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Advice: Low Altitude Trip in March [family trip, intermediate, first big mountain] - Page 2

post #31 of 49

I don't know how the OP is planning to get to wherever, so I was wondering if flying was really an option. All commercial flights have pressurized cabins, but I believe that pressurization is above 4,000 feet. One study of 8 flights in Airbus A380 aircraft found a median cabin pressure altitude of 6,128 feet (1,868 m), and 65 flights in Boeing 747-400 aircraft found a median cabin pressure altitude of 5,159 feet (1,572 m).

 

I don't know if the infant's condition constraints to any time above 4000 feet or if a few hours would be ok. If it's anytime, then I think the OP should drive/take a train to VT.

post #32 of 49

As in the other thread from the North Carolina skier, I don't think Whistler is a great choice here. Too many of the skiers are on the low end of the intermediate scale.  The alpine terrain with the best snow and scenery is vast majority advanced/expert.   Most of the intermediate terrain is mid-mountain and lower with more variable snow conditions.

 

With low altitude often comes melt/freeze conditions in March.  So no surprise most suggestions to sleep very low involve a daily commute to the skiing.

 

The interior Northwest also has a lot of sunny exposures to compound the melt/freeze, not much of an issue midwinter with chronic overcast but more of a gamble in March.   Whitefish is heavily south facing, so I would be leery here. Sibhusky can tell us whether the fog is still protecting the snow, but based upon what I know from other places like that, I would suspect not often enough in March.

 

Schweitzer's primary exposure is east with somewhat more north facing than Whitefish. Silver is primary north exposure with that gondola access.  I don't know that I'd want to spend the whole week there, but a Spokane based trip hitting Schweitzer, Silver and Lookout is not bad.  However, you're probably relocating the lodging base during the week.

 

I think Bend/Mt. Bachelor is the best choice for this group.   There's lots of terrain in the comfort zone of this group and also at the upper intermediate to advanced end for those who progress during the week.  The access road from Bend at 3,000 feet is ~20 miles but straight as an arrow at a steady grade so rarely subject to closure or big backups. And at 6,000 - 9,000 ski elevation with primary north exposure the snow will likely be much better than at any of the interior NW places.

 

Easyslider's air travel question is a good one, I have always assumed cabin pressure is in the 5,000 - 6,000 range.  I've even seen it show that on my altimeter watch in flight.

post #33 of 49
As I said, stick to early March. Also, the addition of the extra terrain over at Flower Point, which faces NNW, has added a lot of options for the intermediate level skier. Actually, even for the expert, as the area still is heavily treed where the runs weren't cut. The last two seasons were quite warm, and those additional aspects have really helped, in fact in the spring I have a tendency to just ski over there as the snow quality is so much better. (And this is in spite of the fact that I find the chair physically uncomfortable.) The sun doesn't touch it until quite late in the day.

I expect this winter to be far better than the last two, so I think early March will be just fine.

Fog depends on temperatures. If the local lakes are still ice covered, then you're fine. The last two years, the lakes have not completely frozen, therefore they melted faster. So, we've had some really really really horrid days. But if it's a normal or better winter, then the visibility should be fine.
post #34 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post
 

As in the other thread from the North Carolina skier, I don't think Whistler is a great choice here. Too many of the skiers are on the low end of the intermediate scale.  The alpine terrain with the best snow and scenery is vast majority advanced/expert.   Most of the intermediate terrain is mid-mountain and lower with more variable snow conditions.

 

 

Yes, you said that in the other thread too, and it continues to be completely incorrect.

 

According to various sources, the terrain is listed as green 18%, blue 55%, black 22%, double black 5%. Taking the green at 18% x 7200 acres, means 1,200 acres of greens, and 3,960 acres (about the size of Vail all by itself!) of intermediate terrain .

 

C'mon, 7th Heaven is, by itself the size of some of the places being discussed, and it's an intermediates paradise, and oh, right it's in the ALPINE! Plenty off of Harmony and red and green chairs, once again, IN THE ALPINE.

 

Whistler fulfills what the OP wants, in terms of size, availability and altitude. Simple and correct answer.

post #35 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by snofun3 View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post
 

As in the other thread from the North Carolina skier, I don't think Whistler is a great choice here. Too many of the skiers are on the low end of the intermediate scale.  The alpine terrain with the best snow and scenery is vast majority advanced/expert.   Most of the intermediate terrain is mid-mountain and lower with more variable snow conditions.

 

 

Yes, you said that in the other thread too, and it continues to be completely incorrect.

 

According to various sources, the terrain is listed as green 18%, blue 55%, black 22%, double black 5%. Taking the green at 18% x 7200 acres, means 1,200 acres of greens, and 3,960 acres (about the size of Vail all by itself!) of intermediate terrain .

 

C'mon, 7th Heaven is, by itself the size of some of the places being discussed, and it's an intermediates paradise, and oh, right it's in the ALPINE! Plenty off of Harmony and red and green chairs, once again, IN THE ALPINE.

 

Whistler fulfills what the OP wants, in terms of size, availability and altitude. Simple and correct answer.


Gotta agree with the above.  Nobody of any ability level should be concerned about how much terrain there is or where it is placed at Whistler.  There's plenty and more for everyone of every ability level at every altitude level.  That doesn't mean that it's necessarily the right choice for the OP, there are others that may appeal to them, but lack of terrain at high altitude shouldn't be a concern.

post #36 of 49

Whistler seems like a no brainer to me also.

post #37 of 49
^^^^
Maybe there's some different understanding of 'intermediate' terrain?
My (what I thought was) intermediate family have skiied WB in late March twice and the snow was great mid mountain - we had a great time.
The areas off Solar Coaster, Crystal, Jersey Cream, Emetald, Big Red, Excelerator and previously mentioned 7th Heaven chairs offer terrific cruising with a variety of grades. Are the areas mentioned considered beginner or intermediate?
post #38 of 49

One of the reasons I like Whistler is that virtually every chair has an easy way down along with other routes for more advanced skiers... and they typically all funnel to the same chair.  My wife is a low intermediate.  She can't ski a lick, but there are very few places that the kids and I can't go when she is skiing with us (including most of the alpine). She always has an out and we aren't stuck on some cat track or low pitch groomer as we can just meet her at the lift.

post #39 of 49
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for the great suggestions, guys. I've been really surprised by the suggestions and they've led me to look at resorts that I definitely wasn't considering when I made the original post. So far I've narrowed the decision down to these three:
 
Mt. Bachelor (for the price, terrain fit)
Whitefish (for the fact that you can fly right into Kalispell, terrain fit)
Whistler/Blackcomb (terrain fit, big mountain feel, apres, etc...)
 
I feel like the final decision is going to come down to the price of each of these. Oddly enough, Whistler might end up being cheapest because my wife can sometimes get discounts through work. If that pans out, we'll definitely be going to Whistler. If not, I'll have to choose between Mt. Bachelor and Whitefish, which will be hard. If anyone has any tips for discounted lift ticket or rentals at one of these three places, I'm all ears.
 
I'll revisit this post once we finally buy tickets. Thanks again for the advise, it was super helpful.
post #40 of 49
Mt Bachelor will offer 4 packs of tickets for a discount come September, sign up for their mailing list to be alerted to this deal

This was the pricing for last year
post #41 of 49
If you're a Costco member, last year's deal was 2 for $108, and I think that also gave you discounts on kids, discounts on lessons, and discounts on equipment. I'll see if I can scout up an old post on that.

Edit: Found last year's deal.

c9d9dec3_1112151535.jpeg
post #42 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by rfeiner View Post
 

 

Remember-

 

1) The Kanuckistan $ is a LOT cheaper than a USD

2) You get what you pay for (maybe not if the wife can get a goo deal)

post #43 of 49
Quote =snofun3:
the terrain is listed as green 18%, blue 55%, black 22%, double black 5%.

Everyone should know (it's printed on nearly every trail map) that ratings are internal to each specific resort and not to be compared to other mountains.  Whistler trail ratings have zero relationship to trail ratings in the Midwest.

 

Whistler's greens are either low down in the slop or would be blue nearly everywhere else.  At least half of the blues would be single black on most Colorado mountains.   If you're good with Colorado single blacks, you'll be fine at Whistler.  If not, save it for when you improve as you will then appreciate much more of what Whistler has to offer. 

 

Mt. Bachelor is far and away the best option for the OP and his group.  Maybe it's just me, but I'd be happier skiing a big mountain where 3/4 of the terrain is accessible than a huge mountain where less than half was accessible.  The OP's group is from the Midwest, so Bachelor is going to look immense to them.,

post #44 of 49

Speaking of dollars, don't forget your US $ buys $1.21 Canuck bucks as of today's rate. Also don't forget you need a passport, no convictions, no dope (yet) and no firearms. 

post #45 of 49

that picture of Whitefish's special pricing is the reason a lot of Canadians aren't skiing south lately.

Canadian to US is over 1.30 before currency costs. Makes that deal more expensive than most of the tickets north of the border. (someone is happy)

But as to terrain ratings, hills in BC and Alberta and the few places I have skied in Washington and Montana all have very similar ratings.

A few areas inflate their blues to blacks and blacks to double blacks to appear more challenging but I have never seen it go the other way.

No need to worry about enough alpine intermediate terrain at Whistler most of it is.

post #46 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post
 

Everyone should know (it's printed on nearly every trail map) that ratings are internal to each specific resort and not to be compared to other mountains.  Whistler trail ratings have zero relationship to trail ratings in the Midwest.

 

Whistler's greens are either low down in the slop or would be blue nearly everywhere else.  At least half of the blues would be single black on most Colorado mountains.   If you're good with Colorado single blacks, you'll be fine at Whistler.  If not, save it for when you improve as you will then appreciate much more of what Whistler has to offer. 

 

Mt. Bachelor is far and away the best option for the OP and his group.  Maybe it's just me, but I'd be happier skiing a big mountain where 3/4 of the terrain is accessible than a huge mountain where less than half was accessible.  The OP's group is from the Midwest, so Bachelor is going to look immense to them.,

 

You have no clue what yopu're talking about. I don't know why you have such a hard-on for WB, but you're doing a disservice to the OP and many others here.

post #47 of 49
Something that hasn't been brought up: It's really nice, when in a large group, for everyone to have the ability to come and go from the mountain as they please. It sounds like everyone in your group is old enough for that. So a mountain where people can either walk or easily shuttle back to lodging would be my priority.

I get what Tony is saying about Whistler. I had a lot of bad days there as a beginner and low intermediate. Those trails are just so damn crowded and many have long lift lines (ie Emerald). Plus conditions down low aren't always good. But it also sounds like others with family groups of that ability had a fine time.
post #48 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post
 

Everyone should know (it's printed on nearly every trail map) that ratings are internal to each specific resort and not to be compared to other mountains.  Whistler trail ratings have zero relationship to trail ratings in the Midwest.

 

Whistler's greens are either low down in the slop or would be blue nearly everywhere else.  At least half of the blues would be single black on most Colorado mountains.   If you're good with Colorado single blacks, you'll be fine at Whistler.  If not, save it for when you improve as you will then appreciate much more of what Whistler has to offer. 

 

Mt. Bachelor is far and away the best option for the OP and his group.  Maybe it's just me, but I'd be happier skiing a big mountain where 3/4 of the terrain is accessible than a huge mountain where less than half was accessible.  The OP's group is from the Midwest, so Bachelor is going to look immense to them.,

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by snofun3 View Post
 

 

You have no clue what yopu're talking about. I don't know why you have such a hard-on for WB, but you're doing a disservice to the OP and many others here.

 

I believe there's simply a difference of opinion here... thank you both for making your positions known.

post #49 of 49

Yes, it's a difference of opinion. As I said in the other thread, I rate W/B highly, second favorite ski areas overall to Alta/Snowbird.  I would not recommend Alta/Snowbird to the OP's group either, for exactly the same reason.  What's good for me or snofun3 is not necessarily good for a first time western trip for Midwest or Southeast skiers at their self-described ability levels.

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