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Vancouver and the Rockies Feb what to wear

Vancouver and the Rockies Feb what to wear

Aug 3rd, 2006, 12:37 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 67
Vancouver and the Rockies Feb what to wear


Im a 60 year old lady visiting Vancouver and the Rockies in Feb next year, and I would appreciate some advice on what kind of clothing to bring. I shall be taking a coach tour after a few days in Vancouver, stopping in Banff, Kamloops and Jasper. Thank you
Ainhoa is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2006, 04:19 PM
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Hello Ainhoa,

Are you seriously doing a coach tour through the Rockies in February?!?

Before answering your question, I just want to be sure I understand what you've said.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2006, 10:44 PM
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Yep. We are coming out to Vancouver for a conference (so we didnt pick the dates). I wanted to do the Rocky Mountaineer, but discovered it doesnt run in Winter, so I found a tour company here in UK which offers a tour round the Rockies (its a good company) by coach. It goes from Vancouver to Kamloops, to Jasper, to Banff and then on to Calgary. Any reason I should be thinking twice? I am assuming there will be a lot of snow. Would a good pair of snow boots be a good idea? (you know, those big clumpy after ski things). Thanks Judy for any tips.
Ainhoa is offline  
Aug 4th, 2006, 04:54 AM
Join Date: Feb 2005
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Weather in Vancouver can be warm also during the winter period (Temp: 10 to 15 degree Celsius during day time).

The weather in the Rocky Mountain can be cooler especially if you want to visit the mountain peaks with one of the gondola. I would prepare for temp. in a range of plus 2 degree Celsius to minus 15 degree Celsius.

A warm winter jacket, pant and good winter shoes would be a good idea (dress in layers).
tom22 is offline  
Aug 4th, 2006, 12:25 PM
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As tom22 indicated, Vancouver has mild winters. British people have told me that Vancouver's winter temperatures are similar to those of the UK. The difference is that Vancouver gets more rain than the UK. Vancouver's rainfall varies, depending on whether the suburb in question is close to or far from the Coast Mountains. However, British expats say that, on average, it gets about 25% more rain than the UK (which I realize is a generalization in itself -- since rainfall must vary within the UK too).

So it goes without saying that you'll need rain gear in Vancouver. Since you'll be attending a conference, I'm surmising that whichever one of you is the delegate will need reasonably business-like clothing. In addition to that, you may need a cocktail outfit for the conference's main banquet.


According to the Weather Base website, February temperature statistics for Banff are as follows:

Average high : -2 deg C (27 deg F)

Average low : -14 deg C (6 deg F)

But knowing the averages, on their own, is not enough. There are wild swings of temperature in this area. So you also need to know:

Highest high (in 70 years) : 13 deg C (56 deg F)

Lowest low (in 70 years) : - 45 deg C (-49 deg F)

I personally have experienced temperatures down to about -35 deg C in the Lake Louise / Banff area in the winter months.

Our winters have tended to be quite a bit milder than usual in recent years. We attribute it to global warming. Yet, even during an otherwise mild winter, we have had a couple of days of really cold weather here and there. Unfortunately for planning purposes, it is extremely difficult, in fact impossible, to predict what the weather will do six months from now.

I don't know what tom22's definition of good winter shoes is. If it does get cold, even down to -25 deg C, then what I would call good winter shoes would be inadequate. Then you would need boots.

If I were you, I also would pack long underwear, wool slacks, long sleeved shirts, a sweater (jumper) and a parka that is filled with down or the modern synthetic equivalent of down. I also would pack gloves, a scarf or neck warmer, and a warm cap.

You'd be surprised how bright the sun can be when it reflects off snow, so you need good sunglasses. The air is extremely dry, so you also need mositurizing lotion and lip balm.

Moderately priced mountain restaurants are casual. That is, people have lunch and dinner in jeans, hiking boots, etc. However, tours tend to stay in fairly upscale hotels. There you will find casual dress at lunch time but smart casual attire in the evening. By smart casual attire I mean a pair of dressy wool slacks and a dressy shirt / blouse or sweater (jumper).

You don't have to overdo the warm clothes when you're indoors, because the interiors of Canadian buildings are well heated.

The final thing I recommend you pack is a good book or two. That will come in usefully if a blizzard or rock slide or avalanche blocks off the highway and you find yourself stuck in small British Columbia mountain town while road crews clear the road. That sort of thing happens relatively seldom, only once or twice a winter. The challenge is that, as is the case with cold weather, you cannot predict just when it'll happen. That's why I was amazed to discover that anyone ran tours through the Rockies in winter.

Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Aug 4th, 2006, 02:55 PM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,501
Ainhoa, I forgot to mention that, if you arrive in Vancouver without suitable outdoor clothing for the Rockies (boots, parka, whatever), you can purchase what you need at Mountain Equipment Coop or Mark's Work Wearhouse.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Aug 4th, 2006, 10:46 PM
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Youre a treasure Judy. Many thanks
Ainhoa is offline  

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