SNOW NOTES: Still early season conditions, but snow coming slow and steady

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SUNSHINE VILLAGE

Let’s say you’re in a festive mood this Christmas Day but are more inclined towards ripping down the side of a mountain on your skis or snowboard than you are towards opening presents around the tree and eating a big holiday brunch … or, hypothetically, you want to get in some turns before indulging in all those more traditional Christmas activities.

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Well, Sunshine’s got you covered.

On Dec. 25, Sunshine will be hosting Santa Skis for Charity, where anyone who shows up dressed head-to-toe as their favourite Christmas character can ski or ride for $82.50, with all money from the lift tickets that are sold going to the Alberta Children’s Hospital.

The Sunshine Super Card is also on sale until Dec. 25, and that’s it. For $99.95, the card gets guests their first, fourth and seventh days on the mountain for free.

Also, with 11 cm of fresh snow falling on the mountain in the past week, the season total at the Banff resort is now sitting at 202 cm.

www.skibanff.com

X: @SkiBanff

LAKE LOUISE

The busy holiday season is almost upon us, and they’re ready for it at Lake Louise. A couple weeks of solid snowfall has transformed the resort into a winter wonderland, with all 11 lifts open this week, as well as 111-of-164 runs on Wednesday. There are still some early season conditions off groomed runs, but there’s no shortage of terrain to explore.

This week, the resort also announced the launch of its digital trail maps. The fully interactive maps allow guests to switch between 2D and 3D views while sorting runs by ability levels, lift and trail status, grooming and more. The maps are available on Lake Louise’s website.

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Anyone looking for a last-minute gift for that avid skier or rider in their life should remember that the Louise Plus+ Card is available until Christmas Day, and for $134 gets you three free days on the mountain and 20% off lift tickets on every other visit.

www.skilouise.com

X: @SkiLouise

WINSPORT 

The holidays are a busy time at WinSport, so the Calgary hill has smartly extended its hours. From Dec. 23-30, WinSport will be open every day from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., which will provide skiers and riders with extra time in the mountain to get in some turns.

But there’s a lot to do at WinSport that doesn’t involve skis or a snowboard. And in recent winters, the Servus Tube Park has become a destination. This year, the park is set to reopen on Dec. 23. Tickets need to be purchased online, though, so anyone planning on heading to the hill should pop on WinSport’s website and book their time.

www.winsport.ca

X: @WinsportCanada

NORQUAY

Norquay goes all out over the holiday season. It’s a family resort, after all, so they try to make sure there’s something for everybody to do. That includes snowtubing. Norquay opened its tubing park about a week ago and has morning, afternoon and night sessions available for anyone who may want to spend a little time in the mountains but maybe doesn’t feel the need to strap on skis or a snowboard. Pre-purchasing tickets is advised, as there’s limited capacity for each tubing session.

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Norquay has all six of its lifts open and was anticipating having 46-of-60 runs ready for skiers on Wednesday after the Banff resort saw 6 cm of fresh snow fall on its slopes over the last seven days. The season total now sits at 145 cm.

There’s lots to get through before, but it’s worth circling Jan. 10 on your calendar. That’s when Norquay hosts its first Cool2Carpool event, where you can — legally — cram as many people into your vehicle as possible and then split the cost of a lift ticket for a day on the mountain.

www.banffnorquay.com

X: @MtNorquay

NAKISKA

With the tube park opening at Nakiska this past weekend, there’s yet another thing for families to try out at the Kananaskis resort. There’s a lot more than just downhill skiing and snowboarding in and around Nakiska. There are extensive Nordic skiing trails, and tubing is the type of thing that’s fun for everyone from kids to grandparents.

And if you’re the type of skier who wants to take advantage of the closeness of Nakiska while also maybe checking out resorts a little further into the mountains, we’ve gotta tell you about the RCR Rockies Card. The card gets you your first, fourth and seventh days at Fernie, Kicking Horse, Kimberley or Nakiska for free, and it goes for $135. It’s only available until Dec. 24, though.

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Nakiska has had its snowmaking machines going full blast recently. With trace snowfall over the past week, the season total is sitting around 145 cm.

www.skinakiska.com

X: @SkiNakiska

MARMOT BASIN 

Bit by bit, Marmot Basin has been opening up its mountain to skiers and snowboarders. As of Wednesday, five of its seven lifts were open, along with 13 trails on the upper mountain and 14 in the lower mountain. The Jasper National Park resort got hit with 8 cm of snow in the past week and the season total is now sitting at 98 cm.

If anyone is looking ahead at the winter and thinking they don’t just want to hibernate once the holidays are done, consider heading up north for the Jasper in January festival. It runs from Jan. 13 to the end of the month and showcases everything from local art to Jasper’s cuisine to all the outdoor adventure options that are available.

www.skimarmot.com

X: @SkiMarmot

CASTLE MOUNTAIN 

There are early season conditions at Castle Mountain, just like everywhere else in the Rockies. But while they wait for the big blasts of winter that make Castle such a special place, there’s still terrain available for skiers and riders. The resort was offering 20% off full-mountain rates on Wednesday, as well as 50% off for WOW Card holders.

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The card is available until Dec. 24, by the way, and is a great deal for any skier or rider who wants to hit up the Southern Alberta resort a bunch this winter. It’s not that hard to explain, either. The card goes for $109.95 and gets you 50% off lift tickets all day, all season. Simple as that.

www.skicastle.ca

X: @SkiCastle

PANORAMA

Panorama goes big for the holidays. Like, we’re talking reaaally big. For families who make their way to the Invermere, B.C. resort, there are going to be loads of activities this holiday season. On Christmas Day, they’re transforming the upper vlllage into a Christmas Village, with elves, music, hot chocolate and even a flying Santa who will be arriving by para-glider. There’s a lot more, too, including everything from Christmas feasts to arts and crafts to scavenger hunts, and the resort is going big for New Year’s, too. We’ll have more on that next week.

Like everywhere else around these parts, Panorama is dealing with early season conditions, but there’s still lots of terrain to explore. The resort saw 5 cm of new snow in the past week and that brought the season total to 130 cm, with 10 of its 11 lifts open.

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www.panoramaresort.com

X: @panoramaresort

KICKING HORSE

Up top at Kicking Horse, the mountain is skiing and riding well. Down below, it’s still early season conditions, but the snow report suggests things are getting better by the day. That’s the reality at most resorts, but Kicking Horse’s high-alpine terrain does mean there’s a lot of fun still to be had early in the season. The Golden, B.C., resort did see 18 cm of new snowfall this week and the season total is sitting at 215 cm.

Santa is going to be on the mountain Dec. 23 and 24, bringing a little festive fun. Anyone looking for something truly spectacular to do on Christmas Day or New Year’s Eve should look into dinner at the Eagle’s Eye Restaurant, where they’ll be preparing luxurious meals on top of the world.

www.kickinghorseresort.com

X: @KickingHorseMTN

REVELSTOKE 

So, you’re planning on staying a couple days at Revelstoke? Did you know that if you hold an Ikon Pass, a Mountain Collective Pass, a Sunshine Super Card or a Revelstoke Vertical Card, you can get 35% off standard hotel rates at the Sutton Place Hotel? That’s a heck of a deal, especially because it gets skiers and riders legitimate ski-in, ski-out access to the mountain.

And already, the snow is starting to pick up in a major way at the B.C. resort. In the past week alone, Revelstoke was hit by 41 cm. That brought the season total to 307 cm and while they’re still cautioning that it’s early season conditions, there’s more snow on the Revelstoke slopes than just about anywhere else in the Canadian Rockies.

www.revelstokemountainresort.com 

X: @revelstokemtn

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