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Driving to Pacific North West resort from Seattle : Silver Star, whitefish

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Hi,

 

I recently moved to Seattle area and will go on a family trip skiing in BC or Mt.

I am currently looking at Silver Ster in BC but I am concern about driving... I have a Subaru Outback but one of the route to go to Silver Star is via 97 C and it looks like there is a high elevation pass... Al alternative is to go via Weenatchee and 97 all the way up...

 

Any recommendations and experience driving to this part of BC ? I am also considering Whitefish even if it will be during President weeks and pricing is much higher at that time... But driving might be safer..

 

Thanks

Pecosbill

post #2 of 16

There are at least two passes between Seattle and Whitefish.  One is Lookout Pass, the other is Fourth of July Pass.  Both are under 5000 feet.  I personally have only driven them one time in the snow and clearly I am still here to write about it, but I really don't remember much.  Pretty sure Pete No Idaho could tell you more.  My daughter will be regularly driving those this winter, so naturally I am interested in the information as well.  

post #3 of 16

For Silver Star 97c can sometimes be bad for fog and drifting snow which gets hard on the eyes at night but its faster than via Wenatchee. Worst road conditions between the coast and Whitefish is usually the Snoqualmie summit and you will know about any closures before before you leave your driveway. If you have a Subaru with snows don't worry about either.    

post #4 of 16

To get to Silver Star I'd recommend 97c over going through Wenatchee.  It's faster and it's a major freeway that is well tended.  The Coquihalla area is similar in weather and elevation to Stevens Pass. You have to get over mountains no matter what direction you go. However, 97 is a more scenic drive IMO.

post #5 of 16

I would suggest looking at Red Mountain. It is a fairly easy drive from Spokane to Rossland, BC. Another option is Switzer in Northern Idaho. Some locals whine about it being too much like an overdeveloped Colorado resort but its actually a very friendly mountain with good snow and terrain plus you get to miss the nastiest part of I-90 in Northern Idaho. I've driven I-90 in Northern Idaho dozens of times during the winter and while I've never got stuck or had an accident there were times it took hours to do it, instead of the normal 75 minutes.

post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the input. I have 3 kids so Red is not great for ski lessons etc...but will probably go with some friends... I am down to Whiefish or Silver Star. Whistler could have been a great option ( road is often Ok beside traffic around vancouver) but it is too crowdy for my liking and weather could be terrible.

Silver Star has great kids program and nice snow tubing/ ice skating.. just concerns with 97 C highway in winter...

 

Thanks again

Pecosbill

post #7 of 16
Quote:
Whistler could have been a great option ( road is often Ok beside traffic around vancouver) but it is too crowdy for my liking and weather could be terrible.

Whistler's supposedly poor weather is highly exaggerated. We go 4 times a year and I've rarely had poor conditions. I've said this so many times I feel like a broken record, but I've had consistantly worse conditions--rain, slush and ice-in Colorado than Whistler. However you are absolutely correct crowds will be worse than at Silver Star or Whitefish.If I were you I'd ask about the drive on the BC forum of Trip Advisor. I've gone up to the Canadian Rockies/Interior BC via 97 (looooong) and I-5>Hwy 1 (shorter) but not in winter, and not specifically to Silver Star.

post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 

Whistler weather is only based upon my experience last year 4 days in January and I have not seen where I have been skiing... was surprise to see the very long lines in mid January and with such a "horrible" weather. Silver Star looks like a mid size 3000 acres resort with a lot to do for kids as well and almost "no" line and what it appears to be a better chance for nice weather. Will go to trip advisor and also give a call to silverstar...

 

Cheers

Pecosbill

post #9 of 16

It's my home mountain, but depending on the weather that's worrying you, i.e., driving weather vs. skiing weather, temperature, visibility, snow, rain, whatever, we may not be your cup of tea.  We do have a reputation for fog.  Telling you it's low-flying clouds might make it sound a bit better, but the fact remains that at any given point in the day, you may be tailoring your choice of trail to the visibility conditions more so than the trail rating.  See the Weather and Climate page in my Local's Guide to get an idea of the vast amount of climate-related possibilities.  Some are beautiful, but on some days you're going to wish you read up on tips for skiing when you can't see so great.  

post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

It's my home mountain, but depending on the weather that's worrying you, i.e., driving weather vs. skiing weather, temperature, visibility, snow, rain, whatever, we may not be your cup of tea.  We do have a reputation for fog.  Telling you it's low-flying clouds might make it sound a bit better, but the fact remains that at any given point in the day, you may be tailoring your choice of trail to the visibility conditions more so than the trail rating.  See the Weather and Climate page in my Local's Guide to get an idea of the vast amount of climate-related possibilities.  Some are beautiful, but on some days you're going to wish you read up on tips for skiing when you can't see so great.  

Thanks very nice page as well. The driving issue is just a painful day for me on the road but I will hear it from my family if we spend a week in the fog smile.gif rain or heavy snow fall. So far for the one year I have been in Seattle, I have skied 4 days in Whistler ( never saw the sky or sun...) 2 days in Crystal Mountain ( pretty much the same but less now..) and Sun peaks for 5 days mixed, sun, snow etc... positive experience. So I am looking to something similar to Sun Peaks for this time a full week from Feb 16 to 23rd....with kids 4, 10, 12 and a wife... 

Take care

pecosbill

post #11 of 16

Seriously, if you want sun, maybe you should go to Colorado or Utah.  I don't think any of the places you are talking about are noted for their percentage of sunny days.  Might want to do some climate checking on one of those weather sites.  

post #12 of 16

Silver Star is actually a pretty good bet for decent weather - often is sunny on the mountain when Vernon is grey in the valley. Dense fog is as rare as 2 feet of fresh. Nice Village good intermediate skiing on sunny south side excellent double blacks on the backside. 

post #13 of 16

I was going to suggest Sun Peaks for the OP as it is the closest to Seattle of all the BC Interior resorts but I see that the OP has been to SP and is looking for something else.

 

However I am going to suggest the best way to get to Silver Star is to take the Coquihalla Hwy #5 all the way to Kamloops so you don't take 97C (aka the Okanagan Connector), then take the Trans-Canada Hwy east and turn south (right) on to Hwy 97 through Falkland to Vernon and Silver Star. There is a bit of a climb when you first leave the Trans-Canada Hwy but its not usually foggy or wind blown and not high altitude. And you avoid going through Kelowna which has way worse traffic than Kamloops.

post #14 of 16

Also remember to take either the Lynden or Sumas border crossing as they are usually faster than the Peace Arch and much closer to Highway 1 so you avoid most entanglements in the Vancouver traffic snarl.

post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by gnjantzie View Post

Also remember to take either the Lynden or Sumas border crossing as they are usually faster than the Peace Arch and much closer to Highway 1 so you avoid most entanglements in the Vancouver traffic snarl.

Take the Sumas crossing.  After you get to Bellingham take the Mt. Baker Highway (SR542) to SR9.  Follow 9 north and you are there.  Sumas is farther east than Lynden and the Trans Canada nearly touches the border there, so you're on the freeway almost immediately after clearing customs.

 

By going this way you also miss the near gridlock of Canadian shoppers in Bellingham as you approach Costco and Walmart on Guide Meridian, which is the route to the Lynden crossing.


Edited by Posaune - 11/10/12 at 9:21am
post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanoT View Post

I was going to suggest Sun Peaks for the OP as it is the closest to Seattle of all the BC Interior resorts but I see that the OP has been to SP and is looking for something else.

 

However I am going to suggest the best way to get to Silver Star is to take the Coquihalla Hwy #5 all the way to Kamloops so you don't take 97C (aka the Okanagan Connector), then take the Trans-Canada Hwy east and turn south (right) on to Hwy 97 through Falkland to Vernon and Silver Star. There is a bit of a climb when you first leave the Trans-Canada Hwy but its not usually foggy or wind blown and not high altitude. And you avoid going through Kelowna which has way worse traffic than Kamloops.


Always watch the highway bulletins boards over the highway between Chilliwack and Hope. They will tell you if there are issues on either Hwy 5, 97c or 1 and 3. Unless the road is closed take 5 and 97c.. Vernon via Falkland is fine once your in Kamloops. But Hwy 3 via Penticton from the coast is second best choice if  5 is closed, Highway 1 is really the slow way.

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