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Sasquatch_Surfer

Big Board or Little Board for Banff area resorts?

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Heading to Banff for a few days and plan to ride the areas around there; Norquay, Sunshine, and Lake Louise,
I have never been there and would like recommendations for what board to bring (I can bring only 1). I am fortunate to have several to choose from, but big question is, bring a board that can make big turns and carry speed better or smaller more nimble board to make smaller turns and keep things in the lower speed ranges? I have seen some comments that thos areas can be crowded and may not have a lot of 'carving' terrain, but don't know what context to take those in, having never been there.

Any recommendations? 

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I've never ridden Norquay, but the intel is that it's steep, very steep. You might want something shorter for that.

For Sunshine and Louise though, you'll want something bigger. There's plenty of wide, wide open runs there that are amazing for a big board.

"Crowded" is very much relative. It might be a little busier this weekend, as we're getting a warmup after a couple of very cold weeks that will have kept people away from the hills. But Norquay is rarely busy, and Sunshine and Louise can swallow large numbers of people. On a normal midwinter weekend like this one, you'll have plenty of room to play, and if you're staying midweek, you'll probably wonder where all the people are.

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It's been a few years, but I remember being stressed on a 14m sidecut board at both Sunshine and Louise.  I recall a few wide but many narrow runs, but maybe it was just the choices we made.  I had way more fun on a 10.5m radius board!  

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None of those resorts are what I would think of as carving hills.  If you are fortunate enough to get a lot of snow, especially at Sunshine they are not in a hurry to groom it except for a few runs.

If you bring a big gun, you will limit the number of runs you can have fun on.  Bring something in the middle.  If you are comfy in the steep and/or bumpy, you will be able to explore a lot more of those hills.

OTOH there are some fantastic carving spots if they are groomed.  On Sunshine, look to the run skier's left off the Great Divide chair (South Divide), wide-open above tree-line bliss, you can really haul ass if it's not too crowded.  There's no better place to be on earth if it is sunny and good conditions.  Also the easier stuff off Goat's Eye: there's a long open blue run from top to bottom called Sunshine Coast that is good.  It includes a long section of cat track with lots of runs off it until the end continuing Sunshine Coast.  If you turn too early you can be in some double-diamond stuff but if you turn one run before the end, you'll be on Wildfire which is a little steeper but also great for carving.

At Louise, you want the Ladies' and Men's Downhills, Juniper and lower Meadowlark on the frontside, plus Wolverine and Larch chair on the backside.  Juniper and Meadowlark tend to be high-traffic pipelines especially later in the day.  Get there early and you can have lots of fun on them.

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Wildfire is my fave run off Goat's Eye. It's great when they half-groom it, so you can ride the line from groom to pow and back again ... super fun.

There's also some good uncrowded runs heading down to the Teepee Town chair at Sunshine, but they're a little narrower. And my favourite warmup there is a couple of laps of Wolverine Chair. Short, sharp, fast, and nobody on it first thing in the morning ... point and go.

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That's a reminder: one of my favourite carving things to do at Sunshine is lap the liftline run under Jackrabbit Chair (Fireweed).  Everyone just uses Jackrabbit Chair to aid getting from the village to Goat's Eye, but Fireweed is a short well-groomed black run that is super fun to carve and usually empty.

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Thanks for all the info! Looking forward to the visit. 
I will be riding softies, so am leaning towards my Donek Incline which is 168cm x 30cm and has a VSR of 9-11, which is kind of big by soft boot standards, but should be good for some bigger and some not so big shapes, maybe not the right tool for the tight stuff, but forecast looks like there won't be much fresh snow, so should be fine for the groomed and open terrain.

If anyone will be around, plan is to go to Sunshine on Friday (Jan 13), Norquay on Sat, then Lake Louise on Monday (16th). Will trade beverages for mountain guide services :)

custom-169-incline.jpg

  

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That will be a great board.  Skip Norquay and do two days at either of the other two, in my view.

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Thanks to everyone for chiming in with the info. Trip was great and all the recommendations were solid. Especially liked yoyo-ing the Jackrabbit chair at Sunshine and the downhill runs at Lake Louise. Conditions were best at Sunshine, cold, but sun was out, and grooming was good, a little fresh off the sides, and no lift lines. Norquay could have used a bunch more snow, steeps were ridable, but had a lot of shrubbery showing. Lake Louise would be pretty fun after a good snow dump, where I did venture off piste, the conditions were pretty firmly packed powder. Grooms were firm, but plenty carvable, Light crowd, no real lift lines. The Summit Platter one long platter lift :) 

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1 hour ago, Sasquatch_Surfer said:

The Summit Platter one long platter lift :) 

And steep!  I can only manage a couple of laps on that one and I go looking for a chair.  It gives you access to Whitehorn 2 though, if the snow is good that run is unbelievable.

Glad you had fun!

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Ha. Last time I was at Louise I made the mistake of trying to take the Summit lift when my legs were already toast. I didn't even make it half way up :-)

Glad you had a good trip! We need some more snow now. It's been ridiculously warm and snow free for a couple of weeks now.

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Wow, the FB page makes it seem like it is always snowing there. I am coming with my Coiler BX for the week riding Sunday on.

Have they gotten any snow since the 26th?

 

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Nope, but there's some in the forecast for this weekend. It's very cold there right now - minus 24C in Banff this morning - but warming up a few degrees and the wind dropping by Sunday. Looks like your timing is good.

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