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Travel to BC in end of Feb beginning of March

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

Hello, 

 

I want to try BC skiing this February/March (the dates are still soft). 

Which resort would be more fun (in terms of weather, crowds, terrains)

 

-- Whistler

-- Revelstoke

-- any other ?

 

I am going to travel from SF Bay Area.

Basically, I am looking for good skiing (big bowls, some steeps, not a lot of trees skiing and some snow (not just ice+rain)).

Not sure if I do concern about great night life, but few dining options would be very helpful.

 

Any ideas? What should I take into the account? 

 

P.S. I am planing to ski like from Monday to Wednesday (weekdays) so that could be better in terms of crowds... 

 

thank you,

 

Oleg

post #2 of 25

One of British Columbia's strengths is excellent tree skiing. Red and Fernie are particularly good tree skiing destinations. 

 

Revelsoke is mostly below the tree line, and apart from the North Bowl, most of the interesting skiing will be in glades. The quality of tree skiing at Revelstoke ranges from excellent to unpleasant. The snow on the bottom of the mountain is rarely any good, and most people will focus their time on the top half. On the plus side, it won't be busy mid week. 

 

Whistler has plenty of Alpine steeps and snow up top should be reasonable. White outs aren't uncommon, but most seem to manage. Best nightlife of any ski resort, by far. The downside would be crowds. It's also quite expensive (relatively) and you might get some rain at the bottom.

 

Also consider Kicking Horse, which is one of the best expert resorts I have visited. Fernie is fun too, and it isn't all tree skiing. 

post #3 of 25
Assuming BC is British Columbia, not back country, then why not Alberta? Is this related to a business trip or bucket list that restricts you to a particular province?
post #4 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

Assuming BC is British Columbia, not back country, then why not Alberta? Is this related to a business trip or bucket list that restricts you to a particular province?

 

yes, BC = British Columbia. No, have no restrictions. just BC = in my head -> a lot of snow (ski movies influence).

Also, travel to Vancouver from SFO is a little bit easier (and cheaper).

but speaking about Alberta, I've overhead about resort name Panorama....

post #5 of 25
Thread Starter 

I see some pro for Whistler:

 

PRO:

- easy to get to Vancouver (non-stop flight)

- no need to get a car (bus ride to Whistler, staying in the village or close by)

- good terrains ?

 

CONS:

- weather

- crowds

- cost

 

what are PROs and CONs for other BC resorts (Revelstoke, Kicking Horse)

 

P.S. I could survive in the trees but probably won't enjoy it.

My home resort is Kirkwood, CA but there is not much trees there (at least I didn't find many and scary)

post #6 of 25

cost -every where in BC Alberta is a bargain right now.

crowds- mid week no hill in B.C. is very crowded (US holiday weeks will be busier )

in BC there is a holiday Monday Feb 13

Alberta gets Monday Feb 20 off no holidays in March 

weather - will be some so who knows  but Feb into March is usually prime time 

 

in B.C.

best advanced skiing other than Whistler

- KH Revy, Red, Fernie but access to same will be more time consuming   

 

for family/intermediate

the Okanogan is a very good option with  Sun Peaks Big White Silver Star Apex

further out Panorama and Kimberely are as well.

All have plenty of on hill ski in out lodging but again they will take longer to get to from SF.  

 

for 3 days Whistler is probably your easiest option  

post #7 of 25

Bowls + steeps + not tree skiing + some night life/dining + limited time = Whistler.  I'm not a fan of Whistler because I don't like all the 'glitz' but that's just personal preference. Most other BC resorts aren't high enough to have much true alpine (ie no trees) terrain.

 

Kicking Horse has lots of steep chutes on top but you ski to the bottom to catch the gondola and the bottom half is almost flat. Golden is railway town with limited apres.

 

Revy has lots of issues as well and is more difficult to get to. See DanoT's posts on the topic.

 

Lake Louise in Alberta has lots of steeps and bowls and is high enough to have lots of alpine. It can be very cold although end of Feb might no be too bad. It also doesn't get a lot of snow compare to resorts further West.

 

Panorama is an intermediate groomers paradise that doesn't get a lot of snow and is in BC not Alberta

 

Fernie is worth a look as it has five bowls in spite of being sub alpine and is close to a small town with lots of dining options.

My personal favourite is Castle in southwest Alberta. It has major steeps and true alpine bowls but is back of beyond in the middle of nowhere. 

http://www.epicski.com/a/unofficial-guide-to-castle-mountain-resort

 

All the resorts mentioned except Whistler and Revy are accessed through Calgary. Revy is accessed through Kelowna. Whistler is the easiest access by far.

 

I hope that helps 

post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 

Thank you all. Basically, the Whistler runs number 1 and KH is number two. I think for the first time, I will try Whistler. 

https://versus.com/en/kicking-horse-vs-whistler-blackcomb

thank you again.

post #9 of 25
You should join the Gathering scheduled for Whistler in early March. The big advantage is there are groups of similar abilities led by someone with knowledge of area to safely take you to places you may not find on your own.

With only three days to ski it may not be worth the effort to get to other western Canadian ski areas. I've skied inland BC and AB the last two seasons, but it's been part of long road trips from CA.
post #10 of 25

Whistler is the best for big bowls and steeps, with Kicking Horse a runner up. Whistler gets more snow, but KH generally has better quality.

 

Red and Revelstoke are the best for tree skiing, with Revy generally getting much more snow but Red being less busy.

 

If you go to Alberta, Lake Louise has awesome terrain but lacks snow. Sunshine has better snow, but boring terrain unless someone can take you into Delirium Dive.

post #11 of 25

I think where you go depends on how many days you have largely. If you only have 3 days (Monday to Wednesday from your post), then I would say fly to Vancouver and go to Whistler. It will be the most convenient, easiest to get to, you can maximize your time skiing and you don't even need to rent a car. 

 

If you want to go to interior BC, you will either need to fly to Kelowna or drive, or fly to Castlegar and drive or fly to Vancouver or Calgary and then drive again. So you'll also need a rent-a-car. If you only have three days, you'll probably lose a day coming and going. 

 

Panorama is in BC. But if you're looking for lots of snow that time of year, your best bets will probably be Big White, Whitewater, Fernie and Revy.

 

Big White is easy from Kelowna - you could probably just fly to Kelowna and take the shuttle to Big White. The snow quality will be fantastic - probably some of the best snow in BC at that time of year. Beautiful areas above treeline skiing, tree runs etc.

 

Fernie and Kicking Horse are wonderful mountains, probably easiest access is from Calgary, and then about a 3 hour drive to KH or 4 hour drive to Fernie. You're passing through If you're more into expert terrain, bowls, open skiing, then those are probably your best bet. I haven't skied as much at KH as Fernie, but I can definitely say that Fernie is amazing - amazing bowls, pow, trees, gorgeous views. I think the terrain is really interesting at Fernie too - lots of fun areas. Basically you can ski the entire mountain.

post #12 of 25

No contest, Whistler.

 

Cost? What cost? OK, lift ticket and lodging, right? Well, your saving in rental car and in air fare will offset some of that. Plenty of flights to Vancouver. Not so to other part of BC/AB 

 

Don't forget time. You can leave work and jump on a direct flight to Whistler and ski the next day. Ski the last day and catch an evening flight back home. If you go to any other places, you end up wasting a travel day in the front or back. 

 

Once you divide the total cost by the number of ski days, you may find Whistler just about the same ball park as the other mountains. 

 

I'm no expert on Whistler. But how often will there be rain in the top part of the mountain? 


Edited by at_nyc - 8/17/16 at 6:58am
post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by at_nyc View Post
 

No contest, Whistler.

 

Cost? What cost? OK, lift ticket and lodging, right? Well, your saving in rental car and in air fare will offset some of that. Plenty of flights to Vancouver. Not so to other part of BC/AB 

 

Don't forget time. You can leave work and jump on a direct flight to Whistler and ski the next day. Ski the last day and catch an evening flight back home. If you go to any other places, you end up wasting a travel day in the front or back. 

 

Once you divide the total cost by the number of ski days, you may find Whistler just about the same ball park as the other mountains. 

 

I'm no expert on Whistler. But how often will there be rain in the top part of the mountain? 

 

Calgary isn't THAT hard to get to, it's not exactly some tiny community airport and has more than 75% of Vancouver's passenger traffic. Take away the Asian-Pacific component, and the airports are even more similar in terms of destinations served.

 

And Lake Louise is a shorter drive (by time) from the Calgary airport than Whistler is to Vancounver's Airport. Castle takes 35 minutes longer, but if you are traveling from the east, you'll have a shorter flight. You will need to rent a car for Castle, but the difference in cost compared to Whistler is significant. There is absolutely no glitz at castle, but it IS affordable. 

 

The interior BC resorts ARE tougher to get to. Fernie is mostly accessed through Calgary and the drive is a bit over 3 hours. Kicking Horse is also accessed through Calgary and the drive is a bit less than 3 hours. You will need to cross passes for both of these options, but the Crowsnest Pass en route to Fernie is really gentle. 

 

Revelstoke has tough access. Either a 4.5 hour drive from Calgary (may be more in the winter) or a 2:15 hour drive from Kelowna, which is a smaller, but still reasonable airport. 

 

Red is a 7:15 hour drive from Calgary, about the same drive from Vancouver, 3.5 hours from Kelowna, 2:45 from Spokane or an easy 30 minute drive from the very small airport in Castlegar or as many people like to call the airport, "Cancelgar." Red is tough to get to, but it's remoteness is part of its charm.

 

 

I LOVE Whistler, and there are a lot of reasons to go there, but ease of access is a bit overrated.  

Crowds and cost are sometimes understated, in my opinion, but that might be because other Western Canadian resorts are rarely busy, especially midweek. 

post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Castle Dave View Post
 

Kicking Horse has lots of steep chutes on top but you ski to the bottom to catch the gondola and the bottom half is almost flat. Golden is railway town with limited apres.

 

It's only really flat below the Cantamount chair, even the pioneer side is comparable to what you will find on the lower mountain in Castle. Catamount doesn't get anywhere near mid mountain, and adding the Terminator run to your Bowl over of Super Bowl laps makes for solid fall-line skiing. 

post #15 of 25
Thread Starter 

Thank you. I settled on Whistler for now. It is 2 hrs flight and if I land before 12pm, I could get on 1pm bus between Vancouver and Whistler. So, don't need to worry about car/chains/parking. 2 concerns are: weather and people, but with mid of the week skiing, I hope "people" factor would be mild.

I will try to join an extremely Canadian Steep Skiing group Clinics (either 2 days or 1 day). Did anyone take it before?

post #16 of 25

KH has the best continual fall line skiing in both BC and Alberta.

But while Golden is in a pretty area it definately isn't an attraction on it's own, (like a lot of our other small resource based interior towns) 

The chutes at Castle are also rank up there but have a lot longer slow return. Pincher Creek is best by passed completely.

highy recommend both  

post #17 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by noncrazycanuck View Post
 

KH has the best continual fall line skiing in both BC and Alberta.

But while Golden is in a pretty area it definately isn't an attraction on it's own, (like a lot of our other small resource based interior towns) 

The chutes at Castle are also rank up there but have a lot longer slow return. Pincher Creek is best by passed completely.

highy recommend both  

 

I agree on the towns. Golden is hardly a tourist destination, but it is growing on me! There are a couple of decent cafe's, and places to grab a pint. New craft brewery coming soon. Of course after a day of skiing kicking horse, I am usually asleep by 9, so I don't need much to be satisfied. Golden doesn't have the charm of Nelson or Rossland though.

post #18 of 25

Extremely Canadian clinics are two days unless you book a private. The good news is you get line cutting privileges with Ex Can so less worry about the crowds. Mid week Whistler is not that busy outside of Holiday weeks, avoid Presidents week and Chinese New Year which is Jan 28 this year so the week after that will be busy.

post #19 of 25
Thread Starter 

Extremely Canadian clinics are two days unless you book a private. -> they have 1 day on Wednesday(s) (not sure when it started, I would assume last year)

post #20 of 25

I stand corrected I checked the WB web site and it just showed the 2 day clinics. The Ex Can site shows the 1 day and it's new for this year. The 2 day clinic will show you both mountains though.

post #21 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oleg S View Post
 

I will try to join an extremely Canadian Steep Skiing group Clinics (either 2 days or 1 day). Did anyone take it before?

Yes. I took two day clinic in late Feb. 2016. Another recent thread about Whistler that includes some pictures and links to my trip reports is at http://www.epicski.com/t/147067/whistler-input-needed/30

 

But not sure why you would want to spend $450 (or $400 if booked early) Canadian plus 5% tax and a tip for guide/instructor on top of the $100/day for lift tickets when you could join the Gathering and get free guide and meet other people to ski with for free. See http://www.epicski.com/t/146637/whistler-2017-gathering-general-info-questions-and-advice-thread for one of the Gathering threads. The main thread is at http://www.epicski.com/t/146634/2017-epic-gathering-whistler-blackcomb-march-5-11-2017

 

Kirkwood is also the area I ski the most and if you can't find trees to ski there or find them scary, you should get someone to show you around at WB. Not only may you not find the best of WB on your own (even with a guidebook), but there are many places there with possible consequences from a mistake in route-finding, conditions assessment or from bad visibility. Or if you wait until 2017-18 to go to WB, Vail's Tahoe Local Pass which includes Kirkwood most likely will give you some free days at WB and EpicPass definitely will.


Edited by tseeb - 8/17/16 at 10:47pm
post #22 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tseeb View Post
 

Yes. I took two day clinic in late Feb. 2016. Another recent thread about Whistler that includes some pictures and links to my trip reports is at http://www.epicski.com/t/147067/whistler-input-needed/30

 

But not sure why you would want to spend $450 (or $400 if booked early) Canadian plus 5% tax and a tip for guide/instructor on top of the $100/day for lift tickets when you could join the Gathering and get free guide and meet other people to ski with for free. See http://www.epicski.com/t/146637/whistler-2017-gathering-general-info-questions-and-advice-thread for one of the Gathering threads. The main thread is at http://www.epicski.com/t/146634/2017-epic-gathering-whistler-blackcomb-march-5-11-2017

 

Kirkwood is also the area I ski the most and if you can't find trees to ski there or find them scary, you should get someone to show you around at WB. Not only may you not find the best of WB on your own (even with a guidebook), but there are many places there with possible consequences from a mistake in route-finding, conditions assessment or from bad visibility. Or if you wait until 2017-18 to go to WB, Vail's Tahoe Local Pass which includes Kirkwood most likely will give you some free days at WB and EpicPass definitely will.

I would guess, that 1 or 2 days of Steep Skiing Clinic not only show me around but actually teach me some (at least I hope so). Gathering is probably another option which I would try to explore.

post #23 of 25

I went to Whistler last year in Feb and I loved the town...only thing with me it rained a lottttt and a lot of the skiing was closed off in certain areas but there was so much to do besides that I enjoyed it. But I did go to Ski and only was manage to fit in 4 days of skiing out of 7. I am not sure I would go back there to go skiing since I live all the way in Florida but I would go back with the idea in mind of doing other things there. But I did love the town.

post #24 of 25
Quote = CastleDave:
Bowls + steeps + not tree skiing + some night life/dining + limited time = Whistler.

+1 Especially if constrained to 3 days.  If you have the weekend on top of that Monday-Wednesday flying to Calgary to ski Fernie/Castle is a good option too.

 

Quote = tseeb:
Kirkwood is also the area I ski the most and if you can't find trees to ski there or find them scary, you should get someone to show you around at WB

That's another strong argument for Extremely Canadian.  I've been with them 3x, highly recommended  

Quote = tseeb:
you could join the Gathering and get free guide and meet other people to ski with for free.

Mon. - Wed. March 6-8 of the Gathering should fit your schedule!

post #25 of 25

Whistler seems a no brainer for this. Getting there is quick and easy. Terrain is amazing. There is always some risk of a rain event - but the upper mountain(s) *usually* holds up well. I'm a fan of maritime snow and in a good cycle, Whistler alpine is as good as it gets. I've had a couple times where I felt a single run down the glacier "paid" for my trip. Not because it is the ultimate gnar, etc. - but because it is just that big and that good....and that's just a little slice of the WB pie. 

 

KH and then on to the interior BC areas seem to me to be way tougher to get to. More challenging flights. Possibly long drives over passes, etc. My one experience with KH was less than gratifying. But I suppose that can happen anywhere. Still, for a short trip, Whistler is likely to be big bang for your buck.

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