Even when the weather is at it’s worst, Panorama is still a damn fine ski resort in Canada. Spring skiing is always a bit of a lottery weather wise. You can be in waist deep powder one day, glorious sunshine the next, and rain the following day.
Unfortunately, our two day trip to Panorama coincided with warm temperatures and rain. The top third of the mountain was above the snow line and the skiing was still plenty of fun.
Panorama is a pure ski resort. There’s very few population centres close by and there are plenty of great resorts between Calgary and Panorama. This means the resort needs to be something special to attract skiers from further afield. Special attention has been taken to offer something for everyone.
With nearly 3000 acres and close to 4000 vertical feet, Panorama is a big mountain. It’s also very segmented, with beginners at the base and the steep and deep stuff up top. The Taynton Bowl was previously the domain of heliskiers but is now accessed via the Summit Chair. The Extreme Dream Zone has plenty to offer the more advanced skiers, and despite the heavy snow it was still really fun to ski.
There are 4 terrain parks on the lower third of the mountain with a wide variety of jumps, rails and grinds. My 10 year old loved being able to hit three parks from the one chair lift ride. I probably should have ignored him when he said I was too old to go off the big jump. On the launch ramp I was saying to myself “I’ll show him too old…”. Beyond the landing ramp (while still in the air) I was saying “…bugger”. There’s jumps for every skill level at Panorama.
It’s flash, and after getting to your accommodation, you don’t have to leave, or touch the car keys. The hot pools are a great place to meet people from all around the world. The adults only pool is a superb place to soak those sore muscles caused by jump-related injuries.
There’s also a wide range of accommodation. You can definitely treat yourself at Panorama or book a group into the Pine Inn if you’re on a budget.
For those with some disposables RK Heliski is located at the base village. Their playground is the Purcell Mountains, and it totals 1500 square kilometers. There’s a map in the Mile 1 Hut showing where the helicopters can go. It has to be 50 times the size of the resort. If you make a turn in someone else’s tracks, you should find a new sport. The other great thing about the huge playground is it offers tree skiing when the visibility is low, and mind blowing open bowls when the sun is out. RK Heliski also have some serious high altitude runs to give them more options when the weather is warm in the village.
The Nordic Centre is located in the base village and offers 20km of groomed trails. There’s also snowshoe-ing and fat bike rentals available.
This short passenger gondola connects the upper and lower village. Jump on it to get a meal at Thunderbird Pizza or take it down to the lower village after apres skiing at The T Bar and Grill. The other great thing about the Gondola is my 8 and 10 year old love to ride it just for fun, giving the parents a peaceful 15 minute break!!
Favourite run: Surf for the soft spring bumps
Best double black for first timers: Pi. It’s short, not too steep with a bail out catwalk half way down. (congrats to my little Tess for joining the double diamond club on this one)
Take advantage of the daily kids activities
Have a beer at the base lodge with views of the terrain park.
Go back on a powder day
Feature Image: Off-piste skiing at Taynton Bowl. Photo: Panorama Mountain Resort
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