Winter announced itself with a massive dump of snow last week, and now all Canadian Rockies ski resorts are open, or will do so in the next week. Here’s a summary of what’s new and wonderful at each local resort.
Norquay turns 90 this season, and with this anniversary comes many promotions, including 90-cent ski days (December 9, January 13, February 10, March 9, and April 6). There are also a couple of new runs on the far north side of the resort and accessed from the Mystic Chair: Wiegele’s is named after heli-ski pioneers Mike and Bonnie Wiegele and the intermediate Norquay 90 Glades.
Open since mid-November, Sunshine Village boasts one of the most interesting changes for the 2015/16 season. The old Teepee Town lift up Lookout Mountain has been replaced by Canada’s only heated chairlift. Seats are heated, protected by a transparent orange plastic bubble cover, and have foot rests.
Lake Louise Ski Resort
Aside from the addition to a fleet of new snow groomers, changes at Lake Louise for the 2015/16 season are mostly culinary related. The resort’s new executive chef, Scott Green, has swapped the bright lights of Las Vegas for the cooler climes in the Canadian Rockies. He’s introduced a sushi bar in the Lodge of the Ten Peaks and added a smokehouse to the always popular Kokanee Kabin.
With the approval of a 5-to 15-year long range resort plan, changes at Marmot—including a massive expansion of snowmaking and more open glades on Milk Run, Elevator Chutes and Little Chicago—are on the way. Those that ski (and eat) here regularly may also notice healthier food choices in the day lodge for the 2015/16 season.
Nakiska Ski Resort
Super cheap season passes offered again this season are sure to mean large weekend crowds. What’s new? More snowmaking and expanded tree clearing through the Monster Glades will be worth checking out.
Kicking Horse Mountain Resort
Kicking Horse’s reputation as an ideal destination for expert skiers still applies, but the resort has cut two new runs across the mid-mountain for beginners (without affecting the fall lines on existing expert runs).
New gladed runs have been cut through Taynton Bowl, the haunt of expert skiers looking for fresh powder and tree skiing, adding around 60 acres to the resort’s total. Gladed runs include Kinbasket, Ktunaxa to Devil’s Drop, Heli High, Lower Stumbocks’s and White Room. Access to the bowl has also been improved, with a new trail running along the rim of the bowl. After a devastating 2013 fire, the 1000 Peaks Summit Lodge has been rebuilt in a configuration that includes 37 kitchen-equipped slopeside condos.