Real Ski Report: A tale of 2 mountains

The arrival of cold and snowy weather can mean only one thing — the return of the Real Ski Report for another season.

There's excellent snowfall up high but it's a little thin down low

Real Ski Report

6 years ago
Duration 1:49
Paul Karchut offers the first Real Ski Report of the season

The arrival of cold and snowy weather can mean only one thing — the return of the Real Ski Report for another season.

Conditions in southern Alberta are like a tale of two mountains right now — excellent snowfall up high but a little thin down low due to warm temperatures and even some rain seen in the valleys well into fall.

That's been good news for the last month or so at Sunshine Village as skiers and snowboarders have been able to take the gondola up to where the conditions are best.

Delirium Dive had one of its earliest openings ever a couple of weeks back but more snow is needed before Goat's Eye is operational, the only lift not open yet at the hill.

John Hornak was at Sunshine on Thursday and called in a report.

"The snow is actually really, really good, the coverage everywhere is pretty good," he said.

"There's a couple sticks and stones to be careful of on Headwall and somewhat on Standish, up top on Angel and Continental is really good," he said.

Weekend should offer awesome turns

"It is going to get really cold next week, apparently, but this weekend should offer some awesome turns all over the mountain."

Meanwhile, the Women's World Cup races are slated for Lake Louise this weekend, where the Men's World Cup had to be cancelled in November due to a lack of snow.

Conditions are better now, but only one run — Wiwaxy — is open all the way to the bottom and it's a little icy in spots.

Alex Armstrong says the skiing is actually pretty good once you get up high.

"There's tons of coverage, I would even call it almost mid-season coverage in spots," she said.

"And we've been having lots of different types of wind so things that don't normally fill in very well early season are filling in well. It seems like we're getting refreshed in the back bowls pretty much every day. Down low is still pretty thin below mid-station but hopefully by next week we should have a few more beginning-type runs open."

To help celebrate this weekend's Women's World Cup, every adult who buys a lift ticket will get two children's day passes for free.

Fernie opens Friday and Revelstoke is slated to open Saturday.

And just like the Banff area, those mountains have good conditions up high but could use more snow in the lower portion.

Ryland Nelson offered a report from Fernie, where you'll have to ride the chair to the bottom, at least on opening day.

"Lots of snow on the top of the mountain, that's what they're going to open up, we've got the White Pass Chair and the Polar Chair. This will be a first that they've got the Polar Chair open right off the bat … And there's more snow and cold weather on the way so they'll get some snow guns blasting and fill in the bottom."

Late start but conditions improving

Norquay and Nakiska will be open seven-days-a-week starting this weekend and Kicking Horse, Kimberley and Panorama are scheduled to do the same next weekend.

As for cross-country skiing, this season is off to a bit of a late start in Kananaskis Country but conditions are beginning to improve.

Bob Truman has already logged a few hundred kilometres on the trails around Lake Louise.

"On Moraine Lake Road and The Great Divide," he said.

"Just waiting for the Nordic Centre to get more trails going, they're making snow like crazy with this cold weather. Moraine Lake couldn't be any better than it is, it's got cold snow, good tracks, nice wide skating lanes, it's just a long drive for everybody from Calgary."


Paul Karchut

CBC Calgary

Paul is the host of Daybreak Alberta, heard across the province every weekend. He's been with CBC since 2005, twelve years of which were spent as the director of the Calgary Eyeopener. You've also heard his national car column, Karchut on Cars, on morning shows across the country for years. Join Paul weekend mornings across Alberta from 6-9.