Skiing Austrian Tirol v Canadian Rockies??

Skiing Austrian Tirol v Canadian Rockies??
Started by Alpine Flower in Canada - 11 Replies
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Jan-2016
Alpine Flower
Would appreciate any thoughts from skiers who have skied in both places - looking at overall picture, including accommodation, skiing, snow, budget/food costs, apres, instruction...........! Trying to decide about a future trip before retirement. Thank you.
Jan-2016
AnnB
We have skied both a number of times and enjoyed both, it depends when you are thinking of going, which resorts and what kind of skiing you like. Given the choice I think we would always choose Canada over Europe, we've skied Banff, Lake Louise, Sunshine, Fernie and Whistler. The snow can be really good in Canada and we like the wider ski areas, but mountain restaurants are usually not as good as Austria. The exchange rate is good for Canada currently. We also went to Kitzbuhel recently and enjoyed skiing there and we like St.Anton and Saalbach. Austria has more traditional character but Canada has good service and manages lift queues really well. Canada also offer free ski hosting services if you would like someone to guide you around the mountain or if you are skiing alone. Let me know if we can help with any specific questions
Jan-2016
CanadianSkier
The food at Canadian resorts is very expensive, but at least the quality is low...

Always follow the 20cm rule!
Jan-2016
Ranchero_1979
The big question is what time of year as some areas of Canada are essentially no go zones in some months.

Banff great, but horrible in early Jan as just too Cold. Bit of a logistical mess as well. Lake Louise definitely had best skiing but is 45 min away.

Whistler not great late season as too mild. Not a massive fan of the town either, everything seems to be part of Whistler mountain resort so completely devoid of character.

Only thing that would make me ski in Canada again would be Island Lake Lodge as just looks amazing. For tree skiing Europe can't compete for everything else no comparison; head to the Alps.
Jan-2016
Alpine Flower
Hi to you all,

Thanks so much for your replies which are really helpful and helping with our decision! We normally ski in early January (for a number of reasons but budget is also a big factor) so it sounds as if it could be pretty cold in Canada then, colder than Austria. We expect cold of course (!!) but some temperatures and conditions are easier to manage than others! CanadianSkier I am intrigued by your comment about the food quality being 'low' - that says to me that it's not great, but I'm not sure if that's what you meant? And did you mean food on the mountain, or in resort?

If we are to consider a trip to Canada, ideally we really like to feel that it will be right for us because it would seriously blow the budget! And we would need to go for 10 days which means additional costs, but a week wouldn't be long enough to get sorted, get enough skiing in, and adjust to the time difference (although this isn't usually a problem for us). Unless anyone has been for a week and found it to be OK ......?!

We may possibly only be able to ski once or twice more so it's very helpful reading about other people's experiences as we try to figure out whether to stick with what we already love, or try to find the extra in order to try out the Canadian Rockies (if so, thinking along the lines of Banff / Lake Louise).

Any further comments will be welcome, it's all interesting reading! Thank you.
Jan-2016
Ranchero_1979
Early Jan is definitely best time for Whistler, plenty of cold powder and worth a night in Vancouver which is brilliant city.
For me apart from the January cold, you need to be renting a car to enjoy Banff. Lake Louise would be like me living in Chamonix and skiing in Aosta/Pila every day, is just a bit too far. I hop on a bus every morning but this is a full on coach ride. Friends who stayed in Chateau Lake Louise ended up coming to Banff every night to enjoy the town which is fun, so is not even easy to find the right compromise. Not all bad, I did manage to buy a cowboy hat and saw a moose.
Never been but the US resort like Park City has more appeal if you are after city skiing. Gondola to center of town must really open up accommodation and food options if there are budget considerations.
Edited 1 time. Last update at 28-Jan-2016
Jan-2016
CanadianSkier
Hi Guys, I'll clarify my food comment. Of course you can get great food on a Canadian vacation, TripAdvisor is usually pretty accurate. My experience with "resort food", the stuff you get in the food line in the lodge at lunchtime, well, let's say for $15 you'll get a burger McDonald's would be embarrassed to sell for $5.

I don't get where the Cold comment came from. Perhaps I'm just used to it. I live just a little south of Calgary, which means I can make a day trip to Sunshine. The average temp for Sunshine Village in Jan is -7c ( http://www.skibig3.com/faqs/ ). I don't consider that cold. Today it's +1c. I was there a few weeks back and it never got below -10. I guess cold is relative. It can get a bit windy on the Chairlift at times. It's the mountains.

Most of the rest of Ranchero's advice I'd say is accurate. Again, if you stay in Banff and drive 45 mins to LakeLouise, is that a long drive? That's up to you. It is fun to be in town in the evening.

Here's another perspective. Do you plan a ski vacation based solely on the quality of the skiing? Last year when Western Canada's ski industry shut down, I did a trip East and skied Quebec, Maine and Vermont. With flights and hotels etc. it was quite expensive. By my standards (living on the Eastern Slopes of the Rookies) the sking sucked. Crowded slopes, icy conditions, flat hills, did I say crowded?? People clamoring for freshly groomed. My point is, my vacation was wrapped around skiing, but the best part was being somewhere different. The people, the food, the different culture (especially in Quebec). It was a wonderful vacation I'd repeat anytime.

Here is something else to consider, IF Canada is still on the radar, spend some time on the net and explore the smaller market hills like Fernie, Kicking horse. Great skiing, Very Canadian towns close by, friendly people. A very different experience from the tourist traps of Banff.

Hope this helps.

Glad to answer any other questions.
Always follow the 20cm rule!
Jan-2016
Dave Mac
I have done a lot of skiing in many places, including Canada and Tirol. A key downside of Whistler and Blackcomb is the coastal proximity. Hence there are frequent white-outs or bad visability. The skiing is good, particularly on the glacier. There is little in the way of tradition.

Tirol has a range of varied skiing, but also has varied life style offers, from traditional, (over 1000 years old) buildings and churches, to modern.

Yes, the skiing is important, but many set this into the context of total lifestyle.

The following will affect few people, ~ apart from being a long time skier, I am something of an alpine artist. In Canada, the age of mountain buildings painted are about 40 years. In Tirol, it lies between 500 and 1000 years old. This is reflected in the paintings, but also in our vision of real life.

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