Sunday, October 27, 2013


Killington, VT is open for the season and Canada is about to follow!

View over Banff from Mt Norquay's North American run

Great news - Canada is launching its first resorts next weekend with a battle between two Alberta resorts for first tracks on snow! Mt Norquay near Banff is slated for Nov 1 and Nakiska, 50 minutes drive from Calgary, is planning for a Nov 2 opening. Look out for insider tips on both these iconic ski hills next week.

Gorgeous grooming at Nakiska

Having started sorting out my ski wardrobe, I’m now working on the itinerary for my Canada ski trip this December. As well as visiting Norquay and Nakiska, my ski safari will include Lake Louise, Sunshine, Castle Mountain, Fernie and Kicking Horse.

After years of absence, I’m also making it to Marmot Basin again. This is a rugged and remote resort near Jasper, Alberta - home hill for Olympic freestyle mogul medalist, Jennifer Heil who grew up skiing there every weekend. I was talking to her recently about her affinity with the area: “I haven't missed a season at Marmot in over ten years,” she told me. “It remains a privilege to be in such a beautiful environment. My favourite aspect of Marmot is the varied terrain. You can ski anything from wide-open runs, to glades, to moguls.”

As well as running her own girls-only mogul ski camp at Marmot, Jenn is the co-founder of B2ten, the group helping Canadian Olympic athletes attain their full potential ready for Sochi. I can’t wait to whisk up the Canadian Rockies Express - the longest high-speed quad chair in the Canadian Rockies at just under 2,000 vertical feet – just an eight-minute ride 
to the summit of Jenn’s snow-doused domain.

You can check out my Canada section right now for details about Lake Louise, Sunshine, Fernie and Kicking Horse, full of last season’s antics and anecdotes. I’ll be updating these with my new alpine adventures as the season goes on and also adding a story about Castle Mountain, possibly Alberta’s lowest profile resort.
Fergus Hudson at Castle Mountain

A secret playground of powder and glades, Castle is a “boutique” hill in its unique lack of real estate and mass marketing. Despite having only a hostel for visitors, it has six lifts, 78 trails, 8 alpine bowls and 3 terrain parks over its 3500 skiable acres as well as Canada’s most affordable cat-skiing area. And best of all, it has an average of 910 cm snowfall. The hostel is actually a fun place to stay with brightly decorated individual bedrooms and a communal kitchen and lounge where you can meet the other residents. If the hostel is full, there are hotels at nearby Pincher Creek.

Some Upcoming Resort Opening Dates:

Banff Mt Norquay – Nov 1
Keystone – Nov 1
Nakiska – Nov 2
Copper Mountain – Nov 1
Breckenridge – Nov 8
Marmot – Nov 8
Lake Louise - Nov 8
Sunshine Village – Nov 8
Winter Park Resort – Nov 13
Vail – Nov 22
Heavenly – Nov 22
Kirkwood – Nov 22
Northstar – Nov 22
Stowe – Nov 23
Sun Peaks – Nov 23
Beaver Creek – Nov 27
Crested Butte – Nov 27
Telluride - Nov 28
Whistler/Blackcomb - Nov 28
Silver Star – Nov 28
Big White – Nov 28
Jackson Hole – Nov 28
Aspen Snowmass – Nov 28
Canyons Resort – Nov 29
Mt Norquay – Nov 29
Revelstoke - Nov. 30
Fernie – Nov 30
Panorama – Dec 6
Whitewater – Dec 6
Castle Mountain – Dec 13
Kicking Horse – Dec 13
Kimberley – Dec 14
Red Mountain – Dec 14

If you don’t see your favourite ski resorts here, email me on to let me know more proposed opening days.

Jennifer Heil at Vancouver Olympics:


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