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Whistler - December 9th

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

What is everyones opinions on Whistler/Blackbomb for December 8th-13th?  Their website seems to show both mountains have opened as of November 28th, but the lift status report seems to show 50% lifts in operations.

 

I have the week off, and would like to take advantage.  I've skied Utah (Snowbird, Brighton, Solitude) and Jackson Hole.  I loved JH and Snowbird, and can handle most single blacks, and the occasional double.  But nothing too crazy.  I love off-piste, understand early season limitations, but if I'm spending a grand or more would like to get a decent value and a good kickoff to the season.

 

Thoughts? 

post #2 of 18

I think it could be pretty fun, given the new snow, and the fact that your trip wouldn't end for almost two weeks (giving it time to snow more) and the fact that you understand early season limitations. The mountains won't be at their best--it's unlikely the high alpine will be open, and it's possible true off piste will damage your skis--but ff you're going to take a ski trip somewhere no matter what, and it's not TOO big a hassle for you to get to, I say go for it. There are some sweet deals for your dates on the Last Minute Deals portion of the W-B website.

 

That said, if there is somewhere that you're interested in that's having an amazing early season, where much of the off piste is open, and it's easier for you to get to, then maybe that's a better choice.

 

I was there Wed-Sat and it was the thinnest it's been for our annual (American) Thanksgiving trip. The snow quality was pretty good, but we heard the open, ungroomed runs were pretty rough (groomers were fine). But they had 11" new in the past couple days which will help a lot. Nothing new is in the forecast the next few days, but it would be very unusual for this time of year for it to stay dry until and through your trip. 

post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the reply!  It looks like a storm cycle is rolling in next week, and tempting me :)

 

I've never taken a ski trip alone though.

 

And should one bring a rock board this early?  Or is my all-around board a good pick? 

 

Thanks!

post #4 of 18

I'd say, bring rock skis only if they don't end up getting much more snow before you go, and you know you will go on ungroomed runs. Groomers, you won't need rock skis. But I probably wouldn't recommend the trip if they don't get more snow, unless it's really not a big deal, time/money wise. On their website, I don't see any snow in the forecast besides a few flurries (which is unusual...it's crazy cold, too) but I never trust mountain forecasts more than a few days out.

 

If you do come: I don't know if you have any interest in lessons, but if you wanted some company rather than skiing alone, it's "Discover Whistler Days" until Dec 20th, and all camps/lesson programs are 30% off. Their Max 4 lessons go up to Canadian Level 6 (Expert).

post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 

Awesome thanks!  

 

The weather.com forecast seems to show snow everyday from Sunday-Friday

post #6 of 18

I normally tout Whistler/Blackcomb for early season, but this November's snowfall was only 58% of normal.  December looks normal so far, but you're betting on the come.   Whistler had had 56 inches snowfall and is 24% open on a 35 inch base.

 

Best spots if you're skiing soon:

Whitewater has had 114 inches and will open this weekend with a 59 inch base.

Fernie has had 115 inches and is 56% open with a 61 inch base.

These areas are 4+ hours apart and not easy to get to.  Spokane is the best gateway.

 

Targhee has had 120 inches and is 89% open with a 61 inch base.  If you're in that area Jackson sounds only a little better than Whistler: 80 inches mid-mountain snowfall, 19% open on a 37-46 inch base. Perhaps the locals can tell us if widespread terrain openings are imminent.

 

Wolf Creek has had 124 inches and is 100% open on a 66 inch base.  Wolf has the most snow so far, but of course it's much smaller than the areas I mention above.  In the area (sort of) Telluride has had 91 inches but is only 26% open.  With a 45 inch base I would expect more soon.  Purgatory has had 78 inches and a 42 inch base but is closed until this weekend.

Quote:
if I'm spending a grand or more would like to get a decent value and a good kickoff to the season. 

Early/mid-December skiing should never be about where do you most want to go. It should always be about who has the snow so far.   The 3 regions above are what you should consider if next week is when you will be skiing.

 

Next on the list might be Utah's Cottonwood resorts, but they are still below average for this time of year.  Alta has had 68 inches since late October and is 43% open on a 37 inch base.  I can tell you since I know the mountain well that Snowbird will be a minefield at 15% open on a 26-38 inch base.

 

As noted elsewhere there has been much talk about Front Range Colorado, but areas are generally about 1/4 open and base depths are still under 3 feet.


Edited by Tony Crocker - 12/4/13 at 3:11pm
post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the info, Tony.  Love your site.  

 

A big consideration with Fernie and Telluride is the remote location and extreme cost to get there on such late notice.  The costs are so astronomical that it cuts into the fund for the ski trip later this year :(

 

Already skiied JHMR, so would love a different region to see the new scenery

post #8 of 18
Quote:
would love a different region to see the new scenery 

That's a valid concern mid-season, not so much in December.  Spokane is a price competitive airport since Southwest flies there.   You'll be doing some driving to Fernie(5 hours) and/or Nelson(3+) but for a whole week it's a reasonable choice that I've done myself a few times.   Calgary is an option for Fernie, 3 1/2 hours, and also Castle which will open this weekend and is a 1 hour detour on the Calgary-Fernie drive.

 

Montrose and Durango airports are the most convenient choices for the Southwest tour.  They will not be as cheap as Spokane.  Albuquerque (also served by Southwest) is the cheap option, 4+ hours from there to Wolf Creek.  Drive times from Denver are about an hour more than from Albuquerque

 

I still say these are your best options.  If price is important, fly to Spokane or Albuquerque and suck it up for the driving to get the better skiing.   If you go to Targhee/Jackson you have a similar 5 hour drive from the cheap airport in Salt Lake.

 

I'll also remind you that most years Whistler IS a good choice for mid-December. So why not save it for one of those?


Edited by Tony Crocker - 12/4/13 at 4:40pm
post #9 of 18

Open but not fabulous. November to mid December is a bit of a gamble. Usually you win but I wouldn't bet the house. There is a reason why hotels and lift tickets are always heavily discounted before mid December. Current weather is clear and quite cold for here. Outlook is for same until the start of next week. Even when the snow forecast does arrive the base is currently low so the alpine might not even get opened in your time period. Would be a shame to make a costly trip here and not be able to ski all of the hill. Wait just a little bit longer, unless time and money don't matter.     

post #10 of 18
Denver's a cheap ticket. Rent a car and drive to Aspen, skiings great!
post #11 of 18

If money is an issue, then save it for when the snow coverage is better.

post #12 of 18

I was looking at Jackson Hole and I don`t think you can beat this deal:

http://www.jacksonholewy.com/vacation-packages/jackson-hole-rendezvous-2-night-2-day-ski-getaway/

You can make it more than 2-days it`s just 94$ a night for slope-side accommodations at a nice hotel and 120$ for 2 days of lift tickets. I have personally never seen anything cheaper in Teton Village. They look like the could get snow in the time you are there as well. Another option is Targhee at probably around the same price range but they are two different types of ski resorts so I would make the choice between the two. 

 

Whistler is probably twice the cost even pre season... Food is also pricey... Terrain is absolutely massive compared to both of them though in fact I am pretty sure if you combined them they would still be smaller than WB. It`s really your call on what type of skiing you want. Scenery is nice for the first day at all of them but your there to ski. Having been, I would choose the Jackson Hole package if you are concerned about price and conditions and save your money for a Whistler trip in March when it`s truly EPIC. 

post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post
 

As noted elsewhere there has been much talk about Front Range Colorado, but areas are generally about 1/4 open and base depths are still under 3 feet.

 

True, but the skiing is still amazing.  Winter Park is has 708 of 3081 acres open on a 28" base.  Yeah, that sounds bad looking at the stats, but the skiing is really good.

 

Here are a couple pics from Wed at Mary Jane where they have a ton of black runs open with good coverage (rock skis still advised):

 

1000

 

1000

 

My full report from Wed with more pics:

http://www.epicski.com/t/122138/today-i-skied-community-daily-trip-report-2013-14-edition/30#post_1651278

 

There is another good storm coming to Colorado tomorrow.  Tickets to Denver are cheap.  Lodging is cheap.  You can find deals on lift tickets, or still buy a season pass and use it on a second trip.

 

Anyone planning a last minute trip in the next week or so should use this map as a guide and strongly consider Colorado:

 

Source (updated daily): http://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/gis/images/west_swepctnormal_update.png

post #14 of 18

That map showed the northern half of Colorado barely above average a week ago but now at 120%.  The southern half of Colorado is much farther ahead of normal.

post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 

Looks like CO is having a great season.  Was going to book Telluride today, until I saw Durango airfare had jumped for $500 to $1000 overnight.  Im flying into SEA, and driving to Whistler tomorrow (hoorary for free airfare!) with a room and 4 days of skiing for ~$650.  I appreciate the input, hopefully this thread can help someone else.  I did also look at DEN flights, but those were not free either.

post #16 of 18
Quote:
(hoorary for free airfare!) 

Not sure what's meant by this.  If it's frequent flyer miles that's not really free.  25K miles is the equivalent of a $400 - $500 ticket.  We don't know where Envy lives, but I'd be surprised if he couldn't get to Denver for under $500.

 

Whistler was a bit light on last week's storm too, season-to-date is only 56 inches.  The weather maps do show a major system headed for the PNW, so Whistler could be a whole lot better within a week.

post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post
 

That map showed the northern half of Colorado barely above average a week ago but now at 120%.  The southern half of Colorado is much farther ahead of normal.

 

Yeah, northern CO has been bouncing between 100 and 120% between storm cycles.   Even though we are not that far off average, there is a huge difference in the quality of skiing compared to bouncing between 80 and 100% as we have in recent years.   In early season, seemingly small marginal differences in snow can result in much better terrain being open.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Envy View Post
 

Looks like CO is having a great season.  Was going to book Telluride today, until I saw Durango airfare had jumped for $500 to $1000 overnight.  Im flying into SEA, and driving to Whistler tomorrow (hoorary for free airfare!) with a room and 4 days of skiing for ~$650.  I appreciate the input, hopefully this thread can help someone else.  I did also look at DEN flights, but those were not free either.

 

Whistler will be a blast.  Have fun!

 

Not to rub it in, but Wolf Creek has 17 inches new this morning!  If anyone is thinking of a last minute trip to CO, do it!  The sooner the better:

 

Quote:
This morning will be the best time to ski fresh snow in at least the next 8-10 days, so enjoy it. A few more inches are possible between sunrise and midday with on-and-off snow squalls. Expect dry weather for the rest of the week with the exception of light snow for I-70 and north on Tuesday night.
 

 

Given the cold temps and low sun angle, surface conditions should be good for a while.  Get on a plane if you can!

post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post
 

 

Whistler was a bit light on last week's storm too, season-to-date is only 56 inches.  The weather maps do show a major system headed for the PNW, so Whistler could be a whole lot better within a week.

 

Yeah, compared to the 18 feet in November a few years back, WB is a little light right now. Actually the best stuff is down fairly low where they're making a lot of snow.

 

Supposed to be stuff coming in soon, but anyway, you always have that wonderful vertical (Peak C hair opened yesterday) to get your legs in shape.

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