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Old 18 Sep 2011
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Possible to ride in Canada in Oct/Nov?

I'm thinking about working a job in Cranbrook, southern BC near the USA border until the end of October and then riding 900km north to Grande Prairie, Alberta to live and work for the winter. Is this feasible this time of year? And safe?

'10 Suzuki DR650. 2011+ RTW trip. Currently Coen, Cape York Peninsula. www.followtheakubra.blogspot.com
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Old 18 Sep 2011
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This is google maps suggested route by the way

Cranbrook, BC, Canada to Grande Prairie, AB, Canada - Google Maps
'10 Suzuki DR650. 2011+ RTW trip. Currently Coen, Cape York Peninsula. www.followtheakubra.blogspot.com
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Old 18 Sep 2011
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For that area of Canada in November the chances of encountering ice and snow are very high at the higher elevations. But Alberta weather is notoriously fickle and you could luck out as well and encounter bearable weather. We encountered snow in Sunwapta pass (Icefields Parkway) at the end of September while on a bicycle trip. I've also encountered 16 degree temperatures in the middle of winter in Calgary.

There is someone who rode a 650GS across Canada in the winter so it's definitely doable if you're willing to take the extra risk and maybe be prepared to wait things out for a few days while the snowplows clear and salt/sand the mountain passes. Also be prepared to change your routing depending on the weather. Going through the flatter, drier Alberta prairies is an option. It can be colder but often the snowfall is much lighter than in the mountains.

Suffice it to say that pretty much the only place in Canada where year round snow and ice free riding is (almost) possible is in and around Vancouver as well as in and around Victoria, BC. Even there we often have to park our bikes for a week or two in the winter.


Last edited by Scrabblebiker; 18 Sep 2011 at 17:34. Reason: Typo
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Old 19 Sep 2011
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Originally Posted by brianrossy View Post
This is google maps suggested route by the way

Cranbrook, BC, Canada to Grande Prairie, AB, Canada - Google Maps

Hi Brian,

As Michelle says, snow and ice are certainly possible at that time of year at high elevations.

Hard to precisely say as every year is different but the end of October is getting later into fall. In most years if you happen to get a snow fall at that time of year, it is cleared pretty quick and the roads are usually rideable relatively shortly thereafter. You have the added benefit of working there and not just travelling though and thus if it does happen to snow, you can wait a couple of days and then head off.

In regards to routes, the google map one you show is the most scenic and you spend the most time in the mountains and I would take that one if it is dry and not too much snow. If it looks like a wet fall and snow is a concern, then I would hop across the Crowsnest Pass into Alberta where you are on the east side of the Rockies where it is drier. Not as scenic as you are on the Prairies but most days it's a windswept road and you would have a straight shot to Grande Prairie through Calgary and Edmonton for example.

So in short, you should be fine if you are willing to wait out bad weather. You have a scenic mountain route if the weather cooperates and a bail out route if winter comes early. If worse comes to worse, I'm 250km west of Cranbrook in Nelson and you can store your bike at my place until spring.

If you are over here in the next little bit, there is some great riding to be had and the weather is still co-operating. I was up at a couple of passes at 1,500 meters biking this weekend, no sign of snow yet although a bit of bite in the air. Drop me a line when you get there and we can catch for a and some riding.
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Old 20 Sep 2011
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Weather is a fickle thing. We just had frost here this morning. Some years it snows in october and stays for months. If you really want to ride in the winter check out this resource Hacks - ADVrider
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Old 29 Sep 2011
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I'm the nutbar that did the winter ride across canda and back and Cranbrook does get a little cool so layer up Grand Prarie is cold around that time of year but be prepaired for some rapid changs in winter weather fronts.Yes it is possible and very beautiful safe yes if common sence is used.If you worry about snow rest your worries the hiway crews are good at thier jobs but exspect to have a shower with your gear on to wash the road gew off.
2 Lost Canadians on a World Walkabout
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Old 10 Oct 2011
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I lived in Fernie for 3 years (near Cranbrook) and I would say that what you propose is doable. I would not follow the route GoogleMaps suggested just because it follows the mountains, increasing your risk of snowy road conditions. I would Either cross into Alberto using HWY 3 or HWY 1 and then stick to the flatter farmland highways in Alberta. They are usually very clean, and snow free.

I will be cold though so layer up (as others have suggested) and drive safe
Canada to Argentina 2010:http://nomi-beto-adventures.blogspot.com/
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Old 11 Oct 2011
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Hi Brian,

I live near near Banff in Alberta (Canmore actually) and we're at an altitude of 4400 feet (Ben Nevis basically). The Trans Canada highway (hwy 1) goes right through the valley here. Just as a heads up......there is already snow in the mountains at an approximate elevation of 7000 feet. The forecast for the next 10 days or so is cold and clear of precip but that could all change soon. I'm still fully able to ride on good clear roads here but my days are numbered and expect to put the bike into winter storage on or around the end of the month. Two years ago, while staying at my house, Ian Coates manged to coax someone to stuff his Africa Twin into the back of their pickup to cross the Rogers Pass by the way so there is always a means and a way!
If you need more info.....just PM me.

Kindest regards

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Old 15 Oct 2011
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Growing up in the Prairies I remember many years with snow at Halloween but it has not been bad in the last many years. I agree with the others however, avoid altitude where possible. Safe trip.
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