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JimK

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JimK last won the day on March 31

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About JimK

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  1. Spring Gathering 2018

    Where's the envy emoji? Mt. Washington looks glorious!
  2. No wonder Sears is failing...

    there is a sears about four miles from me. i go there about once a year. was there a few days ago looking at lawn mowers, eventually bought one at home depot. i bought a cannister vacuum cleaner a couple years ago from sears and it's been good. but i hear you. sears is a ghost town every time i go there. capitalism at work. besides being beaten out by online shopping, they also have to compete with home depot, lowes, walmart, target, etc. sears, penneys, kmart all going down soon.
  3. I could write about five typed pages on this question:-) If you want to do some bone crushing in great snow conditions on high testosterone terrain - Snowbird. If you want more bone crushing skiing on high testosterone terrain with even better scenery - Jackson Hole. If you want to have fun exploring a wide variety of terrain, while enjoying beautiful lodges and lifts - Snowbasin. If you want the absolute best chance of primo snow conditions in legendary terrain on a mountain where every little nook and cranny has a nickname - Alta. If you want 5000+ vertical feet of trees with 69 trails and a handful of alpine bowls thrown-in, but not many people - Revelstoke. If you want a nice variety of terrain and a great, unpretentious vibe among some of the most spectacular scenery in the ski world - Lake Louise. If you want some beautiful intermediate skiing with a dash of exciting black diamonds and some very cool mid-mountain accommodations - Sunshine Village. If you enjoy a more intimate mountain with great history, scenery, and some killer bumps and trees - Mt. Norquay. I hope to return to Utah quite often in the future because of a family connection, but this was my first time in the Banff area and I really liked the combination and close proximity of the Big 3 (LL, SSV, Norquay) because of the following factors during my visit: good snow, terrain variety, beautiful scenery, non-ski attractions, low key vibe, and good affordability.
  4. First world problems

    Feeling a little blue. Season's over. Getting ready to go get a bunch of mulch for yardwork. Grass is growing and flowers blooming down here. May start playing golf again in a week or two:-)
  5. As you know, I favor longer visits over weekends, because just about all major western ski areas can take several days to get a good sampling. I would say the Big 3 in Banff deserve a full week visit. With MCP that would mean taking advantage of all five free days offered on that pass; i. e., at least two days each at LL and SSV and one day at Norquay. You would definitely want one or two non-ski days to visit the incredible hotels like Fairmont Chateau LL and Banff Springs Hotel and just walk around town. I combined a day of hiking with a visit to the famous Banff Hot Springs, but the springs facility, while scenic, is a little thread-worn and could be done in an evening after skiing. For skiing alone I would rank LL as most interesting to advanced skiers, SSV has some very nice above tree-line intermediate terrain. I couild ski either of those for many days. Because of the really nice slopeside lodging I had at SSV I stayed there for three straight ski days. Good thing, because visibility was not so great on first and third days (but fresh snow). we used avi gear to go into Delirium Dive on on second day, which was our clearest day and very beautiful. Norquay is much smaller than other two, but not tiny and of great scenic and historic interest. It's especially nice for families and worth a full day visit.
  6. The crowds were fine everywhere on my trip. Probably the busiest place was Mon and Tues March 12 and 13 at Jackson Hole, but often ski-on most lifts even there. We skied Louise on Sat 3/17 and it was fine for crowds even though they got more than a foot of snow about two days earlier. Local friends were surprised it wasn't busier. Sunshine was fine for next three days after that. When I ate at the Grizzly House (popular Banff restaurant with tourists) on Wed Mar 21 my wife and I just walked in about 6 PM without reservation and got seated immediately, although place was lively. I think this week Mar 24-31 is spring break for Calgary schools, so could be a different story now. Maybe that is what you hit last year? While in Canada I spent two nights in Revy, two nights in Banff, two nights mid-mtn at Sunshine and three nights in Canmore, then one night in Medicine Hat on drive home. Canmore is less touristy and possibly where wealthier 2nd home owners gather. It is just outside the Banff national park boundary. Wife found a good dinner special we enjoyed in Canmore on her smart phone at The Wood Restaurant for steak, potato, large side salad and one bottle kokanee beer that equated to $12.40 american total for one person. I travel widely to ski and this is not something I say often, but the Big 3 ski areas at Banff represent a destination I could possibly return to. These resorts are super beautiful with some very neat off-slope things to do. Lodging and dining are a good bargain for Americans right now due to favorable exchange rate. Access via highway from Calgary is a very gentle 90 minute climb with no hairy driving like what you can see from Denver to Summit County or from RNO/SMF/SFO to Lake Tahoe.
  7. I'm back in my cube at work today:-( I finished the drive back from the Rockies last night. The MCP worked very well. I used it for 16 "free" ski days and a handful of half-price days this winter during two trips to the West. During my long March road trip from Mar 1 - 26 I skied 16 of 20 days between Mar 4-23 at these MCP resorts: Utah: Snowbasin, Alta, Snowbird, Wyoming: Jackson Hole, British Columbia: Revelstoke, Alberta: Lake Louise, Sunshine Village (part of Sunshine's terrain is in BC), and Mt. Norquay. I put 7,070 miles on my car during this trip. I got a nice lodging discount (half-off full price) with the MCP to stay two nights at Sunshine Lodge, which was the accommodations highlight of the trip and a good bargain at about $150 per night. It's a very nice mid-mountain lodge at Sunshine Village ski area with a big hot tub and several dining options. It is accessible only by a long gondola (no car access) and that provided a really fun feeling of leaving the world behind for a total immersion in skiing. In the Banff area, the MCP got me two free days each at Lake Louise and Sunshine. It was also accepted for a single free day at Mt. Norquay, which I used as my final day of very enjoyable and scenic skiing in the Canadian Rockies before beginning the long road trip home. I had good to very good snow conditions everywhere I went on this trip and got powder days in UT, Revy, and Sunshine. I was quite fortunate that I also had good driving conditions everywhere on the trip. Completing thousands of miles of driving in the Rockies in winter without a hitch is not trivial. The Trans-Canadian Highway was closed occasionally during my visit to BC, but on the day we drove from Revy to Banff it opened just after we finished skiing and started our planned evening drive Eastward. Earlier in the trip we had one of our most memorable drives in a remote part of western Montana. We left I90 near Missoula around 8:30 PM to start heading north to Revelstoke. There was a motel at the exit, but I was not sleepy and decided to drive a little longer. We saw very little in the way of civilization from then on traveling two lane roads. At 10:30 PM we saw a gas station and the little Seeley Lake Motor Lodge. I was very glad to make stops at both! When we hit the road again in the morning it took another 90 miles before we came to the next motel/gas places near Kalispell, MT. Trip highlights: Best ski conditions: Mar 4 - 10 in Utah, Banff area later in the month was good too. Best scenery: tie between Lake Louise, Sunshine, and Mt. Norquay Best run: watching my son lap Corbet's Couloir at Jackson Hole, for me personally it was cool to do Delirium Dive at Sunshine Best meal: my wife made some nice homemade dinners during a week at my son's house in SLC, but dining out was probably at The Grizzly House in Banff. Best town: the Banff/Canmore area was really neat, and we did some fun things there besides skiing, such as soaking in Banff Hot Springs, doing high tea at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, snowshoeing on frozen Lake Louise, and hiking Johnston Canyon to see frozen waterfalls. The vibe walking around Banff was very down to earth and not pretentious at all. The English-speaking tourists looked very middle class, but there were also many foreigners, including many Asian visitors. Best lodging: the aforementioned Sunshine Lodge. It's mid-mtn location is really neat. They let us check-in at 11 AM on our first day. On our last day they let us check out at 1 PM and it snowed about one foot around the lodge and slopes. The skiing was great and when we took the gondola at the end of the day to go to our car there was no snow down there and the roads were clear all the way to Calgary. Best new friends: we met two friendly guys from Alberta while skiing with a group in UT. Two weeks later they guided us for two days at Louise and Sunshine and showed us all their favorite runs. Best surprise: the beauty and history at Mt. Norquay. I skied it on Mar 23 on what will probably be my last ski day of the winter. I got some great images/memories in my head to last until next season. Worst moment: getting hit on the head by the Summit platter after the last of multiple rides I took on that iconic surface lift Lake Louise. I was ok, but my helmet took a good little dent:-) My favorite goggles are getting worn out, so this might motivate me to get a new goggle/helmet combo for next year:-)
  8. Typing this as my wife and I near Fargo, ND, well into the return leg of our long road journey. 3/23/18 was my last ski day of the trip and it was a beauty. I went to Mt. Norquay, the oldest and smallest ski area in the Banff region. It was a great final sample of Western Canadian skiing and I really enjoyed its special blend of history and scenery. Since arriving in Utah on March 3 I skied 16 of 20 days. The first two were snowy days, but then I got a long stretch of sunny ski days in both Utah and Wyoming. However, since arriving in Canada about ten days ago I’ve seen a mix of sunny and cloudy/snowy days and while I’ve enjoyed some good powder, I’ve also learned not to take a good visibility day on the slopes for granted in the Canadian Rockies. 3/23 at Norquay was extremely scenic. They tell me this ski area goes back about 90 years. It has four chairs and two of them (North American double and Mystic quad) are significant with about 1650’ of vertical each and serving different terrain. The crown jewel at Norquay is the ancient NA center pole double chair. I believe it goes back to about the 1940s or 50s, but I don’t have internet right now to research details on it. It is set up in a sort of pulse mode with four chairs close together, and then a 200 yard gap until the next four chairs. They are in sync and slow down when arriving at loading and unloading zones. The lift serves nothing but double black diamond bumps and glades! It has some of the best scenery I’ve ever seen on a single lift. The Mystic serves good, but more conventional mixed level terrain and is where I did most of my runs. The other neat thing about Norquay is they gave me a free day on my MCP pass. Previously I got my two free days each at Louise and Sunshine (I also skied an extra day at half price at Sunshine). My motel for my last three nights in the Banff area was in the nearby town of Canmore and it was very nice too. It was a great trip, but I’m glad to be back in the USA and heading home. Here are some pics from Mt. Norquay.
  9. 3/21 I took a day off from skiing. Slept in, then wife and I hiked Johnston Canyon for an easy one hour hike to a lower waterfall (frozen, about 60' tall). Trail had pretty light traffic, but I suppose might be mobbed in summer, there were multiple large parking lots at base. Cool part was lengthy sections of boardwalk hung to rock walls above the creek. Then we went to Upper Banff Hot Springs for a soak that lasted probably longer than the amount of time we hiked:-) Then we went to Banff town and ate at a memorable restaurant called The Grizzly House. I had beef and chicken fondue cooked on my table top hot rock, with lots of dipping sauces, rosti and a big bottle of Czech pilsner. Wife had a steak. On 3/22 I skied Lake Louise again, enjoyed two hour free black diamond level mtn tour given by two LL "friends" (mtn hosts) including George C. and Cam. There were a bunch of americans with MRG stickers on their helmets in my tour group so it was a good skiing group. Then I did high tea with my wife at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, cost about $70 american before tip, but you pay for the ambiance. In general, dining out in Canada is about 25% cheaper than US. We snowshoed after the meal on picturesque Lake Louise for about an hour. This visit to the super classy/upscale Chateau scored brownie points with wife after putting her through brutal road trip for a non-skier to endure without the reward of slope time at the great resorts visited. Tomorrow I plan to ski Mt. Norquay, then eat a mtn top late lunch wife with and start drive home, which google maps tells me will take about 37 hours of road time. I plan to take 3.5 days to do it, a little less grueling schedule than the drive out to SLC three weeks ago.
  10. my wife doesn't ski anymore, but we enjoyed lift served snowshoeing on two afternoons is super scenery. on our last morning at sunshine we woke up to about 6" snow and it snowed 6 more during the day for some excellent powder turns, what send off. best part was when we left mtn at 3pm to take son to calgary airport, there was no snow at our car at base parking lot or on highway to calgary, strictly a mtn top storm for us alone! skied 14 of last 17 days, son skied something like 17 of 18. i think he finally got tired, but spent last few days tracking weather at his home mtn of snowbird where they have been getting bombed and more expected there on mar 23. resting today, will ski one more day each at louise and norquay, then start long drive home. believe it or not, I look forward to the driving days to rest my body before going back to work next week in wash dc. we will travel about 7000 miles before we are done. i owe wife big time for all road time and motel jumping while me and son chase snow and mtns.
  11. Some of these pics show a posse of four of us and on second day we did Delirium Dive, which required avi gear. we only had two sets of avi packs, so we took turns in pairs going up there. Unless you took the really sporty entry my son took, you had to walk down a set of stairs to enter Del Dive bowl. The sketchiest part was putting skis back on a bottom of those stairs on tight, rocky and icy surface with drop offs all around. If you lost control of a ski stepping in binding it was going to be big trouble collecting it, possibly far away in steep and deep snow.
  12. just finished three days at Sunshine. Stayed at the mid-mtn Sunshine Lodge at elev 7100. One of the best slopeside situations I've ever enjoyed. Small crowds, great snow and scenery and good value at about $150 per night due to MCP discount and favorable exchange rate. They let us check in at 11am and checkout at 1pm, essentially giving us three days at hotel for two nights lodging. bunch of photos from sunshine
  13. Lake Louise, first time, on St Paddy's Day - possibly the most beautiful spot I have ever skied!! Banff is a real nice town too, not stuffy in the areas I visited. All the high rollers must be in the big chateau hotels. Off to Sunshine today, new snow!
  14. More Revy from 3/16, the more I ski this place the more there is to like. It's an insane tree skier's paradise, but also some nice open alpine bowls. Regular tree lined runs are super long. There were as many or more snowmobilers in the town of Revelstoke as skiers. Talk about an expensive sport!! mid-mtn lodge at Revy this is the stoke chair and the great tree skiing is on both side of lift line, trees go for 5000+ vert. north bowl again heading down greely bowl
  15. yes, saw boarder do a controlled feet-first belly slide down the steep step-in, then he got on his feet and finished run. some skiers were doing a more sporty entry, no step-in, just ski-in straight drop!

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