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Going to Whistler on 16th March

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone,

Going to Whistler on 16th March for a week with my wife. It will be our first ski holiday and so will be complete beginners. Looking forward to it, but a little worried given snow levels in recent weeks.

Is it going to be a waste of time going to Whistler because of the conditions, or should we persevere?

We're coming over from the UK, so open to any other destinations in N America. We would prefer a resort with a shortish transfer time from the airport, esp. after spending 9 hrs on a plane, and one where there is a reasonably lively apres ski.

IS anywhere else in Canada going to be any use for beginners next week, or should we be looking at Colorado?
post #2 of 29
Johnny, not sure if you've looked on snowHeads (www.snowheads.com), but there'll be a Brit invasion around then. Check on the Trips section.

(Oh, and welcome to EpicSki!)
post #3 of 29
Personally I would stay stick it out and go to Whistler. There is so much to do at Whistler even if the snow is bad. I'll be heading up that same weekend that you will be there for a snowboarding camp.

As a beginning skier, you can still hit some of the green runs in the upper alpine of Whistler. I would recommend sticking as high up on the mountain as possible.
post #4 of 29
I definitely wouldn't go! I live in Seattle and haven't skied one day this year at any of the area resorts - just not worth it. Just read a report from someone that went 3rd thru the 6th and sounded absolutely horrible. They're using helicopters to take snow from the glacier to cover cattracks.

I'd definitely look at Salt Lake City or Tahoe as alternatives. I've seen some decent reports for inner BC resorts, but if you can make it to SLC or Reno, why not?
post #5 of 29
There are some interior BC areas that are good, but stay away from Whistler. Go to Utah or Colorado this year. We must be into the worst snow year on record by now.
post #6 of 29
To add insult to injury, the forecast this week is for significant rain, especially on Thursday when freezing level is way over top of mountain. It gets cold on Saturday, but precip then stops. I'm stuck (having paid for condo, but if I had any other options I would take them. For 2005, whistler has had one dump of 11inches. Only a couple of inches here and there otherwise. The rain this week may wash away what they have left.
post #7 of 29

Banff Area still has snow--getting more

For what it's worth we still have fairly good conditions at some of the Canadian Rockies resorts. Sunshine has a good base and there is snow in the forecast for the next week (generally snow showers or light snow, but it will add to the base). Jasper's Marmot Basin is supposed to have good conditions. I talked to a lift-rider yesterday who'd just gotten back and she thought the conditions were very good there. If we get a good dump in the next little while it might well be worth taking hour flight from Vancouver to Calgary and driving up to Banff. I haven't been to Kicking Horse or Lake Louise yet this year, but that will probably change if there is any significant snowfall in the next few days. As far as the Kootenay resorts go, I was down there the third week in February. Whitewater was still very good, while Red Mountain was beginning to look like late season. If they have gotten snow in the past two weeks they may have improved, but I haven't heard of any big dumps.

As far as Fernie, Silver Star, Big White, and Sun Peaks go: you'll need to get a report from someone who has been there recently. Here's hoping the rain at Whistler turns to snow by the time it gets here.
post #8 of 29
Originally Posted by gnjantzie
As far as Fernie, Silver Star, Big White, and Sun Peaks go: you'll need to get a report from someone who has been there recently. Here's hoping the rain at Whistler turns to snow by the time it gets here.
Silver Star and Big White are the ones I know have enough snow right now. Don't know the conditions in the past week, however.
post #9 of 29
As complete beginners, if you have the option to go somewhere else, take it. I was up there on the weekend and the lower halves of the mountains are essentially shot. Most of the beginner terrain is lower down and the conditions are terrible. While there was some decent snow higher up, beginner terrain in the alpine is pretty limited.

Go and learn to ski somewhere that has decent snow, and come back to Whistler another year.


post #10 of 29
Forget Whistler! Friends of mine were up there recently and destroyed two pairs of good skis on the highest part of the mountain. Rock city. Down below, there's nothing.

I can drive to Whistler in a few hours, and I'm not touching it. We're going to Tahoe in 10 days. That area has been hammered with snow like no other this year. In addition, they get 300 days of sunshine per year. What's not to like?
post #11 of 29
I would not go there to learn at the moment.
post #12 of 29
Here are some pix from a few days ago. He says that the lower half is a mess, but look at the stuff up top...
post #13 of 29
Jamesdelux: Your right, it looks okay. But, I have my doubts. My buds couldn't snake their way down a single run without hitting granite. They're good skiers and claim they were being ultra-careful.

I once looked out over a tempting early-season scene on 7th Heaven on Blackcomb, and then proceeded to rip the rails out of my skis on a field of rocks, concealed just below the surface.
post #14 of 29
Why go to WB in the worst year they have had at least since 1976? Even if the top of the hill is OK you're not getting the full experience. Go somewhere else and come back next year when you can really appreciate what they have to offer. (My $.02)
post #15 of 29
Update from Silver Star.....we skied yesterday.

Last significant snow (15-25 cms) was on Feb 14th. Only a dusting since then.
Front side is crusty early in the morning with the lower section turning to mush by noon. Runs on the back side that are exposed to sun are in tough shape. Gypsy Queen, Just Dandy and Aunt Gladys are still good.

No sign of snow in the future.
post #16 of 29
Just got back from Utah yesterday. Considering no recent big snowfall there, the conditions were quite good. Stayed in Park City, skied various mountains, had a great time. We looked at Whistler when we planned this trip. Compared to Whistler, you can save a few bucks by going to Utah, and get better conditions at the moment.
post #17 of 29

Try Somewhere Else!

I was in Whistler in February. To tell you the truth, we have better snow in New York than at Whistler this season. They have had a terrible year, and they expect RAIN this week. So, try Tahoe/Heavenly or even Utah. I have been to Whistler before and it is usually wonderful. Lots and lots of snow (almost every day). Also, their green runs at the top are not really easy. I think you would be better somewhere else.
post #18 of 29
Skip Whistler. I'd hate to see someone new to skiing see a place I love (Whistler) and be introduvced to a sport I love (skiing) in such terrible circumstance. (And I share an apt there so I can ski it anytime but this year only two days so the situation is really pretty grim.)

My advice would be to go to Salt Lake or Tahoe. I just came back from SLC (last night) and while they need fesh snow, too, the skiing overall was quite good because they have a pretty good base.
post #19 of 29
If you don't stand to lose a lot of $$$, change plans and head to UT or Tahoe.

You need to monitor these situations before traveling such a distance!
post #20 of 29
Go for it
There's a lot of mountain
I'll be there next week,weather forecast says its goingto cool off.
Theres"s storms in the pacific right now , and with a little bit of mother natures help it may just wind up in Whistler
post #21 of 29
Not a lot there for complete beginners, even with the best conditions. And as everyone agrees, definitely not the best.

It's fine for anyone who can stay high and get into some of the areas that have 'difficult' entrances. I had a great time last week, but I can hop, slide, straightline and find my way into almost anything inbounds. (not really but I try). Glacier Cirque on Whistler was fantastic last Thursday, except the entrance had the following sign:
'Entrance has rocks, requiring straightline or air to clear'. Once past said rocks it was all soft snow, except most turned back at the sign.

Not much help, and as someone said, conditions can change overnight. I'll be back there on the 25th, and I always have a good time.
post #22 of 29
Just returned from Whistler. Conditions about as expected: good in the alpine, crappy everywhere else. Not good for beginners. How about Utah if you want short transfer times from the airport? If not, Colorado as you mention would be fine.
post #23 of 29
I'm just back from Whistler (Feb 23 - Mar 4) and it's no way as bad as people are making out.

That was my 3rd year on the bounce and while conditions aren't as good as the last 2, they're deffo skiable.

There was over 6in of snow during the period I was there and last Friday, our last ski-day, it was dumping down.

Yes, many runs are closed, but they've groomed the snow from those onto other, open runs.

On sunny days, once the heat softens the snow, things were fine - it could be a bit scratchy & some parts of the mountains were icy all the time, but if you're a 10-20 ski-days a year person, it's fine. If you're hardcore, like 80+ then maybe you oculd grumble.

The flute bowl is new to Whistler - a 20-min hike - but is amazing. Kiterally knee-deep powder. Harmony was good too. The right-side as you look was grim - the Highway 86 run-out was just ice.

B/comb, we had the best time up the 7th Heaven lift & in & around the Horstman T-bars.

The way I looked at it was - some skiing is better than no skiing
post #24 of 29
Macca: A nice "glass-half full" summary. You're clearly appreciating the value of what's there, and know how to make the best of it, both in terms of approach and attitude.

As you said, "some skiing is better than no skiing". That's the viewpoint of a balanced, happy person.

However, from the perspective of somebody who has a chance to ski in areas with 100% of runs open, complete coverage, and 15 foot snow bases (such all areas in Tahoe), is Whistler still a viable consideration?

True, one can make the best of a limited situation, as you valiently did.

But, if I had other choices, and wouldn't lose my full deposit, I'd seriously consider the alternatives.
post #25 of 29
You're welcome to come out East--we're getting some of the best snow we've had all year and there's beginner's terrain galore.

If you're complete beginners, you should focus on a place that has a good ski school because it sounds like you'll want to spend a fair amount of time taking lessons. You may want to ask some of the people on the instructional board if they have any recommendations.
post #26 of 29
Skiing is very good in Tahoe. As a beginner you might look at Northstar, Homewood, Diamond Peak and Mt Rose. Squaw and Alpine are great and have lots of groomed but are more towards advanced/inter skiers. Stay in Reno, plenty of nightlife. Drive to the resorts will be 20-50 min and easy. You can get discount tickets to almost any resorts check there web sites or slidingonthe cheap.com. REI has norstar for $51, Alpine is $39, not sure about the others.
Good Luck
post #27 of 29
Thread Starter 
Thanks everybody for your suggestions, you've all been great.

We've wound up in Beaver Creek, heading out on the 16th. Mixture of flight availability & hotels limited our choice somewhat (wife wanted spa).

We'll try Whistler next year hopefully, as it looks a great place. We could have took a gamble and went, but as it wasnt going to cost us ££££s to change & it was our first ski holiday we didn't want to take the risk.

The £:$ exchange rate is as well which helps!

I'll post a question on the instruction forum about ski lessons in Beaver.


post #28 of 29

possible snow

The long range forecasts are starting to be consistent in showing a wetter colder pattern developing mid next week. Knock on wood.
post #29 of 29
I'm hopeful
I'll be there next week
We may get lucky
Think SNOW
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