|Lake Louise in Snovember - by Chris Moseley|
|Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, BC, Canada|
|Eagle's Eye, Kicking Horse|
|Heaven's Door Yurt, Kicking Horse|
For a more everyday but still elevated experience, there's the hip Heavens Door Yurt at mid mountain which is cute and cosy, a charismatic coffee stop or lunch munch. This is at the base of Stairway to Heaven which accesses fabulous Feuz Bowl. Chutes lead into the wide bowl which later meanders along boulder-strewn pathways back to the lift system. Love it!
Chugging along the aptly-named Powder Highway, my next destination is pretty Panorama, a delightful, well planned family resort with varied skiing, amazing ski in/out accom, heavenly heli skiing, huge outdoor hot pools overlooking the slopes and masses of atmospheric après ski activities. A few years ago, I did the chilli cook-out evening event - I felt like the Snow Queen as we wound through bleached forests in a horse-drawn sleigh.
Back in the 2000s I remember sending in some emergency last minute Calgary Sun ski articles from Panorama's T Bar (the venue, not the lift) on Christmas Eve, surrounded by increasingly merry revelers. At the time it was the only place with Wi-Fi. Taynton Bowl is my fave ski area, great powder in glades which open out lower down with a long run-out to the lifts. Great glades on the front, too. And then it's time for the hot pools which are big enough to swim in (if you have that kind of energy left!)
|View over Kimberley slopes from my window at Trickle Creek|
|Fabulous fondues at Old Bauernhaus - by Louise Hudson|
|Kimberley Capers by Louise Hudson|
|Fernie Alpine Resort|
|Fernie's Griz Bar|
Back in Alberta, and I'm home at last - the home of my heart, that is. This is where I lived from 1999 to 2009 and where my sons grew up skiing every weekend and holiday during the five-month plus ski season. The Big 3 were our wonderful winter playground and when I am away I still feel nostalgically bound to this beautiful backdrop by an unbreakable bungee cord!
|Sunshine Village by Paul Zizka|
|Delirium Dive at Sunshine Village|
Photo by Richard Hallmann
Not sure if Delirium Dive - only for the daring, by the way - will be open while I'm there. But it is a phenomenal experience to go on one of Sunshine's organized tours in this steep, backcountry bowl. An instructor gauges your ability to cope beforehand and you get avalanche beacon instruction as well as handy tips.
My fave on piste powder areas are the intricate boulder and tree-lined chutes under the newly renovated - and heated - Teepee Town chairlift. And what luxury to have heated seats and a cover this season! I love playing in the pow on Standish, too, (especially the Garbage Chutes) and weaving between the trees below the Angel chair.
Good snow can be found everywhere, though, so I make it a habit to take every lift at least once during each day there and ski every aspect of the resort.
|Java Lift cafe at Sunshine Mountain Lodge|
|Sunshine Village mega outdoor hot tub, right on the slopes overlooking the chairlifts - Photo by Adam Locke|
|Hidden Ridge Resort, Banff|
|The North American Expert only mountain at Mt Norquay|
The smallest of The Big 3, Mt Norquay is also the oldest, celebrating its 90th birthday this season. Not too old to give birth to a new run though - a blue on Mystic called the Wiegele 50 after Mike and Bonnie Wiegele, founders of the Banff Quickies and Banff Alpine Racers, who train there. With 85 percent snowmaking capacity, it is home to many ski teams, kids' learning programs, families and terrain park teens. But Mt Norquay also has an incredible expert-only mountain - topped by a vintage tea house, now renamed The Cliffhouse Bistro. The North American is a bonanza of blacks, ungroomed, and often blanketed in natural snow with hardly any takers.
|Cascade Lodge at Mt Norquay, Banff|
Love the Lone Pine Lodge - all pine and old pics, live music and great bar upstairs with very local feel. Everyone just chucks their gear under the stairs for the day, gathers for family and friend groups for coffee, lunch and après ski. Reminiscent of my Calgary days when we were at Norquay every weekend for our kids' Nancy Green League program.
|Hot pool cavern at The Fox Hotel & Suites, Banff|
|The Fox Hotel & Suites, Banff Avenue, Banff|
|Lindsey Vonn at Lake Louise|
|Whitehorn Lodge Ice Bar at Lake Louise|
|View over the Chateau, lake and glaciers from the slopes of Lake Louise|
|The Post Hotel & Spa, Lake Louise|
|Wine Cellar dining at The Post Hotel & Spa|
I've been longing to lodge at The Post Hotel & Spa in Lake Louise Village for many years. Previously popped into the pub one summer but never actually stayed overnight - until this trip, that is. Known for its European gentility - care of its Euro hosts - it looks like a very refined Alpine ski lodge. Packed my posh après gear in case I have to dress for dinner in the wine cellar.
|Rooftop hot tubs with sublime glacier views at Deer Lodge Hotel, Lake Louise|
If you fancy a bit of pampering on the piste this winter, check out my latest Ski Luxury article in the Dallas Morning News at: http://www.dallasnews.com/lifestyles/travel/us/20151204-taking-high-society-skiing-to-a-new-level.ece