Canadian Rockies see first major snowfall

Travel to Canada - What to Expect

Canadian Rockies see first major snowfall

Banff, AB (October 24, 2022) – This weekend, it snowed in Banff and Lake Louise and SkiBig3 resorts – Banff Sunshine, Lake Louise Ski Resort, and Mt. Norquay – all received their first significant snowfall of the season, with up to 24 cm (9.5″) recorded at Banff Sunshine. This was the first major storm to impact the West, with two more storms expected to hit the Northwest, British Columbia, and Canadian Rockies later this week, according to Open Snow.

This recent snowfall, combined with consistent below-freezing temperatures, means the Canadian Rockies ski areas can start preparing their mountains for opening day. Lake Louise Ski Resort could start spinning its lifts in as little as 10 days.

This weekend, Banff Sunshine received 24cm of fresh snow with more on the way this week. | Photo taken Monday, Oct. 24.

Above-average snow in Banff and Lake Louise is expected this winter

According to Open Snow, “confidence is growing that a third consecutive La Niña will occur this winter – something that meteorologists have termed a “Triple Dip La Niña” (source). This is good news for SkiBig3 resorts – Banff Sunshine, Lake Louise Ski Resort, and Mt. Norquay – which are all in the direct path of this climate phenomenon that is expected to bring above-average snowfall this winter.

During a La Niña event, trade winds are stronger, pushing more warm water towards Asia causing an upswell of cold water off the west coast of the Americas. These cold waters push the jet stream northwards which tends to lead to higher precipitation levels in the Pacific Northwest and Canada. As the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) explains, “during a La Niña year, winter temperatures are cooler than normal in the North” (source). This cold, mixed with above-average levels of precipitation creates, you guessed it, snow! And lots of it for the Canadian Rockies.

As Open Snow reports, sea surface temperatures dropped as low as –1.2°C the week of August 21, 2022, a clear indication of La Niña potential. This is the coldest sea surface temperature in August since 2010, when it fell to -1.17°C. That same year, resorts across California, Colorado, Utah, the Pacific Northwest, and the Northern Rockies saw an increase of as much as 180% of their average snowfall (source).

SkiBig3, with resorts near Banff and Lake Louise Canada, is getting stoked for an extra snowy winter. According to the NOAA, “La Niña is favoured to continue through Northern Hemisphere winter 2022-23, with a 91% chance in September-November, decreasing to a 54% chance in January-March 2023” (source).

Those are good odds for more snow in Banff and Lake Louise and snow enthusiasts looking to book a ski trip as early as mid-November in the Canadian Rockies. Reserve your trip by Nov. 1 and save up to 35 percent or more with SkiBig3’s Ski & Stay packages.

Lake Louise Ski Resort has begun blowing snow, thanks to consistent below-zero temperatures this week. The resort is scheduled to open in 10 days, on Nov. 4 (weather permitting). | Photo taken Oct. 24.

Tentative opening dates for SkiBig3 resorts

All resort opening dates are subject to change and weather permitting.

  • Banff Sunshine: November 10, 2022
  • Lake Louise Ski Resort: November 4, 2022
  • Mt. Norquay: November 5, 2022

All Canadian Travel Restrictions Lifted

As of October 1, 2022, all Canadian COVID-19 restrictions have lifted, meaning this winter it’s easier than ever to book a ski trip to the Canadian Rockies. Border requirements including proof of vaccination, use of the ArriveCAN App, and any testing and quarantine/isolation requirements have ended for all travellers entering Canada whether by land, air or sea.

Book With Confidence

Who doesn’t love flexibility? SkiBig3 offers a No Questions Asked Cancellation Policy, allowing for free itinerary changes and full cancellation refund on ski & stay packages up to 14 days from travel.

Getting Here is Easy

Located a short flight from any American city (a little over two hours from Denver; three hours or less from Los Angeles or San Francisco; and a little over four hours from Dallas, all of which are direct flights), a SkiBig3 trip is the easiest and most memorable international ski destination option. Mt. Norquay and Sunshine Village ski areas are located closest to the town of Banff, situated approximately 90 minutes away from Calgary International Airport. And Lake Louise Ski Resort is located just over two hours from Calgary International Airport.

Heavy snowfall on top of Mt. Norquay on Monday morning, overlooking the town of Banff. | Photo taken Oct. 24.