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Whistler and travel questions

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hi,

 

I will be leaving for a ski trip to Whistler-Blackcomb in about 10 days and I have a number of questions.  First of all, I have never flown with skis and gear before and I have some questions.  I am planning on buying a hardshell ski case both for protection and because it seems like the airlines prefer the hardshell cases.  I am flying with my girlfriend and it would be very convenient if I could just purchase a case that would hold 2 pairs of skis and we could pack our skis together in one case.  As long as the case doesn't exceed measurements and/or weight limits, can I ship both of our pairs of skis together in one case and have it count as the ski case with a bootbag as only one piece of checked luggage?  I am planning on carrying on my boots, but my GF is going to check her boots in the bootbag. 

 

Secondly, I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions as far as car rentals out of the Vancouver airport.  Are the roads to Whistler usually ok?  Would a standard compact car suffice as long as I can put the back seats down to fit the ski case in?

 

My girlfriend and I are both advanced intermediate to beginning advanced skiers; probably level 7 or so.  To give you an idea, the main runs on Peak 10 at Breckenridge are fun for me and about the level I am at now that I can ski comfortably.  I would like to ski some bowls at Whistler/Blackcomb and push myself, also.  I was wondering if anyone has suggestions as far as runs/bowls/areas that would be appropriate. My girlfriend is a good skier but is a little more timid so suggestions for some good chill warmup runs would be great too.

 

As I am always striving to get better and push myself, I am planning on hopefully doing a half day lesson.  Does anyone have any suggestions for an instructor?  In particular, I would be looking to work on moguls and steeps.

 

Thanks in Advance,

Gnarvin

post #2 of 14

1) How many days are you staying?   If 4days or less, I suggest to just rent skis

 

2) 2 skis in 1 bag: yes is fine with all the main carrier, it is mainly weight that is primary concern.  check to be sure. 

 

3) For car rentals,  if you are not going to sightsee or going elsewhere besides whistler/vancouver/airport, plus it's just a party of 2, I would suggest to just take a shuttle or bus to whistler, as you will be paying $30 a night for parking at your hotel, or your car won't be used at all.

 

For shuttles I have had good experience with epicrides.ca; it picks up from downtown vancouver but is faster than a bus since it doesn't have so many stops.  But there are a lot of other airport to whistler buses that are just fine too.  

 

All of this is weather dependent. As we're entering april should be completely fine as any storms would just be rain, if it were in january I would have much bigger concerns about the road conditions

 

 

4) I would suggest you guys go on the glacier tour before you leave as a unique part of wb, They will do 1 run before heading to the glacier to evaluate if you guys are capable enough to handle it.  (I would consider it to be an advanced intermediate run, of course, conditions change everything)


Edited by raytseng - 3/30/16 at 5:36pm
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the response.  We are staying 6 days and we are partial to our own skis so we will be bringing them most likely.  That being said, I was hoping to demo a few skis while there and I haven't been able to find a good place just by doing a basic search.  Specifically, I would like to demo the Nordica Enforcers, Blizzard Cochise, Line Supernatural 108, and Kastle BMX 105HP if possible.  If any of you know of any places renting/demoing those skis, that would be great.

 

Thanks for the info on the shuttles and the glacier tour, we will definitely look into those.

post #4 of 14

Agree with Raytseng about parking, it's better to take the shuttle coz it is convenient and cost wise, it is about break even if it will only be 2 of you.  I was in WB this Feb for 7 days.  If you will stay at the village, parking is about $20 per day(?) Folks at reservation suggested it is better to take the shuttle than drive.  Plus you won't need a car at all once you get to village, everything is within walking distance.  

 

There are 3 shuttle services operate b/w airport and WB that i know of.  Pacific coach operates from YVR (vancounver airport), it will be the most convenient location wise.  There are other 2 shuttle services to WB but you need to take the sky train to downtown somewhere to hop on the bus.  I took Pacific coach because of their schedule fits better w/ my arrival time.  But you may want to check w/ the shuttle services schedule to see which one fits you the best. (bear in mind you may have to haul your gears to board the sky train then to downtown if you choose the other 2 shuttle services).  Tripadvisor also is a good resource about transportation b/w YVR and WB. 

 

As for lesson, I took group lessons @WB.  Full day is from 10-3 and half day is 10-12, or 1-3.  Full day offers a better deal cost wise.  $289 CDN for 1 day lesson lift ticket included.  without lift ticket, it is $259 for group lesson.  (i.e. lift ticket only costs $30 if you do the group lesson).  WB has max 4 for adult group lessons.  

 

I am an intermediate.  My favorite runs at WB are: ode-to-joy (in the symphony area) and burnt-stew, both are blue runs I think.  

 

If you will bring your gears w/ you, make sure the gears will be at oversize baggage claim area.  1st time I traveled w/ my gears and I did not know it was at the oversize baggage claim, I waited for a long time at the regular baggage claim and thought the airline lost my bag!

post #5 of 14

the World Ski and Snowboard Festival is April 8 -17 during that period all major companies have their free demo huts set up on the hill or at least on the weekends You probably will be able find something of interest. will be lots happening in the village as well.

 

Unless you want a car for somewhere other than the ride up to Whistler take a shuttle you don't need a car while there 

 

Take a guided tour on both hills. They are  free. Trail maps are on all the down bars so orienting by yourself is not too difficult either.

 

Ask while on the chair. pretty sure any local will be happy to point you to the areas most suited for your level and be able to give you a bit of heads up as to where the snow will be better that day. 

 

Whistler closes on the 17th  only Blackcomb operates and no Peak to Peak after.

post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnarvin View Post
 

 

 

Secondly, I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions as far as car rentals out of the Vancouver airport.  Are the roads to Whistler usually ok?  Would a standard compact car suffice as long as I can put the back seats down to fit the ski case in?

The road is windy, but this time of year, you're highly unlikely to encounter any adverse conditions.

 

My girlfriend and I are both advanced intermediate to beginning advanced skiers; probably level 7 or so.  To give you an idea, the main runs on Peak 10 at Breckenridge are fun for me and about the level I am at now that I can ski comfortably.  I would like to ski some bowls at Whistler/Blackcomb and push myself, also.  I was wondering if anyone has suggestions as far as runs/bowls/areas that would be appropriate. My girlfriend is a good skier but is a little more timid so suggestions for some good chill warmup runs would be great too.

 

On Whistler: Warm up on Ego Bowl, then head over to the Harmony Chair. You can stay on the groomed cat track, or duck off the piste, then duck back on at your hearts content. 

On Blackcomb: The snow on 7th Heaven has been fantastic the last two days. Some good moguls to be had under the chair, and if those get to be too tough, you can duck back on to the groomers.

 

 

As I am always striving to get better and push myself, I am planning on hopefully doing a half day lesson.  Does anyone have any suggestions for an instructor?  In particular, I would be looking to work on moguls and steeps.

 

Aside from the self-serving desire to say that I'm an instructor at WB and that you could book me, taking a half-day group lesson is probably a better value for the money. No more than 4 people in a group, and they're "reasonably" priced compared to a private lesson. There are also complementary mountain tours, although I've been told that there's some policy that has made it so they don't take you on any black runs.

 

post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thank you all for all of the responses.  As I am hoping to at least try one of the bowls at either of the two mountains, I was wondering which of the bowls are on the easier side and which are more difficult.  It is hard to find a guide for these things online and I definitely don't want to end up somewhere where I shouldn't be.  As I mentioned in my first post, I have never been bowl skiing before so I would definitely like a nice reasonable intro if possible and then progress up if I feel comfortable.

 

Thanks in Adance


Edited by Gnarvin - 4/2/16 at 6:56am
post #8 of 14

Do yourself a favor and get out to the Backcomb Glacier.  If you can handle a t-bar and short hike it is well worth the effort.  If snow conditions are at all reasonable I can't imagine a "7" or intermediate-advanced skier struggling on it unless maybe you have never ever been off piste.  The terrain is pretty tame.  People bitch about the  long cat track on the way out but the setting is awesome.  Really, it's a pretty spectacular place in my opinion.  Also get out to seventh heaven, particularly if it is bluebird.  I would have to think that it would live up to it's name for an intermediate.

post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the tip.  I really hadn't even considered skiing the glacier but after watching some YouTube videos it does look do-able for us (obviously I know youtube videos make things look easier than they are in real life).  Also, we are planning on spending a lot of our time in the 7th Heaven area, as well.  

post #10 of 14

It can snow at the base and require chains to drive in April--how often that happens I don't know, but I'd believe Flying Fish--rarely. 

I agree with not renting a car--although when we stayed in a condo in North Village the parking was free. (We drove from seattle; otherwise I'd have taken the bus from VCR).

Blackcomb glacier is definitely worth it and intermediate as long as the snow is good. It just looks like a big snowfield--the only way you know you're on a glacier is because they tell you you are. It does require a Tbar and a minimal amount of hiking to get to.

As best as I can recall there are intermediate runs off of every chair, so you should be fine deciding for yourself what looks like it's within your ability when you get there. 

There are two good guides you can probably get in any ski shop there--beginner/intermediate  and advanced/expert that will give you a lot of advice, and of course the unofficial guide on Epic.

post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post

As best as I can recall there are intermediate runs off of every chair, so you should be fine deciding for yourself what looks like it's within your ability when you get there.

I'm pretty sure that there is at least an easy blue if not a green from the top of every chair lift.  The T-bars are another story.

post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 

Awesome, I hadn't even thought about possible guide books.  I will probably end up picking up both of the books when we get there and then I will have a night to study them over.  Thanks for the advice!

post #13 of 14

i still think your best opportunity is to take advantage of the free tours.  When I went it was only 4 guests with 2 hosts (one to go ahead, one to stay in the back to make sure nobody has trouble), so the ratio is really good.

 

They will already show and point everything out to you, but you can ask them about anything on the mountain and they'll tell you.  

post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks to all the advice from everyone.  The trip went very well and I had a blast.  Whistler-Blackcomb is now my favorite ski area.  We ended up bringing our own skis and were pretty glad we did; traveling with the skis was relatively pain free.  We ended up renting a car as we had activities that we did outside of Whistler a couple days and it was also pretty easy though expensive.

 

I had an absolute great time on both Whistler and Blackcomb.  I was unfortunately limited by visibility on 2 of the 5 days I skied and was unable to do some of the runs I wanted to do.  I had a wonderful time on 7th heaven in the afternoon of one bluebird day.  I wanted to go back and hit up Xhiggy's meadow and possibly the Lakeside Bowl on my last day but visibility was too poor for that unfortunately. The groomed runs off of the Solar Coaster were nice, as well.  At Whistler I enjoyed the Emerald Express area and some of the runs off of the Big Red Express too, though Franz's was a weird combination of slushy and icy in varying spots.  To challenge myself I skied McConkey's and Low Roll off of the Harmony Ridge as well as the skier's right side of the Piccolo face all of which were challenging but went well.  I did not get the chance to ski the Blackcomb glacier due to visibility issues on the day that I was planning on skiing it.

 

The skiing was great and I absolutely can't wait to go back.  I will definitely be back this coming winter and I have a TON of runs that I wanted to do but didn't get a chance to.  Any advice on runs similar in difficulty or perhaps a touch more difficult than McConkey's and Low Roll would be great.

 

Thanks

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