Lake Louise, AB, April 5, 2018

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Lake Louise, AB, April 5, 2018

Postby flyover » Thu Apr 12, 2018 6:55 pm

Another mid-winter day in April. High temps in the teens, and another 2 to 3 inches of fresh pixie dust on a reliably packed-powder base.

My wife took a lesson in the morning, so my daughter and I spent some more time working on powder, steeps, and intimidating alpine exposures. We started with a couple of laps off of paradise, warming up in the tracked powder on Hour Glass.

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Then we hit the summit platter and skied Whitehorn I, Ridge Run, and Rodney’s Ridge down to Hour Glass again. She has a fair amount of experience skiing steeps, but these were the most intimidating long fall-line alpine exposures she has yet skied. The snow was soft all over and although tracked, still ankle deep after the first pitch or so.

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Whitehorn I and Ridge Run from across the saddle.


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The view from the top never gets old.


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Dropping in.


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After lunch I made time to drop a couple of steeper chutes by myself. The coverage is so good this year and the chutes are so filled in, it can be sometimes be difficult to tell where one chute or “gully” ends, and another begins.

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We finished the afternoon getting in some more vertical lapping the front-side lifts.

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Last edited by flyover on Fri Apr 13, 2018 9:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Lake Louise, AB, April 5, 2018

Postby baldyskier » Thu Apr 12, 2018 7:44 pm

Great that you got such nice winter conditions in early April. Good to see that your daughter is skiing so well. You must have gotten her started young.
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Re: Lake Louise, AB, April 5, 2018

Postby flyover » Fri Apr 13, 2018 8:56 am

Yeah, we got extra lucky with the weather and conditions this year, but our experience skiing the Banff resorts late in the season has been pretty good. The Minneapolis Public Schools' spring break is annoyingly late, so we have opted for Banff three times now. In 2015 it was spring in town and in the valleys, but still mostly winter up at Sunshine and Lake Louise. In 2016 it was also very much spring in town and in the valleys and we skied more of mix of winter and spring conditions. This year, as of Monday when we drove down to the airport to return home, there was still solid snow cover all the way down to Calgary. In both 2015 and 2016 I was really impressed by the snow preservation in the Paradise and Whitehorn chutes at Louise. It seemed like it would need to get awfully warm before the snow in the more north-facing chutes would start to get sloppy.

I started my daughter at 3. With the exception of last year, she and I have skied together between 20 and 30 days a season, mostly on the local mole hills, with occasional trips west or east (my parents are in VT). She's only had a handful of pro lessons (probably fewer than 10), and has learned mostly by skiing with me. That being said, she should get most of the credit. She's endlessly enthusiastic and energetic, has a natural athletic talent for balance, and has always been more on the fearless end of the anxiety spectrum. When we ski in the west, we always see a few kids her age or younger who are way better off-piste skiers than her, but she does pretty well for a kid from the upper-midwest. Most importantly to me, she's become an excellent ski companion. I was on the disabled list all last winter, so this year has felt a bit like we have been making up for lost time.
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Re: Lake Louise, AB, April 5, 2018

Postby Tony Crocker » Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:00 pm

flyover wrote:The Minneapolis Public Schools' spring break is annoyingly late

Not all that late, somewhat similar to Adam's private school, where spring break was the week containing April 1. California public schools, which tie spring break to Easter, have it worse.

One of Adam's spring breaks in 1999 included Banff/Lake Louise (but also Fernie/Castle, hint!) and was very similar to yours in terms of being nearly all winter conditions.

There's a reasonably long list of places with good snow conditions in your spring break time frame: Mammoth, Bachelor, Whistler, LCC and several in Colorado. And I definitely include Banff in that category when asked. Our current experience indicates that I should also include Val d'Isere!

Having seen flyover ski, I can confidently say his daughter's homegrown instruction was better than Adam's. Once Adam got to age 8, I insisted he have a few lessons each year as he wasn't going to learn any more from me. If she is OK in Whitehorn, she's not going to be very terrain restricted in any of the other destinations I mentioned above.
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Re: Lake Louise, AB, April 5, 2018

Postby flyover » Sun Apr 15, 2018 6:55 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:
Fernie/Castle, hint! ...

There's a reasonably long list of places with good snow conditions in your spring break time frame: Mammoth, Bachelor, Whistler, LCC and several in Colorado. And I definitely include Banff in that category when asked.


Truth be told, I would have been happy to plan to go somewhere new this year. However, when we booked in January there were not very many options that looked appealing in light of the below-average snowfall throughout much of the North American west during the first half of the winter.

Banff is also incredibly easy for us. It is 2 hour 10 minute direct flight. The car rental is right in the airport. It’s only 90 minutes from Calgary to Banff and traffic never seems to be an issue. Getting to the airport 2 hours early, in both directions it was only about 6 hours and 15 minutes door to door. That is an hour and 45 minutes more quickly then we could get to Mount Bohemia.

With the favorable exchange rate, and an abundance of lodging for summer tourists, Banff has also been considerably more affordable for us.

Finally, my wife and daughter really like to have other things to do in addition to skiing. We skied five days and hIked two days. On the days that we hiked, we also goofed around in town, went to the hot springs, spent some time in the Whyte museum (worth a stop for the mountain guiding and skiing history exhibits alone!), etc.

We might consider Colorado or Whistler next time. I would worry about advance booking Fernie in April. Should I not?

By the way, I have also really enjoyed your trip reports from Europe this winter.
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Re: Lake Louise, AB, April 5, 2018

Postby Tony Crocker » Mon Apr 16, 2018 3:58 pm

flyover wrote:By the way, I have also really enjoyed your trip reports from Europe this winter.

And that was before the best one of those: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=12653

flyover wrote:I would worry about advance booking Fernie in April. Should I not?

Yes I would be inclined to make a late call on that. But as you mentioned, Banff is primarily a summer resort, so lodging can typically be found there on short notice. Fernie lodging can be tight on weekends. Midweek is probably not difficult unless it's a provincial holiday week.

I have combined Banff with Fernie/Castle on a one week trip twice, late March/early April 1999 and early February 2004.
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