Pacific NW/AK/BC 2021-2022 PNW Ski Resorts/Conditions/Meetups

CascadeConcrete

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so maybe just this once the weather forecast is wrong?
No doubt, the weather folks get things wrong frequently. But there's three separate atmospheric river events headed our way in the next week or so. Unfortunately, doubt they're wrong about all of them.
 

noncrazycanuck

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For the Sea to Sky corridor a very good site for weather forecast, current snow stability and recent conditions is at wayne flann avalanche blog.
 

DanoT

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@DanoT I see that Sun Peaks is open with three chairs running and a 79 cm to 90 cm base. I know that you're not there but have you heard any reports?
I haven't heard anything other than lift tickets this week are half price. Elevation and Sunburst mid and lower mountain chairs, are just offering a couple of beginner runs, so pretty much all the skiing is off the upper mountain Crystal chair with more hiking than normal to get back to the lift for some runs and might be realistically best skiing would be on groomed runs until there is more of a base.

It is way too early for out of town skiers to show up so don't even think about it until the lower Mt. Tod is open. And then there is the Covid neg test border requirement. And then the only access from WA via road is via hwy 97 thru the Okanogan Valley or hwy 395 from Spokane.
 
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David Chaus

David Chaus

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I’m thinking Revelstoke would be the best option for an early season road trip at this point. They open tomorrow and reportedly have a base depth of 130+ cm/50+ inches in the alpine. Not, apparently, in the Atmospheric River storm tracks.
 
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dovski

Waxing my skis and praying for snow
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I’m thinking Revelstoke would be the best option for an early season road trip at this point. They open tomorrow and reportedly have a base depth of 130+ cm/50+ inches in the alpine. Not, apparently, in the Atmospheric River storm tracks.
If anything they are in the Atmospheric River storm, just much colder so getting a lot of snow at higher elevations.
Snow Cam at 6398'
1637951917047.png

VS conditions at their base area at 1680'
1637951991863.png

Luckily you can upload and download on their Gondola. Their Alpine forecast shows lots of snow so you are likely to have some great POW on top of a 5' base
1637952155719.png

However their valley/lower mountain forecast is almost all rain mixed with some snow
1637952277543.png

Now the other challenge is going to be getting there as many of the BC highways are in rough shape, so if you are driving from Vancouver or Seattle this is likely a no go. That said if you fly into Calgary you can get there, but that begs the question of why not ski Banff as both Sunshine and Lake Louise are open and they are also getting dumped on with similar snow to Revelstoke and more in the forecast for the next week. Simply put 45 min drive from Calgary and you are in Banff, vs close to 6hrs to Revelstoke. With that in mind my early season vote is for Banff.

Lake Louise Base area
1637952815431.png

Sunshine Snow Stake
1637952961318.png

Sunshine Forecast for the next week
1637953101032.png

So just saying given the highway situation in BC, flying to Calgary and skiing the Banff area may be your best bet for early season skiing right now :)
 

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David Chaus

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Yeah, well balancing between airfare to YYC on short notice, and driving 8-10 hours (either Hwy 3 which is open at the moment though subject to closures, or Hwy 2 to 97), it depends on whether I have more time than money or vice versa.

Given my current schedule coming up, if I have to road trip or fly anywhere, it’ll have to be the last 2 weeks of December. At this point I have a reservation in Bend, but if the snow doesn’t accumulate much during December, I might head north instead.
 

dovski

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Yeah, well balancing between airfare to YYC on short notice, and driving 8-10 hours (either Hwy 3 which is open at the moment though subject to closures, or Hwy 2 to 97), it depends on whether I have more time than money or vice versa.

Given my current schedule coming up, if I have to road trip or fly anywhere, it’ll have to be the last 2 weeks of December. At this point I have a reservation in Bend, but if the snow doesn’t accumulate much during December, I might head north instead.
Truthfully this may be a bridge to far as the main roads in BC are not good right now. Yes there are some alternate routes you can take, but those are essentially secondary highways that have their own challenges and will likely be overcapacity with traffic due to all the other road closures. So your 8 hour trip could easily become 12, not to mention that these secondary routes were also damaged by the recent flooding and are at risk of flooding again due to all the rain. Good chance there will be closures on these roads too. Personally I would not risk driving unless you are ok being stuck in the middle of nowhere, flying to Calgary is your safe bet and from there you have several mountains you can drive to and ski with relative ease.
 

MadPatSki

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It's been a while since I've been on any ski forums. Flying out to YYC Sunday. I was planning a bit of a safari tour before my ski coaching situation get busy. I was also looking to visit some friends.

Heard Fernie and Castle didn't get much snow. Spoke to someone at Castle and they'll open next weekend, however that might not be the case for Fernie.

So starting off at COP on Sunday after I land.
Nakiska (friend is there) on Monday.
Louise Tuesday.
Then off to Jasper for a few days.
I was thinking of swinging down to Louise for the WC on Friday.
And finishing off with Fernie (friend), Powderkeg, Castle (2 days).

The plan days after Jasper might change if Fernie doesn't open. Powder keg is opening tomorrow, but only the lower mountain.

Any insight of deals and lift tickets would be appreciated. I'm covered with Marmot/Castle (IndyPass). ;)
 

DanoT

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It's been a while since I've been on any ski forums. Flying out to YYC Sunday. I was planning a bit of a safari tour before my ski coaching situation get busy. I was also looking to visit some friends.

Heard Fernie and Castle didn't get much snow. Spoke to someone at Castle and they'll open next weekend, however that might not be the case for Fernie.

So starting off at COP on Sunday after I land.
Nakiska (friend is there) on Monday.
Louise Tuesday.
Then off to Jasper for a few days.
I was thinking of swinging down to Louise for the WC on Friday.
And finishing off with Fernie (friend), Powderkeg, Castle (2 days).

The plan days after Jasper might change if Fernie doesn't open. Powder keg is opening tomorrow, but only the lower mountain.

Any insight of deals and lift tickets would be appreciated. I'm covered with Marmot/Castle (IndyPass). ;)
You can bring rock skis with you or just create some out of whatever skis you bring. They call the mountain range The Rockies for a reason and conditions anywhere prior to the middle of Dec will be boney at best.

A resort can be "open" but flying to western Canada to (ski) dodge rocks in early Dec. is not advised, imo.
dodging rocks on green and low angle blue runs, is recommended.
 
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Ice2Pow

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Let me give a shoutout to Whistler. Am here for two days. 33 cms of snow in the last 48. Is enough to ski in the woods. And quality is better than at any point during our week-long trip to Steamboat in January last year. Based on chairlift discussions, it is said that they would have more terrain open if they had the staff to do it. Not sure if the trouble is COVID or just normal early season limitations.
 

dovski

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Let me give a shoutout to Whistler. Am here for two days. 33 cms of snow in the last 48. Is enough to ski in the woods. And quality is better than at any point during our week-long trip to Steamboat in January last year. Based on chairlift discussions, it is said that they would have more terrain open if they had the staff to do it. Not sure if the trouble is COVID or just normal early season limitations.
To be honest that is typical of early seasons skiing at Whistler. They often do not have all their terrain open until late December. The one year we went there where they had extreme amounts of of snow leading up to and over Thanksgiving weekend they still stuck with their phased opening of the mountain over the course of several weeks. Lots of work goes into opening up a mountain of that size (marking hazards, setting ropes, avalanche safety, grooming, last minute repairs and maintenance ...etc.) and it takes a lot of time to do it safely. They also do not get huge crowds between Thanksgiving and Christmas so there is also the economic factor of saving money by only operating a smaller portion of the mountain until the skis season is in full swing.
 

DanoT

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I think it is a good idea, early season to let the snowpack settle and help form a denser base, prior to putting snowcats on the runs. Some snowpack settling would also be good for non groomed runs. So it takes time to get runs open and as @dovski said, the early season skier visits are not huge putting less pressure on getting things open. Also, the steeper the run the more snow that is needed to open, so that takes time as well.

Edit: Sun Peaks just opened 2 more chairs and a platter, mostly intermediate runs. https://www.sunpeaksresort.com/explore/news-updates/terrain-update-winter-2021-22
 
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noncrazycanuck

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lot of big rocks downed trees and creek beds are under that tempting snow early season.
Often non groomed runs to valley and some areas of the alpine stay roped off until mid December
 

MadPatSki

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You can bring rock skis with you or just create some out of whatever skis you bring. They call the mountain range The Rockies for a reason and conditions anywhere prior to the middle of Dec will be boney at best.

A resort can be "open" but flying to western Canada to (ski) dodge rocks in early Dec. is not advised, imo.
dodging rocks on green and low angle blue runs, is recommended.

I would generally agree with that statement. My busy coaching season starts in mid-December, so if I want to get away, it's now. A few of my coaching colleague from neighbouring clubs are/were in Sun Peaks last(this?) week. A few of our racers are going to Mont Edouard in Québec this week.

I never traveled this time of the year, but one season of almost only skiing a 200m local due to coaching and a really warm November in the East has gotten me frustrated. I need a change of scenery.
 

New2

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49° North...
The new high speed quad is about 2 weeks away from done, pretty impressive for a COVID year project. One more cable splice, hang the chairs, load test , get it certified, and turn it on.
A new 7,000' equipment maintenance shop just getting finished. 1 new groomer added.
5 new runs cut that will alter the way the mountain skis, these will be a lot of fun. A bunch of gladding and brush cutting was done all over the hill during the summer. These would have been a massive challenge in a extreme fire hazard year. Some much needed terrain sculpting was done in the learning area.
The snowmaking system improvements are ready to blow snow, told they can control the system with a cell phone, what will they think of next. Should have some colder temperatures to make this happen starting the middle of the week.
A weekend adult ticket is still $72.
If they aren't careful somebody is going to notice this place.
The new trail map is up at https://ski49n.com/images/uploads/Trail-Map.pdf. What's not clear to me even with the new map is whether there will be a smooth path for novices to get from Beaver Slide over to Tamarack or Silver Dollar.

I'll confess to being a little underwhelmed at the "5 new runs cut," but I'm still excited to try them all out. And of course excited for the high-speed lift. Looks like they got rid of the half-price and buy-one-get-one promos from prior years. And I haven't heard any announcement yet about whether they'll be operating Wednesdays and Thursdays outside of the holidays, though they're not selling advance tickets for those dates. Mt. Spokane announced 7-day operations mid-December to mid-March... 49° North is probably waiting to see how weekday ticket sales look, I suppose.
 
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