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Old 12-04-2011, 03:28 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Is Mount Norquay really a glacier?

Everyone plays it out to absolutely sucking for snow quality, but is that just in comparison with some of its neighbours? (Sunshine). I lived in Canmore off and on for over 10 years and now probably moving back. My situation is that when I lived there, I avoided Norquay because my buddy said it sucked and wasn't worth it, why not go to Sunshine.


My question is a theoretical one. If Norquay was say in Red Deer instead of next to Sunshine, would it still be known as the ice field ride of the rockies or is it suddenly in the boat of Castle Mountain because it's the only mountain around so to speak. Kinda like how Kimberley is the much smaller known sister of Fernie, but Kimberley still gets magnificent snow too.

Perhaps some riders who have actually ridden Norquay a lot within the last few years can weigh in on this for me. Preferably also having experience with the dumps and quality of SV.

P.s. I know Norquay has a sweet park. This thread is about snow amount and quality, more so the amount.

Cheers!
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Old 12-06-2011, 03:45 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I was at Norquay on Sunday so I know it from first hand experience.

You hit the nail on the head really. It all comes down to location. Norquay is grouped in with Sunshine and the Lake which are two sick resorts. Norquay can't compete with those two. It does however in my opinion appeal to a different market. Norquay is a family hill first. If you have young kids this is where you want them to learn to ski.
The snow can be very icy for sure but thats because they make so much snow. Having said that when they get pow it is the same quality of sunshine they just get less of it. The runs like lone pine and north american off the double chair are some of the best in the park when there is fresh pow on them.

One thing that have this season which will be awesome is an airbag. I saw kids learning to back flip onto it on sunday. Cant wait to give it a go!
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Old 12-06-2011, 09:43 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I was at Norquay on Sunday so I know it from first hand experience.

You hit the nail on the head really. It all comes down to location. Norquay is grouped in with Sunshine and the Lake which are two sick resorts. Norquay can't compete with those two. It does however in my opinion appeal to a different market. Norquay is a family hill first. If you have young kids this is where you want them to learn to ski.
The snow can be very icy for sure but thats because they make so much snow. Having said that when they get pow it is the same quality of sunshine they just get less of it. The runs like lone pine and north american off the double chair are some of the best in the park when there is fresh pow on them.

One thing that have this season which will be awesome is an airbag. I saw kids learning to back flip onto it on sunday. Cant wait to give it a go!
Wow, for someone getting into park/freestyle riding, having an airbag to practice in is worth the price of season pass in itself. Thanks for the insight about Norquay - Didn't think it was quite as bad as some say. Of-course it can never be as good because of all the man made snow, just doesn't have the same fluff. But for $300 bucks for a mid-week, I may just go this route and save the sunshine card for shredding SV once a week.

How are the lift lines compared to Sunshine during the week? No doubt packed on the weekends, but I won't be there then, unless for a bit of night riding - haven't done that since I was 16 and went to some very small hill in North Dakota, lol. Sitting up top Norquay looking down at the Banff lights is something I'm totally going to do - with my trusty bowl of-course :P

BTW, I know there's a free shuttle up Norquay from Banff, but is there a shuttle coming from Canmore? I may have to take the greyhound to banff in the morning, then hop on the shuttle if that's the case.
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Old 12-07-2011, 09:56 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Wow, for someone getting into park/freestyle riding, having an airbag to practice in is worth the price of season pass in itself. Thanks for the insight about Norquay - Didn't think it was quite as bad as some say. Of-course it can never be as good because of all the man made snow, just doesn't have the same fluff. But for $300 bucks for a mid-week, I may just go this route and save the sunshine card for shredding SV once a week.

How are the lift lines compared to Sunshine during the week? No doubt packed on the weekends, but I won't be there then, unless for a bit of night riding - haven't done that since I was 16 and went to some very small hill in North Dakota, lol. Sitting up top Norquay looking down at the Banff lights is something I'm totally going to do - with my trusty bowl of-course :P

BTW, I know there's a free shuttle up Norquay from Banff, but is there a shuttle coming from Canmore? I may have to take the greyhound to banff in the morning, then hop on the shuttle if that's the case.
I'm still to try the airbag but it looks pretty fun and safe.

LIft lines even on the weekend are short. I think I have had to wait maybe 2 minutes at worst. Its never that busy. There are a lot of kids there though which is ok but they are not very aware and do ride/ski all over the place.

Night riding is on Friday and Saturday nights this year. It doesnt start till Jan. Again never busy. The air bag might be busy though as it will be popular this season as its friggin awesome!

The shuttle from Banff is not free. Its $15 return and I think $10 for season pass holders. (Dont quote me on the second one.) the best way from Canmore is on the airporter. I think it $10 bucks each way. The greyhound is fucked in the winter as its super unreliable.

If you are looking at Sunshine have you seen the Sunshine Marmot card? A good deal if you are not getting a pass - https://store.skibanff.com/SearchResults.asp?Cat=2

Let me know if you have any questions!
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Old 12-09-2011, 07:19 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Peaceryder View Post
Everyone plays it out to absolutely sucking for snow quality, but is that just in comparison with some of its neighbours? (Sunshine). I lived in Canmore off and on for over 10 years and now probably moving back. My situation is that when I lived there, I avoided Norquay because my buddy said it sucked and wasn't worth it, why not go to Sunshine.
What have you heard is true... Norquay really does suck, is small, often icy, and definitely does not get much snow (and not just compared to Sunshine, but in general). There are many towns in Canada that get this much snow, and not many ski hills that get less (300cm).
That being said, I've had more than a few amazing days there. Often when the storms move in from the NorthEast and you'll get more snow here & in the foothills than at Sunshine. They have some challenging runs, a pretty decent park, and you can hit it easy right besides town... not to mention the rad ski-out back down to the Juniper Hotel on the highway (a must do on GT Snowracers).

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Originally Posted by Peaceryder View Post
My question is a theoretical one. If Norquay was say in Red Deer instead of next to Sunshine, would it still be known as the ice field ride of the rockies or is it suddenly in the boat of Castle Mountain because it's the only mountain around so to speak. Kinda like how Kimberley is the much smaller known sister of Fernie, but Kimberley still gets magnificent snow too.
I'm not really sure what you mean by the Castle reference... Castle being the super sick, steep, and snowy ski hill down by Fernie. Kimberley doesn't get magnificent snow and is predominently a family resort (actually less than half of Fernie or Castle's snowfall).

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Perhaps some riders who have actually ridden Norquay a lot within the last few years can weigh in on this for me. Preferably also having experience with the dumps and quality of SV.
I lived in Banff for 7 years and rode Norquay about 40+/- times, much less than Sunshine or Lake Louise. I'm kind of a snow-stats junkie so if you are more interested in that feel free to PM me.

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Old 12-10-2011, 12:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
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What have you heard is true... Norquay really does suck, is small, often icy, and definitely does not get much snow (and not just compared to Sunshine, but in general). There are many towns in Canada that get this much snow, and not many ski hills that get less (300cm).
That being said, I've had more than a few amazing days there. Often when the storms move in from the NorthEast and you'll get more snow here & in the foothills than at Sunshine. They have some challenging runs, a pretty decent park, and you can hit it easy right besides town... not to mention the rad ski-out back down to the Juniper Hotel on the highway (a must do on GT Snowracers).


I'm not really sure what you mean by the Castle reference... Castle being the super sick, steep, and snowy ski hill down by Fernie. Kimberley doesn't get magnificent snow and is predominently a family resort (actually less than half of Fernie or Castle's snowfall).


I lived in Banff for 7 years and rode Norquay about 40+/- times, much less than Sunshine or Lake Louise. I'm kind of a snow-stats junkie so if you are more interested in that feel free to PM me.
Lol, GT snow racers are rad. Reminds me of the time when myself and a few buddies were using GT's to drop small cliffs.

Yeah, I don't know about kimberley; just here-say. In looking at vids on youtube and pictures, kimberley's snow always looked silky smoothe. Of-course even Norquay gets dumped on from time to time, so it's a mere guess on my part. Plus, it's BC, which I would say gets better snow.. Revvy, Kicking Horse and Fernie would be three places. Haven't ridden anything else in BC. Panorama is supposed to be good..

I was debating the Norquay pass to a large degree because I heard they had one of the better parks in Canada and the adding of the airbag makes a beginning freestyle riders progression leap forward. Coming from Canmore I may just want to head all the way to SV. We'll see.
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Old 12-10-2011, 05:05 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Norquay definitely gets their ice-field rep because it is mostly man made snow, except for the North American chair which is all natural snow. I've been snowboarding here for 20+ years (back when snowboards were not allowed on the Big Chair - now called North American). My dad is a volunteer ski patrol here since I was a kid, so I get to board here free - the only reason I still come here once in awhile, although the park is quite good. In my opinion, Norquay is not icy, however they do get a fair bit of hardpack. Nakiska is more icy in my opinion.

The reason Norquay sucks is it's so small and half their runs are identical to each other. Its the one hill that you'll spend more time on the lift than on the hill. They do have some decent runs and even some decent bowls that you need to hike to when the snow is good, but very short and usually not worth the hike. On the plus side, their lodge is quite nice, the park is good and its great for family skiing. Next year when my boy is old enough, I'll be taking him here to learn to ski/board. I believe it's one of the only places you can lift tickets by the hour.
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Old 12-11-2011, 05:05 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Norquay's park is quite good because it has a chair servicing it so you can lap it easy, and most of the surrounding hills have poor parks. Otherwise it wouldn't be anything special - that's for sure.
Louise & Panorama both have pretty good parks. (Panorama nice LONG park with chair). Pano is one of, if not THE least snowy mountain in the country, but is the best place to take the family for many nice mellow groomers runs and a ski-in village.
Best park in the Banff area is definitely Lake Louise (esp. since RCR is out and they got their jumps back). Going west, the better terrain parks are in the Okanagan (esp. Big White & Silver Star), and then onwards to Whistler, which of course has an amazing park.
Don't forget about Castle Mountain - it's one of the best, right up there with Kicking Horse & Revy.

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Old 12-11-2011, 05:27 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Norquay's park is quite good because it has a chair servicing it so you can lap it easy, and most of the surrounding hills have poor parks. Otherwise it wouldn't be anything special - that's for sure.
Louise & Panorama both have pretty good parks. (Panorama nice LONG park with chair). Pano is one of, if not THE least snowy mountain in the country, but is the best place to take the family for many nice mellow groomers runs and a ski-in village.
Best park in the Banff area is definitely Lake Louise (esp. since RCR is out and they got their jumps back). Going west, the better terrain parks are in the Okanagan (esp. Big White & Silver Star), and then onwards to Whistler, which of course has an amazing park.
Don't forget about Castle Mountain - it's one of the best, right up there with Kicking Horse & Revy.
Yeah, I'll be heading up to Castle every week of the season to ride. I knew it had a couple progression parks and the parking lot evening jibbing, but didn't know it would be considered a good park? More like the entire mtn has park-ish stunts (This is what I've heard). I was there two times last year and avoided the park runs.
Panorama is pretty mellow for their mountain biking steeps too, but they have great stunts in the summer just like it appears in winter. Lack of snow blows for them though, lol.
Lake Louise is quite the drive for a day of boarding... I go to college and my $$ allow me to make a day trip to Castle once a week. The Lake has an awesome park by the looks of vids and pics I've seen. Maybe make it out there once this winter. Castle is gonna be home though, forsure.
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Old 12-12-2011, 07:04 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Yeah, I'll be heading up to Castle every week of the season to ride. I knew it had a couple progression parks and the parking lot evening jibbing, but didn't know it would be considered a good park? More like the entire mtn has park-ish stunts (This is what I've heard). I was there two times last year and avoided the park runs.
Panorama is pretty mellow for their mountain biking steeps too, but they have great stunts in the summer just like it appears in winter. Lack of snow blows for them though, lol.
Lake Louise is quite the drive for a day of boarding... I go to college and my $$ allow me to make a day trip to Castle once a week. The Lake has an awesome park by the looks of vids and pics I've seen. Maybe make it out there once this winter. Castle is gonna be home though, forsure.
?? Louise is less than an hour drive from Canmore. Castle is over 3 hours.
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