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Canada Solo

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi Everybody

I'm meeting a friend in Banff, late February, and considering flying out a week and a half earlier to make the most of the trip. So I'm hoping to get a bit of advice on where to go and what to do!

I've not skied in Canada before and I'm keen to ski as much in-bounds off piste as possible, but I'm conscious that it's probably not the best thing to do solo. Does anyone know what the options are for group skiing over there? Lessons look prohibitively expensive, are there any alternatives?

Resorts wise, I was thinking maybe Fernie or Revelstoke. Any thoughts on these areas or better ones?

Thanks
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
If you are going solo, then staying in a youth hostel is a good option as you will meet other skiers/snowboarders in the dorm. I have not skied in Canada, but I have been on a tour of the rockies in a rent-a-wreck hire car and a tent from Vancouver. Scouted out a few youth hostels, and stayed at HI Lake Louise youth hostel which looked like it was well geared up for solos skiing in Canada.

Whistler was one stop on the way for me, but I suspect you are thinking of flying into Calgary.

https://hihostels.ca/en/destinations/alberta/hi-lake-louise

Had to drive to Calgary to get a couple of new tent poles and a spare as I broke one in Glacier national park. Went to the Mountain Equipment Co-op there and joined (it is a mutual where the profits are shared with members). Worth stopping in there if you fly in, and need some new kit. The goodwill they generated was because they gave me three free tent pole sections, when I joined up.

https://www.mec.ca/en/stores/calgary
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For Louise and Sunshine, just go with the ski guides, highest level. Free guided tours.
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If you're thinking Revelstoke, then you can also add in Kicking Horse as you'll be driving past it to get to Revvy anyway.

Stay in Golden, there's a few youth hostels, one run by a Scottish Lady called Tania, Kicking Horse Hostel, that'll help you meet people.

Lots of in bounds off piste, it's renowned for it. Definitely recommend it.
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eversolazy wrote:
... I've not skied in Canada before and I'm keen to ski as much in-bounds off piste as possible, but I'm conscious that it's probably not the best thing to do solo. Does anyone know what the options are for group skiing over there? Lessons look prohibitively expensive, are there any alternatives?

Resorts wise, I was thinking maybe Fernie or Revelstoke. Any thoughts on these areas or better ones?...

I ride solo in Canada and I don't worry about riding on my own anywhere in-bounds. I suppose you may want to avoid too many trees, but that's easy enough to do.

And then as someone's probably suggesting, there are "resort hosts" who have multiple sessions a day when they'll "show around" visitors for free.
They're not guides, but they will show you around.

More generally although I'm anti-social, North America is very friendly and you'll likely meet people on the chair who'll ride with you or show you around.


Revelstoke is still pretty small and the locals are very friendly, plus it's in a good place for the snow. You'd probably not want to visit if you didn't intend to ride off piste.
It's horrible when icy, mind, and it's a bit basic. Fernie's no fun in the rain either. Hence I generally wait I can see where the best conditions are, then head there.
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philwig wrote:
.......It's horrible when icy.......


Oh yes.
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eversolazy wrote:

I'm keen to ski as much in-bounds off piste as possible, but I'm conscious that it's probably not the best thing to do solo.

Where did you get the idea that “inbound off-piste” is “not the best thing to do solo”??? Puzzled

To put things into proper context, have you ever ski solo anywhere AT ALL? If you did, what did you like or dislike?
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Canucks are generally friendly n polite and will invariably invite you to join their group if you so wish, eh.

But if the weather comes in n you get lost or you have a serious crash by yourself, you will not survive the night.

Bon chance. Cool
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AL9000 wrote:
Canucks are generally friendly n polite and will invariably invite you to join their group if you so wish, eh.

I would be careful to suggest that.

While Canadians are friendly, and WILL inevitably invite you to join them. But the assumption is you’re good enough to hang with them.

The key being, join only “if you so wish “
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Most of the inbounds is fine, people pass all the time. Definitely get a whistle, don't fall in a tree well and you'll be grand.

Personally I'd do a road trip, powder highway and tick off as many as possible Wink

Revvy Whitewater and Panorama are my favourites... With 9 days you could pretty much catch them all.
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Thanks for the tips all!

I certainly do enjoy skiing by myself, my main concerns are falling in a hole or going off the edge of something and then getting eaten by wolves. I'm not hugely gregarious, and would struggle to meet ski buddies at the local sports bar, hence wondering what the options were to pay for people to ski with! Given my stretched budget, I'll most probably stay in hostels though so that may open up the chances of finding people to hang out with.

I hadn't really considered skiing multiple areas, does this make lift passes much more expensive? I'm a bit confused by the whole pass buying situation over there. There seem to be so many variations - stunningly expensive day passes, multi day passes which don't have to be used on consecutive days, multi resort passes that have a bewildering array of conditions, discounts on passes if you go to McDonalds. I definitely need thirteen days for Banff and then nine days elsewhere what are my best options??? I do have a Costco card, which from my limited understanding appears to be a good thing!

Thanks again!
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
In Canada off piste in area is good. The only real risk are tree wells, which are to be avoided at all costs if solo skiing. Buy a whistle. Buy a bright orange survival bag and have it in your rucksack in case you sprain something when you fall 6 foot down into one, have the phone numbers of the mountain in your phone (don’t rely on internet access being available).
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I had a week early April this year using up my Mountain Collective, so two days each in Revy, Sunshine and LL. You get 50% off further days so it may work for you. There's no other collective pass that covers multiple areas in Can.

Revy inbounds is quite a small area and the other two are mainly above the tree line, so it's hard to get lost.

I met plenty of company for Delirium on the lift or hanging around the gate.
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You know it makes sense.
eversolazy wrote:
... I certainly do enjoy skiing by myself, my main concerns are falling in a hole or going off the edge of something and then getting eaten by wolves ...
wink I'd not worry too much about wolves - I've seen maybe three in thirty-odd seasons in BC, they're pretty hard to spot even well away from resorts, which isn't where you'll be. Mountain goats may eat your lunch, perhaps, although they're hard to see too.
Like most in BC I've no more concern about riding between the pistes than I have on them.


I'm no expert on passes, I just turn up and buy a ticket. Except for Whistler, but that's a "destination resort" like Banff so things are a bit different there.

v wrote:
I met plenty of company for Delirium on the lift or hanging around the gate.

I know you know, but to be clear that's not precisely "in bounds off piste" as it's gated,
so you need avalanche gear etc for that.
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Reality being, there’s no such thing as “inbound off-piste”

It’s either inbound or out of bound.

Inbound, the ski patrol will “sweep” in the afternoon before lift closing. No difference off-piste”. So unless you’re IN a tree well, in which case you’re probably already dead, your chances of being spotted are pretty good.

Out of bound, you AND YOUR PARTNER better know what you’re doing in every aspect.


Last edited by Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name: on Sat 6-07-19 1:38; edited 2 times in total
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Quote:

There's no other collective pass that covers multiple areas in Can.

Not quite true - Lake Louise card does, giving free days and 20% discount on other days. We found it beneficial on our last road trip there Toofy Grin and will probably use it again for next seasons R/T.

Think RCR do a pass too.

Quote:

Reality being, there’s no such thing as “inbound off-piste”

It’s either inbound or out of bound.



Many folks from this side of the water tend to struggle with this concept for some reason.
I remember being told by a gent showing us round the mtn, ' the groomed stuff is to get you to the fun stuff ' Toofy Grin
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Thanks again all, this is really helping.

It looks like splitting the ten days between Kicking Horse and Revelstoke is the way to go. I'm not sure what the prices are but possibly getting a Mountain Collective pass to use at Revelstoke and Banff. I'll have to wait and see what the prices are like to see if it works out cheaper. Does the 50% discount on tickets only apply to day passes bought at the ticket window or can it be used for advanced online purchases and on multi day tickets?

By the look of it I'll need to hire a car to get from Calgary to Revelstoke and KH. I'm assuming it's not practical to travel between them using public transport. Also, this whole Presidents Day / Family Day holiday does it effective either of these areas more than the other?

Cheers!
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eversolazy wrote:
Thanks again all, this is really helping.

It looks like splitting the ten days between Kicking Horse and Revelstoke is the way to go.


Nope, you'll get bored of kicking horse in a couple of days if there isn't much pow.
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Adding kicking horse and revelstoke makes sense. It will be pretty expensive for lift tickets as there is no pass covering them all and some of best deals have already ended. It's possible to do on public transport, but just how easy won't be known until riderexpress release their winter bus schedule. Having a car is quite nice though as increases flexibility and there is no public transport between golden and kicking horse (hitchhiking is the norm).

World freeride tour kicking horse stop is usually early feb, worth keeping an eye out for when the schedule is released.

President's Day and family day will be a busy weekend wherever you are. Banff will probably be the most crowded as closest to Calgary and more suited to families than the others.

Am in kicking horse for the season so happy to show you around if you end up there. Will be my second season there despite some claiming kicking horse is boring wink
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It's more likely that after skiing Kicking Horse, you'll find Lake Louise boring. Toofy Grin
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hmm perhaps boring wasn't the appropriate choice of word, lets say you'll get scared the crap out of after a couple of days!
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It's simply Kicking Horse doesn't have much in the way of moderate terrain. Everything is gnarly, super gnarly, or extremely gnarly.

So, either you're scared out of your mind and don't dare to try anything, which gets bored real quick.

Or, you're up to the game*, enjoy the exhilaration. Then, going to Banff afterwards gets... boring!


* (see earlier comment on being "invited" by friendly locals),
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KH is one of the best resorts in the world for all killa terrain. But it's also one of the worst for being a PITA when busy (one gondola) or closed out by storms (either can see FA in alpine or gondy on wind hold). All that means a flexible attitude wins.
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I can see storm being a problem in closing the lifts. But I have a hard time comprehending “busy”...

I only went once. On a Saturday, there were about 1 in 3 gondola cabins occupied!

Locals did warn me about the school crowds. But I only saw occasional clusters that fills perhaps 5 cabins.

My impression is the locals consider having to wait at all is “busy”?
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I would agree kicking horse is quite one dimensional. Your pretty much stuck doing huge vertical descents and it's all about the steeps, chutes, generally more challenging terrain, and a lot of stuff is hike to. If that's not your thing Banff resorts are more well rounded.

I've done 60-70 days at kicking horse and never seen the gondy closed. Sometime they run it slow when the wind picks up, but even at half speed 24minutes for 1200m vert seems like a decent payoff. Whiteouts can be an issue (although this is true for many places), however there are trees accessible pretty much straight off gondy and stairway which help (if you are a beginner stuck on groomers it would definitely suck).

Crowds are a subjective thing. Normal day the gondola is at most 5minute queuing in the morning, usually walk on by lunch. It's not that unusual to get a "golden gondy" which is the local name for getting a gondola to yourself. Busiest I've seen it was a big powder day at the weekend and Rogers pass closed so all the Calgary crowd heading to revy ended up at kh. Was about 30-40min wait for gondolas in the morning, but after 2-3 hours as people spread out was down to around 10mins, walk on for the last couple of hours.

I stay in a hostel so I meet a lot of people visiting kh. I would say the average manage 4-6 gondolas in a day before their legs are done (usually not long after lunch). I've never met anyone that made it to last gondola and was complaining they didn't get enough skiing in because of lift line waits.
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"One dimensional" is a good description for Kicking Horse! If that's your "dimension", you're in heaven. If not, you could be bored stiff.

That said, I made the mistake of going uninformed. And steep chutes wasn't my "dimension" then. So I could see how it would feel for some (many?).

But instead of bored, or leaving, I took a couple of half day lessons. Since then, steeps has become "my dimension"! Laughing Laughing

(I've been contemplating a revisit to KH, which could happen this winter Toofy Grin )


Last edited by snowHeads are a friendly bunch. on Tue 9-07-19 16:48; edited 1 time in total
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@abc, was there on a powder day in the Xmas holidays once. Once you'd factored in escapees from the extremely cold Banff area resorts, every local in a 100km radius, peak tourists and a delayed gondy opening 30 min waits or more were not unusual.
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@Dave of the Marmottes, a powder day in Xmas where can you find ANY lifts that doesn't have a 30 min wait at the opening?
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You don't want to know. Well you do, but I'm not telling.
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Family day weekend is going to be busy everywhere but the further you get from Calgary the less impact there will be.
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 Poster: A snowHead
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philwig wrote:
You don't want to know. Well you do, but I'm not telling.

I don't need to know. Well, not until I want to ski on Xmas holiday.
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abc wrote:
@Dave of the Marmottes, a powder day in Xmas where can you find ANY lifts that doesn't have a 30 min wait at the opening?


Sure plenty of places including Vail if you know which lift to take wink , but the point wasn't 30 min line at opening it was throughout the day as everyone aps back to the gondola and the early line/late start in no way cleared out before the first lappers returned.
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There's no getting around the limited number of lift in Kicking horse means there's limited alternatives. Nobody are in love with the lower mountain runouts anyway, with or without lines. Yes, it can be more annoying if there's long wait on top of those boring lower mountain runouts.

But the way around that problem is to go far away, including hiking. So you won't be forced back to the bottom so quickly. Toofy Grin

Sure, you don't get to do quick laps back down the direct way. But some might argue that's not what KH is about anyway.
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Although the spring deals for next season have closed, if you are planning to spend enough days at a given resort it may still be worth looking at season ticket. For example at Sunshine Village they are offering (until "Fall 2019" - not sure exactly when that ends):
* Adult season pass 1,098 CAD + GST (5% in Alberta)
* Mon-Thursday "midweek" pass for the season 599 CAD + GST
Last year there was a "Labour Day" (3rd Sep 2018) sale that lasted a few days that knocked an extra 10% off, although that's not a guarantee that they'll do the same this year. If potentially interested I'd suggest signing up to the Sunshine Village newsletters.

In previous years Sunshine Village have sold Sunshine Super Card that offers day 1, 4 and 7 free, 25 CAD discounts otherwise for most weekdays or if not 15 CAD (inc weekends). The nominal price for the Super Card was 133 CAD + GST, although they were offered quite a bit more cheaply before the start of the season. The free days and discounts also apply at Marmot Basin and Revelstoke. There's no sign of the Super Card yet on the Sunshine Village website, but my guess is that they'll announce it later this year.

Lake Louise sell a "Louise Plus Card" with similar benefits. The Louise Plus Card can also be used at Panorama - "near" (20km) Invermere, only 1.5 hours from Golden. BTW: I spent 3 days at Panorama this year and thoroughly enjoyed it.

For reference, last season Sunshine Village only announced the price of their day tickets after Lake Louise had announced theirs. The price was the same (114 CAD + GST) at both resorts.
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Is there a super pass that covers multiple canada west resorts?
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The RCR super pass covers fernie, Kimberley, nakiska, kicking horse, and lake Louise. No revelstoke or sunshine valley.

Epic pass gets you whistler and limited number of days at rcr resorts (as above but minus lake Louise).

There is no single pass that covers everywhere unfortunately
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boarder2020 wrote:
There is no single pass that covers everywhere unfortunately


Yeah that's what I noticed. Shame really but I think some day passes are pretty cheap if you know where to look?
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Quote:

The RCR super pass covers fernie, Kimberley, nakiska, kicking horse, and lake Louise. No revelstoke or sunshine valley.

I can't fathom why "fernie, Kimberley, nakiska, kicking horse, and lake Louise" aren't enough for a few weeks. Puzzled Even a season! rolling eyes

I grant it that since Sunshine is right there, it makes sense to spend a few days there as well. But other than that, I don't see the point to drive all over the place on top of the above list!

(but then, I can't fathom getting "bored" with Kicking Horse either)
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I think some of this is around how North America and Europe hills are different. If you're a "cruise the reds" skier in Europe than you'd very quickly ski out a lot of North America hills. If you're happy running 10 laps off one lift and making sure you've explored every nook and cranny then it's going to take a while longer.
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Gainz wrote:

Yeah that's what I noticed. Shame really but I think some day passes are pretty cheap if you know where to look?


Any clues for Whitewater and Red Mountain tickets?
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