Thursday, October 22, 2020

What to Expect at Ski Resorts this Winter across the Canadian Rockies

The upcoming ski season may look a bit different this year, but resorts are excited to welcome us back! Ski Industry Leaders across Canada have established best practices for the coming season with a commitment to supporting health through standard protocols and guidelines for each resort.

Downhill skiing or snowboarding is a low-risk recreation opportunity where you'll spend the majority of your day outside wearing protective gear including face masks and gloves, naturally distanced from other visitors as you spread out around the ski hill. 

The upcoming ski season may look a bit different but resorts are excited to welcome us back!


Standard Resort Procedures for 2020-2021 


While there may be some differences between resorts, there will be standard procedures that you should notice everywhere you visit this winter.


  • Face coverings will be required at all resorts, inside buildings and day lodges, and while riding on chairlifts or in gondolas. Once in a day lodge you will be allowed to remove your mask once you are sitting down at a table with your snack or lunch.


  • All resorts will have policies in place to accommodate physical distancing around the property, in lift lines, and in buildings.


  • All resorts will have cleaning and disinfection policies in place to keep high touch areas sanitized regularly.


  • Most resorts are encouraging guests to purchase their lift tickets online in advance. Most season passes will be upgraded for direct to lift access and even rental gear can be reserved ahead of time at many resorts this year. 

  • Communication will be key at resorts this winter and there will be signage at all resorts highlighting all new policies and rules.


  • Employees will be trained in COVID-19 safety and cleaning protocols. They will also be screened daily for symptoms.


  • Guests will be expected to stay home if they are showing any COVID symptoms and asked to wait until they are feeling well before visiting the resort.

Follow this link to Panorama Mountain Resort's website to read more about the Ski Well, Be Well Ski Area Best Operating Practices for 2020-2021 that most resorts should be following.


Ski Well, Be Well with your family this winter


The Good, Clean, Fun Promise


Castle Mountain Resort has come up with their own promise to their guests based on the same practices outlined above.

"We make a pledge to you to provide GOOD, honest, and frequent communication on COVID-19 Related changes to our operations. 

To maintain a high standard of CLEANliness, in all of our indoor and outdoor spaces.

To create a FUN, family friendly environment all the while respecting local, provincial, and national health guidelines and recommendations." - Castle Mountain Resort


Read more about the Good, Clean, Fun Promise here.


Skiing offers your family Good, Clean, Fun!


Winter Operations at Calgary's Closest Mountain Ski Area


Nakiska Ski Area has released their safety measures and protocols that they plan to follow for the upcoming ski season.

You can read about them here: 2020-21 Winter Operations for Nakiska Ski Area

Most of their policies are similar to the others you'll read about in this guide but pay special attention to the "Preview Weekend" requirements if you plan to ski before the official opening day. You won't be able to just "show up" this year without a season pass or an online ticket purchased in advance.

Nakiska has also said they will require guests to answer Covid screening questions upon entering the resort (something I haven't seen mentioned for other resorts yet.)

We plan to spend lots of time at Nakiska this winter, Calgary's closest mountain ski area!


Mask Requirements at Ski Resorts this Winter


Masks or face coverings will be required everywhere on ski hills this winter from the second you park your vehicle until you leave the resort. (Which means you'll be wearing a mask while carrying your equipment to the ski racks, while standing in lift lines, and while riding the lifts, including magic carpets.)

The two exceptions are that you will be able to remove your face covering while skiing and you'll be able to take it off while sitting at a table (much like we do now when we go to a restaurant.)

Children under the age of 2 will also not be required to wear a face covering. 


Practical suggestions for mask use at ski resorts this season:

  • Bring a dry mask to wear inside the day lodge so you can remove your wet ski mask or balaclava. 


  • As always, you may want to bring extra outdoor face coverings so that you have something dry to wear on the slopes in the afternoon ( I know my balaclava is usually soaked by noon.)


Wearing a face covering is pretty normal when skiing or playing outside


What to Expect in Lift lines, on Chairlifts, and on Gondolas


Regular cleaning and disinfecting will take place on all lifts and gondolas. Natural ventilation occurs on chairlifts and windows will be kept open on gondolas to increase air flow.

Physical distancing will also be easy to maintain in a natural way unless you're standing on top of somebody's skis. 

Most resorts will "try" to load groups as a cohort or family rather than making strangers share a lift. That being said, some resorts have said it just won't be possible at peak times.

Sunshine Village has the following on their website:

"We will load our lifts and our gondola at full capacity during busy periods. Loading our lifts at capacity will allow us to prevent large lift lines." - Sunshine Village Ski Resort

 

This is what you can expect to see at most resorts this season unless it's a busy day


For families planning to visit Panorama Mountain Resort this winter, know that the Monster X Snow Cat will still operate, allowing easy access to the Taynton Bowl for steep and deep expert skiing. They plan to load the cabin to capacity with face coverings mandatory for the 10 minute ride. Tickets must be purchased in advance and no Monster X season pass is being offered this year.

BIG NEWS - Early Chairlift Loading! 

And definitely one of the coolest things I've read so far in my research from the Lake Louise Ski Resort: 

"Our lifts will open earlier on certain weekends and holidays to get guests up the mountain and reduce the number of people that are in the base area at one time." - Lake Louise Ski Resort

Some resorts are considering opening lifts earlier to reduce crowds at the base


MORE BG NEWS - Cohort and Family Bubble Loading!

Nakiska Ski Area has the following posted on their website: 

"There will be two maze areas for the following guests: 

Cohort Groups or Family Bubbles – those willing to ride the lift together. These groups will be loaded onto a lift up to the capacity of the carrier as their own group. No one outside these circles will join these groups.

Individuals who are willing to ride with other people: These people will be loaded onto lifts on the following basis/capacity

2 per Quad chair (Gold Chair, Silver Chair, Olympic Chair)

1 per Double chair (Bronze Chair)" - Nakiska Ski Area

 

Special loading mazes at Nakiska should mean we won't see this for the upcoming winter!


Practical suggestions and what to expect on chairlifts and gondolas this season:

  • Be prepared to handle your own gear when loading and unloading from gondolas. At Sunshine Village, staff won't be assisting guests with their skis/boards this year because it puts their employees at an increased risk if they're touching everybody's gear. (Exceptions will be made for those who require special assistance.)


  • Ride with a buddy whenever possible so that you don't have to try and fit onto a lift as a single (when many people will prefer to ride with their own group.)


  • Be polite at all times with resort staff! I know you might not want to share a chairlift in busy times or you might not appreciate the single skier squeezing their way into your gondola. Regardless of how you feel about the policies, employees are trying their best in challenging times and will appreciate a friendly wave. (Remember they're wearing masks too and can't see your smile, or smile back at you.)

Physical distancing will be expected in all lift lines this season 


Your Vehicle is your Ski Locker this Winter 


Most resorts are encouraging guests to leave their bags, shoes, and all personal items in their vehicles rather than in the day lodge this winter.

BIG NEWS - Leave your bags IN your vehicle this winter!

Lake Louise has the following on their website:

"This year, one big difference is that we ask guests not to bring their bags into the lodges unless they have purchased a seasonal locker or will be using our limited number of day lockers.

We’ll have benches in the parking lots to facilitate you getting ready at your vehicle. We encourage you to do so and leave your bag in the car. Alternatively, you may boot up in the morning in the lodge, but please return your bags to your vehicle once you are ready.

This year, the operating protocols required for everyone’s health and safety do not allow bags to be left randomly inside lodges. Plan to use your vehicle as your locker." - Lake Louise Ski Resort

If you usually bring a backpack with snacks and lunch items in it, you'll have to plan to ski with your pack rather than leaving it in the day lodge.

Marmot Basin in Jasper also has the same policy:

"Personal belongings are to be stored in lockers, cubbies, or in your vehicles. Leaving bags and belongings under tables or on chairs is prohibited." - Marmot Basin

Note that the "no bag policy" will be resort specific so contact your local resort before visiting to make sure you're prepared.

Your vehicle is your ski locker this winter. Plan to leave personal gear in your vehicle this season


What to Expect in Day Lodges and Restaurants at Resorts this Season


There will be reduced seating in all day lodges and restaurants this winter, and tables will be spread out to allow for physical distancing. You can also expect to see a maximum number of people allowed per table. (6 is the limit most resorts have posted.)

Expect to see more grab and go food options at resorts, new temporary tent facilities with additional bathrooms, increased picnic areas, and fewer shared amenities (microwaves for example.)


BIG NEWS - Priority Access in the day lodge for those purchasing food!

The Lake Louise Ski Resort specifically mentions on their website that priority seating in lodges will be given to those that have purchased their lunch or snack. 

"Guests that have brought their lunch will be directed to designated areas. As capacity allows, those areas will continue to be in our lodges or outdoor tents. If necessary, you may be asked to go old school and eat the lunch you’ve brought outside. 

We will have chairs, tables, heaters and fire pits outside for a real Canadian experience. Microwaves will continue to be provided if possible but may be temporarily paused this season. If you are bringing your lunch, consider packing items that don’t require a microwave." - Lake Louise Ski Resort 


Marmot Basin in Jasper also suggests that guests return to their vehicles to eat (if possible.)

"Our four parking lots are uniquely tiered alongside one of our novice runs called “Home Run,” which has always made skiing in and out directly to lifts possible at Marmot Basin. We suggest bringing your own lunch and eating at your vehicles due to restricted seating capacities inside our chalets.

Table space in cafeterias and restaurants will be reserved for only those purchasing food and beverages. Please be courteous by minimizing your time in these spaces to make space for other guests." - Marmot Basin 

Expect to spend more time outside this winter 

BIG NEWS - No camping out in day lodges this winter!

Castle Mountain Resort has taken a firm stance against camping out or lingering in their day lodge this winter when not having a quick snack or lunch break.

"Given current restrictions on indoor gatherings, we expect to limit the number of people in our base area buildings. Time limits could be imposed, ensuring that day lodge visits are kept to essential visits only.

“Camping out” in the day lodge just simply will not be an option this winter. In order to minimize indoor visits, and to help us manage capacities, please consider treating your vehicle as your own personal lodge & ski locker." - Castle Mountain Resort 

Spend more time skiing this winter and less time hanging out in the day lodge!

Other specific day lodge changes by resort:


Sunshine Village - They have transformed the top floor of the Old Village Gondola Station into a picnic area for guests. It will be heated and will be furnished with tables and chairs. Sunshine has also secured two new sprung tents, one beside the Goat's Eye Lodge and one in the main Village area beside the old gondola station.


Lake Louise - They will be adding temporary heated structures at the base area, at Temple Lodge and at Whitehorn Lodge to provide more space to eat and warm up, and adding additional outdoor tables, patio heaters and fire pits. Heated washroom trailers will also be available.


Expect to spend more time at picnic tables outside the day lodge this winter 


Recommendations and suggestions for day lodge use this ski season:


  • Since lodge space is limited, all guests are encouraged to pack their own food rather than relying on cafeterias and restaurants. 


  • Don't expect microwaves or anything fancy inside the new tents or picnic areas. Bring a backpack with your lunch and plan to spread out around the hill for your snack and lunch breaks. By packing your own lunch with you, you can pop into warming huts or tents whenever you ski by one and need to have a break.


  • Time your breaks for non-peak times. Don't try to get into the main day lodge at noon for example. Time your meals for before or after the lunch rush.


For more tips, check out my previous story: Ten Tips to Escape the Crowds at Ski Resorts this Winter 

Carry a backpack with you loaded with snacks and lunch items for rest stops


Rental Procedures for the 2020-21 Season


Resorts will continue to rent out skis, boards, boots, poles, and helmets. All rental equipment will be disinfected between each guest. And as with all buildings at the resorts, masks will be required while renting equipment.

BIG NEWS - Reserve your rental gear ahead of time!

Panorama Mountain Resort specifically encourages guests to pre-purchase their equipment package before coming to the resort. 

Lake Louise also asks guests to make an online reservation for rental equipment, and they will be introducing pick up and drop off stations outdoors.

Check with other resorts individually to check their specific policies.

You can still rent gear at ski resorts this winter! Check resort procedures before you visit


What to Expect with Ski and Snowboard School this Season


Lessons will continue as normal but teachers will be required to wear a face covering while teaching and to practice physical distancing with their students. Instructors will not be allowed to join students for lunch this year and there will be no supervised lunches.

Below is the protocol that will be followed at Panorama Mountain Resort:

"Programs will run daily with pre-registration required, this will be available online soon. You can expect staggered start times and smaller groups. All day and special programs will not include lunch or après ski components this year. Face coverings will be required for all participants at all times during a lesson, including when skiing and riding." - Panorama Mountain Resort

 

Ski school will proceed as usual with a few small changes this season


No Daycare at Ski Resorts this Winter 


Sadly there will be no daycare operating at ski resorts this winter. It's just not possible to keep the young children outside all day where it's safer and easier to physically distance. It's also not possible to create a cohort situation for the daycare facilities.

Suggestion if you regularly rely on daycare at resorts:

  • Plan a ski getaway and stay slopeside if possible. Take turns as parents skiing with older children and staying in the condo with the baby or toddler.


  • Recruit a friend or grandparent to watch your youngest child/children back in the city for the day. If you have friends that are part of your close bubble, consider taking turns with childcare (one weekend one of you stays with the younger kids in the city and then switch places the next weekend.)


  • Take turns skiing/staying in the city with your spouse or partner (which I know sucks, but it allows one of you to ski with the older kids while the other stays home with the baby.)


  • Choose a ski resort close to home where there are other activities nearby or perhaps where there is a hotel nearby that would let you spend time there with a younger child. For Nakiska, we've spent many hours at the nearby Pomeroy Resort where there's always plenty of space for physical distancing in their large lobby area. You'll also find walking trails around Kananaskis Village where you could pull a young child around in a sled while the rest of the family skis.


  • Look for ski school programs that blend childcare and ski lessons for preschoolers that can't ski for a full day (some resorts will offer this service.)


BIG NEWS - Shared parent passes will be available at select resorts! 

Lake Louise is offering a parent pass this winter. One pass can be purchased, and the parents can share it – one can ski or snowboard while one looks after the kid(s), then trade off after a few runs. Click here for info.

Note it is a season pass so you'd have to commit to making Louise your home hill for the winter.

With no daycare at resorts this winter parents will have to get creative with the little ones


Slopeside Resorts will be Open


Plan for your own private day lodge experience!

Plan a ski getaway, book a slopeside condo, and experience the safest ski experience possible with your own private day lodge. Retreat to your own space for snack or lunch breaks, cook your own meals, and hang out in your condo when not skiing (great for families with babies or young children.)

As normal, masks will be required inside common areas, hallways, the lobby, etc. 

Practical suggestions if booking a ski vacation: 

  • Expect reduced capacity in hot tubs so you might want to leave the slopes a bit earlier rather than trying to squeeze in a soak right before dinner. Some pools and hot tubs might also have time restrictions. (At Panorama Mountain Resort for example, there is a one hour time limit for the hot pools.) 


  • Most resorts will have relaxed cancelation policies in place but check with your resort directly for their specific policies.

Book your ski vacation today and experience your own private day lodge this winter! 



What to Expect with Lift Tickets, Season Passes, and Discount Cards


Reservations will not be required to access the slopes at resorts throughout the Canadian Rockies. Guests are encouraged though to purchase their lift tickets online in advance or to have a season pass purchased for their local resort. By doing so, lines at guest services will be reduced.

Most resorts are mailing out season passes this year so if you haven't heard from your resort yet, it might be time to contact them to check on the progress (some resorts hope to be open by early November!)


Unique policies by resort:

Sunshine Village - Sunshine Village will be offering a mobile lift ticket that can be purchased through their free Ski Banff app. Once your cell phone is scanned, you can head straight up the gondola.


Panorama Mountain Resort - Lift tickets will not be sold at the resort unless part of an external program (i.e Lake Louise Plus Card or the Grade 4 / 5 Snow Pass.) 

"Panorama's RFID enabled ticket system, means that day tickets, season passes and SNOW+ Cards can be reloaded online, allowing you to go straight to the lift, all you need is a Panorama Advantage Card. If you already have one, log into our online store or give us a call and we can add products directly to the ticket/pass you already have.
Don't have an Advantage Card? No stress, you'll still purchase you ticket online and then collect your unique RFID card from the Guest Services ticket window before heading to the lift, after that you're all ready to reload online for next time."     

Castle Mountain Resort - Day ticket sales and online ticket pick-ups will be facilitated through the outdoor ticketing windows only. Resort staff will also be getting out into local nearby communities this fall for season pass / direct-to-lift card printing days to minimize line-ups for passes and WOW cards. You can find more information on their website.


Lake Louise Ski Resort - Guests are asked to visit the outdoor ticket windows and self-serve kiosks to pick up a pre-purchased day ticket, or purchase a ticket the day of skiing. Lake Louise Plus Card Direct-to-Lift upgrades will be processed in the North Face Bistro, which has been temporarily converted into a season pass and Lake Louise Plus Card processing space.


Nakiska Ski Area - Guests will have access to outdoor ticket windows and self-serve express kiosks to pick up pre-purchased lift tickets only. Guests will not be able to purchase lift tickets at the resort this winter.

It's recommended that you purchase your ticket online well in advance of your visit because the resort could reach capacity at peak times. (Season pass holders however will always be able to show up to ski without worrying.)


Direct to lift cards and passes will be your best friend this winter on the slopes!


What to expect with Discount Cards:

Discount cards (Example Sunshine Super Cards or Louise Plus Cards) can be purchased online and the resorts recommend that you upgrade to a direct to lift pass this season.

With any discount cards, make sure you check for black out days. Panorama Mountain Resort sells a Snow + Card at a fabulous price, but you can't use it over the Christmas - New Year's period or over the Alberta Family Day long weekend this winter. (And while disappointing for sure, these are peak times at the resort and crowds need to be managed while we navigate a safe ski season in the midst of a pandemic.)

Plan to ski mid week or at non-peak times this winter (and skip holidays!)


Redeeming Ski Cards and Lift Tickets from Last Year 


Have a discount card with free days left on it, or even an unused lift ticket that you purchased last year? Contact your resort directly to find out how you can use these ski days this coming season.

Specific policies by resort: 


Sunshine Village: If you have an unused lift ticket for Sunshine Village the ticket can be exchanged, and will be valid until December 24th, 2020. Get your new ticket at their Calgary Snow Central Office, at any Sunshine Ticket Window, or at Guest Services. (Exchanges will be processed after October 31st.) 

If you have a 2019-20 lift ticket for Sunshine Village that you purchased through their mobile app or e-store, and you did not pick it up last year, email them at ecommerce@skibanff.com for an exchange.


Resorts of the Canadian Rockies: Any unused BC add on passes are eligible to be exchanged for a 2020/2021 BC add on, if presented in conjunction with a 2020/2021 Nakiska season pass. 

Purchased, unused, single-day lift tickets or vouchers from the 2019-20 season will be valid for the upcoming ski season. You can find more information here


Lake Louise Ski Resort: All unused 2019/20 Lake Louise Plus Cards are eligible to be exchanged for a new card for next season. Lake Louise Plus Cards from last season that have been used, have been extended until December 17, 2020 at Lake Louise. (So if you still had a free day on your Louise Card, you have until the 17th to claim it at Lake Louise!)

Check your resort directly if you have ski days or tickets from last year to use up!


Services, Events, and Programs you will not Find at Ski Resorts this Season


Don't expect to find these services available at the majority of ski resorts this winter:

  • Any group events with more than 50 people

  • Après ski programming like DJs, live music, and dance events

  • Programmed kids' activities at resorts with on hill accommodations (so don't evening activities for the children after they finish skiing.)

  • Buffet-style banquet dinners for holidays

  • Fireworks on New Year’s Eve and possibly on Family Day at Panorama Mountain Resort 

  • Music Festivals 

  • Some dining options (resort dependent)

  • Night Skiing at some resorts (It will not operate this year at Panorama)

  • Weekend youth ski races at some resorts. Lake Louise has specifically said they will be moving these races to mid-week days this year. 

This winter will get us back to the pure love of skiing and riding!


Refund Policies for the 2020-21 Ski Season


Every resort will have its own refund policy this winter so check with your resort specifically. 

Full Refunds: 

The most common policy I've seen for season passes is that there will be full "no questions asked" refunds issued for all unused passes. This means you'll get a full refund if you are not able to use your pass this coming winter. (If you use it even one time though, you will not be eligible for a refund.)


Partial Refunds:

Sunshine Village has a special refund policy that allows for partial refunds based on the date that you request your refund  (even if you got a few ski days in.) Visit their website for more information

Panorama Mountain Resort also has a partial refund policy in the event guests are unable to use their pass during the core winter season because of government restrictions or closures The refund is determined based on the number of days you were able to ski with your season pass prior to requesting the refund. Visit their website for more information

Most resorts will have generous refund policies this winter. Check directly with your resort.


Forced Closure Refunds:

Sunshine Village also has a forced closure refund:

"Our forced closure refund will be applicable to all 2020/21 Sunshine Season Passholders and will be applicable if we are forced to close due to COVID-19 before March 21st. 
In the case of another mandated closure, all 2020/21 Season Passholders will be eligible for a refund on their season pass that will be calculated based on subtracting the passholders usage at our regular priced window rate of $127 from the passholders purchase price." - Sunshine Village 


Castle Mountain Resort also has their own 100 Day Season Passholder Guarantee

"Buy your Castle season pass with confidence with our 100 Day Season Passholder Guarantee. If this season is shortened to less than 100 days, due to a government mandated resort closure related to COVID-19, you’ll earn a prorated credit towards your 2021-22 season pass." - Castle Mountain Resort



Thursday, October 01, 2020

Treat your Family to a Ski Getaway at Panorama Mountain Resort this Winter

Ski getaways at Panorama Mountain Resort are one of the things I look forward to all winter. On our last visit, I skied down 9000 vertical metres in a single day (roughly the same height as Mt. Everest.) I did top to bottom laps all day adding up to 41 km total distance (which still amazes me!)

My boys love hiking out to the double black chutes in the Taynton Bowl where they get a backcountry experience fully within resort boundaries (patrolled and monitored for avalanche risk.)

Top to bottom laps at Panorama for a vertical drop of 1300 metres summit to base


Not an "expert" skier? No worries! Take the kids to find the Secret Forest tree house (complete with a slide that's fun to navigate in ski boots,) spend an afternoon cruising around the mellow intermediate terrain in the Sun Bowl, or plan a "hut to hut" traverse around the mountain stopping at each of the on-mountain restaurants and cabins for snacks, a gourmet lunch, or hot drinks.

Not a skier at all? This is one resort where you'll find more than enough opportunities to entertain the entire family. Try fat biking around the village, rent snowshoes or cross-country skis for a tour of the resort trails, or spend an afternoon in the slopeside hot pools (included with all lodging options at Panorama.)

Life doesn't get much better than afternoon cruising in the Sun Bowl at Panorama


Introduction to Panorama Mountain Resort


Panorama Mountain Resort is located 20 minutes outside the Community of Invermere in the Columbia Valley. From Calgary, it is approximately a 3.5 hour drive across the border into British Columbia. We've found that we can easily make it to the resort Friday night for a quick ski weekend, but that it's definitely more fun to make a long weekend of it.

Enhance your stay with overnight accommodations in the village and experience why ski in/ski out vacations are the absolute BEST! Panorama is unique for ski resorts in the Canadian Rockies in that it has its own alpine village, complete with accommodations, restaurants, après ski activities and nightlife.

Stay in one of the properties on the hill and you'll also receive access to Canada's largest slopeside  hot pools! The pools are located in the Panorama Springs Lodge and are walking distance from everywhere in the Lower or Upper village (a small gondola connects the Lower and Upper Village and is free to use.)

Soak in Canada's largest slopeside hot pools at Panorama Mountain Resort 


A Ski Resort for the Whole Family



We've been skiing at Panorama Mountain Resort for a few years now, and the biggest thing that continues to impress me is how easy it is to progress as a skier or snowboarder at this resort. Families can start on the magic carpets and the beginner platter lift, work up to four other beginner-friendly chair lifts, and then keep moving up the mountain towards the summit (where there's enough terrain to keep the whole family challenged for a lifetime of skiing or riding.)

Read more on progression from beginner to expert terrain here:

Read: Magic Carpet to Monster at Panorama Mountain Resort 


The Taynton Bowl kicks things up a notch for advanced skiers in the family


More than just Skiing at Panorama Mountain Resort


My family loves downhill skiing but we've also visited Panorama to use the nordic multi-use trails. We love cross country skiing up to the Hale Hut, we ski around the golf course on the Valley Trail, and we love cruising down the Prospector's Trail (all downhill from the Grey Wolf Golf Course to the Lower Village below.)

We also discovered that the nordic trails are a lot of fun on bikes, and you can rent adult fat bikes or plus sized youth bikes right at the resort.

Rent fat bikes and explore the trails around Panorama this winter


We took my mother with us on one of our winter getaways and she enjoyed going for walks along Toby Creek. She also enjoyed the variety of restaurants and coffee shops in the village. On another trip with a group of girlfriends, we chose to explore the trails on snowshoes and had a great time hiking up to the Hale Hut for lunch.

Read more on winter activities at Panorama Mountain Resort here:

Read: Panorama Mountain Resort (much more than downhill skiing)

We love skiing up to the Hale Hut at Panorama Mountain Resort


Plan the Perfect Covid-safe Ski Getaway at Panorama 



I know we're all anxious about what the winter will look like for 2020-21, but slopeside accommodations allow you to plan the perfect Covid-safe ski getaway.

  • Stay on the ski hill and retreat to your own condo or "private day lodge" for lunch, physically distanced from the other visitors at the resort.


  • Enjoy your own private retreat when you stay in a condo on the hill. You can cook your own meals and hang out in your own space away from other groups at the resort. Once you're skiing, you'll be spread out all over the mountain from the other guests and you'll enjoy your own personal space for miles in all directions.


  • Panorama has relaxed their cancelation policy at this time on all bookings for lodging at the resort as long as you make the booking directly through Panorama Reservations or through one of their partners.

More information on Panorama's commitment to health and safety will be released later this fall but below are a few key notes I received directly from the resort:

Masks/face coverings required: A mask or face covering that fully covers your nose and mouth is required on the chairlift, in the lift line, in the village and in all indoor spaces. (Best to have both on you so you can take off a wet buff when heading indoors and pop on a dry mask.)

Purchase in advance: Lift tickets must all be booked in advance. No daily lift tickets will be available for purchase at the ticket window unless as part of a reciprocal program like Lake Louise Plus, Mountain Collective, Grade 4/5 etc.

Panorama’s online ticket system allows you to purchase tickets right up to the day of arrival so guests can wake up, check conditions and purchase a ticket online while heading to the resort. The RFID enabled tickets and passes are fully reloadable. Once you have a Panorama lift ticket it can be reloaded online from home and guests can go direct to the chairlift.

No childcare: Wee Wascals will not operate this winter as they won't be able to cohort the children. 

Capacity on the mountain will not be restricted: Panorama is big and there is plenty of space to explore. However, the village is small and guests will be directed to use alternate points to access the slopes such as the Sunbird chairlift. Parking is plentiful and will not need to be reserved in advance. 


Book your ski getaway now before November 30th for the best savings. Follow this link for more information on winter early bookings.

Read more on Ski Getaways at Panorama Mountain Resort here:

Read: Family Guide to Panorama Mountain Resort 


We've been skiing at Panorama since my son was a preschooler and now he skies double black chutes!


Plan more “Amazing Ski Days” rather than just "more ski days" this Winter


Every day should start with a rollercoaster ride and that's exactly what you'll get when you ski at Panorama Mountain Resort. Ride the Champagne Express Chair first thing in the morning to the top of a fast and cruisy run called "Rollercoaster," and marvel in awe at the scenery spread out around you with the sun just rising over the peaks as you fly down the fresh corduroy, beaming from ear to ear.

Every day on the slopes is a "good" day, but to really "kick butt" on the family ski getaway this winter, you need to experience slopeside living and spend a few nights in Panorama's alpine village. 

And special for this winter season: Plan private experiences for your bubble to make your trip extra special!

"Over the past decade Panorama has become renowned for its small group, on-mountain dining and experiences. The resort’s three alpine huts are reservable for gourmet dinners of up to 12 people.

Guests can also rent a 12-seater passenger snowcat to take them to their on-mountain dinner or to privately shuttle their group to Panorama’s steep and deep Monster terrain area mid-week. 

RK Heliski, located in the heart of the resort, offers private day heli-skiing packages for up to nine people. RK also offers a private heli accessed fondue dinner at the summit of Panorama from February to April."


Read more on why my family loves Panorama here:

Read: Find it ALL at Panorama Mountain Resort 


Morning rollercoaster runs at Panorama

Save BIG with a Snow+ Card and pay $66/day to Ski!



Snow+ Cards work a little bit differently than your typical ski discount card. Purchase a 3 or a 5 day ski card and use as many days in a row as you want. This isn't a card where you have to pay for middle days in between your freebies.

Visiting Panorama for a 3 day weekend? Purchase a 3-day Snow+ card and use all three ski days on the same visit. 

The Flash Sale Price (for the lowest pricing) ends on October 31st so buy your cards now (the price goes up in November.) 

A 3-day adult card costs $199.99 which breaks down to $66.33 per ski day. (The 5-day card comes to an even better deal.)

And you can also get children's or youth cards which work out to $33.00 (children) or $53.00 (youth)  per day of skiing with the 3-day card.

Note that there are blackout dates over Christmas, New Years, and the Alberta Family Day long weekend in order to keep numbers down at the resort during peak times.

You can also purchase additional days at a $20 discount once you've used up your 3 or 5 days.

Visit the Panorama Mountain Resort website for more information and to order your cards.

My boy in his happy place!

Beyond Panorama Mountain Resort: Explore the Columbia Valley this Winter


For families planning a long weekend trip or a multi-day getaway to Panorama this winter, I highly encourage you to spend some time down below in the valley exploring around the community of Invermere. 

We love skating on the Lake Windermere Whiteway, the world's longest ice skating path. The full track is 34 km long but for a shorter day, most families skate the 12 km long Windermere Loop which connects the communities of Invermere and Windermere. 

Read more on winter fun in the Columbia Valley here:

Read: Winter Guide to the Columbia Valley (Golden, Radium Hot Springs, Invermere - and beyond)

Skate the  Lake Windermere Whiteway (the world's longest skating track!)


Disclaimer: My family has received complimentary skiing and accommodations in previous winters. This story is not sponsored and all words/opinions are my own.





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