Snow Notes: What’s going on at Western Canada’s ski resorts on Jan 11

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We’re going to be talking a lot about the cold in our Snow Scene section this week. That’s just what happens when temperatures are hovering around -30 C and skiers and snowboarders need to be careful when they’re heading to the mountains.

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At Sunshine Village, the decision was made to close the resort on Thursday because of the extreme cold, and skiers and riders should definitely check the Banff resort’s website if they’re planning on heading out Friday or over the weekend. It’s possible Sunshine will make the same call with the safety of guests and staff in mind.

When they do reopen, though, guests can expect some amazing conditions. That’s what you get when your mountain is hit with 50 cm of fresh snow in a week — and 18 cm overnight on Wednesday. The season total is now 262 cm, so once we get through this cold spell, there’s a lot to be excited about.

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There’s some fun events before the end of the month, too. On Jan. 25, they’ll be celebrating Robbie Burns Day, and anyone who wears a kilt on the slopes can ski or ride for $82.50. There’s a Winemaker’s Dinner on Jan. 26, too, with the Mark Anthony Group providing wine pairings for an exquisite meal.

X: @SkiBanff

Sunshine Village
A snowboarder surfs the fresh powder snow at Sunshine Village Ski Resort on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024. Photo by AL CHAREST /SPECIAL TO POSTMEDIA


The good news is that Lake Louise got a healthy blast of snow this past week. We’re talking 32 cm on the upper mountain, bringing the season total to 278 cm, with much of it coming on Monday and Tuesday. So there’s lots of snow.

The other news is that it’s going to be very cold around these parts over the next couple days. Lake Louise is planning on staying open, although there may be some delays in lift operations. If you’re heading out be sure to do lots of laps where you can warm up in the gondola and take breaks in the lodge when needed.

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If you’re planning on waiting until things get a little warmer — and who could blame you? — the For the Gram Rail Jam is back this year and runs  Jan. 19-29. The idea is pretty straightforward: Go out on your own time and capture footage of yourself hitting the rails and boxes in the Smith Optics line in Boulevard park. Post your video on Instagram and you’ll be eligible for all sort of prizes.

X: @SkiLouise


In anticipating of the extreme cold that’s enveloped the region this week, Norquay released an extensive operations update. The basics: On Thursday and Friday, the Spirit and Cascade lifts, as well as the Sundance Magic Carpet, will be operating with a delayed start of 11 a.m. The rest of the lifts will be closed. Night Skiing and tubing will also be cancelled on Friday and Saturday, and the snow school won’t be holding classes through until Sunday.

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Further decisions on the weekend will be made later in the week, so be sure to check Norquay’s website before heading out to Banff for a day of skiing and riding.

The resort, did, however, get hit with 21 cm of snow in the past week, and the season total is 152 cm.

At the end of the month, Norquay will be hosting a Community Parks Days event, supported by UNLTD and RudeGirls. The event is for open to anyone who identifies as she/her, they/them, non-binary and in the LGBTQIA+ community, whether they’re first timers or a park veteran.

X: @MtNorquay


When it gets cold enough that the meteorologists are calling it “extreme,” it’s only right that ski resorts put safety first. That’s why Nakiska is among the resorts to make the difficult call to close  for Thursday and Friday. The same decision might be made for Saturday, too, so be sure to check their social media feeds or website before packing up your car and heading to Kananaskis for a ski day.

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Next weekend, though, will be extreme in a different way. The world’s best ski cross racers will be invading Nakiska for two FIS Ski Cross World Cup races. As anyone who follows the sport knows, Canadians tend to do pretty well, and last year’s men’s season champion, Reece Howden, from Chilliwack, B.C., and Olympic champion Marielle Thompson, from Whistler, B.C., are both expected to race. Thompson, by the way, happens to be a three-time winner at Nakiska.

The action is free and open to the public, with qualifying races going Jan. 18 and 19, and then the World Cup racing going on Jan. 20 and the 21st.

Nakiska did get a nice helping of snowfall this week, by the way, with the 21 cm of fresh powder that fell bringing the season total to 119 cm.

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X: @SkiNakiska


It’s not exactly surprising that when it’s cold in Calgary and Banff, it’s also generally going to be quite chilly in Jasper. And with brutal temperatures hitting Marmot Basin, the resort made the decision to close for Thursday. It’s definitely worth monitoring their website to see what the plan is for the weekend, although no decisions have yet been made. The resort did get 20 cm of new snow in the past week and its season total is 128 cm.

It’s Jasper in January starting this weekend, and it’s a legitimately awesome festival. To celebrate, Marmot Basin has an amazing deal for families who want to spend a day on the slopes. They currently are selling a family pass for two adults and two children — 17-and-under — for $298. The pass needs to be bought online and has to be used between Jan. 12 and 28.

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X: @SkiMarmot


As of Wednesday evening, Panorama hadn’t announced any plans to suspend operations over the next couple days because of the cold, but it’s definitely worth continuing to monitor the resort’s social media and website before driving to Invermere, B.C., for a ski day. Conditions on the hill do sound quite excellent, the cold notwithstanding, as 33 cm of new snow fell in the past week. The season total is now 168 cm.

We’re only a couple weeks away from the Panorama Freeride Frenzy, which goes Jan. 26-28 in the Extreme Dream Zone and serves as a sanctioned IFSA Junior Freeride Competition that will give young freeskiers and riders to show off their style and control as they navigate through some of the resort’s most challenging natural terrain.

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X: @panoramaresort


With the exception of Friday, which is supposed to be nasty-cold, Fernie isn’t getting quite the same brutally freezing temperatures as many resorts in the region. It’s still going to be cold, just not *quite* as cold, so as of Wednesday night there were no plans to shut down the resort in the coming days. Keep monitoring that, though, just in case.

There is, however, so much snow. We’re talking 87 cm in the past week. That’s the good stuff right there, and it’s brought the season total to 352 cm.

Anyone looking to head into the backcountry this winter should consider stopping by Fernie for Avalanche Awareness Days on Jan. 20-21. There’s a full range of interactive and educational activities planned for all over the mountain.

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X: @SkiFernie


If you’ve made it this far in our Snow Notes, you probably won’t be surprised to hear that it’s going to be cold at Kicking Horse this week. If you’re somehow not surprised by that, I’m not sure what to tell you.

But the resort has laid out every detail of its plans for the frigid temperatures. Basically, if the temperature hits -25 C, open-air chairlifts will go on standby. If they hit -30 C, so will the gondola. With the forecast calling for the worst of the cold on Friday, the resort will be closed.

On a positive note, conditions should be great when it reopens. Kicking Horse got hit with 45 cm of fresh powder in the past week and its season total is now 267 cm.

Over the next month or so, Kicking Horse is set to become the centre of the freeskiing and freeriding world. It crescendos with the Freeride World Tour’s annual stop in Golden, B.C., which goes  Feb 14-20. But there’s a whole lot more big mountain skiing and riding that happens before then. From Jan. 11-14, there’s a Jeep Junior Freeride competition going on, and at the end of the month there’s the always-popular Wrangle the Chute event, which doubles as a Freeride World Qualifier. If you like incredibly talented skiers and riders ripping down insanely difficult terrain, well, Kicking Horse is the place for you.

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X: @KickingHorseMTN


The plan, as of Wednesday night, is for Revelstoke to stay open over the next couple days, although they’ve postponed a rail jam on Friday and that could change. We’ve said it a bunch already, but do yourself a favour and check Revelstoke’s website before you head out for a ski or snowboard day this weekend.

There is going to be a whole lot of snow whenever skiers and riders hit the slopes, though, as the B.C. resort was absolutely blasted by 87 cm this week. All that powder brought the season total to 438 cm.

X: @revelstokemtn

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