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TR Banff, Lake Louise (now includes 2 videos)

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
So after all your helpful thoughts about my lessons
http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=137030
and extra-curricular activities
http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=137033

we’ve arrived in Banff, so here is my trip report / blog! [EDIT - and scroll down for videos!]

We booked really late (all DIY) so the flights were quite expensive; to save 600 euros we flew from Lisbon to Amsterdam then spend one night there before taking a KLM 787 to Calgary. We landed at the new international terminal, confusing me where the Banff Airporter was! We were in time and they easily put us on the bus before the one we’d booked, so no delay there. Snow was all around, they’d had a recent fall. Arrived by 6pm, up to our “suite” (two joined rooms with kitchenette) in the High Country Inn on Banff Ave. My usual, Irwins Mountain Inn two doors down, had been more expensive on booking.com this time. Then out to Safeway - actually now IGA but I'll still say Safeway - to get some basic foods for breakfast.

Sunday, first day, no skiing planned, only acclimatisation. To SkiHub to collect rentals. I’d paid for mid-performance as they’d been pretty good in Andorra, but not so impressed here and I might change mine after a couple of days, paying a bit more for newer/better gear. Longest children’s skis are 140, though my 12 yr old is 158 high now; we’ll see how she gets on. Rentals delivered to our hotel by 6pm, no need to trudge down the main street with gear. Also bought First Tracks lessons for self and the two children for the next five mornings. Wife found she’d left her facemask so needed one; many shops have little now as they had a harsh winter and were all sold out. Got her a merino, not polyester, Buff; next day she rather liked it. Got an email late in the day to say we’d be on a special bus very early for the lesson, meeting at a hotel not too close. I decided not to wake up early and stand outside in -9C with children waiting for an bus at an uncertain time, but to get the usual bus.

Monday - we got the usual early bus which got us there with 5 mins to spare. My instructor is Stuart Dunbar from Scotland. Told him about not wanting to be scared on bumps, jumps, steeps. He decided to look at my turn and hockey stop on some blue runs. Oh dear I thought, but obeyed. After 20 minutes, it clicked - my body wasn’t angling enough at the end of the turn so the skis were relatively flat, not biting. A bit of explanation and wow I felt so much more in control. So, just a little tune-up but made the difference! Met the family at 10, had a coffee and we went over the back bowls down to Larch area, then had lunch at Temple lodge, in the restaurant section (sawyers nook?). Tasty, and for kids menu, very generous. Up and down Larch (damn those moguls are big and irregular!), up Ptarmigan lift a couple of times, down Ptarmigan single black - I blasted it with my new-found control - then down the front side twice and an early finish for the 1530 bus. I must confess I was cold today and so were the children (temp predicted -7C rising to 0 so we’d already put an extra thin layer on) and I haven’t felt that before. This weekend predicting down to -16C at night rising to -6C during the day!! We may be spending a bit of money on more clothes!


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Mon 16-04-18 19:28; edited 2 times in total
snow report     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Hi@Orange200, thanks for the update. We are Banff regulars and are out there in the 17th for a late Spring skiing trip so very interested in reports on the conditions.

Looks like you will be home by the time we arrive- maybe another time we could all meet for a beer.


Last edited by Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person on Tue 27-03-18 19:29; edited 1 time in total
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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?
Hi @Orange200 make sure you take advantage of the free guiding around the mountain. The "Mountain Hosts" will greet you as you come in from the car park and tell you whats what and where and guide small groups around the resort.

Sounds like you ave covered most of it already though.
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You need to Login to know who's really who.
@lynnecha, sorry to miss you this year! We are always tied to school holidays and I currently don't see myself booking a ski trip in mid/late April when Easter will fall in the next few years, as the snow is not so good - but never say never.

@DrLawn, well aware of it. Wife thought she'd go today while we had lessons - but got to the top of the chair and found it was the black rather than the blue group, so toddled back down and joined us for a mid-morning coffee.

Got the super-early bus today, 0645, for Fresh Tracks and Staff apparently so it was still full. Fresh snow today, all day, so very low vis up the top and a bit windy. My lesson was mini-jumps to centre my body weight in deeper snow, including mini-jumps around the turn, to keep the turns smooth and not jerky. We also did bumps and what I learned was to scrape my outer/lower ski down the back of the bump, I'd thought it was my upper/inner, but once I'd got that they started to go quite well. It seems I can either remember to compress into the bump or scrape down the back, but not sure if I can get both yet after about four bumps! Still, I'll work on it - and going down Ptarmigan again this afternoon, with all that fresh on top of the bumps, was challenging but I only fell once. Final lesson was how to do a jump, so again centre the bodyweight with mini jumps and pop off or near the top - for heaven's sake don't lean back or go in with straight legs. Got a bit of air and tried a few medium jumps (following my children!!), no falls, confidence building gradually there. Apparently another 4 inches due on Thursday.

Lunch was at North Face Bistro on the far left of the base, fantastic carvery all you can eat Alberta beef and trimmings for 18 bucks. A shame most of it was warm rather than hot but I was so starving I didn't care. As last time we went, Bistro will shut for 1 April so we'll have to see what we do next week.

After lunch, Ptarmigan as mentioned, then back up and down Meadowlark and Lower Meadowlark, which has steep sections (fresh snow, cut up - girls killed it) and a really scenic last few hundred metres through the trees. 1530 bus back.

Bad news - Daughter #2 lost her new Julbo goggles, we think left on the bus yesterday so we hope to get them back in a day or two. I told the driver this morning and he said they usually find go pros and iPhones, so maybe I shouldn't be so mad about 50 euro goggles...! Luckily we have an old pair with us so survived today.

Wife has popped out to Safeway for hot soup or chicken for the girls as "supper", and an early bed tonight; we adults are hoping to go out and change my skis and her boots. At some point in the next week I want some nice new thermal underwear and I may well get one of the moose "batman" T-shirts.


Last edited by You need to Login to know who's really who. on Thu 29-03-18 3:41; edited 1 time in total
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Orange200, I'm out there with the missus and 14yo daughter from Saturday, maybe meet up for a beer or a few turns?
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You'll need to Register first of course.
@turbosmurf, Could do! We'll almost certainly be at Sunshine for the week.

Swapped my skis last night, paid to upgrade from the Salomon X-Drive 75mm(?), 168cm, to the Salomon XDR 8.4 which they had in 172cm. Very early bus again; leave in the dark, arrive in the light. Legs and head are very tired - legs doubtless due to bumps - so I was soggy this morning.

Back was closed until maybe 0930, instructor thought there would be wind lips (?) after yesterday's full day of snow to clean up. He took me through powder where he could find it down the front, hunting out windblown stuff next to fences so I could feel what it was like. Damn these new skis are faster, for the first 30 minutes I was more a passenger than a pilot, they are seriously waxed compared to the previous! Tip today was to actively drive the outer foot around the turn, rather than being lazy (and leaning back) and letting it go. Also tried to keep the shoulders pointing more or less downhill. We went down Meadowlark but that was a mess, powdery lumps on top of ice, every metre a new adventure.

Met the family for an extended coffee (urgh, still feeling so tired) then back up the chairs and down the back which was open, dropping off the side and having fun in the soft stuff before the long run down to Larch. OK so I caught a shovel and face-planted, but it's family fun, no? Lunch at Temple again - not sure about those buffalo burgers but they are tasty. Up and down Larch, back up to try a new run and.... oh, this blue has been reclassified as a black as there are socking great lumps, ridges and bomb craters down it. Girls were halfway down before I had a chance to start! And then there were more... Evil or Very Mad Wife wandered round via the green to meet us at the bottom after I Weebled my way down. Up Ptarmigan and blasted down the front before calling it a day at 1440, legs really were too tired.


Last edited by You'll need to Register first of course. on Sun 8-04-18 20:46; edited 1 time in total
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Wind lip = cornice
Enjoy Banff and Lake Louise. Consider spending a day at Mt Norquay too. It was edging towards -20c during the day when I was there in February. My best ski day was the day I spent at Norquay. Not because of the terrain, but because it was a day when there was a foot or so of fresh powder and nobody was there.
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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!
@Orange200, We were there a few years ago and used to take an early bus up to the "hill". Used to love having breakfast in the Lodge (Timberjack?) up at Lake Louise. Only cost a couple of dollars more than a so so breakfast at the hotel. Used to sit and watch the place come to life.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@Orange200, Might have been whiskyjack lodge or something similar.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
@Orange200, sounds like you are really making the most of it! Great to read about all the familiar runs- Meadowlark is my personal favourite.

We are later than usual this year- March is our normal time so let us know if you are around next year.

Keep the repost coming!
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@GeorgeVII, It's whiskyjack lodge. I've spent all my money on late-booked plane tickets and not very discounted lift tickets, so our breakfasts are a bowl of cereal in the room before we leave, free coffee from the hotel lobby, and a couple of cereal bars or cookies from Safeway in the pocket for arrival before starting!

Thursday. Up early, Daughter #1 forgets her phone upstairs at the last second, which means when I wait for her and then rush out for the bus, I forget my free coffee and cream from the lobby flask that I like to nurse on the journey. Grr. Bus driver says he might see moose ten times a year on the route to LL, though deer and elk are pretty common; bears not so rare but I forgot to ask about hibernation times. Otherwise, legs and head feel fine and it’s a light morning but a bit windy up the top. Instructor asked what I’d done yesterday, and said I’d been down the blue now black mogul run in Larch. He looked at me. “That’s Bobcat. I’ve been down Bobcat once this year. That’s how much I (don’t) like it. Those bumps are huge and horrible.” Apparently most things should be easy by comparison. He took me down Grizzly Gully for a warm-up, then back up the Top of the World chair and along the top of the right-hand side of that Gully to see if I succeed in getting down the steep lumpy wall of Grizzly Bowl. I seemed to manage quite well; he was much less impressed by the three who followed us and shot across the front of his skis while he was waiting for me near the bottom. Most of today’s lesson was variations on the stem turn, either to get me out of trouble on a steep pitch, or to encourage early weight transfer in carved turns. I learned to place my foot in the stem while moving which then pretty much initiated the turn (movement that way comes to an abrupt stop), rather than a lazy lean across and the turn follows. Finish by angulating and getting ready with the hockey stop pole plant. Again the back bowls were closed until nearly 9.30 so we didn’t go down, instead practising on gentle bumps like Wrong Turn. Pah. I've done Bobcat, doncha know.

After coffee and chocolate with the family, I said I wanted to go up Summit Platter with my new confidence. I wanted that as I’m usually tired after lunch, apparently tomorrow it will snow so I know there will be zero visibility, and I’m expecting we’ll spend next week at Sunshine; so it’s my last chance. Daughters and I went up while wife went down the front to North Face Bistro to wait for us for lunch, as we could feel it was windy and we all assumed we’d be coming down the front face blue runs. But then at the top Daughter #2 stuck her head through the Whitehorn gate in the fence over the back (black diamond, steep, narrows into a gully, fairly deep snow after the Tuesday fall), looked down and said “we can do this”.

Well, waste not want not…. D1 went first and seemed to get down without problem but D2 made several turns to halfway down then got a crisis of confidence (she’s 9 remember). I can’t say I was really enjoying it either, but I sense that one of the worst things to do on such a slope is stop and start thinking about it, and as the parent I have to stop above her and talk her down. She did, slowly, using aforementioned stem turns. I had to follow with several stops so I didn’t pass her - urgh. But we made it. She told me afterwards the top had been OK but lower it narrowed into a gully and got steeper and bumpier so she got scared. Fantastic fields of deep snow at the bottom to play in as consolation, before we launched into Pika, shot down to Ptarmigan lift, up, and as fast as possible down the front to a later than expected lunch. Unfortunately I thought Ladies Downhill would be the fastest way, rather than Juniper - seriously wrong, the steep bits are extremely icy with very little snow, it’s not pleasant for intermediates in a hurry. Anyway, made it.

In the afternoon we spent some time in Larch, going down Lookout (hey, that’s a fun run!), filming a bit so D1 can make another video like the Andorra one. We carried snowballs up the Ptarmigan lift as there was a huge lump of snow on a tree branch close to the lift which we tried to knock off as we went up; then to the right and down Ptarmigan black for a high-speed laugh, back up to the front and… help it’s already 3pm and the bus leaves at 3.30! A surprisingly short time later, but well under control, honest officer, we got to the bottom via Eagle Meadows and Cameron’s Way, thighs burning but with plenty of time before the bus went. My legs are tired as I type this! But powder day tomorrow, apparently Smile .

It's our day off on Saturday and D1 turns 12. Just booked Johnston Canyon walk for the morning, and i hope we can get to Fairmont Banff Springs for lunch. Not sure what we'll do after; hot springs are great and we should go sometime, but wouldn't they be crowded on Easter 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.
@Orange200, Perfectly understand that. I can clearly remember that we paid £333 each for our holiday. It was the 1st week after New Year and booked so last minute that we picked up tickets at the Airport. That was for Manchester > Calgary flights, transfers and room only at the Lake Louise Inn.

With a poor exchange rate, ski hire & lift passes, a couple of private lessons for Mrs G7, food and a few beers, any notion of a cheap ski holiday soon evaporated rolling eyes .
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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
Banff Springs... well I did just stay there, but it reminded me that they gouged you for everything. It's best not to look at the prices. £333 may get you a room for the night.

They have a number of restaurants but nothing particularly outstanding. I like their "pub" which is down a staircase out the back, towards the river where you can see the frozen falls. Anyway, they have Weissbier and expensive but edible pub food. They do have a pretty huge and not-well-used pool.

I'm not sure if Canada really does Easter - it's "spring break" so the sprogs are off school, but I don't think there's a religious holiday or anything. I've not been to the actual hot springs at Banff - if it's child oriented then I'd expect it to be busy. There's an outdoor pool at the Banff Springs plus a bunch of other stuff if you pay more money.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Friday. Started snowing, or we started seeing the snow, as we were driving Banff-Lake Louise. Got there and maybe a couple of inches had settled, but it proceeded to fall all day. Told instructor we went down Whitehorn and not sure if he was impressed or thought we were mad - said it was more a double-black than the single black it is marked as. He brought his 102mm, 180cm out and let me have a go down the easy part of Meadowlark that was untracked; remember I’m on 84mm, 172cm (our bodies seem very similar proportions and no binding adjustment was necessary). Well, it was like going from a Golf to a large Merc, very wafty! Back on mine, he took me through the trees, not easy as the snow there was quite deep and I’m not so confident in precise movements. Trees were generally large but he went past some new saplings, of height 6ft, 5ft, and 4ft. I steered right as hard as I could and avoided the 6 and the 5, but let’s just say my skis went either side of the 4ft. (Blinks rapidly). It didn’t hurt but I was laughing hard at imagining someone else’s face if they came across my ski tracks! Some more bumps - Eagle Flight - then went over the back and picked our way down Rodney’s Ridge into the field of deep snow I’d referred to yesterday at the bottom of Whitehorn. There was zero vis in the whiteout, but now I’ve learned to feel, so when the tips rose I’d pole plant and turn on the top, then traverse back before I could feel another rise and turn again. My head was cold, so I pulled my Snowheads buff over the top under my helmet - nice.

That's my lessons over for the week. Stuart Dunbar, very many thanks. Patient teaching, thinking and explaining pretty much the way I like it, and happy to try a drill and drop it for another if it doesn't work with that particular client.

Back to base where the queue for the gondola had doubled if not tripled back on itself (Good Friday, with several locals out on fatties for the fresh). After a quite extended coffee until 11 or a bit later, we went up and i took the girls over Rodney’s Ridge while wife went straight down to Temple to start queuing for a table. Daughter #1 lost her facemask in the restaurant, grr, so then when we went down Larch after, she was miserable and complaining of the snow stinging her face, even if she was using a fleece neck warmer as a substitute. We did a second Larch run but by the third at about 2.40pm the queue was again mad, so we went up Ptarmigan lift and slowly down the front side. Clearly far more people, not all of them very skilled, and D1 had a (happily low speed) coming together with a boarder. Still snowing, we called it a day.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Saturday, day off from skiing, D1's 12th birthday (and her second in Banff!). After a Korean meal last night - we love Korean food and they don't seem to have any Korean restaurants in Lisbon - this morning we got up early and were taken to Johnston Canyon. This is after heavy snow on the Friday and getting down to -16C on Saturday morning, so basically we put on nearly all the clothes in our cases! A great walk, stunning scenery and beautifully crisp and sunny weather. We used their snow cleats and wife used their snow boots. I agree with you who suggested to go early, also noting this was Easter Saturday. As we were coming back by 10.30 I think we met five tour groups coming down plus singles, and the path is not much more than a metre wide, so everyone trying to get the perfect nature shot without anyone else in the way would have caused serious tailbacks.

Went for late lunch in the Banff Springs hotel - ooh, very grand (and yes extremely expensive) but great for a child's birthday treat with the suits of armour in the ballroom etc. As we then walked back via Banff Ave and a bit of souvenir shopping, the snow was melting fast and water running in the gutters, though apparently it will drop to -14C tonight and tomorrow night.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
GeorgeVII wrote:
I can clearly remember that we paid £333 each for our holiday. It was the 1st week after New Year and booked so last minute that we picked up tickets at the Airport. That was for Manchester > Calgary flights, transfers and room only at the Lake Louise Inn. With a poor exchange rate, ski hire & lift passes, a couple of private lessons for Mrs G7, food and a few beers, any notion of a cheap ski holiday soon evaporated rolling eyes .


I paid vaguely £750 for each plane ticket (x4); plus transfers, plus Inn, plus hire, passes and lessons... Shocked

...but I love this place Smile

(Summer holiday is likely to be at Costa Del Grandparents!)
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Orange200, we’ve never been to the Banff Springs as we tend to go to the Bison for our one ‘posh’ meal we allow ourselves. The rest of the time we alternate between Earl’s, the Mexican, and the food court in the mall to lower the average price per day.

Sounds like Johnston Canyon may be worth a trip this time as we are there so late- did you book a coach trip?

So much fun to read reports from another Banff enthusiast- say hello to Goat’s Eye for us. I want my ashes scattered on that mountain...but hopefully not anytime soon!
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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?
If you want a really good steak (a little on the pricey side but not Fairmont prices) try the Saltlick. I also really enjoyed Block and Nourish if they're still there.
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@lynnecha, haven't been to the Bison but I can agree with @rogg from last time, the Saltlik was fantastic. Let's face it, Alberta is pretty famous for its beef, and the roast at the North Face bistro was good enough, but I remember in the Saltlik I was that close to ordering a second steak after I'd finished my first, and I never do that. It just melted in the mouth. We plan to go there again before we leave this time. Otherwise, we as a family don't eat much (and barely touch alcohol), so we're having a decent amount of cereal for breakfast, a good cooked lunch on the mountain, and a snack in the evening. I also remember from previous times here that I start with the cooked breakfast every morning and by about Day 5 or Day 6 I just don't feel hungry any more and switch to cereal! The last few meals out seem to cost us around 60-70 CDN as a family (Fairmont was double that and was more a substantial snack!). Fairmont is well worth seeing as a building and for the view out of the back, but I wouldn't feel the need to eat a big meal there, other places here are good enough for our palates.

I'd say Johnston Canyon was definitely great once but I don't imagine us going back in a hurry. We went with Discover Banff Tours who are in Sundance Mall. It is famous for its ice formations, the guide was explaining that a lot of the ice comes from moisture slowly squeezed out of the ground, so at the end of the winter it is at its maximum. For distance it was "only" 5km total walk, but maybe because of the altitude, several days' hard skiing, or the effect of walking on slightly slippy snow, we were quite tired by the end.

We are still tired this morning, and it's Easter Sunday so the slopes will be crowded. But I mistakenly bought 10 days' lift passes when I should have bought 9, and that's a lot of money to waste by not going skiing. So it looks like we'll toddle out to Norquay, poke around and possibly do some tubing as I think they offer it there and the girls were asking at Lake Louise.


Last edited by You need to Login to know who's really who. on Mon 2-04-18 4:03; edited 1 time in total
snow conditions     
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Well that was a day.

D2 found her blue goggles that we thought she'd left on the bus a week ago, but apparently she'd never taken them downstairs, they were under some clothes in her bedroom Smile

Went downstairs at 10.15 for the Norquay bus at 10.27, was sorting out my coffee at 10.20 and saw a bus go past while one daughter had nipped to the bathroom. Apparently the Norquay bus stopped at 10.21, my bad Sad so we recalibrated and went onto the 10.31 bus to Sunshine. Arrived there and it's snowing Smile Get off the bus and D2 says "but where are my goggles?" Evil or Very Mad Evil or Very Mad So I dig my sunglasses out of my pocket - tiny little John Lennon ones, grey polarised, for short periods/emergencies only - and give her mine. Put my facemask on, breath goes up and steams up my glasses. Take it off and my face freezes, the snow is really coming down. Tried skiing without glasses but eyes start stinging and watering. Meanwhile she's whining about helmet too tight, goggles too tight, something else.... And D1's brand new Marker helmet with adjustable vents has the knob snapped off after barely four days Mad Mad Anyway, we stayed in the trees, first Goats Eye, then Angel Express and Teepee Town, usually taking the greens and blues down as I couldn't go faster and couldn't really see. Had lunch in the main Village, with a tasty Pho, really loaded with beef. I will be mooing by the end of this holiday. Finally scooted out at 3pm. It was snowing all day, also when we left. Even if we've lost those goggles - which would irritate me, they were good - we do have the other pair here so tomorrow should be better.


...shouldn't it?


Went out in the evening, picked up some Asian Fit new Smith I/OX goggles for the wife; she was trying on standard fit ones and could stick a finger right up under the nose piece! Also got D1's helmet swapped for an identical one, now we have a vent slider button again. Chap in the shop was surprised, said he'd had the same for 3 years and it was fine. Must have been a manufacturing defect.
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Monday. Up for the 0830 bus to Sunshine. Got there and went up to Goat’s Eye. I’d decided to do my boots up in the gondola, which put my head between my legs for a few minutes and it made me giddy for pretty much the rest of the day. Not sure if it was some kind of altitude problem, shouldn’t have been lack of sleep. Then up Goats Eye and down - FREEZING. I don’t get it, I’ve skied in Canada 20 years ago and lived in Moscow, yet I was so cold today. Girls complained their fingers and toes were cold. We tried a second time then went down to Goat’s Eye base for serious hot chocolate. The facilities there are pretty basic and I’d give them a bad review but one of the staff came out saying they had some hand warmers spare and would our girls like them? That’s kindness. She said it was reading -8C in the village and 80kmh winds up top (!!). Nothing seemed to gel this morning, we went up Angel Express and then back down for a not great lunch either - where I think I got 30 mins kip on the table. Felt a bit better after that. Coming out I splashed in a small puddle so clearly it was now close to 0C rather than a serious negative. Up Strawberry and back down, then back up and across to the Great Divide Lift (“Welcome to British Columbia! … Welcome back to Alberta!”) and had some fun down the meadows and bumps runs. Went up again and tried to get over to the heated chair to the right but swung too far and found ourselves down some rather lumpy steep blacks - I think one ultimately was TP Main Chute. Daughter 2 got down no problem, D1 not too bad, my wife really struggled, and I wasn’t so bad after the lessons last week even if I was feeling slightly queasy still. Things picked up, we had a bit more fun up and down Teepee Town, and finally got the gondola down and the 1630 bus back. Home to clean up, and out to the Saltlik for a delicious, if not cheap, meal.

TV local news report says Calgarians are getting really frustrated with just how long winter is continuing this year, there should be spring weather but Calgary had 100 days of snow on the ground in a row and they’re tired of it. Warm weather in next week I think. Fine for us as we’re off on Friday. Hope our other snow heads are enjoying themselves!


Last edited by You'll need to Register first of course. on Wed 4-04-18 2:13; edited 1 time in total
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Nice TR. You've mentioned altitude a few times. In the grand scheme of things lake Louise and sunshine are really not that high. It would be very unlikely to suffer from altitude sickness at those kind of elevations. Also no need for an acclimatisation day when you arrive.
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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!
Thanks @boarder2020, I'm pretty sure you're right - I've been here before and was in Grandvalira, similar altitude, in Feb and have never had that problem.

Here's my daughter's video of her birthday - Johnston Canyon, Fairmont Banff Springs, and Beaver Tails Madeye-Smiley


http://youtube.com/v/32M9ud8cjhU
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
What a lucky girl- great momento of her birthday trip.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Thanks @lynnecha. Our son was a bit unlucky with a birthday in July, his friends were never around to come to a party. This daughter has her birthday in Easter holidays sometimes - but look where she's taken for it!

Tuesday. Which became Treesday Smile Had a lie-in and got to Sunshine at 11am to give it time to warm up; probably a good idea as apparently it dropped to -18C last night! It’s predicted a bit warmer for two days then down again on Thursday night. It was sunny in the morning but clouded over by lunch. All of us quite tired after yesterday’s bumps, and as we got into the gondola D1 sighed we should go back to Lake Louise as she didn’t think much of Sunshine. Up Goats Eye and down; Bear’s Den at the top is quite icy, it seems to get the main wind. Down first via Rolling Thunder (smooth and, erm, rolling), then playing in Figjam and the Goat Glades through the trees. Up to the village, up Strawberry chair a couple of times then into the Chimney Corner eating area at the bottom of the mountain lodge for lunch at about 1pm, very comfortable place and tasty food, we will go there again, much nicer than the Alpine Grill in the main building (Centennial Lodge) where we were going before.

By 2pm it started snowing quite hard and was still coming down as we left on the 1630 bus. After lunch, up Wawa chair and down maybe four times, picking our way through the trees of Star Trek a few chutes at a time, coming out once on Old T-bar (tight, steep, a bit icy), other times usually on Birdcage. Wife had gone in to defrost so I was being more adventurous with girls in the bumps through the trees, sometimes skiing under control, other times getting into the rut and building up speed until the unstoppable force met the immovable object! A couple of times I was expelled out of the trees into the piste (empty, I had waited), more or less upright, even popping off a few jumps. Once I followed the girls into a rabbit hole of branches, accelerating hard to find I had to compress legs over a bump AND duck head to get under branches barely a meter high! Lots of whooping and a great time. I’m really using the skills I learned last week, if not perfectly; and D1 has decided that Sunshine is not so bad after all Smile
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Wednesday. Very much the same as Tuesday (if sporadic snow rather than regular), but my luck ran out in the trees at about 3pm and as I was ejected one ski caught and twisted. Thanks to the hire shop for setting the bindings correctly, my leg twisted and broke free. My knee hurts but I sincerely hope it's not permanent, I've had worse (same knee!! 25 years ago) and I'm trying to walk on it and bend it as much as possible. I can ski on it and hope to tomorrow, but no more trees for me Sad Went to Banff Hot Springs in the evening which of course was great for it, and I kept flexing and straightening it in the 40C water (1C air temperature, not as crazy as some of the TripAdvisor reviewers who'd visited it in -25C; "hot body and frozen hair is really cool"). Put various rubs on it before bed but am sure it will be stiff as heck in the morning.
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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.
Thursday. Last day (typed with heavy heart). it took me a while to go to sleep with my painful knee, but after a large mouthful of children's ibuprofen syrup (ugh, tastes like old cheap orange bubble gum), I managed and then slept well. Got up relatively late today and knee not feeling so bad, but decided I wouldn’t risk it, so we all went out to Norquay with me not taking skis. Comment from the girls - "oh no, daddy’s not skiing, that means it’s just going to be boooring”.

I must confess that Norquay is definitely larger than I remember it. Weather was sunny but cold, my app said -7C during the day and it felt it. The three ladies went for a toddle around the blue runs before lunch, then after it we went tubing. That’s a laugh, and note that in Norquay it’s free, at least with our multi-day multi-site pass, rather than ten bucks at Lake Louise; possibly a longer run too, not sure. I had flirted with the idea of hiring a snowboard (done it a few times, liked it, last time was 10 years ago) as feet would be locked together and maybe my knee wouldn’t be too bad, but finally discretion beat valour on that one, I’d be stupid to wreck my knee and chances of skiing in future.

One of the staff mentioned she’d heard rumours about opening for a few weekends after the official closing date as it is still cold and there is a lot of snow around. Sunshine are advertising their annual “slush run” for 21 May this year. If I didn’t say; if you are particular about the brand of skis you hire, Ski Hub only have Nordica and Salomon brand; I think Bactrax had Blizzard.

No sign of D2’s goggles Sad Went out for one last Korean meal and various souvenirs. I’m walking slowly but nearly normally, so in the words of Basil Fawlty (how apposite) “I did it once but I think I got away with it.” I found an appropriate trail sign which will look good in the girls’ room and I hope will make it to D1’s video. SkiHub seem to offer a wider range of trail signs even if they are printed card rather than others who had stamped metal; card notably cheaper too.

Cases are packed, girls are in bed, and we wait for the Banff Airporter to pick us up at 9.30 tomorrow. Sigh.
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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
Great trip report @Orange200, it was like being there ourselves, which we will be in a week’s time.... We took a risk booking such a late trip, but looks like we will be able to enjoy more than just the three or four hours in the the middle of the day that late skiing sometimes offers!
It will also give us the opportunity to do a few other things as our usual February/March weather is often too cold to encourage venturing far afield. Johnston Canyon is definitely in our sights.

We have been skiing in snowy weather for most of the season so hoping for a bit of sun this trip - packing shorts and T-shirts with the ski kit but who knows!

Hope your journey home was easy and uneventful.

Till next year...,
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I’ve done the Johnston Canyon trip at night, really worth it. Considering going on the day trip next year to see the difference, possibly on a Saturday when the ski areas are busiest.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@RichardB, we’ll look into it. Sounds exciting!
ski holidays     
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@lynnecha, you don’t see as much of the Canyon on the night one but if you have a clear cold night, the view of the stars is amazing.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@RichardB, thanks for that information. We will check it out and report back in due course!
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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?
@lynnecha, thanks and I hope it was useful (and interesting?) to anyone else reading it. Hope your stay goes well! I don't see we'll be back next year, but Easter the year after is not so late - I might be persuaded...

To finish off, it had snowed about an inch in Banff town centre when we got up on the Friday morning, presumably more on the ski hills, so the season is showing no signs of ending yet (though I think I saw predictions for warmer weather next week). Banff Airporter really comfy bus with leather seats and USB chargers (though no wifi this time, the other one did have). Calgary International section of Airport very clean, comfortable but small and this was explained why when there were only 4 international flights listed for that day!! Trip back on KLM 787 was comfy but I thought the food was not great. My knee still twinging on Sunday and I don't enjoy bending it to its fullest extent or twisting it left or right.

Trying to convince my daughter to help me finish the video Smile then I'll put it here.
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
Took some time, but our video of the above trip is now here Smile


http://youtube.com/v/R0ZYHdFXTfY
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