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Canadian Trip Planning 2022

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
The Canuck aficionados amongst us may recall me n me pals jaunting off to British Columbia in the 2020 season. We did a mini-tour of Whitewater and Red having a few days fun on the Cats while we were there. Sadly Ullr didn't smile on the trip and weather wasn't the best. In fact we were rained off one day on the Cats and were given vouchers for our return visit.

As we never got anywhere this season, and even rose tinted plans to visit Argentina (we know a bloke) now seem over optimistic, we're consoling ourselves with planning another trip to use up the vouchers - well we're from Yorkshire after all.

So a two week (ish) trip back to the Pacific North West beckons; we're thinking flights to Calgary or Vancouver, mahoosive 4x4 or two and Bobs yer Uncle. But, has done a similar trip and care to suggest an itinerary?

We have to go back to Red to use the voucher, but other than that we ain't too fussed.

Cheers
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Red isn't ideal for roadtrips imo as it's a bit out the way, but I'm not a fan of long drives. If you can somehow sell the vouchers it might make things easier.

Castlegar is the closest airport but don't even consider flying into there as too many flights get cancelled ("cancelgar"). Spokane is the closest reasonable airport - but again maybe not best for a road trip as you would have to come back on yourself. From Calgary you have the powder highway, which you can make some nice loops from. Vancouver is just way too far with nothing worthwhile to ski on the way to red.

I'm of the opinion that trying to ski lots of different places and doing 1 or 2 days in each is not optimal for good skiing. The first day at any new place is kind of wasted working out the lay of the land. So I would favour 3, or at a push 4 resorts over 2 weeks.

In your position I'd probably do Calgary - fernie - red - revelstoke and/or kicking horse - Calgary. But my interests may be very different to yours. Banff resorts (sunshine and lake Louise), Kimberley, panorama, whitewater are all other options.

If you tour you should definitely do a day at Rogers pass (between kicking horse and revelstoke) which is arguably the top touring area in BC. If you don't tour but fancy it you can get a guide and rent gear at either golden or revelstoke.

You can't go too far wrong nowhere is terrible. Depending on what you are looking for some places are definitely better than others though.
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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?
For the sake of variety I completely disagree. Love driving in the winter and looking at the scenery.

I'd fly to Kelowna and do a loop through big white, possibly silver star, revelstoke, whitewater and red.

Stop in Halcyon hot springs is mandatory.

If you want to hit more sites take the next valley over, from revelstoke go to kicking horse to panorama Kimberly then red. The mandatory hot springs are in Radium with this route.

An alternative would be Spokane Schweitzer, Kimberly Fernie Red Spokane. Schweitzer is awesome and takes CAD on the hill at parity, in cash, maximum 20 dollar bills. Maybe better on the way back!

On any of these loops you can drop a couple of stops out each easily. I've not skiied the Kelowna resorts and didn't really rate kicking horse, but the snow was bad.

PM me if you're back to Whitewater and I could tell you some spots / catch a days skiing.
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boarder2020 wrote:
Red isn't ideal for roadtrips imo as it's a bit out the way, but I'm not a fan of long drives. If you can somehow sell the vouchers it might make things easier.

Castlegar is the closest airport but don't even consider flying into there as too many flights get cancelled ("cancelgar"). Spokane is the closest reasonable airport - but again maybe not best for a road trip as you would have to come back on yourself. From Calgary you have the powder highway, which you can make some nice loops from. Vancouver is just way too far with nothing worthwhile to ski on the way to red.

I'm of the opinion that trying to ski lots of different places and doing 1 or 2 days in each is not optimal for good skiing. The first day at any new place is kind of wasted working out the lay of the land. So I would favour 3, or at a push 4 resorts over 2 weeks.

In your position I'd probably do Calgary - fernie - red - revelstoke and/or kicking horse - Calgary. But my interests may be very different to yours. Banff resorts (sunshine and lake Louise), Kimberley, panorama, whitewater are all other options.

If you tour you should definitely do a day at Rogers pass (between kicking horse and revelstoke) which is arguably the top touring area in BC. If you don't tour but fancy it you can get a guide and rent gear at either golden or revelstoke.

You can't go too far wrong nowhere is terrible. Depending on what you are looking for some places are definitely better than others though.


Trail airport is even closer, but even smaller and likely suffers from the same restrictions.
If you do manage to fly into Castlegar (and I have amazingly done so in winter!), then you will marvel at how you can land at an airport with a mountain at each end of the runway Shocked , and understand why you need good vis, which is a bit of a problem as its in the columbia river valley!

Think I'd go with motdoc's suggestion and fly into Kelowna and pick up the cars there, though I'd skip Silver Star and Big White, head to Revelstoke, then drive down to Nelson, a day or 2 at Whitewater - driving between Red and Revelstoke is not too bad as it's all pretty low/flat/straight, though a ferry in between for added variety! Driving from Vancouver to Rossland or Nelson is however a bit different! Then to Rossland for Red with your Cat skiing fitted around that depending on which operator. Drive back to Kelowna from Rossland could be a little sketchy in parts, but at least its not as far as back to Vancouver.
Also agree with boarder2020 that a lot of driving and getting used to a new place on a 2 week trip is a bit hard-work, so I'd probably skip the extra Kicking Horse/Panorama leg as it's quite a long loop.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Yeah I flew into castlegar eventually, took a few days. It's a nice adventure if you have time, but with only 2 weeks it's too risky.

The Kelowna - revy - whitewater - red - Kelowna is a pretty good option. I definitely think less is more when it comes to resorts, but know a lot of people like to fit in as many as possible. I kind of forget about Kelowna as I just think of it for silver star and big white neither of which people I know visited had much good to say about.

Quote:

didn't really rate kicking horse


It's actually my favourite, but I can understand why it's not for everyone. This is why OP could really do with providing a bit more info what they are looking for. What works for one person doesn't work as well for another.
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boarder2020 wrote:
I kind of forget about Kelowna as I just think of it for silver star and big white neither of which people I know visited had much good to say about.


We've been to Silver Star a couple of times (for a day) and really enjoyed it. The snow was excellent, there's a decent variety of runs (with some great blacks/bumps), it wasn't busy at all and the night skiing was very good.

We'd definitely go back if we were in the area. Very Happy

We also skied Crystal Mountain, near Kelowna on our departure day. It was a great way to fill a morning. Small, friendly and fun - with great snow.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Yes perhaps I was being a little harsh, they didn't hate those places, it was more just an "Ok for a day or two if you're passing through but not worth travelling to". Still they'd be near the bottom of my list of places in BC to snowboard, more because there are other places that are really excellent as opposed to ok/good.
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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!
We've done 4 similar roadtrips similar to this around AB/BC all starting from Calgary. 2020 was our last one - Lake louise, Revelstoke, Sun Peaks, Silver Star, Apex, Red, Whitewater and Panorama - 18 days.
As mentioned Red isnt the easiest to get to as you know, but worth it. You just have to decide where else you want to visit along the way. We tend to go anticlockwise in loop from Calgary, usually drives last around 2 - 3 hrs but there are a couple of longer ones later on.

motdoc, Has some sensible suggestions,and a decent fellow too, take him up on the offer of a ski day Toofy Grin if we get the chance to get back, Schweitzer will be on the cards at some point. Flying into Kelowna will shorten some drive time. Its around 4- 4.5 hrs to Rossland, roads are fairly good with a couple of passes to negotiate. Best place for food en route is The station Pub in Grand Forks.

Silver Star can be fun if they have good snow, we've been lucky every time there, either snowing all day or blue skies just after a storm. Its a bit different - from the arcitecture on the hill and the village area isnt at the base. It does have plenty of tree skiing. Big White has always been socked in with cloud and winds, hence its nickname of Big Whiteout Toofy Grin We gave it a miss this time and hit Apex instead, recommended by a party of ladies we met at Red the last time we were there.
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Thanks guys.

I'll be chatting with the others, but will copy all this to them to help. Hopefully we can do it over beers and a BBQ in the not too distant future.

As for skier type - we're nothing special. We enjoy a bit of touring (to get to nice snow) and the nice deep snow itself, but aren't that fussed about "Death Tech". We also have an occasional "culture" day if the conditions aren't great, so we get to enjoy the country we're visiting; especially their breweries.

I'll be suggesting we swing through WH2O just to meet up with motdoc snowHead
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Quote:

We enjoy a bit of touring


If you end up flying in and out of Calgary you will most likely drive through Kootenay pass on the way to or from red which is definitely worth a day. https://www.backcountryskiingcanada.com/KOOTENAY_PASS
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
I like Silver Star; sometimes it gets way better snow than the rest of the Okanagan, for whatever reason.
Big White has a different character but also is well worth a trip. Sun Peaks is good too and in an interesting snow
zone. These aren't marketed to hard core types, a major plus if you want fresh lines wink

Kelowna takes some interesting flights (or used to) and is an easy airport to use, as is Kamloops.
Vehicle rentals are generally better specified by default and cheaper than YVR/ YYC, but as you
have to switch planes to get there you take other risks. Both those places get socked in
more than the main international airports, if you care. If you have a vehicle, then I'd not bother with
internal flights as the distances aren't that large. You can do "open jaw" stuff of course but that adds cost
to the flights and the vehicle rental and going around in a circle probably works better.

My own take on this is to go where the best snow is and fit the other stuff fits in around that. Early season I'd
use Vancouver; late season Calgary, but if it turns out that the conditions are best somewhere else, then
just drive there. In BC at least driving's straight forward and I've never struggled finding accommodation.

--
Cats: Getting a voucher for a trip they cancel is harsh. My mates in Whistler will not bill you until the trip actually happens.
One day I rode a cat to the top of the mountain and we jumped out into about 70cm of fresh. It had unfortunately
been rained on at altitude. That's leg breaker stuff. We got back in the cat and rode home.
No one paid or "got vouchered" for that, as you'd expect.
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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.
Calgary is a generally better airport to loop out of - clockwise Castle, Fernie, Whitewater, Red, Revy, KH, LL/Sunshine all in reach

Alternately you could consider the alternative NW out of YVR or SEA - Alpental, 49North, Red, WH20, Revy, Sun Peaks/SS/BW back via Mt Baker for a SEA start or stretch to Lookout, Whitefish, Fernie then back WH20, Red, Apex/BW, Baker.

Assuming you don't want to factor in WB of course.
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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
I’d be very interested to know how you are planning to get to Canada from Yorkshire. We’ve flown to Calgary with BA many times and are hoping to ski there next year. Being from Lancs we did Man - LHR - YYC. BA no longer do Calgary. More and more airlines seem to be stopping MAn routes across the Atlantic. KLM via Amsterdam is an option but have you found anything better?
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@JohnDory, same as last time; out of Heathrow. Motor down the day before and stay at a Hotel with car parking included in the price.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Mosha Marc, We always go via Schipol, regional airport hop over, then direct to YYC. Works out cheaper than the Heathrow run and less driving when arriving home ( around 20 minutes or so Toofy Grin ) - Quicker too getting through the UK airports. I would think LBA will do a similar route.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Quote:
Cats: Getting a voucher for a (catskiing) trip they cancel is harsh. My mates in Whistler will not bill you until the trip actually happens.
That would be a dream based on the nightmare situation we encountered with Chatter Creek catskiing a few years back...

Massive snowfall so we were stuck in Golden for our first day of the 3 day catskiing trip as the helicopter couldn't fly into the remote lodge...They spoke of possibly organising transfers by snowmobile - but in the end they clearly just couldn't be @r$ed with sorting that out.

The result? A whole day & night missed and the extra cost of another night in Golden - with the guests who were stuck up the mountain catskiing and dining at our expense! To our shock, booking terms and conditions confirmed we were not due a penny in recompense Shocked - so we were indeed completely up the (Chatter) Creek... Sad

And not so much as an apology or free drink when we finally got there. Customer service at its finest!

Not an operation that I would recommend.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Mosha Marc, Why not go Otley International to Schipol?
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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?
mountainaddict wrote:


Not an operation that I would recommend.


Yet the previous guests were no doubt delighted with their extra day.


I think outfits can be a bit clearer about the terms under which they operate. I remember my first trip to the US with the then Rocky Mountain Snowboard Tours. The owner was very upfront with anyone booking that while they picked you up and shuttled you from/to Denver airport this was a snowy place in winter and there may be occasions on which the shuttle just couldn't get through (because I70 closes). In those circumstances extra cost of accomodation in Denver would be on the customer to claim on their insurance and they weren't liable for refunds for days missed. Seemed fair to me although probably against TO regs now.
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JohnDory wrote:
I’d be very interested to know how you are planning to get to Canada from Yorkshire. We’ve flown to Calgary with BA many times and are hoping to ski there next year. Being from Lancs we did Man - LHR - YYC. BA no longer do Calgary. More and more airlines seem to be stopping MAn routes across the Atlantic. KLM via Amsterdam is an option but have you found anything better?


Last time I went to Calgary from Lisbon (2-3 years ago) it was also via KLM, even though I'm a big BA fan. I don't remember now why we chose them, doubtless a lot cheaper.... be aware they have auto-weighing bag machines, so even 0.1kg over you'll get a warning it's too heavy and you have to take it out and re-pack it! Never seen them before, a real pain.
I had very low expectations of KLM for historical reasons but it wasn't that bad. And it was quite pleasant walking round Amsterdam canals with the children for a couple of hours the night before.

I really hate East Coast stopovers, partly the risk of arguing with grumpy US customs officers, partly as it breaks up a decent night's sleep coming back.

When I couldn't work out why LIS-LHR-YYC was almost cheaper than LHR-YYC, someone told me it was cross-subsidising, they'd discount the LIS ticket to steal business from the direct flights. So perhaps your UK-AMS-YYC will be notably cheaper. I don't know but I put it in the mix.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
mountainaddict wrote:
Massive snowfall so we were stuck in Golden for our first day of the 3 day catskiing trip as the helicopter couldn't fly into the remote lodge...They spoke of possibly organising transfers by snowmobile - but in the end they clearly just couldn't be @r$ed with sorting that out.

The result? A whole day & night missed and the extra cost of another night in Golden

It seems you are incredibly unlucky when it comes to powder days. From long period of no snow, to repeatedly getting stuck on transfer during storm and missing out on the powder. Shocked
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Quote:
It seems you are incredibly unlucky when it comes to powder days. From long period of no snow, to repeatedly getting stuck on transfer during storm and missing out on the powder
Our longest ski trip to North America has been two weeks - so not sure that would be classed as 'a long period of no snow.' wink And we missed one transfer to a catskiing lodge - so no repeat issues there...

Anyway, we ski (& travel) as much as we can - a lot by some people's definitions. You win some, you lose some. The vagaries of mountain sports in winter!

Not all bad though Very Happy As mentioned previously, we've certainly had some epic powder too - eg the Chatter Creek powder when we finally got to it; ditto 3 days at Mustang Powder and 5 days at Fernie Wilderness Adventures; every turn a powder turn on 5 days' bluebird hut to hut ski touring in the Austrian Silvretta; plus whole weeks and occasional days of resort powder in The Alps - and even Scotland and our tiny local ski areas.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
mountainaddict wrote:
Quote:
It seems you are incredibly unlucky when it comes to powder days. From long period of no snow, to repeatedly getting stuck on transfer during storm and missing out on the powder
Our longest ski trip to North America has been two weeks - so not sure that would be classed as 'a long period of no snow.' wink And we missed one transfer to a catskiing lodge - so no repeat issues there...

I was thinking of your post from the other thread about having only 1 "proper powder day" of all your North America trips. And getting stuck on highways to A-basin on an otherwise powder day, without fresh powder. Wink
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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!
Dave makes a good point about Calgary, it's a good one flight destination. We always fly WestJet because we are cheap, Calgary is their home airport, and they fly to Gatwick.
Further from the coast = less snow, but it lasts longer!
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
He makes a very good point about Man-Schiphol-Calgary too.

And and an even BETTER point about trying to sell those vouchers. If we do that we can stay at the "other" side of the highway.
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mountainaddict wrote:


Not all bad though Very Happy As mentioned previously, we've certainly had some epic powder too - eg the Chatter Creek powder when we finally got to it; ditto 3 days at Mustang Powder and 5 days at Fernie Wilderness Adventures; every turn a powder turn on 5 days' bluebird hut to hut ski touring in the Austrian Silvretta; plus whole weeks and occasional days of resort powder in The Alps - and even Scotland and our tiny local ski areas.


Hey,
Sorry for hijacking this thread a little bit but I'd be interested in some info about Mustang powder and it looks like you've spent some time there.

Did you go for their normal program or the steep chute one? How did the level compare to Euro off-piste? And what about their terrain?
I'm asking because I might have an opportunity to go next season but it would have to be for their steep chute program and I'd rather not be the slow one of the group Razz

In Europe I would be quite confident registering for an advanced/expert program and be fine with the lines on offer. But there playground seems a bit different from what a confident euro off piste skier would be used to and that makes me a little hesitant Puzzled... For example i've never skied Canadian scale pillow lines (sadly... Little Angel )
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