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Start of ski season arrives in Banff, nears in Calgary and throughout the Rockies


Record-setting snowfall in Calgary of late has skiers and snowboards salivating at the prospect of returning to the hills and the first resorts are now open for the 2022-23 season.

Jump to:
Lake Louise - Banff Norquay - Nakiska - Banff Sunshine Village - Marmot Basin
Castle Mountain Resort
- Fernie Alpine Resort - Revelstoke Mountain Resort
Kicking Horse Mountain Resort
- Panorama Mountain Resort
Kimberley Alpine Resort - WinSport - Fairmont Hot Springs Ski Area

OPENED Nov. 3: Banff Sunshine Village

Banff Sunshine Village was originally scheduled to open on Thursday, Nov. 10 but Kendra Scurfield, director of brand and communications, encouraged skiers and snowboarders to keep an eye on the resort's website and social media accounts as there is a chance that date could be moved up if conditions remain favourable.

The resort opened for the season on Thursday, Nov. 3.

Scurfield tells CTV News that guests will reap the benefits of the resort's brand new winch cat that is capable of grooming steep terrain with a 500-metre cable attached to an anchor above.

The resort's terrain parks will offer new features this upcoming season.

The Java Lift Coffee Shop in the village has undergone a facelift and now includes artwork made out of the old pull ropes from the gondola and chairlifts. Guests will also find a new smoothie bar in the main day lodge.

Scurfield says Sunshine Supercards will offer increased discounts compared to recent years.

OPENED Nov. 4: Lake Louise Ski Resort

Lake Louise Ski Resort received a dump of snow on Oct. 27 ahead of its planned opening on Nov. 4. (photo courtesy: Lake Louise Ski Resort)

Lake Louise Ski Resort was among the first out of the blocks as it opened to skiers on Friday, Nov. 4.

"Our forecast for the next four days is looking great with Mother Nature hopefully helping us out a bit as we continue our snowmaking preparations," said marketing and communications manager Leigha Stankewich in an email to CTV News Calgary in late October.

Stankewich says Lake Louise Ski Resort guests will benefit from "huge snowmaking equipment upgrades" as the state-of-the-art system has been bolstered by 48 energy-efficient snow guns and kilometres of underground pipe.

OPENED Nov. 4: Banff Norquay

Banff Norquay ski resort is scheduled to open for the 2022-23 season on Nov. 4. (photo courtesy: Banff Norquay)

Norquay opened for the season on Friday, Nov. 4.

The resort, located a short drive from the Banff townsite, will be reopening its Artillery Chutes — a "steep and deep" area off the North American chairlift offering "untouched powder turns late into the day."

Norquay will be opening fresh lines through recently gladed trees off the Mystic Express Chair that are expected to allow learners to master all types of terrain.

Nov. 10: Marmot Basin

Banff Norquay ski resort is scheduled to open for the 2022-23 season on Nov. 4. (photo courtesy: Banff Norquay)

Charlotte Dyer, a Marmot Basin spokesperson, confirms the resort in Jasper National Park received 37 centimetres of light Rockies powder on Oct. 27 and is targetting an opening day of Thursday, Nov. 10. Marmot Basin has been making snow to prepare the base for what's expected to be a fantastic season.

The resort has expanded parking lots 1 through 4, creating an additional 300 parking spots, and has brought back the Marmot Basin Escape Card that offers half price life tickets all season long to cardholders.

Nov. 11 (Preview weekend): Nakiska Ski Area

Snow making at Nakiska on Oct. 26. Resort officials say the guns are producing enough snow to fill five Olympic-size pools each day. (photo courtesy: Nakiska)

Nakiska's preview weekend is tentatively scheduled for Remembrance Day, Friday Nov. 11, but, as of late October, officials encouraged skiers and snowboarders to keep an eye on the resort's website as there's a chance the date could be moved up as snow is already falling in Kananaskis.

"We can make tons of snow (and magic happen!)," teased Nakiska officials in a statement. "Nakiska, having one of the largest snowmaking systems in Western Canada, has gone through a massive upgrade this winter - with the installation of new pumps, environmentally friendly snow guns and a strategic investment in creating a dual access system, so when the temperatures are right, with the push of a button we can activate a lower and upper system."

Matt Mosteller, Resorts of the Canadian Rockies spokesperson, tells CTV News that visitors to "the closest mountain to Calgary" will see huge upgrades to the tubing area and increased grooming power as a result of the hill's tier 4 grooming cats that burn less fuel and create less emissions.

Nov. 25: WinSport (according to website)

  • As of early Thursday afternoon, WinSport has not responded to CTV News' request for comment

Dec. 2: Castle Mountain Resort

Beavan Sara, Castle Mountain Resort's grooming manager, documented the snow at the upper reaches of the resort on Oct. 27. (courtesy: Castle Mountain Resort)

Cole Fawcett, Castle Mountain Resort spokesperson, tells CTV News that the resort near Pincher Creek received "an early and bountiful snowfall" this past weekend but temperatures have not been consistently cold enough to begin making snow.

"Snow making equipment is in position and our snow making team is ready to go, at a moment's notice. Snow cats have also already been active, as we try to keep the snow that's already fallen, in place, by packing it down (track packing, as we refer to it)."

In excess of 40 centimetres of snow has been recorded at the mid-mountain snow plot.

Fawcett says the resort's upgrades over the last few years — a new drive in the Tamarack Chairlift, the acquisition of the Castle Ski Lodge, new flooring in the day lodge and bring natural gas to Castle — will continue to pay dividends.  

"The past few seasons have been kind to us, despite challenges surrounding operating during the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are hopeful and optimistic for another great season, this season. We are proud of our recent reinvestments in the experience of our guests and look forward reinvesting future profits back into further upgrades / enhancements, in the years to come."  

Dec. 3: Fernie Alpine Resort

The resort with "the most alpine bowl skiing experience, and the biggest vertical in the Canadian Rockies", has set Saturday, Dec. 3 as the tentative season opener.

Mosteller of Resorts of the Canadian Rockies says visitors to the resort in B.C.'s East Kootenays will encounter "legendary powder" supported by new snowmaking guns. Guests who stay at the ski-in, skit-out Lizard Creek Lodge on the property will encounter all new furnishings in the main lodge units and the Ice Bar will be open this winter.

Dec. 3: Revelstoke Mountain Resort

A skier at Revelstoke Mountain Resort appears in this 2021 photo. The resort plans to open for the 2022-23 season on Dec.3. (photo: Hywel Williams)

Laura Meggs, Revelstoke Mountain Resort communications manager, confirms to CTV News that the resort is scheduled to open on Saturday, Dec. 3.

"We are looking forward to the 2022-23 season and welcoming back our neighbours and visitor from all over the world!" said Meggs. "This season we will be offering the same amazing terrain, snow and vibes that we're famous for. If you want to get first dibs on fresh tracks, we offer an awesome First Tracks program & First Tracks Breakfast Club."

The resort is participating in the IKON & Mountain Collective this winter that allows pass holders to experience multiple resorts.

Dec. 9: Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

The resort near Revelstoke, B.C., slated to open on Friday, Dec. 9,  continues to offer one of the biggest verticals and the most chutes of any ski area in North America.

Mosteller tells CTV News that guests will benefit from enhanced work on the slopes completed in the summer and continued improvements to the recently acquired terrain in the Ozone section of the resort.

Dec. 9: Panorama Mountain Resort

Skiers walking the ridge in Taynton Bowl during the 2021-22 ski season at Panorama Mountain Resort. (photo courtesy: Panorama Mountain Resort)

Steve Paccagnan, president and CEO of Panorama Mountain Resort says there's significant reason for optimism regarding the upcoming ski season that's expected to kickoff on Friday, Dec. 9.

"Pre-season preparation is progressing nicely. The upper reaches of the mountain have received good early snowfall and our snowmaking teams have been working through the night to take advantage of the cold temperatures down low," said Paccagnan in a statement emailed to CTV News.

"The momentum and excitement for the winter ahead is massive. We've been busy over the summer with a multi-million dollar hotel refurbishment and we look forward to welcoming guests to The Approach when it launches in December. We've also invested in a second Monster X passenger snowcat, added more state-of-the-art snowmaking and are continuing with terrain improvements on the mountain and in our Nordic area."

Dec. 16: Kimberley Alpine Resort

October snow at Kimberley Alpine Resort. The resort is expected to open for the 2022-23 season on Dec. 16. (Image: Resorts of the Canadian Rockies)

Mosteller tells CTV News that, following its scheduled opening on Friday, Dec. 16, visitors to Kimberley Alpine Resort will encounter a fully revamped North Star Express Quad Chair that will allow for quick laps of the front and backside of the mountain. The resort has also added a new, environmentally friendlier grooming cat.

Dec. 16: Fairmont Hot Springs Ski Area

Peter Harding, ski area manager of Fairmont Hot Springs Resort, confirms to CTV News that the resort in Fairmont Hot Springs, B.C. is scheduled to open for the season on Dec. 16.

Harding says the ski area has improved its now automated snow making system with new Techno Alpine snow guns and the replacement of its water lines.

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