Alberta resorts are posting one heck of a good year. Snowstorms cycled through the Canadian Rockies keeping conditions prime for skiing and snowboarding. The strong winter of snow bodes well for spring skiing.
Castle Mountain Resort, which provides a benchmark with all-natural snow, is tooting its horn. "Castle is having a fantastic year," Andrew Rusynyk, vice president, told us. "La Nina years have always been good to Castle, resulting in above average snowfall and the snow pack this year is very stable on anything in-bounds that has been skied, including our cat skiing terrain."
Skiers and riders have been showing up to hit one powder day after another. "Having the best conditions in Alberta has put Castle on target for a record year of skier and snowboarder visits," added Rusynyk.
Nakiska is boasting about conditions in the Kananaskis, too. The resort pumps up a nearly resort-wide snowmaking system early season to make a solid snow pack, but winter brings in a mix of natural snow. "The end of January brought regular snowfalls to Nakiska, bumping the snowfall and settled snow pack to above average," General Manager Jan Sekerak told us. "The unbelievable timing of snowfalls made weekend skiers enjoying snow normally reserved for midweek lucky ones."
But snow can go big during spring in the Alberta Rockies. "February and March historically are the snowiest months here," said Sekerak. "We can have great skiing to continue until the end of the season." For Nakiska, that means operating daily through April 17 and then tacking on a bonus long weekend after that.
The Banff and Lake Louise area posted top snowfall, too. "Sunshine had the best January in five years," spokesperson Doug Firby told us. "That's about 50 percent more than the January average over a 30-year period. The trend continued into February, as well, with snowfalls consistently above average." Snowfall at Lake Louise Ski Area and Mt. Norquay has also been pushing beyond the average.
Alberta traditionally runs a long spring ski season with Lake Louise, Marmot Basin, and Sunshine Village usually staying open into May. "Because of Sunshine's elevation at 7,200 feet at village level, we will be able to hold onto this snow right through to the May 23 Slush Cup end-of-season celebration," added Firby. "Spring skiing should be exceptional."
Sunshine Village posted the best January in five years, and conditions continued into February.