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Any ski villages comparable to Whistler?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Hi all. My wife is a non-skier, so I usually take my trips alone and stay in cheapo motels. But occasionally she goes, and when that happens we stay somewhere nicer. For spring break this year, we went to Whistler and stayed in Whistler Village at the Westin. She loved it, that she could walk all around the Village and shop and sightsee, while I skied.

 

Are there other resorts that have comparable village-type areas? Vail comes to mind, though I never really checked it out when I was there - walked from car to mountain for first lift, and then mountain to car after last lift. But I'm guessing that would be pretty comparable.

 

Any opinions on Vail Village, or any other spots to take her?

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 19

IMHO nothing compares to the size and magnitude of Whistler Village.  In the USA Vail is a close second.  Beaver Creek is also decent as is Mammoth.  Copper is OK.  I believe the old Intrawest was known for building base villages at their resorts.  There are also good ski towns that she would have fun walking up and down and shopping/browsing.....Park City and Breckenridge are two that come to mind.  I have never been to Steamboat or Aspen but these are notoriously good ski towns as well.  Not sure about Jackson.  Hopefully others can chime in for you.

post #3 of 19
Sorry, but copper really has very little in the way of a base village. However, she might have a good time in Aspen or Jackson. Plenty of shopping, great restaurants, and lots of people watching.
post #4 of 19

I think Aspen’s nicer Whistler Village.  Aspen is much more historic and has some beautiful old buildings.    The shopping and dining are about as good as it gets and there’s a really nice free art museum.

Vail’s just OK.  With I-70 running right next to it, it feels like a dolled up truck stop to me.

 

post #5 of 19

Aspen is great. It's not as compact as Whistler, but like Shreadhead said, it's a really nice historic town with lots of cultural amenities. You can stay in town and take the free bus to the slopes. If she loved the way that Whistler was so compact and walkable, she would probably like Vail, too.  I don't like the way Vail is smashed up against the interstate, and I don't think it's as pretty as Whistler, but your wife may not care about those things.

 

I am going to nix a previous poster's suggestion of Steamboat. There is a cute but small downtown, but the rest of it is a 3 mile sprawl of condos, strip malls and fast food joints. It's not a walkable place at all and not very interesting. The hot springs are nice, though.

post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all of the ideas, your input is appreciated!

post #7 of 19

Aspen, Breck and Park City are REAL towns, not built-from-scratch resort villages.  Any one would keep your wife occupied while you ski.

post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks JimH, appreciate the tips.

post #9 of 19

I almost forgot....Telluride is a very fun and funky ski town as well!  And there is the Mountain Village which is more "Whistleresque".

post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks gores!

post #11 of 19

I also vote for Aspen as the most enjoyable ski town for non-skiers.  Especially if they are gourmet diners.

 

My friend Richard from the Gathering has a non-skiing wife and they would take family trips when his kids were younger.  His wife also liked Sun Valley a lot.

post #12 of 19

OP, if your wife is a non-skier who would enjoy getting out on the mountain, then consider resorts that offer ski bike rentals. At my local mountain they insist on lessons for first time ski bikers, but take you up the chair lift first run. The bottom line is that within 3 or 4 days most new ski bikers are ready for most of the blue square runs at most resorts.

 

Also imo non skiing activities such as dog sledding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, snow cat rides etc. should be part of the decision.

post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 

DanoT,

 

Some good ideas there. The ski-biking she'd never do, but we have snow-tubed and done sleigh rides, and did a dog-sled trip thru Toghotee (Jackson Hole) a few years back - that was really cool!

 

Thanks for the tips, to you and everyone else.

post #14 of 19


too funny! if you are a couch potato, that may be true, if you like to walk and not afraid of the cold, there are a ton of non-skiing things to do a the boat, there are a few museums, including a great gallery at the end of town by the library, a "river walk" town bike and walking path that goes for about 7 miles (3 from town to mountain) that meanders along the river and is a fantastic walk or bike ride in warmer weather (you can rent bikes). It also links into a wildlife observation walk that goes over the yampa river. There are also a bunch of great spa's and such. There is also a great free transportation system. downtown is howelson hill, it often has events like racing, ski jumping and such going on. They also have tubing and world class cross country skiing.  On the mountain, there is a bunch of different nature snowshoe walks that range from beginner to advanced and you can go up in the gondola for the walks.  You can meet for lunch.  Of course, there are the snowmobiles tours, hot springs, incredible fly fishing, dog sled rides, dude ranch type day trips, horse back riding and a bunch of other stuff to do.  There are a few workout facilites that you can buy day pass's that are very nice as well.  There are 2 movie theaters, Indoor tennis, ice skating and even virtual golf too!  My wife who is a non-skier, never runs out of things to do. One thing she loves is to wander over to the base, sit up at the Sheraton with her kindle and have a leasurely glass of wine and watch the activity.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Christy319 View Post

Aspen is great. It's not as compact as Whistler, but like Shreadhead said, it's a really nice historic town with lots of cultural amenities. You can stay in town and take the free bus to the slopes. If she loved the way that Whistler was so compact and walkable, she would probably like Vail, too.  I don't like the way Vail is smashed up against the interstate, and I don't think it's as pretty as Whistler, but your wife may not care about those things.

 

I am going to nix a previous poster's suggestion of Steamboat. There is a cute but small downtown, but the rest of it is a 3 mile sprawl of condos, strip malls and fast food joints. It's not a walkable place at all and not very interesting. The hot springs are nice, though.



 

post #15 of 19

Mt. Tremblant in Quebec, another Intrawest resort, has a nice village similar to Whistler's but a bit smaller. We find the whole experience there very enjoyable, great food, and the French language gives a real away feel and two nice real towns within 10 minutes. Vail's and Aspen's villages are superior in range and diversity of interest to Whistler and are probably the premier spots although more expensive than most other options. Park City has a pretty good town in terms of interesting shops. Steamboat has a small village at the mountain (not that interesting) and a larger more interesting town 10 minutes away. Lake Placid has a town, where you would probably be staying, that is very interesting to non-skiers with both shops and numerous other sport venues - ski jumping, Nordic skiing, ice skating in rinks and on Mirror Lake, luge and bobsled rides (at a fraction of the price of Park City). Whiteface is a great mountain but is about 10 minutes from town.  Stratton in Vermont has a smallish Intrawest village and a dull mountain.

post #16 of 19

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimH View Post

Aspen, Breck and Park City are REAL towns, not built-from-scratch resort villages.  Any one would keep your wife occupied while you ski.

Agreed.  Vail was nice, but it has a bit of a strip-mall vibe.  Fun for a day, but not sure if there's enough there to occupy a whole week.

 

Have heard good things about Jackson but haven't made it there yet.

 

Stateline, NV/CA (Heavenly) has some stuff to do.  Great views.  Several casinos right there if you're into that.

 

Stowe, VT is pretty nice too.  Tons of XC skiing/snowshoeing trails there, various sightseeing things in the area.  Annoying to get to if you're not within driving distance.

 

Zermatt was really nice.  Big town, lots of shopping and stuff to see.  You can take the train or lifts up to several of the peaks (and various slopeside resorts with great food) on foot to see the views.  Also made Aspen look affordable, especially at current exchange rates...

post #17 of 19

Two places that at least deserve an honorable mention in this thread, that can keep you and a non-skiing Wife happy.  Both of these places have kept the rich and famous (as well as we mere mortals) blissfully: entertained, inebriated, and well stuffed for generations.  The skiing is pretty darned good too!

 

Banff, especially for a Spring Break trip.  Banff Springs Hotel is an astounding place.  Beautiful would be an understatement.

 

Sun Valley/Ketchem, ID.  The Sun Valley Lodge is an experience. This place was good enough for Hemingway!

post #18 of 19

2nd Zermatt, Stowe and Banff.

The shopping district of  Banff is just a short walk from the hotel and has a lot of  diverse shops.

If you include Europe, there are lots of ski areas with real towns at the bottoms of the lifts. Just in the same area as Zermatt are Courmayeur and Verbier both with very interesting towns. Cervinia (the Italian side of the Matterhorn) not so much so. La Thuile a parking lot.

Sun Valley is on my list but haven't been there yet.

The Lake Tahoe casinos are their own world, you either like them or not but the rest of the town did not have any thing of interest I found. 

post #19 of 19

 

Quote:

Sun Valley/Ketchem, ID.  The Sun Valley Lodge is an experience. This place was good enough for Hemingway! 

Sun Valley/Ketchum is my favorite ski town, and I almost mentioned it, but I am not positive that a non-skier who is looking for something like Whistler would necessarily love it like I do. But she might. I agree that the lodge is fantastic--they have a spa, hot pools, ice skating a real sleigh rides. They keep the Wood River Trail groomed, and it's great for taking walks. The town is compact, walkable and interesting, with a variety of good restaurants, It might be worth looking at the websites and seeing if it looks up her alley. The thing it doesn't have, that Whistler does, is that densely populated, bustling ski village feeling, with tons of people around, and so many shops, restaurants and services within a very small area. 

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