared to other hills, certainly not the queues.

As regards going to ride powder, don't get too excited about the 'it always snows in Ca' myth ...... it's like Europe when you can get days, weeks even without fresh, but as a lot of places get more than ten metres a year on average, it's usually less of a issue.

Ab/Bc isn't Quebec ..... much less icy, and a night and day different place, easy going west coast 'Canadian' vibe on the whole ..... completely different feel to anywhere in Europe either.

*Fernie last year was under thirteen hundred
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  #10  Re: Canada Advice Please!  Posted 21/02/2019 @ 14:28
In reply to post #1...
Chucking my hat in to the ring on this one.

1) Get a (big enough) car for the four of you and be prepared to move around to chase the snow
2) Stay in hostels - if you're only using them to get your head down and wake up to a day of epic snow then do you need much more than a bed?
3) stay away from the big resorts, especially at weekends. Flying in to Calgary opens up the entire powder highway banff (sunshine/louise/norquay), panorama, kicking horse, revvy, white water, fernie, red.... or vancouver could unlock silver star, big white, grouse, sun peaks...
4) as Stuart said - cheeky trips over the border to Idaho/montana also reap rewards.

However, you have picked a past time that relies heavily on the weather... you need to be prepared to deal with that. I did a season in Fernie 6 (or was it 7) years ago and had one of the deepest snowfalls on record... I then did a three week roadie out there four years ago and got the warmest winter in 50 years (see here ) so there is a small element of rolling the dice... good luck!
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  #11  Re: Canada Advice Please!  Posted 21/02/2019 @ 22:00
In reply to post #10...
Ah where's 'SilverStar' when you need him. Miss that dude!
For Sale:
- HangTime Snowboard Wall Mounts in black or white colours. £25 including UK postage. Just send me a message, or see the classifieds section!
- Giro Basis Goggles (White frame, black strap, gold flowers design, gold / amber lens) £75. See the classifieds section for photos!
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  #12  Re: Canada Advice Please!  Posted 22/02/2019 @ 07:29
In reply to post #11...

Apart from Whistler most resorts are small by Euro standards.

If you want Powder you generally need to avoid the crowds so stear clear of Whistler & Banff.

So get a day on a Snowcat or a Heli.

In summary Canada is vast but mostly undeveloped. Locals tend to use Splitboards and Snowmobiles and dont buy lift passes.

Red Mountain or Whitewater are good and VERY small and you'd need a sense of adventure with snowshoes and or a Splitboard to get the most out of them.

Fernie may actually be the resort you are looking for but it is low and the weather can change to rain in a heartbeat.

In summary for Inbound powder euorpe is way better (If it snows) .

Personally id make sure my current account is flush and get a day or two on a snowcat or a heli as part of trip over there, unless you know a local with a sled
Snowboarding ruined my life
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