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B.C. ski area for next years spring break

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
A bunch of us have been going to whistler the last 4 years for spring break(last week of March)Next year we were thinking of trying an interior BC location.Our choices are between Big White, Panorama, Sun Peaks and Silver Star. Size of area and good food are important. I know that Whistler has much more of both of those items, but we want to try something less crowded and less expensive. Any personal knowledge on these places would be appreciated. Thanks Steve Noufer
post #2 of 12
Big White and Silver Star are now under common ownership. Both are easily accessible from the Kelowna, B.C. airport. Kelowna and Vernon have a total population between them of close to 200,000 so the air service is pretty good to Vancouver, Seattle and Calgary.
If you go to Big White you need to plan to stay at the resort itself. If you go to SilverStar you can stay at the resort or stay in Vernon or on the mountain. There is a helicopter shuttle between the two resorts that costs around $50/Canadian, so it's pretty easy to ski both places. I did, though I didn't use the helicopter.
Terrain--Big White has more. Silver Star has better. Snow--Big White has more, and more fog--it's higher. Silver Star feels more like a skiers' mountain. Big White is more of a family resort--though there is a fairly famous bar at Big White, something Sam's.
The snow in the interior of BC is better than on the Coast of the Pacific Northwest. Period.
have a good trip.
post #3 of 12
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 ]
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info. Our group ranges from advanced to low intermediates. Thanks for all the info. It will definitely help in making a decision. Aloha Steve
post #5 of 12
post #6 of 12
Hey Maui Steve, me and a bunch of friends were thinking about doing the Whistler thing for our senior trip. What advice can you give me as far as hotels, prices, places to eat, etc.?
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
dirtnsnow, I've been to whistler about 10 times now, so feel I know it pretty well. What time of year is your senior trip?
post #8 of 12
We're not sure. Either Christmas break or closer to Spring Break. We have yet to figure it out.
post #9 of 12
MauiSteve, hola! We just spent 4 days at Sun Peaks and 9 at WB.

Based on your abilities and requirements, Sun Peaks is good for 3-4 days, and probably Big White the same. Since you're in the area, definitely do Silver Star for 2 days. Panorama is too far (nearer to Banff/Lake Louise).

post #10 of 12

Sun Peaks is under serious consideration for next year. Since so much of it is new, your fresh take on things would be a great help. How would you compare it to any resorts you might have been to in the US Rockies? Any lodging suggestions? Does one definitely need a vehicle or does the shuttle suffice? With all the changes in skis, I've become a perpetual ski demoer--do the shops have good availability of current equipment (assuming you or anyone in your group rented)? Lessee. How about steeps and trails in general--any impressions? Well, I'm sure I'm inundating, but a 20 paragraph review is all I'm looking for (LOL). Thanks.

Wilmington, DE

PS. How was the getting there part of it?
post #11 of 12
Aaron, you'll enjoy SP. I would equate to Deer Valley for gentleness and service, although you will find some steeper and wilder terrain at SP. Length and width of trails equal to Sun Valley (very long and very wide). Layout and # of runs similar to Beaver Creek (3 mountains). Really, you will spend a good 5-6 days to ski it out completely and thoroughly.
The Village is small but very quaint and complete: 1 main snow-covered pedestrian street, various restaurants and shops (don't know about demos).
We stayed at Heffley Inn Boutique Hotel because of Fridge and cooking facilities for our 4 yr. old. Very nice, large room. All other Hotels are ALL nice, and within 20-75 yards of ski lifts.
No car required if you stay in Village, but a 45 minute ride to Kamloops.

Go for it!
post #12 of 12
Silver Star was great theres some nice double blacks on the putnam creek side (Doog Nog, chute 5) I stayed on the mountain (the green place right oposite the silver queen chair) which was awesome, the food in the village is quite nice especially the putnam station restaurant.

I know theyre smaller but did you think about Red or Fernie, they are both just awesome mountains!
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