Thursday, 12 January 2012

Ski day 21: Hardpack express

Vert: 7,520 m    YTD cum vert: 112,300 m
Runs: 22    YTD cum runs: 271

I normally ski at Sunshine, but today was a special day. The second Thursday of every month, lift tickets at Mt. Norquay are only $2. That's not a typo. Two bucks. A single tooney (and GST is included, so it's really $2, not $2.10). I figure I'm worth that splurge, and depending on conditions, I like some of Norquay's runs, and I really like the fact that I can see my house from the top.

The downside to Norquay is that prevalence of two basic conditions:

  1. Icy, groomed, man-made hardpack, frequently on VERY steep terrain.
  2. Monster mega natural snow moguls on VERY steep terrain
My brother is a bigger fan of the former than me. After all, it's what Ontario skiing is all about. Here's an example of the first condition: the top of the Mystic Chair, looking down Giv'er Grandi (named after Thomas Grandi, former Canadian World Cup Downhiller and my neighbour).
A lot of straight down. Cascade Mtn in the background
Here's an example of the latter: yours truly crashing Memorial Bowl off the North American Chair...
Big Bumps
...or here, the lower part of Lone Pine.
1,000 vertical feet of big bumps and small trees.
What Norquay excels in is stellar views, such as these two shots from the top of the North American chair.
Banff townsite. My house is in the trees in the distance 
Looking down Lone Pine
Where else can you get a shot like this?
KC with Banff as a backdrop
They also have tubing, which I understand is VERY popular.
The tube park at the base of Lone Pine
Norquay isn't a place I can spend a whole lot of time. For me, it's too small and lacks the snow quality that I get at Sunshine. But they have certainly carved out some niches and do them very well:
  • Race training. The man made snow coupled with steep terrain makes this a natural
  • Selling hourly lift tickets. Being so close to Banff, visitors can come up for as few as 3 hours.
  • Tubing. Again, close to Banff and very popular
  • Night skiing. See tubing.
And they do $2 Thursdays, a value you just gotta check out.

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