Sunday, 8 July 2012

My review of the 3 mountains

If you are living in Banff, but not working at any of the 3 ski resorts that are close by, I would say, that it is a good idea to have either The Rocky Mountain Lift Pass, so that you can use most of the resorts in The Rocky Mountains, or another opportunity is the BIG3 lift pass which is to Norquay, Sunshine Village and Lake Louise, the 3 resorts in the Banff area (Which also gives you discount at some other resorts).

I worked at Sunshine Village in the winter 2010/2011, and I will try to give you a description of what I think of the 3 mountains here in Banff. Some of the information can be a bit old, since I wasn’t here last season. But I have been trying to keep up. :)

Banff, Sunshine Village:
I worked as Lifty and loved it, it gave the advantage of a 2 hours 'ride break' each day and we had 2 days off per week. Besides, we got our lift pass for free to Sunshine Village and Lake Louise and furthermore 2 days free at around 18 other resorts in The Rocky Mountains. Which gave me and all the other SSV employees the opportunity to visit many other resorts throughout the season. The LL-employees gets the same deal through their work.
The lifty work was at times freaking hard, like the days where you have to shovel a meter of snow out of your loading area and safety area, other days it is just sitting down staring for hours. :)
Sunshine Village is a really nice resort, the slopes are fine, I honestly didn’t use them much, but there is a lot of crazy and fun terrain, with good drops and then there is Delirium Dive, one of the world's 10 best powder bowls!
Besides that there’s a large park, Rogers Terrain Park, many of my friends loved it, I was not the biggest park skier this year due to old injuries. But the park has many fun features, and everything a terrain park should have is there.
Sunshine Village is open from November until the end of May.

Banff, Norquay:
Norquay is the resort that is closest to Banff but smallest, they are not a part of The Rocky Mountain lift pass. So if you're working at Norquay, your lift pass only allows you to ski at Norquay, but you can always just buy a season lift pass to the other mountains, or get the spring lift passes to Sunshine Village or Lake Louise that are really cheap when your a local.
Everyone who worked at Norquay were super happy about working at Norquay, they had a great atmosphere amongst the employees and all I know who worked up there would like to return and work at Norquay again, rather than work at Sunshine Village or Lake Louise.
The mountain is quite small and some of the slopes are really steep. Compared to the size of the resort, they have got a really nice park, that is right at the bottom of the hill, so it is so easy to get there – especially if you are up for some night skiing or snowboarding!
If you live in Banff, and are working at Sunshine or Lake Louise, Norquay has nightskiing 2 nights every week, and you can buy a lift pass for only evenings, so you can ski Norquay too. There is also Norquays monthly 85cent day, which means a one-day ticket costs you just 85cent. Norquay also has the cool acrobag every weekend, if you need to practise some of your jibbing and don’t feel like crashing in the park.
I unfortunately wasn’t skiing much at Norquay, but those who did loved it.
Norquay is open from December to April.

Banff, Lake Louise:
It is the largest resort of the 3 that are close to Banff. If you work at Sunshine Village, you can use Lake Louise as much as you want, and it is the same the other way around, so people working at Lake Louise can use Sunshine Village as much as they want.
The mountain has a lot of nice long runs compared to sunshine, and some of the best powder bowls that I tried throughout my season! It’s a 40minutters drive from Banff, but it is worthwhile to get up there.
Their park was the best of the three in the Banff area, especially the early season, where they were quicker to put up some features and making a progressive park from small to large features to build confidence. Lake Louise opened a good but small park in December. But it all depends on how much snow there’s coming.
If you are considering working at Lake Louise, I would recommend you still live in Banff, the season people from Lake Louise were a bit trapped in Lake Louise, as it is 45 minute drive from Banff, so if you were in Banff for a night out, you would need to know someone to crash with, or be lucky enough to pull each night ;-). I don’t know much about living or partying in Lake Louise, as I never stayed there over night.

Another thing is that many chose to live in Canmore, a town 20min drive from Banff, from where buses to all the resorts go to too. I would recommend Banff, above all, because it is an awesome town and you have easy access to all the mountains, bars and all that you pretty much need to have an awesome season experience!

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