Newest Review: ... dangerous were we not in a substantial SUV. The resort itself is a little out the way and seems to be a little different than the surroun... more
Panorama Resort, British Columbia
Member Name: stevedpark
Date: 17/02/04, updated on 19/02/04 (1308 review reads)
Advantages: Door Step Skiing, Good Choice of runs, Very Quiet
Disadvantages: Not much else to do, Limited Restaurants, Transfer Time
This package holiday was booked through Teletext Holidays on their web site, but the tour operator was Inghams.
We booked to go to Panorama for a weeks skiing at the end of January 2004.
Panorama is a little known ski resort located in the middle of the Canadian Rockies about 2.5 hours drive South West of Banff. The nearest main town to Panorama is Invermere which has shops and restaurants.
Panorama Resort is a ?Ski in, Ski Out? Resort which means you can literally ski to the door of your hotel and in Panorama?s case also the shops, restaurants and hot tubs. Panorama Resort is located at an altitude of 3800 feet and the top of the mountain is 7800 feet. Which means if you are up to it you can ski down the whole 4000 vertical feet from top to bottom which I think is the largest in Canada!
With Panorama being primarily a skiing resort there is not a great deal of other things to do if you are not skiing. The resort of Panorama has a top and a bottom which are linked by a Gondola which runs all the time during the day and up till about 10.30 at night ? this is also free. In the top of the resort there are 3 eating / drinking places.
1. The Great Hall ? This is the main area where skiers will grab some breakfast, get a coffee/ chocolate or just have a relax at the many and watch the action on the main slope ?Showoff? as well as the beginners slope ?Hwy 1? nearby. The food and non alcoholic drinks in here are self service and the food such as a ?Sausage Egger? (sausage and egg in a miffin ? toasted) are cooked to order ? quickly and taste great.
2. The T-Bar ? This is a bar more than a restaurant and is open usually from 3pm till late. They usually have something happening on Friday and Saturday nights such as a live band etc. They also can do most food to be taken away as well.
3. The Starbird ? This is open from 12 ? 3 and then 5 till 11ish. This is more of a
restaurant and has a nice real fire going inside as well. It is a bit more comfortable to just sit and relax in here that any of the 2 mentioned above.
However the T-Bar and Starbird are next to each other and share the same large kitchen and after a few days of studying menus you will find that both places serve the almost same dishes just under different names! And that?s it for the top of the resort, in the lower resort there are two restaurants and one bar ? I never got around to trying these as they are only open on a night and while I was there it was to cold to be catching the gondola down.
1. Jack Pine Bar ? This is directly opposite the General Store and Toby Creek Fine Dinning both near the Horsethief Lodge.
2. Toby Creek Fine Dinning ? This is a more up-market restaurant than Starbird and so costs more but I would not class it as expensive and is apparently worth trying.
3. Heli-Plex ? As well as having a good restaurant this is also where you would catch the helicopter from if you wanted to go Heli-skiing. This is also supposed to be a really good restaurant and worth trying. But it is a slightly longer walk than Toby Creek. Although I was told that if you make a reservation with them you can request to be picked up by their courtesy bus which will pick you up and drop you off both ways door to door.
So on to the skiing then. For the whole time I was there in January it snowed every day except for to afternoons. So by the end of the week there was loads of snow. Panorama does not usually get as much snow as places like Sunshine or Lake Louise near Banff but this year they were doing exceptionally well.
Straight out of the Great Hall is the meeting place for all the ski school and the Mountain Friends who can guide you over the mountain.
There are three beginners? slopes. A magic carpet which is only about 15 meters long, a metal handled drag lift which is about 150 meters long and on the ot
ide of the drag lift is a poma lift which is next to a really good long and gentle and smooth beginners slope.
After this the colour coding for the slopes goes out of the window. The main slope up the mountain called ?Showoff? is supposed to be a green run, but I would have though of this as more of a red run (in Europe?s terms) as it is very long, steep in places and as it is so popular can get bumps and is prone to icy patches. There are quite a few of their ?green? runs over this part of the mountain fed by a quad chair lift all of these are a similar level as ?Showoff?.
The blue runs are not much more difficult than the green runs ? sometimes easier, the only difference being that they are narrower. Blacks are also narrow but a lot steeper, none of the single Black Diamond runs are very difficult, however they do get bumpy. The Double Diamond runs were difficult and many of these runs just go straight through the trees directly off the edge of other slopes. I skied a lot in the Sunshine Bowl as it was really quiet on this side of the mountain and much of the new snow seemed too stayed untouched.
This is a really good resort for the serious skier, but not so good if you want to also relax around the resort as you?ll soon get bored. It is also quite a strain to get to with the 4 hours transfer after your 9 hour flight. I do not think there is much for children either, although they have a good children?s ski school and cater for them in other similar ways throughout the day on an evening we only ever saw well behaved children in starbird and got the impression they were not allowed in the T-Bar. Perhaps most of the children around the resort were staying in the self-catering apparments?
This generally is a really good resort and in the future I am sure I will go back there. Panoram is currently under development so next year (2005) it may be a lot different, with more to do except all day skiing!
More reviews in the field of Ski Resort International
- cheap and cheerful
- The Alps' Best Kept Secret
- Jølster, Sogn og Fjordane
- Summer in Chamonix
- Levi, Lapland: The most magical place on Earth.....
- All together now... well, sort of
- Not without its challenges -you will have to push yourself
- From beginner to adrenaline pow, you will find all you need in Italy