Two out of the three SkiBig3 resorts – Lake Louise Ski Resort and Mt. Norquay – are officially open for the season, with first-day stoke at a high this past weekend. Amplifying the stoke even further, Banff Sunshine Village has confirmed an opening day for Thursday, November 11th with the opening of Strawberry Chair and Mighty Might.
At Lake Louise Ski Resort, Glacier Chair was spinning, carrying guests above the glades and up to the mid-mountain for a familiar, favourite run down Wiwaxy. At Mt. Norquay, Cascade Chair was filled with joyful shredders of all sizes, beaming at the chance to finally rip down Cascade. The terrain park crew even carved some early season features into Mt. Norquay’s slopes for terrain park diehards who have been waiting all summer to get sendy.
At both resorts, the familiar sound of clanking ski boots, zippy snowboard bindings, and laughter carrying across the lodge was a soundtrack to the feeling of first day stoke that could be felt in the air.
What fuels your first day stoke?
To those who long for warmer days and summer sun, opening day is just another day. But to people like us, to anyone who has felt the pure freedom of dropping into sonorous steeps or weaving like the winter wind through glades of lodgepole pine, opening day is a day to celebrate. A day to reminisce and feel the overwhelming stoke we have in common with our fellow snow spirits. To carve those first few perfect turns into the mountain and remember why we keep coming back season after glorious season.
On Friday, November 5, 2021, Lake Louise Ski Resort and Mt. Norquay welcomed back skiers and snowboarders to their slopes and it got us thinking about things that fuel our first day stoke. On these big mountains, there’s something for everyone. What gets you stoked?
1) Shredding with your crew
Whoever first said, “no friends on a powder day”, clearly didn’t understand the otherworldly bond you feel with your crew when carving up the hill. The friends you send it with, wipe out with, get face fulls of powder with and end-of-day pints with. The ones who have pulled you out of more gullies than you can count and rode more chairlifts by your side than any other human on the planet. These are your pals, your snow kin. And the stoke to ride with them once again is real.
2) Carving fresh corduroy
What was the greatest invention of all time? We would have to say the snow cat. What else can turn a mountain’s curves into smooth sheets of corduroy? What else creates a texture so unique that it catches your edge and accelerates you down the slopes? On Lake Louise Ski Resort Opening Day and Mt. Norquay Opening Day, the groomers were looking mighty fine. We definitely saw some hard carves into those freshly groomed lines.
3) Watching sunrise (or sunset) from the slopes
While some prefer the depths of winter, the early season has its advantages. The main one being, taking in sunrises (and sunsets) from the top of the slopes. As the days grow darker, there’s something about stopping and letting that alpenglow soak into your soul.
4) Slashing secret powder stashes
What has us most stoked for the season? Well, setting our alarms for the first powder day, of course. But even more than that, travelling back to our favourite, secret powder stashes. We know you have one (everyone’s got a secret stash). You know, the spot you don’t dare tell anyone but your closet friends? The one that’s probably a half-mountain traverse and a gully or two away? Ya, that one. It’s waiting right where you left it, and we bet it’s going to be even deeper than you remember.
5) Vibing apres all-day
Who says apres has to start at 4pm? It’s ski season! Apres o’clock can start at any time of day. With so many bevys and spots to choose from on the mountain – like a pint at Lake Louise Ski Resort’s Powder Keg or an extra sweet hot chocolate (with all the toppings) at Mt. Norquay’s Cascade Lodge Cafeteria – you’ll need to start early to get through them all by the end of the season. Nothing fuels the first day stoke more than that feeling of lounging back in a Muskoka chair with the sun on your face and friends by your side.
6) Hitting fresh features in the terrain park
Now that winter is back, so are the features park fans live to perfect all season long. On Mt. Norquay Opening Day, the keenest of shredders were already sending it (to the delight of onlookers on the lifts overhead). What’s the trick you wanna nail this season? What features get you most stoked?
7) Breathing in big mountain air
Mmmm. Ahhhh. There’s nothing quite like filling your lungs with the crisp, icy feeling of big mountain air. The quality of air that howls on top of the world, purified by a blanket of evergreen. Located within the protected boundaries of Banff National Park, Lake Louise Ski Resort and Mt. Norquay both boast untouched views of this wild, natural landscape. The only place you can catch your breath, only to have it taken away again.
8) Weaving through the trees
Feeling stoked is flying through the trees, catching only technicolour glimpses of your crew to your left and right, as you race down the run. There’s no feeling more freeing than choosing your own adventure and taking quick turns like a little jackrabbit, bouncing across the snow.
9) Sending it down steeps
Do steeps get you stoked? Heck ya, they do. First day stoke reminds us that very soon we’ll be standing on the edge of a drop, looking down at the challenge below, then taking that dive into the unknown. Those who conquer steeps and cliffs are the warriors of the mountain. The ones whose flawless descents and epic wipeouts become the stuff of legends. What stories will you carve into history this season?
10) Perfecting your turns
Opening day means another winter has begun to work on those skills you just started to master last year. Does graduating from greens to cruising down blues get you stoked? What about taking your intermediate turns into tight, advanced terrain? Whatever your personal goal is – the SkiBig3 Snow School can help you make it happen.
11) Warming up by the fire
As temperatures drop, the stoke for that warm, cozy, beside-the-fire feeling becomes hard to resist. Grabbing a full-bodied coffee or piping hot cup of hot chocolate and sipping it beside the fire doesn’t just warm the body, it warms the soul. On Mt. Norquay Opening Day, half the feeling was hitting the hill and the other half was warming up in Cascade Lodge once again. A familiar place you can always count on to keep you warm all season long.
12) Getting sendy
Does big air get you stoked? How could it not? What other time of year can you send it down a slope and fly off one of Mothers Nature’s curves? If you’ve been building up the courage to send it all summer, first day stoke means it’s almost time (when conditions are right) to get that big air you’ve been dreaming of.
13) Strapping into new gear
New season. New gear. No shame. Clicking into new skis, strapping into a fresh board, donning a different colour coat – all reasons to get stoked. New gear helps you advance into terrain you didn’t tackle last season. New layers can keep you out shredding for longer. The feeling of first day stoke is for real when it’s time to gear up. Grab new ski and snowboarding accessories at the SkiBig3 Adventure Hub.
Next up, Banff Sunshine
Banff Sunshine is close on the heels of Mt. Norquay and Lake Louise Ski Resort with a confirmed opening date of Thursday, November 11, 2021.
At SkiBig3, we’re excited to be welcoming back visitors from around the world. Should you need to cancel or change your plans this winter our no-questions-asked cancellation policy allows for free changes and cancellations until 3-days prior to arrival. To book your winter ski vacation, call 1-844-754-2443 to speak with a reservation specialist or go online to access some exceptional Ski & Stay Package deals.