What type of terrain do you like to ski?
I've been to Whistler, Sun Peaks (2 years ago, before Mt. Morrisey opened), and earlier this year to Big White and (for a single day) Silver Star.
First, Whistler has by far the most terrain, and more varied. But BW, SS, and SP are nonetheless definitely mountains, and have good terrain. I'm a just-barely intermediate skier, who travels with an advanced skier who's comfortable on steeps and glades.
If there's a member of your group who's a beginning or intermediate skier, I'd recommend Sun Peaks. There's a lot of green terrain that isn't the standard ski-out cat runs there, and Mt. Morrisey looks like decent intermediate terrain. There's glade skiing as well. The downside is that for advanced or expert skiers, most of the challenging steeps are short steep runs connected by feeder runs. (However, this was convenient for us, because I could meet Mr. Delta in the feeder runs.) There's also some good bowl skiing higher up, I understand. I was definitely a beginning skier when I skied there, so I might think a bit differently if I were returning there.
The food and hospitality at Sun Peaks are very good. It's family-oriented, so the nightlife isn't there, but there are some really good restaurants there, and the restaurant in the day lodge is surprisingly good -- of restaurant quality. From my own experience, I'd say it was better food at better or equivalent prices than Whistler.
Silver Star is a smaller resort than Big White. This resort is definitely divided into a beginner zone and an expert zone, which is a bit frustrating for an intermediate, since the easier sections are choked with out-of-control beginning skiers and, frankly, the most inconsiderate (*and* out-of-control) group of snowboarders I've ever seen at a resort. I could ski the easier parts of the expert terrain, but there were no breaks other than absolutely endless stretches of cat track ski-outs connecting different sections.
The plus side is that for the expert skier, the terrain is excellent. Or so I've been told. [img]smile.gif[/img] There's bowl skiing, and glade skiing.
The resort itself is perhaps a bit too twee for my tastes (Disney-esque faux-Western buildings painted in brilliant colours). I only ate in one place, but I'd say the food was less expensive but of lower quality than at Whistler.
HOWEVER. Vernon -- less than a half hour away -- has some outstanding food at reasonable prices. We had a wonderful meal at a place called The Italian Kitchen that is certainly the best meal I've ever had on a ski vacation.
Big White I really enjoyed, terrain-wise. The terrain was varied, and was more spread out --- although again, there is an area more geared toward advanced skiers, and one for more beginning skiers. There are enough lifts that you don't seem to have to ski out forever (although there's a long connector cat run on the Gem Lake runs). There's bowl skiing, and glade skiing (even at very easy grades).
We were staying at accommodation with a kitchen, and mostly cooked ourselves, but there looked to be a reasonable selection of food. From the few places we ate, I would put the food below Sun Peaks, about par with "average" Whistler -- but less of it -- and above Silver Star (but not, of course, Vernon).
If you want information about the more advanced/expert areas, I'll have to ask Mr. Delta about it.
Addendum: I forgot. Within driving distance of Kelowna there's another resort, Apex. It's smaller, and looks geared more for advanced and expert skiers than BW and SS.
Edited to remove some typos and small errors, and to add Apex info.
[ April 01, 2003, 02:01 PM: Message edited by: delta888 ]