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Old 06-06-2012, 04:40 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Chasing the dream in BC

Hey guys, planning a trip to BC, Canada next season. Planning on arriving late Jan starting in Whistler before a road trip thru the Rockies. We're a bunch of Aussie guys chasing the powder & sum memorable moments while we're away. We decided that we had to stop in Whistler for the good snow & the great nightlife from wot we've heard. Spending bout 10nights here followed by a road trip thru the Rockies for about 1.5wks in early Feb. We're trying to decide on which places to stop at. Sum of the places ive read about are Banff, Lake Louise, Revelstoke, Kicking Horse, Fernie.

The level of experience between us varies, one of us is pretty advance, myself who's intermediate to a few guys who are beginners. Luv to ride sum good powder if possible, off piste & maybe areas where u can take on a couple of jumps to spice things up a little. And once the sun goes down where are the great nite spots and where the lovely Canadian ladies are at

So do make sum suggestions, help out sum fellow riders. Thanks.

Also sum of us are planning to buy our snow gear(boards to jackets, boots etc) upon arrival in Vancouver. Where are the good places to shop at in Van if anyone knows?

Last edited by Mojo; 06-06-2012 at 04:57 AM.
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Old 06-06-2012, 05:29 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Bug White!
You'll feel right at home there
Banff and Lake lousie are awesome too.
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Old 06-06-2012, 07:29 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Also sum of us are planning to buy our snow gear(boards to jackets, boots etc) upon arrival in Vancouver. Where are the good places to shop at in Van if anyone knows?
Well, that part's simple. The 1700 block West 4th has about a half-dozen snowboard shops within spitting distance of each other: The Boardroom, The Boardroom Clearance Center, Comor Sports, Pacific Boarder, Billabong, and Showcase. Or for sheer selection, The Boardroom in North Vancouver on Lonsdale.
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Old 06-06-2012, 12:15 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Feb in banff can be hit or miss (lake louise, sunshine, nakiska, ect). If you guys have a car it won't be a big deal because you can just watch the snow reports and not go that far east if you don't want to.

If you are looking for some park when you are here, louise is pretty good (not as good as wistler im sure). I haven't been to castle mountain (45min east of fernie) but i think they might have a pretty good park. i am planning on doing some riding there next year.

Mountains that i would not make an effort to go to unless then have a big dump are, Nakiska, Kimberly, and Panorama. In fairness i have only been to nakiska of those 3 however i have never hear good things about kimberly and pano.

I have been to Red Mountain and it was a great time and a cool place like snow wolf said. I have not been to whitewater yet but i hear great things.
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Old 06-06-2012, 01:47 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Mountains that i would not make an effort to go to unless then have a big dump are, Nakiska, Kimberly, and Panorama. In fairness i have only been to nakiska of those 3 however i have never hear good things about kimberly and pano.
Been to Kimberley and it's decent, but there are lift issues (lack of high speed and very narrow section at the bottom of the one high speed) that makes it not really worth going to for me.

Nakiska can have great days, and it can have shitty days. Obviously with less snowfall than most of the rest it's hardpack way more often than the rest. On the plus side it's not on many snowboarders radars, so with even a small dump of snow you can find great lines and some fun glade runs with almost no lift lines.

To the OP, you might be getting a little adventurous to want to do all that in 2-3 weeks. The drive from Fernie to Lake Louise or Banff is about 4.5 hours alone. If it were me, if you must see whistler, I'd fly into Vancouver and rent a car, do the whistler thing, then drive through the lower part of BC to Fernie (stopping at some of the resorts on the way as Snowolf suggested)... Plan to spend a few days in Fernie if the powder is falling, because it may be some of the best off-piste snowboarding you'll ever do. If it's raining you'll want to bypass Fernie and head North to Kicking Horse or Revelstoke... There's a place near Canal Flats, BC called the Lussier Hot Springs. I would strongly suggest a drive into the site for a free hot springs dip in the back woods of BC. The road in is amazing in the summer, in the winter it could get treacherous but the scenery will be fantastic.

After KH or Revelstoke (or both) I'd make my way to Banff and spend a few days there, boarding at Sunshine or Lake Louise. Of the two, I MUCH prefer Lake Louise. Sunshine has a lot of flat areas that require unclipping unless you're a pro on the flats. My GF wasn't impressed. I found a lot of decent runs but also a lot of issues with the place. Lake Louise offers something for everybody, at every level. Check some of my threads for pictures of the place.

For me I'm constantly flip flopping between Lake Louise and Fernie as my favourite resort. Fernie has the off-piste tree boarding hands down, but can get rain and is avalanche prone so the bowls may be closed for days on end. I've been lucky to get great weather at Fernie, and had my biggest and best powder days there. It's the resort where I've stopped in the middle of a run, looked around, and said to myself "this is what it's all about" more than any other run. But then I've had some amazing days at Lake Louise that were almost as good, and the lift situation is arguably a little better at the lake. Neither of them have 100% high speed lift access to the highest peaks. Some of the bowls in Fernie require 2-3 lifts to get to the top, and then the same to get back out. At lake Louise you can ride the gondola to the top, come down to the top of the world 6 pack and then over to the platter, ride the chutes in the back, come up the first quad and do it all over.

For fast laps Nakiska actually has my record. I've done some 35 km in 1.5 hours at Nakiska. Most I've done in a full day was 90 or so km and that was at Lake Louise. If I wanted to beat a record it would be at nakiska with it's 100% high speed lifts. I'd just get bored after 4-5 hours there. Hard to get bored at the other places!

Have fun!
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Old 06-07-2012, 05:16 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks for all your replies guys, special mention to poutanen for the in depth review, also Snowolf, justin & donutz for where to pickup sum snow gear.

Im trying to rate all the mountains mentioned for their features & travel distance/time. Would you guys say it would be better for us to drive frm Vancouver to Calgarry, or fly there, pick up a car & drive around to the mountains & finally drop it off at Vancouver(if they'll let me do that)? Coz it looks like most of the mountains are towards Calgarry way, Revelstoke being the furthers away & there's not much between that and Vancouver. Hmmm... seems like airfares arent all that cheap either at around $220ea for a 1 way, Van to Cal.

Last edited by Mojo; 06-07-2012 at 08:22 PM.
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Old 06-07-2012, 09:04 AM   #7 (permalink)
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If you can find a car rental company that'll let you pick up in Van and drop off in Cal, that'd be the way to go (assuming you can get a cheap flight home from Calgary). When you're searching for driving times between resorts, google maps is decent but slow. In the math I've done, they estimate about 15% longer than it actually takes as long as you're not stopping every hour to take a leak or drive like my grandma!
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