Tag Archives: skiing

Birthday in Banff

For Darlene’s birthday last week (mid-April), I took her on a ski trip to a surprise destination: Banff, in the Canadian Rockies!  We stayed for five nights and skied at Sunshine Village and Lake Louise. We also spent a little time exploring the national park: hiking in Johnston Canyon to see the ice falls, up to Lake Louise to walk out on the mostly frozen lake and out to Lake Minnewanka.  We were super lucky to decide to go revisit Lake Minnewanka after dinner on our first night because not only were the skies clear but the aurora borealis made a pretty good showing that night.  It also happened to be the first time either of us had ever seen an aurora in person!

Aurora Borealis over Lake Minnewanka, near Banff, Canada.

Click through to see the full gallery and video montage:

  

I was worried about the snow conditions when we arrived because there was no hint of snow in the valley around Banff (and the previous times I was there in the winter there was tons of snow everywhere). There wasn’t even any snow on the drive up to Sunshine on our first day. However, Sunshine is actually up pretty high and you take a gondola to get to the runs from the parking area. And, even before the weekend snow, it was great conditions and good coverage.

We went to the lower elevation resort at Lake Louise after the storm came through and I’m glad we waited because there were plenty of clues of how nasty and frozen the snow was on some parts of the mountain underneath the new snow. It definitely gets warmer there than in Sunshine. This was mid-April of course.

Compared to Whistler/Blackcomb, Sunshine (Banff) and Lake Louise certainly have a better chance of snow and cold weather, but they’re not as convenient. Sunshine is like 15 minutes from Banff and Lake Louise like 40 minutes or so. You don’t have to drive as there are free shuttles (with resort passes) to/from Banff and the drives are very pleasant. And there are other things to see and do if people want to take a day or two off from skiing.

Short video montage of our trip.

Sunshine and Lake Louise are both fairly large resorts, with plenty of terrain to explore. Their trail ranking is pretty strange at both resorts: lots of green runs and black diamond runs which would be rated blues in Tahoe. At times it seemed pretty arbitrary how the runs were ranked. You had to just go and check it out. You couldn’t trust the ranking at all. (Didn’t try any of the double-blacks: just assumed they were super steep chutes.)

One negative is that Sunshine has a few large portions (maybe a third) of completely open terrain above the tree line. Not only are these areas open to a storm but they also don’t let you feel like you have anything to explore in those areas. It’s just one big open expanse that feels the same all over, rather than many runs to check out. This certainly isn’t true all over the park, it’s just a couple chunks of it. Also a couple of sections of their acreage are special, restricted areas where you have to partner up and carry avalanche gear.

Similarly, as big as Lake Louise is, most of the backside terrain is double-black diamond: presumably chutes which Darlene and I didn’t try. But there are lots of other fun blue and black runs. Unfortunately, we found our favorite run after lifts closed on our last day!! D’oh!

I think it would be easy to enjoy five days skiing between the two resorts. There’s also little Mt. Norquay but we didn’t bother. It looks much smaller than Sugar Bowl (here in California) and I like Sugar Bowl.

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Colorado Ski Week

Pictures and videos from a week of skiing (and tabletop gaming) in Colorado at Breckenridge, Vail and Keystone with Jon, Bill, Stan, Rick, Jim, Lewis and Tom:

  

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Tahoe Skiing

Click through for my gallery of pictures plus a video montage from this past weekend skiing at Squaw and Alpine Meadows with the Outdoor Adventure Club:

  

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Tahoe Skiing

Here’s a handful of pictures and a video montage from a couple of Tahoe ski trips in March with Darlene and the Outdoor Adventure Club.  Unfortunately, I didn’t catch everyone on camera on these trips.  One weekend was with Greg and Erin but we never caught up with Bruce and Jane on the slopes and the other was with Stéphane, Evan, Richard and Jennifer but you can’t tell that from the photos.  We also met up with Resi and Troy (and baby Aiden!) one day and foolishly I didn’t get a single shot of Aiden ripping up the slopes!  At least I did get a shot of our massive Carcassonne game where we played with four of the major expansions at once.

Click on through for the gallery and video:

  

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Ski Utah!

Here are my pictures and video from another great skiing (and gaming) week in Utah with Jon, Jim, Stan, Lewis, Bill, Brin, Rick and Darlene:

  

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Cat and Monk Go Skiing

Pictures from another weekend of skiing in Tahoe with the Outdoor Adventure Club at Squaw Valley.  Darlene and I ended up on our own for most of both ski days:

  

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Skiing/Gaming Week in Tahoe

Here’s pictures and video from a week of skiing and tabletop gaming in North Lake Tahoe with Jon, Stan, Bill, Brin and Lewis. We went to Alpine Meadows, Sugarbowl, Northstar and Squaw Valley over the course of six days.

  

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Another Ski Weekend in Tahoe

Just a handful of pictures from another ski weekend in Tahoe with the Outdoor Adventure Club.  The OAC group split up going separate ways this weekend but Noel and I went to Squaw Valley and joined up with Christie and some of her friends.  We also enjoyed checking out the cool snow castle and slides for kids:

 

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Tahoe Skiing

Pictures from a couple of days of mid-week skiing (Jan. 16-17) at Squaw Valley with Darlene:

  

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Stormy Ski Weekend

A gallery of pictures from a stormy ski weekend in Tahoe with Darlene:

  

The furry hats are made by a friend of Darlene’s, Hosch Posch Creations.

 

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