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(Water) Skiing in Whistler?/ Weather Report

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
E-mail this afternoon from ski instructor at Whistler:

"We are busy building an ark today. Man, it just has not let up. Temprature is supposed to startfalling but not enough to make it to the valley floor."
post #2 of 29
These last few days have been brutal! What should have been 300cm dumps of snow has been 300mm of rain instead. On a positive note, freezing levels are dropping back to more normal levels early next week. Also winter is not over yet, a couple typical PNW dumps can easily turn things around. I remember some of biggest snowfalls in Feb-Mar in previous years.

I'm happy to have gotten in my 12 ski days this season so far.
post #3 of 29

Wish I could cancel my trip

I'm booked for eight days at Whistler, arriving Monday with Tuesday my first day of skiing. I just checked theweatherchannel.com. The ten day forecast is nearly all rain... everyday. I don't really trust such long-term forecasts but that's sure how it's been. Crap. There's more than 19 feet of snow at Tahoe. I don't know how much in the various Colorado resorts but I know it's lots. I received this real sexy Vail marketing brochure yesterday. They're just rubbing it in. That travel agent encouraged me to go to Steamboat or Banff or.... I nearly booked Chamonix, France. Oh well.

There's a crisis at work. It's a very strange turn of events when I find myself hoping my boss will offer to pay the $3000 dollars I'll lose if I don't go. But here's hoping.
post #4 of 29
Not trying to be a smart-ass, but I'm always curious why people from the East Coast fly all the way across the continent to ski Whistler when for less travel time and money (even with the rock-bottom exchange rate), they can go to the Alps. If you want that whole full-service/big resort experience, I guess it makes sense for people in the western U.S., but from NYC?

Here's the garbage forecast for our week in St. Anton/Lech, Austria. Looks like this may finally put the weather curse of 2004-05 to rest:
http://www.snow-forecast.com/resorts/Lech.0to3bot.shtml
post #5 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesdeluxe
Not trying to be a smart-ass, but I'm always curious why people from the East Coast fly all the way across the continent to ski Whistler when for less travel time and money (even with the rock-bottom exchange rate), they can go to the Alps. If you want that whole full-service/big resort experience, I guess it makes sense for people in the western U.S., but from NYC?

Here's the garbage forecast for our week in St. Anton/Lech, Austria. Looks like this may finally put the weather curse of 2004-05 to rest:
http://www.snow-forecast.com/resorts/Lech.0to3bot.shtml
Well it only started snowing in Europe a day or two ago.

So anyone who had prebooked Lech well in advance could have looked more of a knobhead than a smartarse.

There are no guarantees with weather wherever you are.
post #6 of 29
I wasn't criticizing his timing skills (I just got hosed by a thaw/deep freeze cycle in Quebec last weekend)... just curious why East Coast people generally prefer to spend big money in a place like Whistler instead of the Alps.
post #7 of 29
In Europe you've got to deal with the higher costs, travel difficulties, marginal conditions (last 2 seasons), Euro, euro lift queue madness and language barriers.
Whistler is just easier to get to, you can use the US dollar, everyone speaks english and the terrain is spectacular.

Personally I don't care about anything other than the terrain and conditions. I can do without being stepped on in the lift line also.

I left Whistler on Monday when the rain first started. It's a great place to ski and with a non stop flight from NY on Air Canada... Why not?
post #8 of 29
Actually there's been snow in Lech since Christmas. Lech & Zurs have their own little micro-climate. The number of lift passes sold is limited and I have never found queues. There are no travel difficulties. Everyone can speak English. It's cheaper than Whistler!
Newark is an easy airport to use and is only a 6hr flight (with a tail wind!) to Europe.
post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by bklyntrayc
In Europe you've got to deal with the higher costs, travel difficulties, marginal conditions (last 2 seasons), Euro, euro lift queue madness and language barriers.
Whistler is just easier to get to, you can use the US dollar, everyone speaks english and the terrain is spectacular.
Would everyone around the world PLEASE give up your quaint, outdated languages and just speak English (preferably American)? Those language barriers really upset our carefully planned ski vacations.
post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesdeluxe
Would everyone around the world PLEASE give up your quaint, outdated languages and just speak English (preferably American)? Those language barriers really upset our carefully planned ski vacations.
LOL! I agree with your sarcasm! But you missed the part after where I wrote:

Personally I don't care about anything other than the terrain and conditions.
post #11 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesdeluxe
I wasn't criticizing his timing skills (I just got hosed by a thaw/deep freeze cycle in Quebec last weekend)... just curious why East Coast people generally prefer to spend big money in a place like Whistler instead of the Alps.
If your man wants to go to Whistler its his choice. Certainly makes more sense for him to do so than me to go there, from other side of the Atlantic.

I went to Whistler to try somewhere different. Previous year I tried Banff. I have also been to Lech many times on St Anton holidays. I like both places. Its pointless to tell someone where they should ski. Lots of people like to go to the same place every year.

I have noticed plenty of North Americans in Lech and 'character' resorts. I don't see too many in the big French resorts - the stations de ski. Possible reasons ? The three hour transfer from Geneva? (yet they go to Zermatt) The fact that these places are mostly chalet or self-catering places ? Maybe they are not heavily marketed ?

It's just an observation though.

It's not something that bothers me. I just go to ski and enjoy myself. I don't worry what others do; or the absence/presence of particular nations, classes, religions or colours on the slopes that I am on.
post #12 of 29
Whatever you do, DO GO TO CHAMONIX some day. It's incredible. Even in the lowest snow years, there's still plenty to ski. Same at Val Thorens in Les Trois Vallees.

I hope W/B turns around too. Friend there just told me it was pretty ugly working the course. I head there end of Feb/first week of March.

Go (unless you get the 3K-- that'd pay for a trip to Utah where they're wallowing in it....and new boards!!!)

Pray to the PNW snow gods,
post #13 of 29
Take heart, Cryptica, you could LIVE in PNW. Skiing no longer exists here. Everything's rained out! Mt. Baker (some years exceeds 1100 inches) is down to mud, rocks, and a bit of snow. Some areas have closed.

I feel bad for you regarding your Whistler trip. Won't the resort offer some kind of rain check (literally)?
post #14 of 29
check this out,
http://www.snow-forecast.com/resorts....0to6bot.shtml

According to this freezing levels drop at the beginning of the week to more or less village level by Thursday with the possibility of snow in the village on Thursday. It should be snowing in the alpine all week and at mid mountain from Monday night onwards.

Havent a clue whether this is true or not, but that is what it says and since I arrive on Thursday I so want it to be true !!

There is going to be a lot of rain in the village between now and Thursday.

The Whistler website reports heavy snow in the Alpine right now.
post #15 of 29
They have been getting snow in the hi alpine (Roundhouse and above), the last couple days, so if freezing levels drop further that will be good news. You can always stay up high and ski the upper part of the mountain if the lower part is crap.

We're heading up for this coming weekend as well.
post #16 of 29
I went up yesterday, the best day in the last 7 (today it's back to crap and rain here) - I can only tell you not to come here until some major snow action occurs - the upper alpine has received snow during this, which was very welcome, even though it is extremely heavy and wet snow...as the freezing level moves up (today / tomorrow) - the rains are going to start to hammer the high level also...

Check it for yourself:

From Red chair looking up:


Higher on Red Chair:


And the Valley:
post #17 of 29
Thanks for the photos JPC. I'll venture that these pics (or any like them) will never show up on the Whistler Blackcomb website - regardless of how bad it gets.
post #18 of 29
exactly...we'll see what they put on their homepage when the snowboard championships are done..

They are/were offering 50% off food, and free lessons with your lift ticket (I guess to make up for the crap conditions)....however you'd be taking a lesson in the driving rain...
post #19 of 29
Valley shot....Thanks jpc for the real report
post #20 of 29
Thanks to everyone for there comments and encouragement.

A couple comments from me: I opted for Whistler over Chamonix because I understood the ski conditions out west are generally better than Europe. My first error was including W/B in the "west" description. I now see the PNW distinction. Though to be fair, this weather is clearly far from the norm in W/B or there woulndn't be a W/B.

I looked over my trip and it was $2,500 - not $3,000. It's not really a $500 savings but I'm going to pretend it is. The mountain refunded me another $463 or so. So, rounding further I'm out just $2,000. Ah, that's better. I got a third back. Yeah, right.

For the record, this is all the fault of Vail and Beaver Creek. If I hadn't had so much fun there last year, I would have just spent my time in VT, and Lake Placid, NY, like I have in the past. I've been ruined by skiing in the west. I'll definitely book a west trip next year. Maybe Vail again, or Utah... Tahoe got so much this year it may last until next year! But that'll be a discussion for next September or October.
post #21 of 29
Bad timing all around really.....it has been DUMPING in the Alps for the last week, and more to come this week.


Chamonix would have been mega...
post #22 of 29
How often has this pineapple express thing happenned in the past 10 years?
post #23 of 29
Just received this e-mail message from my friend who lives in Whistler!

Quote:

Re: weather. I have now drained my hot tub so that we have a life raft at instant readiness.
post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by glenncz
How often has this pineapple express thing happenned in the past 10 years?
The pinapple express happens a couple of times every year, but not with this intensity or duration. We'll get three days or a week of crappy weather and then things will return to normal. The other problem we have had this year is that when it's been cold there has been little to no precipitation.

Don't make any assumptions about the PNW weather or skiing based on this year. As I quoted in another string, Mt. Baker posted today that the 1975-76 season was worse than this at this time of year and then had the second strongest February and March in history. That makes this the worst season in 29 years so far, but we may yet recover. Hope springs eternal.
post #25 of 29
Any reports on what part of the mountain is still decent for skiing given the current conditions? My guess would be Blackcomb on the Horstman glacier or 7th Heaven which are in the hi alpine.
post #26 of 29
Now I'm feeling I was lucky to be at Whistler on 9-15-Jan and no later though it was not perfect those days neither. Making correlation of the recent weather and conditions I saw during my time I'd say no decent winter skiing in W/B currently!
post #27 of 29
The alpine is definetly where it's possible to not get stuck in concrete - but due to recent conditions, most of it has been closed - including 7th, peak, harmony and glacier...I didn't check today, but on Sunday, the highest chairlift was Crystal...
post #28 of 29
We were in Whistler earlier this year and the snow was real poor - rain at the village, so we just moved inland to Snow Peaks and stayed there for the rest of the holiday. The snow was 100% better than at Whistler.
post #29 of 29
Thread Starter 
I started this whole thread with the message from my ski instructor saying they were going to build an ark. . . I got a follow up one a few days later saying they were having
landslides!

JamesDeluxe, why does someone from NY go to Whistler instead of the Alps?
Well, for this New Yorker I went to Whistler because my brother & sister-in-law
wanted to try it and we'd all been hearing how great it was for so many years,
and they invited me and partically paid for it -- so hey, who turns down an invite
like that??

But. . .while I had some great instruction and until the end, found the condtions fine for learning purposes, they spent the whole time mostly complaining because the off-piste was mostly closed and the Black Diamond runs mostly icy and and since
they live in Jackson Hole, which had just gotten a huge amount of snow, it only
made my brother harumph, "There's no point in ever skiing anywhere else ever again!"

Damn. . . guess we won't be going to the Alps next year. . .
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