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Old 02-27-2012, 11:51 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default A few days in Banff, Lake Louise and Sunshine

Spent last week with some friends from Ontario. We hit up Lake Louise on Wednesday, Sunshine Thursday, and back t0 the Lake for Friday...

So we got into Banff Tuesday night, checked into our hotel which was Tunnel Mountain Resort. We got a chalet for the 3 of us and it worked out great. $266 each person for 4 nights. The chalets have full kitchens so I made a bunch of vegetable beef soup and brought some steaks and chicken with me for the trip. We ended up only having to eat one meal out which was great.

On the the snowboarding:

Day 1 at Lake Louise - We arrived in the parking lot just before 9:00 and luckily got a spot in the main lot. There was about 6" of fresh powder in the parking lot so that was promising! We headed up the gondola and had almost first tracks down to the Top of the world chair. The people I was boarding with were newer than me, so they continued on down to do more gondola runs. I headed up the top of the world to hit some of the fresh powder in the bowls. I had a couple runs through several feet of powder on the spine just east of the top of the world chair, which is a fairly steep spine with a natural wavy pattern to it. I was getting right into it with the sun shining, and people were cheering at me from the chair!!!

After a few runs there I met back up with the group, grabbed some water and I took them into the back bowl of the top of the world chair. This bowl holds it's powder a lot better than the front, so we found near bottomless stashes in the back. A couple of the pictures below show the back bowl conditions on wednesday. We then headed to the larch area to check it out, but found a lot of rock/gravel protruding on the main runs. Not sure how it was that skied out or had that much less snow fall on it. Finally we headed back to the front to grab some lunch.

I knew I was having a good day mileage wise (board with GPS trekbuddy, so I don't know my actual mileage until I head home and upload the tracklog), so I wanted to see if I could beat my previous best day of 68 km and 7900m of vert (25900 ft). I headed back out while everyone relaxed after lunch, and I went to my favorite area for some bombing runs. My favorite run was coming off the top of the world six pack, heading west to a little opening in the fence, traversing east until you're directly under the chair. From there I head straight down under the chair enjoying fresh powder for about a hundred meters or so. Then I head west again and pick up speed going through the bowl, until I launch off a lip at the start of a groomed run. I blast down the groomed run until I have to cut hard left to get back to my chair, and in the process there's a nice steep wall on my toe side that I can carve up and do a few little jumps.

Around 3:30 I got a few texts from the group saying they were done. I said I'm staying until they close the lifts on me, and I'll meet them at the truck at 4:15... I kept busting laps on that great run, and finally 4:00 rolls around and I head up for my last run of the day. I came down the powder stash, over my lip, do a little grab, and then I stop for a second to rest the legs. The clouds sort of opened up and the sun was shining on me, and if I believed in god he would be smiling on me and my snowboard right then... lol I had a great last run although my legs were killed after all the powder that day.

Get back to the truck, try to upload my GPS tracklog but the signal's weak so it fails half way through. I drive home wondering what I did that day, thinking I beat my record but not sure. Get back into Banff and get a nice 3.5G signal and upload the track... 83 KM and 9600 M of vert!!! (31500 ft) That is by far my longest day on the snow yet! And this was in shining sun, fresh powder, etc. I was with the group for about half the day, so by myself I think I could have gone over 100 km but I'll leave that for another day this year. Link to Garmin Connect tracklog



Day 2 - Sunshine: The sky was overcast in the morning, and it actually snowed quite heavily throughout the day. I enjoyed the snow but my group was not handling the flat areas well, so it made for a very slow day. We still did 50 km or so, and I found some great little lips and jumps to launch off of. I also practiced riding switch for a while while helping my girlfriend learn to carve.

Day 3 Lake Louise: Just the girlfriend and I went to Louise on Friday. I was nice to be just the two of us again. Her pace is really picking up and it's getting fun to board with her. I practiced a lot of switch, hit a lot of jumps (a few of them on camera) and just generally had a great day on the hill. It was overcast and not nearly as much powder as Wednesday, but the stashes were still there to be had. I showed my girlfriend a few nice blue runs she hadn't hit before, and she led for the entire afternoon. It's really fun watching her learn and she even tried a little jump in the park at the end of the day (we decided to pass through it on our last run). The highlight of the day for me was a jump on my toe side. I came down a steep blue, easy black wide open groomer, and carved hard on my toe side (left) into the merging run. I hit a jump I had hit about 5-6 times already but this time had more speed than normal. I got a little psyched out and instead of going for a grab to stabilize myself, I stayed a little more vertical in the air which threw me off balance. I landed on my toe edge but my heels dropped immediately when I hit the snow. I thought for sure my heel side would dig and I was going to bail hard (thankfully I bought armor a few months back!). My heel didn't catch and I quickly got back on my toe edge, laughing giggily the whole time. My girlfriend came over to where I was laughing histerically and said she though I was a goner!!! lol

I also learned a new way to fall on a groomer. I haven't caught an edge in a LONG time, but I guess three hard days of boarding was catching up with me, and I caught my heel edge going quite fast on a medium groomer. I landed on my back, head first, board up in the air. I ended up turtling on my back for about 50' while still flying down the hill, rotated my board around so that it was running parallel to the slide, put it down and off I went. I've never turtled my way down a hill before... lol

ANYWAY... TIME FOR THE PICS! We also had some visitors to our chalet the one morning. Eight in total, but two of them poked up for this picture...
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 2012-02-22-027.jpg (167.4 KB, 63 views)
File Type: jpg 2012-02-22-029.jpg (178.3 KB, 53 views)
File Type: jpg 2012-02-22-032.jpg (141.2 KB, 52 views)
File Type: jpg 2012-02-25-053.jpg (179.7 KB, 53 views)

Last edited by poutanen; 02-27-2012 at 03:27 PM. Reason: Added a link to the GPS tracklog for Day 1
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Old 02-27-2012, 12:39 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Sounds like you had a really fun time. Thanks for the review of the resort. I heard it gets really cold over there. Is that true?
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Old 02-27-2012, 01:10 PM   #3 (permalink)
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nice write up
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Old 02-27-2012, 02:26 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Sounds like you had a really fun time. Thanks for the review of the resort. I heard it gets really cold over there. Is that true?
Thanks guys, it was a great few days. I've only been here for one winter, and everybody is telling me this is a non-winter out here. However, I haven't had one day yet where I've been too cold to board. Generally my favorite is from about -10 to -5 C or so, and most days have been in that range.

Thursday at sunshine the wind was pretty heavy up the top of the great divide chair. This doesn't bother me cause I just strap in and get the F*** off the mountain, but my girlfriend got spooked and we ended up coming down slower than normal. It was pretty chilly and at one point I showed her how to stop on her toe edge, then lay face down in the snow and shield her face with her gloves. I was worried she was going to get some frostbite.

Fernie is a little warmer than the resorts in Banff, which also means it's had rain a few times this year while the others haven't.
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Old 02-27-2012, 03:21 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Lets try this again... Link to 83 km GPS track...

Garmin Connect

Last edited by poutanen; 02-27-2012 at 03:25 PM.
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Old 02-27-2012, 11:04 PM   #6 (permalink)
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You went 587 MPH well done
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Old 02-27-2012, 11:15 PM   #7 (permalink)
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You went 587 MPH well done
LOL yeah it's funny like that. All it does is take GPS data from the gpx file. It always gives crazy numbers for a max speed. Looking at the graph it looks like my fastest was about 38 MPH with an average around 25 MPH. Makes a lot more sense to me!

I like the GPS but every once in a while you can see an obvious flaw, like it'll lose track of me for half a run then pick me up at the bottom and think I did 200 MPH lol... I mean, wait, I CAN do 200 MPH on a board! Damn right!
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Old 02-28-2012, 10:55 AM   #8 (permalink)
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great pics!

i'm actually heading to banff next week for 5 days just wondering, do you know any places to get discounted lift tickets? i hear costco might??

plan to hit up lake louise, sunshine and kicking horse, so stoked!
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Old 02-28-2012, 11:15 AM   #9 (permalink)
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great pics!

i'm actually heading to banff next week for 5 days just wondering, do you know any places to get discounted lift tickets? i hear costco might??

plan to hit up lake louise, sunshine and kicking horse, so stoked!
Yup, costco in Calgary has them, not sure about the others. Lake Louise works out to about $60 each ticket incl tax (bought in pairs), Sunshine is about $67 with tax (bought in 3's), kicking horse is only about $55 with tax but you have to buy a 2 day card per person. We wanted to go there for one day but it wouldn't have worked out. I have a spare lake louise ticket if you're interested. Have it on kijiji for $60 but nobody's offered me more than $40 so far.

I've never been to kicking horse, hear it's amazing for intermediate/advanced terrain.

Lake louise is one of my favorites. It's just just the right feel to it, good variety of terrain. You can run powder bowls, groomers, and a blast through the park all on one run. The back side is nice but there are no high speed lifts there so I tend to only do a couple runs back there each day. The back bowls off the t-bar and top of the world are great through.

Sunshine is neat, the gondola ride up to the base is like nothing else, but it also seems to waste time (I'd rather be boarding than sitting on a lift for 20 minutes just to get to the base of another lift). It's a really cool view if you get a sunny day though. There are a lot of flats and even rises so you have to carry more speed in a lot of places. It didn't bother me that much, but my girlfriend was not impressed. lol

If I were doing 5 days in banff, I'd do 2 at kicking horse, 2 at lake louise, and 1 at sunshine just to say you did it.
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Old 02-28-2012, 12:26 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Awesome looking terrain.

I really hope to make it up towards BC next winter with the sled
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