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The Inside Line: Panorama Mtn. B.C.

Inside Line
posted: 11/04/2004

Elevation: 7,800 feet Vertical drop:4,000 feet Snowfall:187 inches Acres: 2,847 Getting There: From Calgary, head three hours southeast to Invermere. Panorama is 13 miles west, at the intersection of the Bugaboo and Purcell mountains. Info:800-663-2929; skipanorama.comBeta: Steep, sleepy, and isolated even by Canadian standards, Panorama is to many Rocky Mountain resorts as an eclectic boutique is to a box store. There's no Gap or Starbucks. The "village has two bars. And, like the Swiss founders who cut the first 40-degree, two-mile-long runs in 1962, the place just yodels "les Alps. The ridgelines are ragged. The runs are long and unbroken. And the spruce-and-chink chalets hidden in the trees are more haute-route than rustic chic: They're intimate, beer-friendly, and halfway down the hill. Still, beneath its Euro sheen, Panorama is pure Canada: core skiing, end-of-the-earth wilderness, and zero Bogner buzzkill. Powder DayCruise to Taynton Bowl, former domain of RK Heli-Ski, via Outback Ridge off the Summit Quad. Shoot the 35-degree treed slots of Heli High, then drop into Star Fire for 5- to 15-foot cliff drops onto steep, open landings. 3 Days LaterPowder loiters in the Extreme Dream Zone, between the Summit Quad and Taynton Bowl. Hit north-facing Dunes and Champagne Surf for pinball action: Trees, hollows, and natural halfpipes shoot you in every direction. The RidingSnowboarders win in Taynton Bowl, accessible by a foot traverse across Outback Ridge. Surf Never Never Land's 35-degree glades that peel off into a natural half- pipe below. Proving Grounds: marquee route: Arc GS turns on classic Schober's Dream, 4,000 feet of unbroken face skiing with a fall line that would make pro racers giddy. off-broadway: Sneak to south-facing Sun Bowl via upper Schober's, and mine the wide-open C.F.I. trees. Exit via Draino and reconnect with Schober's below. Backcountry AccessFollow Outback Ridge to the boundary and skin 90 minutes to the summit of Mount Goldie. Ski the east shoulder's 30-degree glades. Hike another hour west, and hop-turn 500 feet down the 35- to 45-degree Cannery Chutes. Exit via Hopeful Creek on an obscure horse trail. For avalanche info, visit avalanche.ca. WeatherEarly- and late-season storms curl up from California, ring out over Whistler, and float Canadian fluff over Panorama. Mid-winter can mean a Colorado Rockies—style dry spell. —Tracy Ross Head to the mountaintop Summit Hut, where owners Ray Schnerch and Jacqueline Pinsonneault sherpa up local wines, white gas, and cheese for backwoods-flavored fondue. FuelLoad up on baked breads and espresso at Lusti's while a tech tunes your boards. Taynton Takeout serves tasty brats or curry wraps for lunch. Splurge on dinner at the Earl Grey Lodge (try the Japanese sea scallops and mango sorbet). Up All NightThe Glacier has a DJ club scene, but the Elkhorn Cabin, on the mountain near the Champagne Express Quad, is the VIP room. For C$408, you and three friends can party on the porch and scope dream lines in the Purcells, where the cannibalism-as-survival-tool thriller Alive was filmed. Doze off under a mountain of quilts in front of the woodstove. DigsBook a room in Taynton Lodge (C$199 per weekend, per person) for easy access to Panorama's slopeside hot pools (800-633-2929). The Earl Grey Lodge (earlgreylodge.ca) is a Euro-style pension with an art deco flair.

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