Saturday, March 14, 2020

Ten Reasons to Hit the Slopes this Spring (Spring Skiing is the BEST Skiing)

Leave the hand and foot warmers behind, and bring out the sunblock because it's spring and it's the best time to ski! Gone are the days where you had to go inside between runs to warm up, and say hello to outdoor patios and bluebird days on the slopes.

Leave the hand warmers at home and grab your sunblock for some spring skiing!

Spring skiing is the BEST skiing and I hope you have at least at least a couple ski days scheduled on the calendar over the next month. Better yet, plan a weekend away to visit a new resort with your family over spring break.






Ten Reasons to Hit the Slopes this Spring 



1.Skiing is way more enjoyable when you aren't freezing to death!


We've skied when it was -35 C with wind chill and I can assure you it wasn't very fun.

Hit the slopes this spring and enjoy:

  • More skiing without having to keep going inside to warm up

  • Happy fingers and toes

  • No worries about the kids catching frostbite (and you don't have to keep your face constantly covered)

  • Being able to stop to take photos! (my phone doesn't come out much when it's -30)

  • Less bulky clothing! You can even ski in a hoodie!

Spring skiing in a hoodie and a vest 


2. Relaxed starts and long days 


In winter we always try to hit the slopes when the lifts first open, but spring skiing is much more relaxed. The snow usually needs to soften up before you head out and many resorts stay open later in the afternoon. 

Sunshine Village is open through the May long weekend and Kendra Scurfield, Brand & Communications Director, provided the following inspiration:
"Sunshine's all natural snow, high elevation, and long sunny days make Sunshine famous for Canada’s Best Spring Skiing.  In the spring we extend our lift hours so skiers and boarders can enjoy an extra half hour of fun on the slopes."


Sunshine Village is magical on a spring bluebird day 


3. The snow is still good!


I talked to Clarissa Amaro in Media, Marketing & Customer Relations at Panorama Mountain Resort and she painted the most glorious picture of spring skiing at Panorama.
"Panorama really comes alive in the Springtime. Every year we are skiing summit to base all the way through to Easter when the resort closes. Because of the resort's big vertical you’ll find winter conditions at the summit and soft, slushy spring conditions on the lower third of the mountain. The weather is warm, the sun shines and we see regular snowfalls overnight right through March."

2022 Closing dates for resorts in the Canadian Rockies:

These are just some of the closing dates. More are TBD soon.

April 10th
- Kimberley Alpine Resort
- Castle Mountain Resort

April 17th
Panorama Mountain Resort 
- Mount Norquay Ski Resort 
- Kicking Horse Ski Resort
- Fernie Alpine Resort

April 18th 
- Nakiska Ski Area
- Revelstoke Mountain Resort

May 1st - Marmot Basin Ski Resort, Jasper 

May 8th - Lake Louise Ski Resort

May 23rd - Sunshine Ski Resort


Now I challenge you to hit one resort per weekend above. Wouldn't that be amazing?!


It doesn't get better than spring skiing in the Sun Bowl at Panorama Mountain Resort

4. It's a great time for beginners to learn to ski 


It's hard to get excited about learning a new sport when you're wearing ten layers of clothing, the air hurts your face, your fingers or toes are frozen, and you're essentially in "survival mode" counting down the minutes until you can go inside. 

Spring skiing is a completely different experience though. There's a festive feeling on the ski hill, you can spend hours outside in comfort, and falling down actually becomes humorous in the soft spring snow.

And I highly recommend checking for spring break camps at your local ski resort (or at a resort you plan to visit this March) 


Nakiska is fabulous in spring and is often very quiet if you visit mid-week


5. Discounted spring skiing passes


For those who didn't buy seasons passes for the winter, now is a great time to buy a special spring pass. And you'll get lots of skiing in over the next two months (even if you haven't been out much so far this winter.)

Sunshine Village Spring Skiing Pass - $999.00 + GST per family ($499.00 +GST per adult.) There's also a midweek pass for $399.00 per person which is the best deal (especially with spring break coming up.)


With your spring pass you enjoy 60+ days of unlimited skiing or riding from the middle of March through closing date in May.


April powder day at Sunshine Village 

Lake Louise Spring Skiing Pass - $1099.00 + GST per family ($549.00 +GST per adult.) 

With your spring pass you enjoy 60+ days of unlimited skiing or riding from the middle of March through closing date in May.

Spring break at Lake Louise and the snow is great!


Castle Mountain Spring Skiing Pass - Enjoy the best part of spring – the last four weeks of the season – for less than the cost of two days of skiing or riding at Castle Mountain's regular rates. Spring season passes are valid from March 14, 2022 – April 10, 2022.

Spring pass holders also get a discount off their season pass for the 2022-23 ski season.

An adult spring pass is $179.00 and children pay $69 for their spring pass ($109 for youth.)


Castle Mountain Ski Resort is lovely on a warm spring day 


Nakiska Ski Resort Spring Pass - $1159 + GST per family ($499.00 +GST per adult.) 

With your spring pass you enjoy unlimited skiing from early March through the end of the ski season (usually mid to late April.)

This pass is brand new for the 2022 season so contact Nakiska directly with any questions you might have. 

There's still lots of good snow at Nakiska through April


6. PATIOS!


Avoid crowded day lodges and visit ski resorts with outdoor patios. Bring your own lunch or buy a burger from an outdoor barbecue. Soak up the sunshine (which helps boost your immune system) and enjoy live entertainment at many resorts.

"I love spring in the mountains!  Spring skiing is a weird, perfect mix of being able to shred but also enjoying the sunshine – who wouldn’t want patio weather on the top of a mountain?!"  - Kehna Y., staff member from RCR Resorts in Calgary 

Our 5 favourite resorts for patios and outdoor eating spaces across the Canadian Rockies: 


Panorama Mountain Resort - Panorama has mountain huts spread out around their entire mountain, each one serving cold beverages and hot food. 

For a fun descent down the mountain ride three chairlifts to the top of the mountain for a beverage at the Summit Hut (where they also serve burgers and hot dogs and have an outdoor patio.) 

Ski from the summit down to the Elkhorn Cabin where you can get a fresh homemade apple cider or order Swiss Raclette for lunch. They also have a small outdoor seating area. Ski from there down to the Mile 1 Hut (where there's also a patio) where you can get pulled pork sandwiches and cold or hot beverages. 

Ski down to the base where you'll find coffee shops and other restaurants (with several patio areas.) - Just watch how much you drink on that one descent lest you find yourself too tipsy to ride back up for another run! 


The Summit Hut will come alive this spring at Panorama Mountain Resort

Sunshine Village - Did you know that you don't even have to ski to enjoy the spring sunshine at Sunshine Village? I would honestly pay for a sightseeing gondola ride just to have lunch on the patio at Mad Trappers, a fun family-friendly pub with an awesome vibe and equally great food.


Lake Louise - The Banded Peak Base Camp is the place to be this spring at Lake Louise. Soak up the sun from this gorgeous patio located right beside the Glacier Express Gondola. The menu includes tasty smoked BBQ bites, hot soup and chili along with cold beverages of course.


Revelstoke Mountain Resort - I would travel all the way to Revelstoke this spring just to have a chicken burger from the Mackenzie Outpost, located at the top of the gondola. The outpost has a great patio and serves the best chicken burgers I've ever had in my life. Revelstoke Mountain Resort also sees a lot more sun in spring so head this way if you want some bluebird skiing.



Fernie Alpine Resort - I love the Lost Boys Cafe located at the top of the Timber Chair. I often take a break from skiing here while my boys do another lap or two. And they have a great patio with fabulous views over the valley. You can order both food + beverages here while you soak up the sunshine.

The Lost Boys Cafe at Fernie Alpine Resort (photo credit: Resorts of the Canadian Rockies)

7. Say hello to the après ski scene!


Slopeside bars and beer gardens, patio weather, and live entertainment where every ski day is a party this spring!

See #6 above for my list of our favourite patios at local resorts and see #8 below for a large list of fun events happening at resorts this spring.

My personal favourite après ski activity: Load the last chairlift to the very top of the resort you're skiing at and ski down to a mid mountain lodge that's open late for drinks on the patio before you ski back down to the base.

This works well at Revelstoke Mountain Resort where Revelation Lodge is open every Saturday until 4:00pm with live music and entertainment.

End your ski day by 3:00pm and you'll have time for a cold beverage on any of the patios scattered around the mountain at Panorama Mountain Resort as well.

At Sunshine Village Resort, Mad Trappers is open all evening for guests staying overnight at the lodge. Stay as long as you like and then download the gondola which runs until 5:30pm Saturdays. Alternately you can enjoy your food and beverages in the village and then take the ski out down. Just make sure you catch the last lift up Jack Rabbit at 4:30pm or you'll have to do a bit of pushing across the flats on the way to Goat's Eye. (You could always download the gondola as far as Goat's Eye and then ski down from there too.)

** Check each resort's website directly to find out what entertainment and après-ski experiences will be offered this season.

Skiing down from Sunshine Village on the ski out at the end of the day 


8. Fun events and free entertainment every weekend 


Buy your lift ticket and get a concert, a professional competition, or a fun family-friendly event included for no extra cost.

Note that many annual spring events for 2022 were cancelled due to Covid and some resorts may have plans that they haven't advertised yet, so follow your fav. resorts on social media for updates.

Just some of the fun events happening this spring at resorts across the Canadian Rockies

Live Music:


Beats in the Base at Castle Mountain Resort 

Major Events: 

  • Cardboard Box Downhill Derby at Lake Louise - Visit lake Louise for this fun event on May 8th, closing day. Prizes will be given for the top three fastest sleds! Prizes will also be given out for the most creative designs (themed outfits encouraged.) Get your team of 1-4 people together to see if you can out-design, out-wit and out-sled the others. All ages welcome in this FREE event!

  • North Star Days at Kimberley Alpine Resort - Head to Kimberley on April 2nd where the resort will have an exciting lineup of events and activities including: a mogul competition, Banked Slalom competition, best dressed dog competition, family activities, live music, and beer gardens. Guests are also encouraged to dress in their finest retro and vintage ski gear.

  • Dummy Downhill and Slush Cup at Kicking Horse Resort - Finish the ski season at Kicking Horse in Golden, BC for their closing weekend celebration.

    "The Dummy Downhill concept is extremely simple. Build something that can slide down the slopes over a jump and please the crowd with a massive crash.  A celebration of fine construction and total destruction!

    And "Get ready to challenge the slush pool! The Slush Cup is a true test for well-seasoned springtime skiers and snowboarders. Get yourself dressed up in a tasteful costume and see if you can make it over our 75-foot pond of freezing water."

Slush Cup weekend is a fan favourite at every ski resort (photo credit: Resorts of the Canadian Rockies)

 

9. Make the most of shoulder season while you wait for "true" spring 


I find April to be depressing because I'm usually done with winter, but "true" spring seems to take forever to arrive. We find ourselves in this shoulder season where we've finished skiing, but can't go biking or hiking yet because there's still too much snow.

If there's still snow in the mountains, why fight it? Just go skiing and make the most of it. Ski into spring and then pull your bike out after Easter. If you ski at Lake Louise or Sunshine you can ski into May!

Snow in the mountains? Stop fighting it and enjoy the skiing! (this photo was taken in April at Sunshine Village)


10. Ski through Easter weekend with fun events at many resorts 


In addition to the festivals and events already mentioned above under #8, there are special Easter themed events at a few resorts.

Note that many annual spring and Easter events for 2022 were cancelled due to Covid and some resorts may have plans that they haven't advertised yet, so follow your fav. resorts on social media for updates.

One event that has been announced is below:

Celebrate Easter at Mt. Norquay - Visit Mt. Norquay on April 17th where the Easter Bunny is planning to hide thousands of eggs around the resort for the children to find. 

Catch the Easter Bunny at Lake Louise (photo: Lake Louise Ski Resort)



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