Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Great weekend for early-season skiing in North America! 

In Colorado: 
Aspen Mountain opens for a preview weekend Nov 16-17, followed by season's launch Nov 23 for both Aspen Mtn and Aspen Snowmass. Check out my article on: http://www.onetwoski.blogspot.com/p/usa.html

And in Canada:
Whistler opens early: Nov 16 (Article coming next week)
Sunshine Village opens Friday Nov 15 with 20 runs 
Marmot Basin launches 50th anniversary season Friday Nov 15 (full story below)

Goat's Eye Glades at Sunshine Village by Sam Shaw

Calgarians champing at the bit for Sunshine Village will be thrilled by tomorrow's opening with three lifts and 20 runs. It’s been chucking it down over the past few days with 9 cm of fresh on top of 97 cm snowfall so far.
Sunshine Village is known for offering up quality snow and we are looking forward to providing our guests with another great ski season,” says Dave Riley, Chief Operating Officer. “Runs made with natural snow make for an exceptional ski experience.”

Sunshine Mountain Lodge by
Sean Hannah  
Sunshine Mountain Lodge, the ski-in/out, modernized hotel on the hill, will open for the season Nov 15. This is a favourite venue for alpine racer, Paul Stutz, Banff’s 4-time Canadian Combined Champ. “After all of the renovations, the lodge is beautiful,” he told me recently.

Famous for its mostly natural champagne powder, Sunshine has cornered the market in strategic snow harvesting, using 35 km of fencing to capture the snow over three mountains. This can then be re-distributed as needed to various runs and also to make the features in the terrain parks. “If you are looking for that signature Western Canadian champagne powder, Sunshine has all types of terrain and one of the longest seasons around,” says Stutz who will be competing at the Sochi Winter Olympics in Febraury. He recommends trying Bye Bye Bowl where he has been training since his youth. “Delirium Dive, however, is some of the most fun you can have in the Alberta Rockies,” he adds.

Photography: Adam Locke for Sunshine Village
Just 20 mins from the beautiful National Park town of Banff, Sunshine Village has 12 lifts accessing 3,300 acres which straddle the Alberta British Columbia border along the Continental Divide. It is also a favourite haunt of stars of stage and screen who gather there each year to raise awareness for the Waterkeepers’ Alliance. The Fairmont Banff Springs CelebrityInvitational showcases stars such as Alec Baldwin, Kelsey Grammer and Pierce Brosnan in a series of ski and snowboard activities over several days in mid January each year. So you could end up sitting next to them on the chairlift or in the lodge.

Sunshine's Slush Cup: photographer Adam Locke 
Sunshine also boasts the longest season in Canada opening early Nov and closing in late May with the annual Slush Cup – dress code swimwear or fancy dress. Partnering with fellow Alberta resort, Marmot Basin, Sunshine offers a Sunshine/Marmot Card for discounted lift tickets.

For more information about Sunshine Village, go to: http://onetwoski.blogspot.com/p/canada.html

Skiing Sunshine by Sam Shaw Photography



As you might have gathered, Alberta ski resorts have much longer ski seasons than most resorts in the world, giving workers, locals and visitors more downhill for their dollars, especially those who buy a season’s pass or the drastically discounted Sunshine Marmot Card

With great snowmaking capacity, Marmot is able to open mid Nov until into May each year. Starting with five or six runs available, things will build up as snow falls to 86 trails from seven lifts over 1675 acres of terrain – 30% beginner, 30% intermediate, 20% advanced, 20% expert. They get an average of 400cm (160inches) snowfall per season.

What I like best about Marmot is that being tucked away at the end of a long, often icy road in Jasper National Park, it is so often quiet with no queues or powder-hogging. Don’t get me wrong Marmot get its share of weekend warriors and holiday traffic from those in the know, but not to the extent of European resorts which are always my benchmark for comparison. Everyone at Marmot feels like they are in on a secret stash, so there is a strong like-minded community feel. I haven’t visited for about five years so I am really excited to be going in December, staying three nights in the luxurious winter wonderland of Jasper Park Lodge

I’m expecting elk grazing in tiny gaps in the snow outside my JPL cabin and chance encounters with moose en route to the hill – Jasper National Park is always a reliable place to see Canada’s wildlife in the raw.
You might also bump into Jennifer Heil at Marmot which has honored her with her own run: Jenn’s Run. “We skied at Marmot Basin practically every weekend as a family,” she told me recently. “As I began competitive skiing my winter was dictated by the competition schedule but Marmot Basin remained my place of refuge. I haven't missed a season there in over ten years! It remains a privilege to be in such a beautiful environment.”

An Olympic freestyle mogul gold and silver medalist, Heil is also a community service activist. The four-time World Champ is an ambassador for the Because I am a Girl initiative and also runs her own girls-only mogul ski camp. She is the co-founder of B2ten, a group that is helping Canadian Olympic athletes attain their full potential, and she is going to be working at Sochi as the moguls analyst.

Heil’s recommendation: “My favourite aspect of Marmot is the varied terrain. You can ski anything from wide-open runs, to glades, to moguls, to my absolute favourite run in the World: Rock Gardens.”

To celebrate this signature season, there are events all season, many concentrated during the 25th Jasper in January Festival (Jan 18 - Feb 2) – exciting events will be added throughout the season.

For up to date conditions, photos and videos go to: www.skimarmot.com and follow on twitter at twitter.com/MarmotBasin or Facebook at www.facebook.com/MarmotBasin.

More Proposed Resort Opening Dates:

Loveland – open
Arapahoe Basin – open
Killington – open
Banff Mt Norquay – open
Keystone – open
Nakiska – open
Copper Mountain – open
Breckenridge – open
Wolf Creek – open
Lake Louise - open
Sunshine Village – hopefully Fri Nov 15!
Winter Park Resort – open
Marmot Basin – open Nov 15
Aspen Mountain – open Nov 16/17 for preview weekend
Vail – Nov 22
Eldora – Nov 22
Heavenly – Nov 22
Kirkwood – Nov 22
Northstar – Nov 22
Stowe – Nov 23
Sun Peaks – Nov 23
Aspen Mntn/Aspen Snowmass – Nov 23
Beaver Creek – Nov 27
Crested Butte – Nov 27
Steamboat – Nov 27
Blackcomb - Nov 28
Silver Star – Nov 28
Big White – Nov 28
Jackson Hole – Nov 28
Telluride – Nov 28
Canyons Resort – Nov 29
Purgatory – Nov 29
Mt Norquay – Nov 29
Revelstoke - Nov. 30
Howelsen Hill – Nov 30
Fernie – Nov 30
Panorama – Dec 6
Whitewater – Dec 6
Sunlight – Dec 6
Ski Granby Ranch – Dec 11
Powderhorn – Dec 12
Castle Mountain – Dec 13
Kicking Horse – Dec 13
Kimberley – Dec 14
Red Mountain – Dec 14
Aspen Highlands/Buttermilk – Dec 14
Ski Cooper – Dec 14
Silverton – Dec 21

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