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Discussion Starter #1
Rank the resorts near Calgary for best terrain, best snow and best park. Here is the list, feel free to add if I missed any (I only included resorts within a 3 hour drive):

COP
Norquay
Nakiska
Sunshine
Lake Louise
Castle
Fernie
Kicking Horse

My picks

Best Terrain
Fernie
Kicking Horse
Lake Louise

Best Snow
Kicking Horse
Fernie
Sunshine

Best Park
Norquay
Lake Louise
COP
 

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Best hill I would say Kicking Horse.

Best snow would be Sunshine for sure. (I'm talking quality not quantity)

I don't think there is a good park anywhere near Calgary. Canadian resorts have nothing on the stuff you see in the states.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
True about the parks. Kicking Horse is my favorite mountain. Revelstoke looks amazing, but that's an overnighter for sure.
 

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Guess it would depend on the kind of riding you do. I see that the original poster has COP ranked ahead of Castle Mountain, Kicking Horse and Fernie which speaks volumes.

Kicking Horse is by far 'the best' riding experience near Calgary. My reasons for this? Nice long gondola ride up to nearly the top of the mountain where you can veg out smoking a bowl or two and be sheltered by any cold winds. It also gives the longest ride you can experience top to bottom and takes a good 20minutes. It's so long that you'll find yourself stopping a couple times on the way down to have a drink from the camel or just to simply grab a breather. If you like the steep n deep, nothing else in Alberta beats it, maybe not even Castle. In comparison with Sunshine Village, you'll find that Kicking Horse's rare few blue runs are the equivalent of many resorts double blacks. -So, I don't need to mention what the double black chutes are like at Kicking Horse... freakin epic!

Lake Louise better terrain than Castle? I dunno, lol. Sure, Sunshine has good snow, but it's tracked out within 20 minutes of the lifts starting up... (one or two runs) Then it may's well have not snowed all night. Speaking from the experience of someone who called Sunshine home for nearly two years, riding a few times a week. Great beginner resort though!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Guess it would depend on the kind of riding you do. I see that the original poster has COP ranked ahead of Castle Mountain, Kicking Horse and Fernie which speaks volumes.

Kicking Horse is by far 'the best' riding experience near Calgary. My reasons for this? Nice long gondola ride up to nearly the top of the mountain where you can veg out smoking a bowl or two and be sheltered by any cold winds. It also gives the longest ride you can experience top to bottom and takes a good 20minutes. It's so long that you'll find yourself stopping a couple times on the way down to have a drink from the camel or just to simply grab a breather. If you like the steep n deep, nothing else in Alberta beats it, maybe not even Castle. In comparison with Sunshine Village, you'll find that Kicking Horse's rare few blue runs are the equivalent of many resorts double blacks. -So, I don't need to mention what the double black chutes are like at Kicking Horse... freakin epic!

Lake Louise better terrain than Castle? I dunno, lol. Sure, Sunshine has good snow, but it's tracked out within 20 minutes of the lifts starting up... (one or two runs) Then it may's well have not snowed all night. Speaking from the experience of someone who called Sunshine home for nearly two years, riding a few times a week. Great beginner resort though!
Where did I rank COP ahead of Kicking Horse? The top list is all ski areas near Calgary roughly in order of driving time. At any rate, I agree about Kicking Horse being the best riding experience near Calgary and it's still one of my favorite resorts to ride. I've been riding there since it was called Whitetooth! I'm hoping to hit Revelstoke this year though. Anyone can compare Kicking Horse to Revelstoke?
 

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Revi has a shitloads of snow but I still think the terrain at KH is the best. North bowl is good but you have to hike it. Well worth checking out though! PS KH opens on Friday. Should be epic!
 

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Here's my rankings, for all the main hills in Alberta and the BC Kootenays (plus 2 just over the US border)
I've been to all these hills at least once (and some many times)
The Hills Included: Norquay, Nakiska, Sunshine, Lake Louise, Castle, Fernie, Kicking Horse, Revelstoke, Red Mountain, Whitewater, Schweitzer, Whitefish,

Best Terrain
01. Kicking Horse
02. Revelstoke
03. Castle Mountain
04. Lake Louise
05. Fernie (jumps up 2 spots this year with new terrain open)
06. Sunshine
07. Red Mountain
08. Whitewater (better for back country)
09. Schweitzer
10. Whitefish
11. Norquay
12. Nakiska

Best Snow taking into consideration both Quantity (avg CMs/week) and Quality (water content)
01. Whitewater
02. Revelstoke
03. Castle Mountain
04. Whitefish
05. Kicking Horse
06. Fernie
07. Schweitzer
08. Red Mountain
09. Sunshine Village
10. Lake Louise
11. Nakiska
12. Norquay

Best Park
I don't ride much park myself, and many hills on this list have little or no park, but the best ones are...
In Alberta - COP & Lake Louise
In BC - Whister, the Vancouver hills, Big White, Silver Star
and most hills in the US have good parks.

Least Crowded
01. Revelstoke
02. Castle Mountain
03. Whitewater
04. Kicking Horse
05. Schweitzer
06. Whitefish
07. Red Mountain
08. Lake Louise
09. Fernie
10. Nakiska
11. Norquay
12. Sunshine Village
 

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What about Panorama? I haven't seen it mentioned yet.

I actually had a killer day at Nakiska last Sunday. There was close to a foot of powder at the top and even into the afternoon I was still hitting fresh powder in the glades.

This is my first year living in Calgary and I've got to say you're all very hard on the hills. You don't know how good we've got it out here!

Hoping to get to Lake Louise this weekend. I noticed it's the only hill that faces South, would be nice to have some sun on the snow for more than an hour at lunch. Anyone know what the RCR + Lake Louise pass is in the spring? We paid $899 for the RCR passes and I think it was another $230 or so to upgrade to get Lake Louise also. In hindsight we should've done that...

Oh, and hi everybody I'm new to the club! :cheeky4:
 

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Welcome to the forum poutanen! You're right, we can be pretty critical haha. But I just love to see things improve and get better... I think it's the people who don't want things to improve and say nothing who are the negative ones. And yeah, we do have it great - a ton of sick hills all relatively close - one of the best areas in the world for skiing/boarding.

As far as Pano goes I must have spaced when I forgot it in my lists. So here's my take on it in a nutsell: great for families with lots of easy long groomers and ski-in/out village, one of the least snowy hills in the country means poor freeriding and few powder days, a pretty good park actually.
 

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Awesome thanks for the info. We were considering a 3 day trip to Panorama (their ski and stay package seems to be the cheapest) but I think we'll wait until they have more snow. Fernie was still pretty much pre-season when I was there a few weeks ago. Found good snow on the Bear and down a few less popular runs.

Nakiska early season was typical early season for me. Blue Mountain is man-made snow mecca so I'm used to that... Last sunday was something else! Tons and tons of powder!

I'm learning that everyone here has a strong opinion one way or another about a particular mountain. I'm wondering if it has more to do with the crazy mountain weather than it does the actual hills? Last weekend Nakiska got more snow than anybody else, before that it was Lake Louise, who knows where the snow will be this weekend.

Big thing for me is short lift lines and high speed lifts. I noticed about half the fernie lifts aren't high speed which is a downer for me. Hopefully the new polar peak is a high speed, although it's short enough that my guess is "no".

I'd love for a hill out here to embrace the style of glade boarding that Jay Peak, VT has. They've thinned sections of trees into glad runs. Unlike the Nakiska glades which are narrow runs through the trees, the Jay runs are wide runs with trees ever 3-10 ft apart. I'll have to dig up some pictures to show what I mean, it's certainly more technical to navigate through, but more rewarding I think.

Anyway, thanks for the welcome! Glad to live in Snowboard mecca!!! :D (it was one of the big reasons I took a relocation offer from my company)
 

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Have you looked at a Lake Louise card? They are $99 bucks. 1st, 4t, 7th day is free plus you get $20 off at other other days. Its also valid at Kicking Horse, Revelstoke, and Castle.

As for the trees in Lake Louise and Sunshine they aren't able to cut them down because of the national park.Not sure why NAkiska hasnt trimmed them back. I like the tight trees as it keeps the punters out! ;)

Have you been to Kicking Horse yet?
 

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Some mountains out west do man-made-Glading, but it isn't as common as out east. One reason perhaps is the size of the ski areas (200 acres -vs- 2000-8000 acres). So a big hill out west may have gladed as much terrain as a ski area out east, but you would barely notice it. And yea, it just depends on location... some regions have denser forests than others.
Something really cool to see would be a gladed run, but left dense as f*ck at the top to keep more people out :laugh: Kind of like the ol' groomer trick where they groom the bottom 90% of a mogul run... everyone bypasses it because it looks bad, but those in the know get the spoils.
 

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Yeah I've heard Fernie's got bare patches now... Kimberley wasn't bad last weekend. Supposedly Nakiska has had 27 cm in the last 48 hours or so!?! I find that a little hard to believe but we'll see.
 

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Yeah I've heard Fernie's got bare patches now... Kimberley wasn't bad last weekend. Supposedly Nakiska has had 27 cm in the last 48 hours or so!?! I find that a little hard to believe but we'll see.
Believe it... you're just a day or two late that's all. 0cm in 24hrs but there was 20-30cm along the eastern slopes yesterday (Castle, Nakiska, etc)
Fernie's nearby snow pillow shows a slightly below average snowpack, so that coincides with your reports of bare patches (which are probably exagerated a bit though)
I know most places in the West Kootenays are having an excellent season with 100-140% above normal snowfall (400-600cm YTD / 150-200cm Base / at all cat-ski ops + same for Whitewater/Revy/KH)
 

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Believe it... you're just a day or two late that's all. 0cm in 24hrs but there was 20-30cm along the eastern slopes yesterday (Castle, Nakiska, etc)
Fernie's nearby snow pillow shows a slightly below average snowpack, so that coincides with your reports of bare patches (which are probably exagerated a bit though)
I know most places in the West Kootenays are having an excellent season with 100-140% above normal snowfall (400-600cm YTD / 150-200cm Base / at all cat-ski ops + same for Whitewater/Revy/KH)
Going to hit nakiska this weekend, hopefully it isn't all packed down hard by then. Machine groomed powder is fine I'm just not a big fan of hardpack!

Lake Louise was great on Dec 26th but I don't think they've had much snow since then. I think sunshine has has 450 or so centimeters. Gotta check out KH soon! Now that RCR bought it it'll likely be on my pass next year.

So far of the mountains I've hit this year, it's a tie between Fernie and Lake Louise for best mountain near Calgary. Although I only rode about half of each mountain (half the lifts) so can't judge for sure yet.
 
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