EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › General Skiing Discussion › Skiing in British Columbia advice
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Skiing in British Columbia advice

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

Hi all, 

 

I'm looking at possibly doing a trip to Whistler/Blackcomb in BC this coming winter.  Any advice or recommendations on this resort?  I've skied just about everything in UT, CO, and WY and would like to venture out of the country.  For anyone that's skied the BC areas, what did you think?  Is it worth it? Are there better areas?  I like the amount of acreage, lifts, runs, and variety that I've read about Whistler so far.  Also January vs February?  

 

Thanks for any help!
 

post #2 of 26

Whistler/Blackcomb is a great place to ski.  There is also a lot to do there at night.  The drive from Vancouver to Whistler is very scenic.

 

January vs February doesn't matter.  Both months are good.  But one thing to keep in mind about Feb is that a lot of school districts Washington state have this holiday called mid-winter break.  A whole week off of school in Feb the week of Presidents' day.  People like to take ski vacations that week and Whistler is a popular destination.

 

There are several other awesome resorts to ski in BC, but Whistler is a good place for your first trip.

post #3 of 26

whistler is hugely popular...lots of backcountry in the region too...if you're not set on Whistler, also consider

 the BC interior ie the Okanagan valley area to find resorts such as silver star and  big white (both only 1 hr away from one another), and sun peaks in kamloops.

...another option are the southern kootenays (lots of drier snow) around nelson: ie whitewater, red, kimberly and fernie resorts.

 

can't go wrong with whistler however as long as you're not getting pnw fog/rain....on sunny days the views from atop any of the many bowls on either whistler or blackcomb are breathtaking...and there is a huge range of dining and nightlife to be had

post #4 of 26

Where to begin....

 

Do you like the idea of skiing and staying at one resort? If so Whistler is a good option, however is it overpriced? Yes. Is it over rated? Yes. Will you have to wait in enormous lift lines? Yes. Can it rain any month of the year at the summit? Yes. That said, if you have some decent weather that dumps a lot of snow it can be a great place, world class even, just expect it to ski out in mere minutes of 10-11am openings after avy bombing.

 

If you are not adverse to doing some driving, I would hit the interior of BC where there are less crowds, better snow, and a far more diverse range of ski hills. I've been living within 2.5 hours of Whistler for 10 years... I've skied it 7 times. Of the 7 days I've had one good day. I typically do the same trip every year that combines Revelstoke, Whitewater and Red Mountain with a few days of back country touring and usually a stand by cat day at Valhalla or Red. Or there is the southeast route where you can hit Kimberly, Fernie, Panorama and Kicking Horse... within a 3 hour drive of Cranbrook (intl. airport) you can be in Banff/Lake Louise as well.

 

Take anything written above with a grain of salt, no matter where you go, fresh snow can make or break a trip. Just know that if the snow isn't falling, the interior of BC actually gets this thing in the sky every now and then called the sun... can't say that for Whistler.

post #5 of 26

Whistler is a good starting point and has something for everybody day and night but if you are willing to look at other BC ski areas the following info would be helpful.

-What are you looking for in terms of terrain, accomodation, night life?

-How good skiers are you?

-How important is easy access from Vancouver airport?

-Are you willing to rent a vehicle and drive in the mountains in winter? at night?

-Are you a family, a couple with differing abilities or hard chargers?

Personally I don't like the full on Resort Experience prefering funky old school areas. Compared to other BC ski areas, Whistler is like Las Vegas with snow and lots of people like Las Vegas just not me.

post #6 of 26

Go to Whistler. Contrary to what people in this thread have told you it's really not expensive (except for restaurants-I agree they are), it's easier to get to than anything in the BC interior, it's beautiful, the village is so well designed that you will legitamately never need your car, and it's the biggest resort in NA with an endless variety of terrain. People love to diss the weather but I get up there 4 times a year and have had more bad condition days in Colorado than I ever have in Whistler. January will be less crowded, particularly early January (as it is at most ski resorts).

 

Some people are suggesting resorts in the BC interior like Sun Peaks, Silver Star or Big White. I haven't been to any of those because every time I looked at planning a trip, I'm really surprised at how expensive they are, and how little snow they get (less than 300"). I finally did just break down because I'm very curious, and I've booked a trip for January, but I ended up paying more (significantly more) for accomodation than I ever have at Whistler. And I'm a little worried about how little snow they get--hopefully I won't be stuck on groomers.

 

Quote:

Compared to other BC ski areas, Whistler is like Las Vegas with snow and lots of people like Las Vegas just not me.

You may not like Whistler but your analogy is bad. Vegas has gridlock traffic, crime, homeless people, obnoxious displays of excess, and is the least walkable place on earth (not to mention the most resource-consumptive place you can imagine, too). Have you ever actually been there? Or Whistler? Pretty much nothing like Whistler.

post #7 of 26

I agree with Christy319 that Whistler is the best place for a skier new to BC to start and in no way am I disparaging the resort. It truly has something for everyone and there is no other place as big and easy to get to from Vancouver. (BTW take a shuttle bus from the Airport and enjoy the view) Everywhere else requires substantial time and hassle to get to.  As far as knowing Whistler I first skied there in 1968 when there was a gravel road from Porteau and skied there steadily until the mid 90s including climbing and skiing Horstman, camping in the garbage dump (now the village), ski touring Garibaldi Lake area, etc. I have had the luxury of living all my life in British Columbia and am obviously spoiled by having so many choices and I choose smaller to bigger but that is just my preference. To each their own.     

post #8 of 26

Ski Whistler asap; or have regrets when you finally get here and wish you'd sold you car and gotten here sooner. Because I've racked up so many 100 + day seasons, the cosmic verdict is: Ski bum. This will be the 12th in a row HERE... and that's 1,200 days; out of which only about 60-70 didn't really work for me.

Lift-lines for Christmas only: Nov. up to Christmas week it's Alien Abduction and after Easter it must be the Rapture.  

Sure; read the fine print...  Coastal Weather Possibilities Include Rain, Rain-then-Freeze, Shmoo (40cms of Shmoo) and sometimes the blackest cumulous clouds in May... but even they are cool and sometimes you get to go up and mess about in really wild storms... 

If I get picky perhaps I could bump the sub-Standard Average-Good-Ski days here to 100. So less than 10%.

My Average Day is as good as Anybody-else's Best Day Ever.  

Generally, this place works. Plus 2C to minus 5C, a couple or three weeks of -15C.  The groomers are cool... sometimes Peak2Creek and that's 5,000 feet of Super-G. Some days its 35,000 vert on Sl skis.  A 3-meter week for last winter and 2011-12. Two meter Christmas weeks. I pray for droughts and Race-skis.

Sure, Whistler is a boring shopping mall with few Adults and no Adult-Entertainment... but this is generally true of Modern North-America anyway.  If you like to shop and eat - well most skiers are just moving around the hill on their way to lunch anyway.  At least we have very few guns and NO Old People or street people.  The 'accoms ' are getting cheaper especially if you avoid Christmas...

April - right after Easter is the Best: Long-Light, Snow, Snow-pack, possibility of sun or snow.

In Fact Go Here.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CiMmgnO5HY    Start with ' Why I have NO Friends" and find the other titles with the word 'Average' on my channel.    

Straight-skiing. No Junk. Just Average Days. reminds me - gotta upload some Trees... 3,500 vert of Trees.                  ... 

post #9 of 26

I ski almost all of the best areas in B.C. Alberta and some Washington and Montana hills every year. For anyone booking a weeks trip to ski the NW there is no doubt Whistler is your best bet. (Banff would be second) The other interior hills while harder to get to are also worth visiting, some are very good for families with young kids as they are mostly intermediate, some you will get more sun because there is less snow, others less lines as they are not as good a destination resort, some even have my favorite steeps but are not as good for mixed level groups and primarily they all ski smaller. You will be repeating the same runs after a few days and all are lacking the variety in accommodation and off hill activities. If you have never been to Whistler you own it to yourself to try. I wouldn't worry too much about negativity. Sure you can get bad visibility when it;s cloudy and snowing. So if the fresh stuff isn't to your liking pick another level in the 5200 vertical and ski there. Crowds ? A line might appear long but they are high speed quads and move quickly or pick another lift. Before the end of the day I guarantee you will have had enough vertical and will pack it in early.    

post #10 of 26

and second that about avoiding presidents week if possible but otherwise Feb over January generally. March April very good too.

post #11 of 26

Whistler is awesome. So is the interior. If I could I would ski my way from the coast right the foot hills Calgary. Wait a minute. I have just not all in one trip. Man its all good. Every place a little different. Vancouver Island has lots to offer as well. Mount Washington Resort and a best kept secret Mt. Cain. Cain is a wee bit of a drive up island. Only open on the weekends and holidays. Not much on accommodation but a pile of ungroomed snow.

Have a good trip know matter where you go. I am sure you will.

Cheersbeercheer.gif

post #12 of 26

I will be at Whistler Feb 3-7th with my ski club from Cleveland.  I was last there back in 93 and have been itching to get back since.  If you happen to book the same week as us, shoot me a PM and we can hook up for a few runs.

 

Rick G

post #13 of 26

Whistler is an awesome place but there are so many other resorts that are worth visiting. Big White / Whitewater/ Revelstoke/ kicking horse.

 

Ski Courses

post #14 of 26

you can have as much fun and challenge as you like at w/b, number of no fall zones.  depending on your ability pick up an intermediate or advanced pocket guide to w/b written by a couple of guys that know. there are of course a number of stashes not mentioned. good place to start tho. drop a line if i'm around would be happy to point you in right direction

post #15 of 26

Half of all level 4 ski pro's in all of Canada are at Whistler.

Nuff said

 

GO

post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by twa2w View Post

Half of all level 4 ski pro's in all of Canada are at Whistler.

Nuff said

 

GO

from what i heard from a few instructors,there is a pool of some 1200 instructors at whistler,

of various levels (Part Time, Full Time, On call)...

 

pretty amazing figure


Edited by canali - 11/4/12 at 6:34pm
post #17 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Christy319 View Post

You may not like Whistler but your analogy is bad. Vegas has gridlock traffic, crime, homeless people, obnoxious displays of excess, and is the least walkable place on earth (not to mention the most resource-consumptive place you can imagine, too). Have you ever actually been there? Or Whistler? Pretty much nothing like Whistler.

 

I think you're thinking about Vegas as a city, not Vegas as a tourist destination.  My guess is Castle Dave is thinking more of it like the Vegas Strip of the skiing world.  I totally agree with that, myself.  The village is very faux and over the top, just like Vegas.  It's crowded, full of tourists and expensive restaurants, etc.  I actually really like the analogy.

 

That said, the terrain is top notch, and the skiing, when good, is unbelievable.

post #18 of 26

The terrain at WB is some of the most varied and interesting in North America. There is lots to suit everyone's tastes and has been greatly enhanced by the new peak 2 peak which makes skiing both W and B viable in the same day. We have tended to avoid WB, not because it isn't good, but because our trips tend to coincide with the busiest periods. If you like to party, then this could be a positive, but if your primary focus is skiing then avoid the holiday periods including president's week. You can tell the busy weeks by looking at the condo prices. when they are asking for a minimum stay of 1 week and  double the usual price, you know it will be busy. By busy, I mean waiting at least 10 mins to get on any lift. It is true that WB is possibly the only destination resort in BC where you don't really need a car. 

post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by canali View Post

from what i heard from a few instructors,there is a pool of some 1200 instructors at whistler,

of various levels (Part Time, Full Time, On call)...

 

pretty amazing figure

Good point - they also have some very well respected multi-day specialist group programs or 'ski camps' taught by very highly qualified instructors. You tend not to get such a breadth of specialist programs at most of the interior BC resorts. Taking a course is also a good way of skipping the crowds as you can slide through the 'ski school only' lanes with the instructor.

post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by twa2w View Post

Half of all level 4 ski pro's in all of Canada are at Whistler.

Nuff said

 

GO

Trying to parse the logic of that one. 

post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by steverandomno View Post

It is true that WB is possibly the only destination resort in BC where you don't really need a car. 

Even more than that, a car is a liability.

post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by steverandomno View Post

Good point - they also have some very well respected multi-day specialist group programs or 'ski camps' taught by very highly qualified instructors. You tend not to get such a breadth of specialist programs at most of the interior BC resorts. Taking a course is also a good way of skipping the crowds as you can slide through the 'ski school only' lanes with the instructor.

true...i actually enjoy using my edge card (pass) at whistler to take a group lesson (and get a 30% discount) esp on a crowded day when my buds aren't available and the lineups are longer

...no crowds for us lesson takers as we have the express que...plus you're with others of similar capability and getting professional feedback on how to improve.

post #23 of 26

Any resort that sells green garbage bags with their logo on them and arm and neck holes already cut, is way too prepared for rain. I much prefer the dry snow of the B.C. interior. I also like to kid the WB aficionados that WB is a great shopping mall where you can also go skiing.

 

Having said that, if you have never been to WB, then you should go and experience the biggest ski resort in North America and if so inclined, the best partying anywhere.

 

With 2.5 million people living in the Vancouver area, about 2 hours away, and 62k beds in Whistler "village", if it snows overnight expect a madhouse in the AM.

post #24 of 26
Quote:

 Any resort that sells green garbage bags with their logo on them and arm and neck holes already cut, is way too prepared for rain.

 

 

These are ubiquitous in shops that cater to tourists, no matter where you are. I see them in European cities all the time, for tourists that didn't pack for all weather. In Whistler I imagine they are a big seller with tourists that come up for a day from Vancouver, especially in spring or fall. I've never seen one; I can't imagine anyone would buy one in the winter.

post #25 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanoT View Post

Any resort that sells green garbage bags with their logo on them and arm and neck holes already cut, is way too prepared for rain. I much prefer the dry snow of the B.C. interior. I also like to kid the WB aficionados that WB is a great shopping mall where you can also go skiing.

 

Having said that, if you have never been to WB, then you should go and experience the biggest ski resort in North America and if so inclined, the best partying anywhere.

 

With 2.5 million people living in the Vancouver area, about 2 hours away, and 62k beds in Whistler "village", if it snows overnight expect a madhouse in the AM.

if it snows significantly overnight then check out 'first tracks' to avoid the really big crowds (but avoid stuffing yourself with the food)

post #26 of 26

actually to get an idea of the expanse of WB, check out this interactive map, which compares the 8100 acres of whistler to other popular resorts

...you just click on any resort and it'll show what it would take up compared to WB's massive expanse

 

http://www.whistlerblackcomb.com/the-mountain/trail-maps/index.aspx

How Does Whistler Blackcomb Measure Up:
The numbers are big so it's often hard to tell what they actually mean, this comparison should help.


Edited by canali - 11/5/12 at 4:57pm
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: General Skiing Discussion
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › General Skiing Discussion › Skiing in British Columbia advice