Pros: Family friendly, conveniently close for residents of Nelson, inexpensive, good snow much of the time, uncrowded.
Cons: Small, visually unimpressive (i.e. no stunning mountain vistas), short runs.
I've skied at Whitewater a dozen times or so over the last ten years, half of these occasions in the last two years. I've obviously been a visitor on these occasions and thus haven't had the advantage of local knowledge when assessing Whitewater. What I do have is some perspective on skiing elsewhere.
Whitewater seems a perfect small town ski hill. It is very close to Nelson, the nearest town of any size, and affords the local residents with a relatively inexpensive, hassle-free ski experience. The standard of average skiing ability is unusually high, perhaps because Whitewater isn't a destination resort which attracts very many once-a-year skiers. The snow quality is often very good, and the lift lines tend to be very short, which is good since many of the runs are also very short.
I'm left with the impression local skiers are over-the-moon in love with Whitewater so I'm somewhat reluctant to register my lukewarm assessment of the skiing experience there. One can feel like an outsider encountering a religious cult when skiing at Whitewater where everyone I've spoken to seems to think the skiing is some of the best in the country or even some of the best in North America. I've learned to stop asking people if they've skied anywhere else.
I've spent more time skiing at Whistler-Blackcomb than any other ski hill, though I've also skied extensively throughout the Alps and Western Canada. This may explain my preference for bigger mountains, with significant alpine zones and longer runs. It might also explain why I'm baffled by the extravagant praise heaped upon Whitewater's food services. The food in the lodge is indeed better than the fare found at many Canadian ski hills, but compared to slope-side food service in the Alps, the cafeteria-style food offerings aren't anything to boast about.
I'm also puzzled by those who praise the sidecountry skiing. Excellent? Blackcomb's sidecountry is excellent. Jackson Hole's even more so. Zermatt's and Chamonix's are legendary. I can't see how the term 'excellent' even applies.
To be fair, Whitewater is a tiny ski hill in a small local market. Given that, it does a remarkable job of providing residents with worthwhile skiing at an affordable price. But it's not the Jackson Hole, St. Anton or Whistler some locals seem to take it for.