Tips for Skiing in Canada
by Emilio Trampuz
CARRY A PASSPORT
A drivers license is not enough any more Before 2006, you could
cross the border with two
pieces of ID to prove your American citizenship (like a Driver's license and
a Birth Certificate). But, as of about 2006,
you cannot do that any more. A passport is now the only way to
cross borders. Don't wait until the last minute. Get a passport now!
You passport is your main form of ID outside of the United States.
Have it with you at all times.
PAYING BY CREDIT CARD
By paying with a credit card, you will usually get the best rate of
exchange, the one that international banks use to move money among
themselves. However, note that most banks will charge you as much as 3% of
every transaction in the form of an "international transaction fee".
Check with your bank.
One credit card that doesn't charge this fee is the Capital One card. Look
it up and get one at: www.CapitalOne.com
GET CANADIAN CASH AT ATMs
Having some cash on hand is always good, to pay for a cup of coffee on the
slopes, or to purchase items at places that don't accept credit cards.
Finding a place to exchange currency might be difficult. This is not
like Europe, where currency exchanges are commonly found at airports, train
stations, border crossings, and in city centers. Banks are the logical
place to look for, but banks are closed on weekends.
The easiest way to get some Canadian cash is to withdraw
it from ATM machines (some of them at the ski resorts themselves) by
simply using your debit card (the one linked to your checking account).
The withdrawal will be automatically in Canadian currency, and your checking
account will automatically be debited in the equivalent US currency.
Using mobile phones in Canada (or anywhere abroad) can be very expensive due
to roaming fees. Do not send any pictures or documents over the phone.
It's just too expensive.
But do contact your phone company and tell them you are going to Canada.
Ask them to enable international calls and see if they have a plan
that might lower your costs of using the phone in Canada. Some
companies charge a fixed fee per day -- which is OK if it avoids roaming
charges (which add up per minute).
SKI RESORT DEALS
For the past decade,
there has been an interesting tradition among some Canadian ski areas.
Keep this in mind for next year. Chances are the practice
1) Sun Peaks offers a
special "ski free" day to all US citizens on Thanksgiving
their way of saying: "Happy Thanksgiving to our neighbors south
of the border!" Also, just so the Canadians themselves wouldn't
feel left out, the day after Thanksgiving is a "ski free" day
for Canadian citizens! That way, everybody is happy! So, keep
this in mind for next Thanksgiving. And, you can combine it
with the following:
2) Big White offers
skiing to anyone who comes and reserves lodging at Big White.
You don't even need the Warren Miller coupons, as long as you
are willing to find lodging in the on-mountain village. Minimum
stay is 2 nights. The
offer is valid from opening day till mid-December. Chances
are a similar offer will be available in future years too.
Still, double-check before you go.
3) Silver Star
used to have the same offers as Big White (since they were under the same
ownership). Free skiing till mid-December if you stay on the
mountain. But, this might not be true any more. Check
before you go.
MAKE FRIENDS WITH A CANADIAN
Talk to the locals on the chairlift, in cafes, in the hotel's hot
tub, etc. Canadians are friendly people. If you are nice to
them, they might even reveal some local hidden stashes on the