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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    111

    Banff Area Skiing in May

    The girlfriend and I are flying into Calgary (cheap flights from Denver) on Friday, renting a wicked camper van, and dicking off for a week. Typically we drive and camp out of our own rig, so loading it up with gear for all the activities and figuring it out as we go is no problem. Since we'll be paying to bring skis with us this round I'd like to make sure they get used - or left at home. Any beta on what's good, or at least not awful, this time of year? She's a competent but shy skier, so we probably won't be able to knock out anything too steep or narrow. We have our avy certs and more importantly are pretty terrified of slides/aren't blatant idiots.
    Open ears to any other must do's/see's in the area. We're planning on climbing a few days, getting some trail runs in, and otherwise being tourists
    Last edited by miker27; 05-16-2018 at 12:29 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Perdition
    Posts
    666
    Talk to mntlion, he's a Barff local.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    heart in terrace, ass in cowtown
    Posts
    2,607
    Sunshine is still open with great coverage. you could probably stay on hill for cheap (ish) check out mtnLion's "how to ski Banff " thread.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    111
    Thanks for pointing me towards that thread, good stuff. I'd prefer to tour because we're about to be super in debt as the lady starts PT school next month. And because touring is fun. We'll be staying in the janky looking camper we have rented; which will probably be as much as a hotel with the camping fees. I'm no big patriot but I already miss the national forest land we have here

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    san diego
    Posts
    815
    Quote Originally Posted by miker27 View Post
    We'll be staying in the janky looking camper we have rented; which will probably be as much as a hotel with the camping fees. I'm no big patriot but I already miss the national forest land we have here
    National parks like Banff are similar to any national parks in the US, camping regulations and all. There is plenty of free dispersed camping on non-park crown land just like there is on national forest / BLM land. But you are faced with a cluster of national and provincial parks around Banff which is why camping seems restricted. Once you get beyond those parks onto regular crown land you can head up almost any forest road and dispersed camp. There used to be tons of open camping up the forestry trunk road (#40) north of Hwy 1, though I heard it was getting reigned in. I think otherwise you'd have to go a ways south or pretty much to Golden before you'd get out of the parks.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Banff
    Posts
    19,185
    valley bottom is in biking/hiking mode. mid range is muddy or spring snow. high elevation is winter.

    check out the N facing stuff, between lake louise and and Jasper, lots of options for some steep stuff. For more mellow, be away of snow vs glacier transitions (crevasse issues)


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Fresh Lake City
    Posts
    2,973
    the wife and I skied around peyto lake/bow summit a few years back in may when we were in the banff area. Pretty easy access. Fun skiing and scenic AF

    and I thought the canadian national park campgrounds were rad. Part of your campground fees gets you all the free wood you'd like! heard the campgrounds can get rowdy as you get closer to summer......

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    111
    I probably came of more crotchety about the camping situation than I am - happy to spend money where it's going to good use and I'm not really comparing apples to apples on national forest/blm land.

    Good beta though, many thanks

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Banff
    Posts
    19,185
    for drop/disperse camping, this is your closest to lake louise. free, but might not be worth the gas ?

    https://www.google.com/maps/@51.9601...4591101,11.94z


  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    san diego
    Posts
    815
    It should be nice in the parks with fewer tourists than summer peak season. Should be no problem getting camping sites, and there are some great ones right on lakes.

    Heading south into Kananaskis country / Peter Lougheed Provincial park is also a good bet. I know nothing about skiing but there should be some good hiking open by now.

    Don't forget bear (wildlife) safety. Some trails in Banff used to get closed to some uses or had minimum group sizes
    https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/mtn/ou...seajour-update
    http://www.wildsmart.ca/trail-closures.htm

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    in the trench
    Posts
    5,006

    Banff Area Skiing in May

    Tons of good skiing still. Lots around lake Louise . Fairview,Surprise pass, st piran, divide glacier(mt niblock )can be quick skis. Up the parkway crowfoot is a mellow north face tour(backside as described in the chic Scott book). Bow summit, observation, cirque peak are roadside quickies

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Calgary/Golden
    Posts
    5,330
    Any organized campground will be full this weekend. Lots of people taking off already to stretch their long weekend out.
    It doesn't matter if you're a king or a little street sweeper...
    ...sooner or later you'll dance with the reaper
    -Death

    Kaz is my co-pilot

    www.highwaytechnical.com

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Banff
    Posts
    19,185
    Quote Originally Posted by Caucasian Asian View Post
    Any organized campground will be full this weekend. Lots of people taking off already to stretch their long weekend out.
    and a LOT of disorganized camping will happen too. both in and out of the park.


  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    111
    Thanks again for all the info - awesome. We're pretty good at winging it; no major itinerary and no expectations usually turns out fun. I'll try to swing through an MEC or other shop for a skiing guidebook - sounds like there's a lot to choose from even now. Plus we'll need bear spray or the girlfriend will maul me herself. Bells are packed.
    Good camping info, too. I don't think we're going to be able to get away with much stealth camping in our rental, but it seems like the overflow lots will work as a worst case. I hope..

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