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Which resort...? In USA or Canada.

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hey everyone,
I'm trying to make a decision about where to go skiing in February next year. I'm from Australia an have only every skiied over here, and the snow is not great so I think I will enjoy anywhere I choose to go.
I want to do some other sightseeing on my holiday, and want to go to either Canada or the USA. Can anyone recommend somewhere that is fairly easy to get to, on the western side of the country with reliably good snow?
Any suggestions would be appreciated, I just need to be pointed in the right direction.
Edited by killerseahorse - 10/28/12 at 12:12am
post #2 of 20

You can't go wrong with Whistler Blackcomb - best chance of plenty of snow, a vast amount of terrain catering to every level and interest, awesome nightlife, easy to get to with direct flights to Vancouver from Australia and a 1.5 to 2 hour transfer from the airport to the resort. Vancouver is a great city in its own right and there's plenty of sightseeing to be done.

post #3 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by killerseahorse View Post

Hey everyone,
I'm trying to make a decision about where to go skiing in February next year. I'm from Australia an have only every skiied over here, and the snow is not great so I think I will enjoy anywhere I choose to go.
I want to do some other sightseeing on my holiday, and want to go to either Canada or the USA. Can anyone recommend somewhere that is fairly easy to get to, on the western side of the country with reliably good snow?
Any suggestions would be appreciated, I just need to be pointed in the right direction.

Welcome to EpicSki!  You are correct that the likelihood for good snow in Feb is pretty high.  Even last season there were places that had pretty good conditions.

 

Probably help to know a little more about what you are thinking.  Are you coming with a small group or alone?  What level of skier(s)?  What equipment do you plan on bringing?  How many days could you spend on holiday, not including travel days?  For the sightseeing, are you interested in a city like San Francisco or Vancouver, or outdoor fun like Yellowstone National Park, or both?  Do you have local friends who have been to North American lately?  If so, where did they go?

 

Have you found the EpicSki Resorts section?  Once you narrow down the destination airport, there is good info there for a lot of places.  But feel free to ask specific questions of everyone.

http://www.epicski.com/products/category/resorts

post #4 of 20

I think MarzNC asks some good questions but my first thought is also Whistler, for all the reasons given above. No matter what your ski level, Whistler is great (and the ski school is top notch for all ability levels). I think there's a reason so many Aussies do go there--it's relatively easy for you to get there, and it's the largest ski area in North America.

 

Tahoe and San Francisco is the other obvious choice. You can fly to SF nonstop from Sydney at least, and I think SF is more interesting to a tourist than Vancouver (nothing against Vancouver; it's a great city but I give the edge to SF). SF will also have nicer weather in Feb; in fact it could be downright nice. Lake Tahoe is also really, really beautiful (for that matter, so are the views from the top of the mts at W-B).


Edited by Christy319 - 10/28/12 at 9:13am
post #5 of 20

For a first trip to the US, I would reccomend Aspen if your budget fits.

post #6 of 20

All these areas have plenty of great skiing on your choice of big mtns.

Whistler is great skiing but there is always the possibility of bad snow because of occasional rain on the bottom half of the mtn.  But don't rule it out for that, unlikely but possible.

Tahoe is great, with Lake Tahoe adding extra beauty.  Get a taste of California there.

SaltLakeCity is beautiful in the mtns, but the resorts are around a drab city.  But that makes it easy to get to and cheap to stay.  Most snow.

Colorado has Summit County and Aspen.  Lots of very good resorts and choices.

Jackson Hole is huge, very picturesque and has a little old West feel to it. Yellowstone is up the road. Don't go in March.

post #7 of 20

Don't overlook Banff in Canada.  

post #8 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowbirdDevotee View Post

All these areas have plenty of great skiing on your choice of big mtns.

Whistler is great skiing but there is always the possibility of bad snow because of occasional rain on the bottom half of the mtn.  But don't rule it out for that, unlikely but possible.

Tahoe is great, with Lake Tahoe adding extra beauty.  Get a taste of California there.

SaltLakeCity is beautiful in the mtns, but the resorts are around a drab city.  But that makes it easy to get to and cheap to stay.  Most snow.

Colorado has Summit County and Aspen.  Lots of very good resorts and choices.

Jackson Hole is huge, very picturesque and has a little old West feel to it. Yellowstone is up the road. Don't go in March.

OP asked about Feb.

 

Big Sky is another possibility if visiting Yellowstone is of interest.  Could do a low budget warm up for a couple days at Bridger first.  No worries about crowds on the holiday weekend in MT.

 

SLC isn't anything special as a city like San Francisco or Vancouver, but if willing to drive then can go out in the desert areas for something completely different.

 

Apparently there is also a week in Feb when there is a Canadian holiday that will mean some areas will be crowded.

post #9 of 20

How long are you coming for?  What type of site seeing did you want to do?  What is your skiing preference?

 

San Francisco to Tahoe is a good choice

 

If you are into the Hollywood scene, you could go to L.A. and then catch a flight (Southwest or another airline) to Reno, Salt Lake City, Denver or even Aspen if you have the budget.

 

I like Vancouver as a city but it is not that different than say Melbourne.  Heard great things about WB (both in terms of the skiing and apre) but the weather can be more cloudy and rainy than some of the other suggestions.

post #10 of 20

I suggest looking at the ski magazine's list of top 25 resorts in North America.  These are all good ski areas.  Many people on this forum don't like this list because they are expert skiers (not average skiers) and I agree that there is a better list for experts.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/114232/ski-magazine-resort-survey-results-2012-2013

 

I also suggest the below website as a great way to quickly get to know US/Canada ski areas.

 

http://www.ski-guide.com/

post #11 of 20
Quote:
Many people on this forum don't like this list because they are expert skiers (not average skiers) and I agree that there is a better list for experts.

Yes.  The best way to analyze that survey is to go through the top 10's by category.  The overall ranking is based upon an equal weighting of categories, many of which may not be important to you.  The rating within most categories are fairly accurate so look at the categories that are important to you. There is an overall satisfaction category that most of us here on Epic would consider more representative of our priorities.

Quote:
Overall Satisfaction

1. Alta, Utah
2. Jackson Hole, Wyo.
3. Whistler Blackcomb, B.C.
4. Deer Valley, Utah
5. Aspen Highlands, Colo.
6. Telluride, Colo.
7. Mammoth Mountain, Calif.
8. Vail, Colo.
9. Powder Mountain, Utah
10. Snowmass, Colo.

But based on the limited info supplied so far by the OP, I would agree that San Francisco/Tahoe or Vancouver/Whistler are excellent choices.

post #12 of 20

Banff has the best scenery, good skiing, and a great town.  If scenery is high priority go there for sure, as long as the flight into Calgary isn't too tough from down-under.

 

The Hollywood, SoCal post was a great idea if that's your thing.  Flights from LA to pretty much any US ski town are next to nothing (at least compared to your "big" flight).

post #13 of 20

Banff is amazing, but going in middle of winter can be risky. Although rare you can be skiing upwards of 30 below zero without windchill. A few years ago I went to Marmot(jasper) and it was -36. Also, Whistler during that month will have the bc stat holiday on the second Monday and the presidents day weekend the 3rd Monday that month, not including winterpride. Its a gay pride festival that can quite busy and will change the vibe of the village.  Not passing judgement, just stating a fact.

 

It is also not uncommon to rain above the peak for a few days at that time of year.  I live whistler part time and been going there for over 20 years. I would recommend staying south and head to colorado depending on the snow pack.

post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for your replies. In writing my first post I thought I was writing too much!
I'm probably intermediate to advanced skier, but I am used to Australian conditions. We don't really get powder here. I'll be taking my own boots, but will probably rent skis when I get there to save on luggage.
I would love to see San Francisco, I don't know a lot about Vancouver but I'm always interested in seeing new places.
I will be either travelling alone or with my partner, hoping he can take the time off work for a holiday, and probably a week skiing, then a week exploring. I think after a week my legs will need to recover!
Thanks again, I really appreciate the suggestions.
post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by killerseahorse View Post

I'm probably intermediate to advanced skier, but I am used to Australian conditions. We don't really get powder here. I'll be taking my own boots, but will probably rent skis when I get there to save on luggage.
I would love to see San Francisco, I don't know a lot about Vancouver but I'm always interested in seeing new places.

My suggestion would be SF and Tahoe in that case.  Fun city plus great scenery and skiing variety at Tahoe.  The U.S. President's Day long weekend will be busy but you could schedule around that in terms of when you are skiing.  Personally I like north Tahoe better than south Tahoe.  While it's possible to do Tahoe without a car, it's much easier to have one.  Look around . . . you'll find quite a few threads with Tahoe recommendations.

post #16 of 20
Quote:

I would love to see San Francisco, I don't know a lot about Vancouver but I'm always interested in seeing new places.
I will be either travelling alone or with my partner, hoping he can take the time off work for a holiday, and probably a week skiing, then a week exploring.

Since you want to sightsee for a whole week, and you want to see SF, I think that it your best pick. You can easily stay entertained in the SF area for a week, with city stuff and beautiful natural areas outside the city. I personally wouldn't do a week in Vancouver in February. And there are enough resorts around Tahoe to keep you busy for a week.

post #17 of 20

Keep in mind that historically February is the lowest snow fall month for Whistler.  I thought that seemed strange, but this was according to their own chart in their ads in the various ski magazines.

post #18 of 20

Given jet lag, you might consider a few days in SF before going to Tahoe.  Then the only adjustment for skiing would be altitude, which isn't bad in Tahoe.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by marznc View Post

My suggestion would be SF and Tahoe in that case.  Fun city plus great scenery and skiing variety at Tahoe.  The U.S. President's Day long weekend will be busy but you could schedule around that in terms of when you are skiing.  Personally I like north Tahoe better than south Tahoe.  While it's possible to do Tahoe without a car, it's much easier to have one.  Look around . . . you'll find quite a few threads with Tahoe recommendations.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Christy319 View Post

Since you want to sightsee for a whole week, and you want to see SF, I think that it your best pick. You can easily stay entertained in the SF area for a week, with city stuff and beautiful natural areas outside the city. I personally wouldn't do a week in Vancouver in February. And there are enough resorts around Tahoe to keep you busy for a week.

post #19 of 20

I agree that SF/Tahoe is the better choice. 

 

1) As noted SF is a lot more pleasant weather in February than Vancouver

2) I consider Whistler a considerably more advanced than average ski destination for North America.  I think it's poor for beginners, can be demanding for intermediates with long runs in sometimes changing snow conditions as you descend.  Still great for well conditioned intermediates, but if you're still improving and this is your first time in North America, why not go somewhere more mainstream then come back to Whistler when you would appreciate it more?  The areas at Tahoe range from very expert to very beginner/low intermediate friendly.

Quote:
Keep in mind that historically February is the lowest snow fall month for Whistler.  I thought that seemed strange, but this was according to their own chart in their ads in the various ski magazines.

A classic example of misusing stats: 40 year data in inches here:

Nov. Dec. Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr.
74.32 86.59 81.39 67.07 74.09 35.70

When you consider that monthly standard deviations are 35-40 inches, those snowfall differences are essentially meaningless.  Particularly when February is in the sweet spot between low light  (important in Whistler Alpine) and 1/2 hour earlier closing time Dec/Jan and more likely sloppy conditions on the lower mountain in spring.

 

Note to Philpug: The above is a perfect example of when experience is more important than raw numbers to answer a question intelligently.

post #20 of 20

think you need to determine what's more important to you first

A: a ski trip with some sightseeing 

    stay at a ski resort and see the areas between there and the arrival/departure city

    Vancouver-Whistler or Calgary -Banff is a good fit (and prettiest)

B: a holiday with some skiing. 

    fly to a city/region you to want to visit and take time to go to some ski areas

    San Fran-Lake Tahoe region  SF is a nice city not quite as spectacular mountain scenery

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