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SnowBun 08-06-2009 05:00 PM

Anyone been to Banff (Canada)? Thoughts?
Hey guys!

So I have a friend who might be working up there this season and I'm thinking of going up for a couple weeks in January to get some real snow (because what we get on the east coast is definitely not real by any means). Any thoughts from people who have been up there? Is it worth it?

Whistler or anything near Vancouver is out of the question due to the Olympics. Banff is going to host luge but that's about it and I will be gone by the time that comes around.

killclimbz 08-06-2009 05:04 PM

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I've been to Banff in the Summer and it's stunning. Sunshine is the big resort there correct? I also think the region is part of the Rocky mountains, so not as much snowfall as you'd have out in BC, but great looking terrain. Overall I'd say go for it. The mountains are huge and the area is gorgeous. If you got a hook up why not take advantage of it?

chupacabraman 08-06-2009 05:13 PM

I lived there the past 7 years. You'll love it, period. As far as snowboarding goes... Norquay is the closest hill, just on the side of town, but it's tiny with basic "ski racing runs". They have a pretty good park though! Sunshine Village and Lake Louise are the major resorts. Sunshine Village = 15 minutes from town. Lake Louise = 50 minutes from town. Lake Louise probably has the better terrain (lots of blues/singleblacks) but Sunshine gets almost 3x as much snow! (350cm vs 900cm). At Sunshine it's laid out kind of different than most hills.... lots of super steep sections, and lots of completely flat spots. It's great! If you can find the good runs (ask a local) you can have fresh pow anytime. Now, if you really want to step it up, consider taking a day out at Kicking Horse (1.5hrs west of banff). It's tall (4133 vert, bottom to top gondola), very steep, and usually good snow.

SnowBun 08-06-2009 05:18 PM


I just hope he gets the job. Especially if it's at one of the resorts. Free lift tix? :laugh:

What are the temps like up there in January though? Seems like it's pretty far up...

chupacabraman 08-06-2009 06:04 PM

Generally in-town temps are between -5 and -15 degrees Celsius throughout the winter. that being said, there is always a 2-week cold snap where it dips down to -33 (or -42 like last year... damn). Hope it's not the week you're there! lol
But really, on-hill you're looking at about -8 to -20 Celsius normally.

Typically, I was riding with a thin undershirt, a hoodie, and a windbreaker style shell. This worked on 90% of days, only 3 times did I wear my parka. I usually rode with longjohns under my snowpants (thin insulated) and the vents always got cracked open after the first run.

You'll find the runs fine. The thing that'll freeze you is the chair lifts. High altitude (sunshine is 7000ft base elevation) so there's quite a bit of terrain above treeline. You are completely exposed on some of the lifts so you will freeze! I find it a lot more mild compared to Saskatchewan or Northern Quebec. Definitely colder than BC though.

Probably similar to Montana/Wyoming if you've been there in winter.

SnowBun 08-06-2009 06:16 PM

Nope. So far been only here in the NE. Coldest I boarded at was about -15C.

No worries though, I've got a down jacket for riding. In -15 rode in it with a tee underneath and I was fine :). Only problem with down jackets is that you end up looking like the Michelin man :laugh:

Holy shit -42? That's brutal. Did you even go outside on those days?

chupacabraman 08-06-2009 07:00 PM

Lol, what's funny is actually the night it peaked down at -42C i was waiting for the bus to go to my sisters place in Edmonton for christmas (this was on dec.24,2008 i believe). So the station is closed and there is no waiting area... stand outside in the cold .. .the bus showed up 1.5 hrs late (i was FROZEN!!!). talk about doing jumping-jacks and running around the building not to die. i got on the bus and all the seats were gone so i had to sit on the steps for 10 hrs (delays). Oh, and they lost my luggage. Terrible trip.
So yeah... don't go out lol.

Like I said though, this is rare. Always once or twice a winter you get an artic cold chill that slips west into the eastern slopes of the rockies. Usually -30C to -35C and for about a week. Otherwise it's "ok" nothing you haven't experienced before on the east coast... you'll be ok. You'll be fine with your puffer, sometimes I wish I had one.

If this trip gets confirmed just PM me and I'll hook you up with a ton of local info.

Janet Bimbi 08-08-2009 12:02 PM

Banff National Park
I havenít been there but Banff National Park is a great place and has some of the picturesque landscapes together with many endangered species of birds. Banff is also a great snowboarding spot. Go on and have a nice snowboarding.

YanTheMan 08-08-2009 01:17 PM

Banff is wicked sick.
Lots of partying up there thats for sure. Chupaca knows hits stuff. Lake Louise and Sunshine are the closest resorts. Both are quite good. Sunshine having sligtly better snow but louise haveing better shredable land.

SB4L 08-08-2009 08:01 PM

well these gentlemen summed it up pretty well, I just did a season there this past winter. Highly suggest visiting your friend - I visited one year, was back the next to work. if they works at a resort most likely either free or 40% off, thats what I had.

Man that -42 night was insssaaaaaane, and it was like 2 weeks of -30 to -40, so crazy, gondolas stop running at sunshine past -30.

Best time to visit there is probably later in the season... december = tourist trap, jan = very cold not as much snow, feb is usually warmer with no snow, and I'm told march is usually the sweet month, though last season the entire season was low on the snow amounts. still had a blast though.

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