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Where to live the season in Canada if not working

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I'm going to Canada 1st Jan for the rest of the season. I was going to get out early and work the season but decided to work a little longer, save more cash and ski the whole season!

My question is where should I go? I don't need to find a job but I do need to find accommodation and I'm going out a bit later than normal. My plan was to spend the first 2 weeks driving around a few places before deciding where to settle for the rest of the season however I'm worried that I won't be able to find anywhere to live if I leave it too late. Can anyone comment on how hard it might be to find accomodation?

What am I looking for in a place?
- a good place to progress into off peist and powder
- enough on peist to keep me occupied when I can't get off peist
- accommodation close to the lifts without needing a car
- great people who want to get out skiing every day
- half lively town, don't need a Whistler but I do like a beer at the end of the day

Maybe given that I don't need to be in one place to work I can tour around. Maybe somewhere like Revelstoke would be a good base been fairly well centered.

Any ideas?
Anyone got mates out there that could put me up?

Cheers
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@nomadengineer, well, can't comment on Revelstoke, but an old acquaintance of mine based himself out of Canmore. He managed to get a room in a house share with a pack of other ski bums, bought an old van while he was there to travel around. He was living ridiculously cheap there, so he could afford to just choose where to go to depending on conditions and drive, so he'd be regularly doing the 3 main Banff mountains, over to Golden for KH, Revelstoke, Panorama etc.
Staying on-mountain is the expensive way to do it.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Banff or Fernie would be my choices.
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nomadengineer, Rossland would be my choice - but not easy to get to, which is the point really. Revelstoke would be nice too, but again not the easiest to get to. Both great mountains for different reasons. With Rossland you can ski White Water also, and head to Nelson for a night , which has a great vibe, and live music scene - folks haven driven 3hrs+ just for a night out there.

Met an Austrian lady who spent last season staying in Nelson, but she got lucky with AirBnB - ended up with her own apartment for the season, at a cheap room rate Toofy Grin
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I worked in a backpackers when I did my canadian season, I know you don’t want to work but it’s not hard work work, I used to run the front desk for a few nights a week in return for free accomodation, flexible working, great social life and saves a lot of cash

Heard great things about Rossland too

I second the idea of purchasing a van and having the possibility of being mobile if needed, Dodge Grand Caravan with the seats removed makes a great camper, great mpg, fine for occasional overnight in the winter with a good bag or two, don’t be concerned with the paint work, check transmission, I built a simple platform in mine with storage underneath, It worked so well I purchased another one to keep up in AK


Last edited by Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do. on Tue 12-12-17 6:22; edited 1 time in total
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Fernie is a good bet. But your season pass deals have pretty much gone I suspect now resorts are open. I ended up stopping in the hostel for a week to scope places to rent but ended up having a cheap vehicle and renting in Sparwood as loads cheaper. Means you can do day trips to the likes of Castle Mountain too.
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Fernie might be the better choice over Revelstoke, Revelstoke looks a little advanced for my level of progression.

I did think about getting a van, its likely that I will be staying on after the ski season to have a look around, maybe do some sailing and mountain biking. A van would let me go to all the ski areas and let me live cheap but I still want to be part of the seasonaire culture. Where do the ski bums tend to end up? I'll take a look at Canmore, anywhere else?

A friend highly recommended Nelson, I know the ski area is not massive but as a place that I might want to live it sounds great plus I get the feeling that finding accommodation there wont be as difficult. Its a bit far away from other resorts though? Red looks good but again quite far out there.

I'm not particularity looking for a cheap place, I'm more interested in getting value out of my trip and will pay more if its going to give me better access to the better skiing

Keep the info coming, its all good!
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@nomadengineer, word of warning then - that acquaintance I mentioned ended up jacking in his architecture practice in the UK and was last seen shuttling between winters in Canada and summers in Mexico fixing motorbikes and snowmobiles to finance a bums life of surfing and snowboarding...
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nomadengineer, Whitewater last season had international ski bums there, talking to plenty of folks from all over the globe. It doesn't look huge but the opportunities can be wink plus only about an hour from Red.
You may get lucky with accommodation at either, or look for somewhere in Trail especially if you are getting a van.

Most places don't allow overnight camping - in the van, technically, but if you are discreet they often allow a night in their car parks. One couple from Vancouver spent nearly a week at Revelstoke base, in a converted van. They just had to move it around the car park each day - had a wood burner in it too Madeye-Smiley
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Richard_Sideways wrote:
@nomadengineer, word of warning then - that acquaintance I mentioned ended up jacking in his architecture practice in the UK and was last seen shuttling between winters in Canada and summers in Mexico fixing motorbikes and snowmobiles to finance a bums life of surfing and snowboarding...


Think I can live with that risk. Personally as a commissioning engineer I was hoping find small lucrative contracts to keep the ski bum dream alive. I was lucky this year and secured a few weeks work in the Falklands (Islas Malvinas). Funded my winter jolly just nicely.
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There are mentions of Banff and Canmore. I believe it's relevant that Banff is inside a National Park, Canmore is outside - Canmore is therefore notably cheaper (or perhaps that's just hotels?). Of course there is more driving to do to get to the resorts, I think 20-30 mins, and I'm not sure if there is a fee of sorts to enter the national park each day.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
I'm edging towards Rossland (Red) currently. Looks like a nice place, got a few more lifts than other places, cheap cat skiing and Nelson is close by for down days. Did think that it might also be a little warmer there through the cold months, not sure. I could relocate to Banff for the end of the season.

I think I'm perhaps better to go where the snow is best when I arrive and taking it as it comes, so long as I have a car I'll find somewhere to live.

Can anyone comment on what its like to drive out there and if there are any special requirements, winter tires and chains are obvious, AWD? Any advice on buying cars out there? Assuming it would be cheaper to buy in Calgary.
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If you're trying to avoid a moose on the highway, always aim BEHIND it, not in front - they always run forwards. If they try to turn around to run too fast, they fall over and you don't want that...
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You know it makes sense.
nomadengineer, Driving wise, winter tyres, AWD/4WD preferable. Generally snowy roads but they handle the conditions well. No idea about buying a vehicle.
Last season Red were doing single cat rides, to the far side of Grey Mtn for $10 - well worth it - IIRC this used to be their cat skiing operation before they put the lift in Smile

Orange200, only about 10 minutes 15 tops to the Banff turnoff from Canmore. If staying around there worth getting the park pass, annual ones aren't that costly.
We were v. lucky last season, staying in Canmore - Canada decided to waiver all park entrance fees for the year Smile Centenary of something Madeye-Smiley
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Drive south to the States.

Jackson Hole, Aspen, Alta, etc.

Better snow and better resorts.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@nomadengineer,

Some tips from my 18 month Canadian/Alaskan trip:

The Dodge Grand Caravan i mentioned earlier in the thread was AWD, I spent a few days learning the Canadian car market as most of the brands and models were unfamiliar

I looked at proper camper vans but most were giving less than 15 mpg and would subject to height restriction barriers

Stealth camping as mentioned by @Bones, was important to me, not looking like a camper van or RV allows you to discreetly Park where you wouldn’t be able to park a camper and more importantly undesirables won’t think that someone might be sleeping in a people carrier

Walmart is/was great for free overnight and quite safe camping, park near other campers for security

Security, this is a contentious issue, I parked up solo most of the time all over AK, BC and Alberta in out of the way rural places, in Canada I just happened to have a large can of bear spray next to me at night , in AK I had more protection

Ref punctures, I had 6 spare tyres and wheels on top of the van, 4 studded and 2 all season spares, studded were purchased from a breakers yard and where in mint condition at a considerable saving

I would at the very least get proper winter tyres and chains

The reason for 2 spares is the amount of punctures on rural roads, buy your own puncture fixing kit from “Canadian tyre” for a few dollars,

Have spare large fuel can, fan belt, bulbs and tyre pump

Chuck a couple of heavy weight cheap synthetic sleeping bags in the back in case you break down or want to sleep the night, large supermarkets were selling an excellent dense foam sleeping mat, 4” thick for approx $20ish

I would drive very carefully if traveling at night in certain parts of rural Canada outside of the town due to the moose that have a habit of just walking out on to the road, I had one close call

You have a good chance of getting your money back at the end of the winter season as it’s the start of the summer season and camper and are in demand then

I visited Rossland briefly and for what it’s worth got a really good impression, small town vibe, nice people and by all accounts a great ski area

I personally would at some point use the opportunity to travel to other interior resorts, for company and to split fuel costs on long journeys put a note up at the back packers in town, for a single guy it’s a great way of meeting some really cool woman, a long road trip is like condensing several dates in to one day Very Happy
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@Fish_Head

Thanks for the sound car advice. I'm hiring a car for the first 2 weeks, not sure what equipment it will come with but assuming that winter tires and chains will be an option when I pick up. I think a friend bought a Dodge Grand Caravan for stealth camping in the states, says that she got through some snow that other cars struggled with. Think any form of Toyota AWD would also be a sound choice. I bought a town ace in NZ and it was great despite been 25 years old.

Stealth camping is also important to me more because I'm pretty bad at planing anything in advance, sleeping in the car is often the only option. Walmart was going to be my first stop after picking up the hire car to buy the biggest cheapest synthetic bag known to man.

Which inertia resorts is everyone recommending? From what I'm reading it sounds like somewhere like Nelson and Red would be great places to learn and improve on my powder backcountry skills around laid back people. Revelstoke, Kicking horse, Banff sound a bit more intense, maybe good places to go towards the end of the season when my skills are better suited to the awesome technical terrain on offer. I dont hear much about Panorama, sounds like it might be a bit too tame/family orientated for a single adventure seeking guy.

I could deffo try out some of the American resorts but I have a 12 month working holiday visa to activate in Canada, hence my choice to do the season in Canada. Its my intention to look for work while skiing in Canada for the summer. I'd also consider taking work while skiing if it was interesting, would be amazing if I could find a job working in some form of engineering capacity in resort.
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nomadengineer, If you do decide on Rossland, its an easy drop down to Whitefish in Montana - probably worth some days there. Not been yet but planning it for a couple of years time during another road trip.

Good luck with the trip, would love to read about it, so periodic updates would be nice Madeye-Smiley
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Whitefish rocks. I've been twice (Back when the mountain was called 'Big Mountain').

Really quiet mountain, great on the backside of the Mtn, great little town too, The Bulldog saloon was a good spot.

Schweitzer near Sandpoint in idaho looks different (never managed to make it there).
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
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Whitegold wrote:
Drive south to the States.

Jackson Hole, Aspen, Alta, etc.

Better snow and better resorts.

You never fail to live up to your chosen life goal . . . but why did you choose 'buttplug'? rolling eyes
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Amazed at all the stealth campers. Pretty sure you could easily freeze to death some nights.
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After an extensive youtube session I think its going to have to be somewhere on the powder highway, Revelstoke, Nelson or Rossland. Nelson tick alot of boxes, I'm keen to get involved in a locals scene and it could be a good place to pick up work after the ski season. Only disadvantage here is the daily commute to Whitewater, going to start getting expensive either driving there or taking the shuttle every day. In Rossland the lifts are only 5 min drive away and theres a free shuttle from town. An advantage if say I decide to just get out for a couple of hours or have a few drinks at the day lodge after. Its walkable if necessary.
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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!
@nomadengineer, I'm thinking of doing this next winter (2019), so be interested to know how you got on. I definitely think the powder highway is the way to go. Canmore only really gives access to the banff big 3 resorts which would mean boredom settling in quite quickly. They're just too small. Panorama is meant to be pretty good from those we met staying there, but rk Heli is in Panorama which is what you should do if ready. Fernie has cat-ski options. I wouldn't sleep out in the night in a van. We had -26 in March 'eff' that!
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@Gainz. Red and Nelson both have cat skiing in abundance, some of the terrain just looks epic. Cheap cat skiing at Red, $10 a ride I believe. Heliskiing in Nelson. I'm inexperienced in general particularly in powder so looking for a safe friendly place. Also travelling alone so very much intend to become a permanent fixture on a hill and get to know the local seasonal and permanent residents.

Found accommodation in whistler but at 4700 CAD for 3 months in a room share think I'll stick to the powder highway plan.

Stealth camping would only be an occasional thing when the weather was not quite so intense or I got caught out.
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Quote:

Red and Nelson both have cat skiing in abundance, some of the terrain just looks epic. Cheap cat skiing at Red, $10 a ride I believe

nomadengineer, The $10 rides I mentioned aren't for the same area as the full day operations - just to make that clear. They are for terrain, that used to be part of the full day operations, as that has moved one mtn over.
Theres no guide either its just get you up and you're on your own. Its part of the resort though so patrolled/rescue if needed.
But the terrain is good Madeye-Smiley

You'll soon get to know the locals and seasonals - not that many drinking holes in Rossland, and Rafters is real friendly at the end of the day. Toofy Grin
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@nomadengineer,

An extra bit of info regarding the Dodge Grand Caravan, the second one I purchased was the regular length version an is still fine to sleep in and I’m 5’ 10”
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Only need one good bar, craft beer and an enthusiastic crowd is all that I need

@Fish_Head Where is the grand caravan? I'm flying into Calgary and driving around a few resorts on my way to Rossland. Looked on FB for cars and there are enough for sale around Nelson.

Thanks for all the comments guys, I feel that I'm starting to get a workable plan together.
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It’s 5 miles outside a small town called Soldotna in Alaska, approx 2500 miles from Rossland

Although it’s for sale, it was more about letting you know that at least up to my height you don’t necessarily need to look for the grand version (that i had back in 2007) if you were looking at the dodge caravan as a camper

Here’s a link to other AWD mini vans:

https://www.carsdirect.com/car-buying/top-awd-minivan-models-for-sale
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You know it makes sense.
nomadengineer, If going to Rossland from Calgary, put Castle on your list - great fun, laid back mountain Smile
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Alaska is a little out of my way, maybe next year.

Castle is also a bit out of my way, was going to go Calgary - Banff - Lake Louise - Revelstoke - Nelson - Rossland. Maybe later in the year I'll have another road trip.

Bizarrely I found out that someone I know is already living out in Nelson so it kinda makes sense to head out that way. Been looking at accommodation there as its pretty reasonable.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
While touring around has many advantages you need a lot of money for it. A walk up day ticket is $80+ (OK there are deals but even 60 days skiing at $50 per day is $3000). So if budget is of any concern I would look at passes.

Quote:
a good place to progress into off-piste


Revy and kicking horse are probably not the best for this unless you want baptism by fire.

Quote:
accommodation close to the lifts without needing a car


That rules out Banff and nelson for w-h20

Quote:
half lively town


Depends on your definition of half lively but the interior resorts are not exactly known for their nightlife.


If you want to tour a bit I would consider the rcr pass. Unlimited skiing at fernie, kicking horse, kimberley, and nakiska for $1800. Fernie ticks all your boxes (some nightlife, town reasonably close to lifts, plenty of options for easing yourself into off piste skiing). Kicking horse for when you are comfortable off-piste and fancy a challenge.

If you can afford (and find) accommodation whistler also ticks your boxes. Its hard to find cheap accommodation but the lift pass is "only" $1000cad so you can save some money there. I can't think of too many better places to progress to off-piste and plenty of groomers for piste days. In fact a huge amount of every terrain you could imagine (trees, bowls, chutes, park). You could still add in a road trip towards the end of the season to see some other resorts.[/quote]
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I'm going to be predominantly based in one place but will probably visit a few others here and there. I did find a shared room in Whistler for $4700 for 3 months but decided against that ridiculous cost. Also I was in Whistler MTBing in the summer and fancy seeing another place, maybe somewhere a bit more Canadian than Australian.

Baptism by fire is fine with me, I'm not easily detoured, usually pick things up quick if thrown in there and am a good judge of when I need to back off.

The combo Fernie, Kicking Horse pass could be a good shout. I'll look into it thanks.
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If you're planning on doing Calgary - Banff - Lake Louise - Revelstoke - Nelson - Rossland, then definitely stick Kicking Horse in there. Ok maybe a bit tougher than some hills, but there's still some off piste you'll be able to have a try at. Also some nice pistes, although that's not what most people are there for!

We went for 11 nights in February, 3 days skiing in Lake Louise, 3 days in Kicking Horse, 3 days in Revelstoke and a final day in Sunshine before we headed home.

Loved it, wish I wasn't cooped up in an office and was doing a season out there!
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Tough trying to decide where to go, everywhere seems to have a unique edge to it. I'm also scoping out potential places where I may want to spend the rest of the year or even emigrate to. Nelson has that appeal. I also paraglide and mountain bike so places that have this in abundance would be of interest.

Got my new skis, Faction Chapters 106. Hopefully good all round on/off piste in powder and crud. Basic set of touring bindings with a semi touring boots. A friend progressed off piste with the chapters so hopfuly I'll do the same.
[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/iiLhULJKFSOStGv03[/img]
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When you say "off-piste" do you mean in bounds off piste or touring/back country? If the latter you should definitely check out Rodgers pass. (Assuming avy gear and some kind of training goes without saying).
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Hi guys, Just to follow on from the thread. I ended up skiing at Sunshine, Revelstoke, Whitewater and Red. I got a season ticket for Red and have pretty much fallen in love with Rossland and Red. Great mountain and friendly vibe. I think out of all the places I skied in Canada Red/Rossland gave to most rounded ski season experience. Big ski area, plenty of varied terrain to keep anyone on happy for a whole season, apre ski in the base lodge is great and the shuttle bus runs back to town every hour until late. Thursdays are the best, 15$ pitchers, 9$ tacos and open mike night in the resort bar Rafters followed by night skiing. Rossland is very pretty, quite quiet but still has a couple of good bars including the brewery. Couple of restaurants and takeaways. The winter carnival I've heard is a riot, live bands, rail jam and bobsledding. The town very much feels like part of the hill unlike the rest I visited which where often a good drive away. Rossland was the only place I found people hobbling around town in ski boots.

Nelson is a great town and Whitewater is by no means shabby, however I felt that the ski hill didn't offer enough variety for a whole season. Rossland has very much the same vibe, quieter town but better hill.

Revelstoke has a very good hill but I still preferred Red. Revy only has the one hill abit it is very big. Red However has 3 lift served hills and a 4th accessible by a 10$ snow cat. I also felt the town and hill where not as friendly and as a solo skier I stood more chance finding friends in Rossland. Revelstoke had alot more serious feel to it and in some cases I felt that some people where more interested in producing shaky gopro videos than skiing.

Dont tell anyone about Red by the way, it needs to stay a secret.
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Oh wow, that sounds brilliant (I'm getting jealous!). Thankfully Rossland is pretty far away from any major airport and will unlikely end up like whistler! Will you be coming home?!
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I've got a 2 year work visa so it's possible I'm not coming back for a while. Might try and find a job in Trail just down the road.
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nomadengineer, Don't say I didn't tell you Madeye-Smiley Also keep it to yourself don't want the place over run.
Base area is getting developed quickly now, you should have seen it when we first did Toofy Grin Have they finished the hotel next to Rafters now ?

First time we went we stayed at the Ramshead, just walk/ski through to the lifts. Last year we stayed in town at Sweet Dreams B+B, Becky who runs it also bakes for the local coffee place, her cakes are to die for Cool . Where did you find to stay ?

If you do find work local that's great, we'll be out there again in 2020 Madeye-Smiley
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I do hope that it doesn't become too mainstream. The new hotel is due to open sometime this year I believe. The locals seem persistent to keep its local feel and despite a lot of development at the resort the place is still friendly. I think they have kept the ancient super slow lifts in place to keep the red bull go pro crowd out. Anyone who skis here has to be happy with sitting on lifts all day talking to the person sat next to them. I think for week long holiday makers Red is never going to be as attractive as the more mainstream places. Its a long way from any big cities or airports and when you only have limited time the slow lifts are possibly a bit frustrating. Fine though when your here for a month or more.
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