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Help me decide: Big Sky vs. Banff in late Feb
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Updated 12 hours ago
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23 days ago

For those of you who have been to both Big Sky and Banff (Sunshine Village & Lake Louise), which place you prefer? 

I have MCP, 3rd bonus day to Big Sky.  Orignally planning a week long trip in mid March to Big Sky, due to work, I have to change my schedule to late Feb (last week of Feb).

I’ve NEVER been to Big Sky and wanted to visit there, hence the 3rd bonus day.  Recent weeks, I am having 2nd thoughts, I am now vacillating b/w Big Sky and Banff.  

I love Banff, been there 4 times (twice skiing, twice hiking), don’t think i will ever get tired of that place. I’ve always wanted to get on the platter lift at Lake Louise, now I think I am finally an ok enough skier to try it.  I am an intermediate.  I am not sure if I will be good enough to ski off Lone Peak at Big Sky.  

Looking at lodging b/w 2 places: accomodation options at Big Sky is shrinking fast, Banff still has plenty of options.  Airfare to either place will be similar for last week of Feb.  

Any input you can provide will be greatly apprecaited!  

JimK - DCSki Columnist
23 days ago

Have not been to Big Sky.  Enjoyed Banff area last March.  If you are talking about Feb 24 - Mar 2, that is the PugSki week at Big Sky and as you know there is a big benefit to participating with a crowd like that for camaraderie and guiding.  Many, including myself, are staying at the Lodge at Big Sky.  See this thread for lodging group discount info:  https://www.pugski.com/threads/pugski-skiers-receive-a-discount-at-the-lodge-at-big-sky.11703/

Big Sky is renowned for numerous nice and quiet green and blue runs much beloved by intermediates.

ps:  I think you could handle skiing down from top of Lake Louise platter, there is a blue/green trail from the top, but the ride up on the platter is possibly the hardest part, fairly long and steep.  Have you successfully ridden other platter lifts?

23 days ago

Thanks Jim,  I was hoping you’d stop by and give input. Yes, I am referring to that week. If  I do go to Big Sky, I probably will arrive on Tuesday night and ski Wed (Feb. 27) until Sat. (March 2).  I’d like to hit Bridger as well, heard alot about this nonprofit place and I am curious to check it out.  

I must admit, your TR piqued my interest again about Banff.  I am very fond of Banff, it’s a great place for outdoor activities , regardless of seasons.   Plus I love the town itself, I enjoy the nice stroll after skiing.

I’ve been on a platter lift in Snowmass and Val D’Isere.  When I visited LL 3 years ago, I took their mtn guided tour and did see people on that lift.  At that time, I did not think I was good enough to get on it, let alone ski the terrains. But now I think I am finally ready and am anxious to check it out.

I will think about my options.  Thank you. 

23 days ago

I could never get tired of going to Banff/LL no matter the time of year.    Have never been to Big Sky, but love the variety of skiing options at Sunshine and LL (even Norquay) as well all there is to do off of the slopes in the National Park.   Plus, it’s a very easy drive from Calgary with more flight options for sure than getting to Big Sky and weather to me would not be as big a threat for travel to Banff than it would be to Big Sky.    

10 days ago

We are headed to Big Sky in February ourselves (my bf and I go someplace every year for a week) and he’s been before but believe it’s been about 5 years since he last went. I’m pretty stoked to go though, ha. We bought the Ikon passes this year so we can utilize them for Snowshoe (I usually go at least twice with a gf of mine and once with my bf). Funny you mention Banff since him and his friends are going end of January. 

For Big Sky, we rented a decent sized place for a good price ($180 a night) and is about 15-20 mins from the resort. We are going from Feb 23-Mar 2 so if you end up going let us know! :) 

—K

10 days ago

I have skiied Big Sky twice before, and let me say, THAT PLACE IS AWESOME. It is a super fun, shut up and ski attitude. Yes there is some narly terrain off of lone peak, but the Moonlight basin is almost entirely blue cruisers, which by itself is bigger than most ski resorts. Andelsite mountain and the south side of lone peak have great intermediate terrain, and the bowl, while a black, is one of the most fun advanced intermediate runs out there. 

 

I would highly recommend Big Sky, one of my absolute favorites.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
9 days ago

LunaDeathstryke wrote:

We are headed to Big Sky in February ourselves (my bf and I go someplace every year for a week) and he’s been before but believe it’s been about 5 years since he last went. I’m pretty stoked to go though, ha. We bought the Ikon passes this year so we can utilize them for Snowshoe (I usually go at least twice with a gf of mine and once with my bf). Funny you mention Banff since him and his friends are going end of January. 

For Big Sky, we rented a decent sized place for a good price ($180 a night) and is about 15-20 mins from the resort. We are going from Feb 23-Mar 2 so if you end up going let us know! :) 

—K

Hey there!  Been a while.

Did you notice JimK’s post about the Pugski Gathering at Big Sky the last week of Feb?  Will be a pretty good size group.  I’ll be there with my ski buddy for the first half of the week.  We are actually getting to Montana on Feb. 19 to ski at Bridger for a few days before moving into a condo at Big Sky.

9 days ago

I will be going with a ski friend, I met her through group lessons at Liberty.  She has not been to either places and has no preference.  

So It’s really up to me and I remain undecided.  I guess its all comes down to:

1) Visit an old place but ski new terrains: Banff.  As I am a better skier now (than 2 years ago), I want to visit the same place, check out trials that I was not good enough to ski back then.

vs.

2) Visit a new place and ski new terrains: Big Sky

Let’s say if I can get another trip out west end of March early April, between Big Sky and Banff, which place will have better condition?  I know Banff will have decent condition but not sure about Big Sky, can someone comment?

If we are going to Banff, we plan to get a rental car.  Does anyone know if we need to get a National Park Pass?  I checked Canadian National Park website, still can’t figure out if I need to get a park pass or not. 

@LunaDeathStryke: sure thing. I will let you know if we end up in BIg Sky that week.  It’s always good to meet up folks from DC and make few turns together.  

yesterday

I haven’t been either place, but if I were in your shoes, I’d probably choose the place I hadn’t been to yet.  Going some place familiar is always nice and comfortable, but a new place can be quite exciting.  You’ll also have an idea for which place you prefer for a later trip.

I don’t know how much money’s a concern, but if you can get a much better deal at one place over the other, there’s something to be said for that. Or if there’s significantly less travel time to one over the other - spending more time on the slopes and less time traveling has its merits too.

Either way, I think you’ll have a great vacation at either place. I’m a little jealous. :)

yesterday

I already commented once, but go Big Sky. All time favorite of mine.

yesterday

Wildcard suggestion, still with the same flight to Calgary, ski Kicking Horse. It’s only a 3 hour drive from YYC. And, for a real wildcard, tack on 2 more hours of driving and get North America’s biggest vert at Revelstoke (5,620 ft)!

yesterday

msprings wrote:

I have skiied Big Sky twice before, and let me say, THAT PLACE IS AWESOME.  the Moonlight basin is almost entirely blue cruisers, which by itself is bigger than most ski resorts. 

I’ve been lurking on this thread as we have a group of 10 heading to Big Sky on Feb 9th.  Blue cruisers are right in my wheel house.  I can’t do the narly stuff and at this age,  I’m not ashamed to admit it.

 

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
16 hours ago

Blue Don 1982 wrote:

msprings wrote:

I have skiied Big Sky twice before, and let me say, THAT PLACE IS AWESOME.  the Moonlight basin is almost entirely blue cruisers, which by itself is bigger than most ski resorts. 

I’ve been lurking on this thread as we have a group of 10 heading to Big Sky on Feb 9th.  Blue cruisers are right in my wheel house.  I can’t do the narly stuff and at this age,  I’m not ashamed to admit it.

 

Now that Big Sky includes Moonlight Basin and Spanish Peaks, there are even more blue and even long green trails.  What I like about Big Sky is that there are lots of options for every ability level.  And relatively few people.

HIghly recommend the free mountain host tour.

My first trip I mostly skied on Andesite Mountain.  Nice to have that option when the upper mountain is fogged in.

12 hours ago

Update: I decided on Big Sky, aim for end of Feb to early March.  

If I get lucky, I maybe able to squeeze in a 3rd trip out west end of March - early April.  If so, I will aim for Banff for sure.  For some reason, I have a fixation with that platter lift at LL and I want to check it out very badly.  

True it is fun to visit new places. But at this phase of my skiing, I am also interested to go back to old places, to ski the terrains once terrified me, and terrains I did not dare to venture into….  

It is also true that both are great places and it will not go wrong with either.  

@Blue Don 1982 - Not sure if you know, Big Sky has installed an 8-seater chair lift this year.  First 8-seater in the U.S.  

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