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Whistler - all rain and lines?

post #1 of 8
No guarantees, right? January is the least likely time for it to rain at W/B. You are more likely to ski brushes and straw in Tirol. It does rain in the village, some up to midway...but in January in the bowls...unlikely. It has, but don't base your vacation on what could happen, make it a memorable lifetime experience.
Oh, stay away from California....they have earthquakes....just kidding!
post #2 of 8
Welcome to the forum Het.
Whistler / Blackcomb is an awesome ski area, great village, no need to have a car and travel anywhere else. However, the weather there is unpredictable, and can certainly ruin a ski vacation. I've been there twice, actually once in the winter, and it was terrible. A lot of snow quantity, but terrible quality. Fog, wind, blowing snow, no visibility, not very pleasant to ski in. And yes, huge crowds. Just about everyone of my friends who have been there has had the same experience. Actually, I know few people who will go back.
My advice is to go to the Lake Tahoe area. Many huge ski areas to choose from. Squaw Valley has all the SUPER steeps and bump runs you could ever dream of. Alpine Meadows, Heavenly, North Star, Kirkwood, the list is endless. This area is truley a skiers paradise. The weather is MUCH better than Whistler, sunny California compared to foggy BC.
Your best bet is to rent, (hire) a car. Can you drive on the right side? There are a lot of hotels in the area, but most are a short drive to the ski areas. There are rooms at the ski areas, but you will want to ski more than one. I'm not too sure about public transportation out there, others on this forum can answer that.
Good luck, and have a blast wherever you choose!
post #3 of 8
Having been to Whistler twice, the one thing I have discovered is that if it is raining in the village it is not raining in the Alpine. From another thread, I know that you are interested in multi day programs. Whistler has a few of them. If you participate, you get to cut lift lines!

My one nightmare day at Whistler/Blackcomb happened when I was not taking a workshop. There was an hour line for the gondola. At the base area, they had a Neil Diamond look/sound alike "performing. Please, no offense to Neil Diamond fans, but that had to be my definition of Hades!

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

Whistler - all rain and lines?

Hi ,
I have 5weeks vacation from work next January and I'm trying to decide which resort to go to in US/Canada. I had almost booked a chalet in Whistler but then heard horror stories that it often rains in the resort and the lift lines are horrendous.

Is this true? I'm from England and so the last thing I want on vacation is rain! This is a once in a lifetime type trip for me to improve my steeps, bumps and powder so I need to get the resort choice right!

I'd really appreciate any advice or comments on what Whistler is really like or other suggestions for resorts with plenty of snow and a friendly atmosphere.
post #5 of 8
I've been to W/B three times (in a row). In
January, you won't get rain. I've gotten snow in April there (drizzle at the base and dumping snow in the bowls). I've been there when it's been plenty warm, but it doesn't rain up top. Especially in January. I would definitely recommend it. As long as you get on the first lift nice and early, and avoid certain lifts at certain times, you can ski all the good stuff without waiting in line. Plus, since you'll have lots of time, you can (and should) do some heli-skiing too. The village is great, and not needing a car will save you a lot of money.

Another good place to try would be Summit County, CO, with Breck, Keystone, Copper, A-Basin, and a host of other major ski areas within about 2 hours (Steamboat, Vail, Winter Park, yadda, yadda, yadda). But it will be crowded there. Especially on weekends and around Pres Day weekend. Canada should be cheaper, though.
post #6 of 8
every time I've been to whistler (3 times now) for a week at a time. I have had at least 5 of 6 days of great weather or good weather. If you are willing to move around the mountain there is usually somewhere you can avoid the lines. so if you are there for more than a day or 2 I suspect you will have some great skiing.
post #7 of 8
I've never skied the PNW. I'll be in Whistler for a conference around 12/7. Is the probability of encountering ice low enough that I can leave my p40's at home and just bring my wider mid-fats?

post #8 of 8
I have maybe 100 days at Whistler. The weather there can best be described as "variable". I've seen it rain right to the top in a January "Pineapple Express". Usually, they'll get a huge dump afterwards so the skiing's only bad for a day or two. I've seen weeks where the Peak Chair, 7th Heaven, and Glacier Express never ran because the mountain was socked in. I've had days of thigh deep rain/snow mix powder sludge that was almost unskiable. On a sunny powder day, Whistler has some of the best terrain in North America. On a cloudy day, the mid-mountain trees provide excellent contrast.

What I'd "expect" in a week of skiing in January is 2 sunny days and 5 cloudy days with at least two big powder days. It might rain in the village once with wet snow at midmountain and fluff at the top. My favorite skiing is the Blackcomb midmountain trees so I actually like cloudy powder days.

January isn't peak season at Whistler. It might be a little busy in Saturdays with the Vancouver and Seattle traffic and right around the US Martin Luther King monday holiday in mid-January but midweek, it'll only be busy uploading first thing in the morning and late morning/early afternoon on the intermediate lifts like Emerald. I try to avoid Whistler in February and March. It's gotten really crowded compared to 15 years ago.
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