The first day of ski season might not be for a couple weeks, but there comes a time when Banff & Lake Louise locals wake up and feel the arrival of Jack Frost. If you aren’t able to experience the eventual change from autumn to winter with us, here are our top five ways to tell ski season is just around the corner.
1. Larch Season Ends
While Banff National Park might not experience the vast mix of autumnal colours Eastern Canada is known for during the fall season, larch season acts as our version of it. Larch season stretches throughout September, and once the larches shed their beautiful, bright yellow needles, locals know winter is creeping just around the corner.
2. Trading in Iced Drinks for Hot Ones
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In the summer months, we love nothing more than an iced coffee to keep us cool while getting a caffeine boost, but once the seasons change, we use fall as an excuse to drink as many pumpkin spice lattes as we can. Whether it’s a hot chocolate during a lodge warm-up session or a hot toddy while you apres, there is something comforting about enjoying a hot drink on a cold day.
3. Dusting of Snow on the Mountain Peaks
Some of our mountains never lose their frosted tips, even in the warm heat of summer, but a large number of our iconic peaks go without. Once September hits, many of those bald peaks slowly start to go white as more snow piles up. Once the mountains go white, Banff returns to that iconic state of the “great white north.”
4. Buyer’s Guides Come Out
— The Storm Skiing Journal & Podcast (@StormSkiJournal) September 28, 2021
We might never see a model on skis at Paris Fashion Week, but historically, autumn is the most important season for a fashion and gear update. Summer is a season of vacations, late nights, and laid-back memories, and autumn acts as a reset into new routines.
Buyer’s guides come out just before the start of winter to usher in a return of the ski and snowboard season. Not only do they show us some of the best gear we can grab to make the most of our time on the hills, but they offer a forecast of what we can expect from our favourite gear and clothing companies. It’s a bonus pre-season day is when your season pass arrives in your mailbox at the same time as your favourite ski mag!
5. Boots and Sandals at Your Front Door
Canadians have a reputation for handling the cold, and some of us insist that sandals are winter footwear. However, for most of us, once we start to battle with whether to go closed or open-toed with our footwear, ski season is probably just around the corner.
Top tip: if you’ve put on your winter tires, you should probably put your sandals away until next summer.
Ready to hit the slopes in Banff National Park?
While still subject to change, opening dates for SkiBig3 resorts are ready to be penciled onto the calendar. Opening dates are tentatively posted as October 30th for Mt Norquay, November 5th at Lake Louise, and November 11th at Banff Sunshine Village.