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Opinions on Panorama appreciated!

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
As I have mentioned before, I am planning my first trip to Canada next season. I constantly see posts about WB, BW and SS, SSV and LL, but have never seen any comments about Panorama. I spoke to some friends here in Australia that were there a couple of seasons ago and recommended it. Love to hear reports from any one who has skied there.
post #2 of 27
Not much to do at night. Not a lot of varied terrain. Brutal customer service. More potential for rain then pretty much any of the other areas mentioned. Not that much natural snow. Other than that it's a pretty nice place.
post #3 of 27
L7 failed to mention that some of the food sevice folk in the area are far smarter than the people they serve.........watch your tab.
post #4 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leeroy
L7 failed to mention that some of the food sevice folk in the area are far smarter than the people they serve.........watch your tab.
Oh yeah almost forgot. More that some of the people being served are far more trusting than the service people are worthy of.
post #5 of 27
good cruising? on hill for drinking and familly

that is abot the only positive I can think of
post #6 of 27
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info. I want to make the most of my skiing time, and from your replies it doesnt sound like it has anything to offer to make it worth the visit, compared to Sunshine and Lake Louise.
post #7 of 27
Peejay , you may want to check out Fernie .
post #8 of 27
Thread Starter 
We wont have opportunity to get to Canada too often, so we are starting to plan now and are considering staying at Whistler for maybe three days, then spend 5 days or so at Big White/SS, then on to Banff for about a week, so we can explore that area. Any suggestions or comments will be greatly appreciated. Would also love recommendations for good value accomodation, for wife and two kids, in any of these areas. I sure I will be asking many more questions in consideration of the amount of local knowledge in this great forum.
post #9 of 27
for a familly that sounds like a good tour.

for more skiing, less familly stuff in the middle fo the tour, try the Nelson area, go heli skiing for a day, See if Fernie and castle have snow or rain, Try kicking H.

http://www.skibig3.com/

is a booking place for banff area tickets, acc'm and other stuff.
post #10 of 27
Whistler yes, BUT book it after you've arrived, so you can go during good weather (it is so unpredictable!!!). Land in Calgary, and take it from there. We really enjoyed Sun Peaks, the only other Western Canada resort we know. Reserve your car NOW for cheaper rates. When are you going?
post #11 of 27
Having skied Panorama and Lake Louise on consecutive days (early Feb. 2004, average season), I was surprised how much thinner the cover was at Panorama. VERY unreliable, only consider going if it is already having a good season. I would give Whistler the full week instead of Banff, unless the Banff week has a diversion south to Fernie/Castle. When you drive from BW/SS to Banff you go through Golden, home of Kicking Horse.
post #12 of 27
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys, all great info. Keep it coming. Any recommendations for car hire? What is driving time between Whistler/BW and BW/Banff?
post #13 of 27
I was in BW and Silverstar for a total of three weeks this year with 3 kids under 12 plus a nanny.

In BW I would suggest you stay at either Stonebridge Lodge, Trappers Crossing or Sundance. That is provided you want apartment style accommodation. Make sure you get a three bedroom apartment plus loft. Trappers and Sundance are probably the newest and closest apartment complexes to the village. I would probably choose Stonebridge over Trappers because the views can be better, it also has a heated swimming pool which is worthwhile for the kids.

We actually stayed at a place called Sundance. It is a bit further away from the village but chose it because of the fantastic kids facilities. Heated swimming pool with slide and 2 hot tubs, theatre room with movies at 4.30pm and 7.00pm, games room with play stations, pool table. It is probably about a 200 mtr walk to the village centre with a bit of a dip in the middle. Not so convenient if you need to get small kids to the ski school at 9.00am every morning.

Weather wise BW can suffer from a bit of low fog and is sometimes refered to BIG WHITE OUT. Iv'e been their twice and had about 3 foggy days out of 15.

If your looking at house style accomodation then all of these are more remote from the village and so you would definately need a car IMO.

Over at Silver Star we stayed a bit further away from the village in a large 4 bed house called Mainstay. It was still within walking distance but it is a hill walk. We always get a hire car at the airport so staying a bit further from the village is never an issue for us and we occasionally took the walk to check out the cute western style themed houses nearby. If you go for the house option make sure you stay very close to the top of the Silver Queen chair lift. This chair is a really good beginners area and next to it is the tubing park, the ice skating area and the mini snow mobiles for the kids.

Our house Mainstay was well positioned for all this but there were a few houses right at the top of the chair that would have been in an even better location with even better views. There are also some town house accommodation at the bottom of the Silver Queen which would also be worth considering however they don't have the elevated views.

Down in the village there seemed to be mainly hotel style accommodation which I don't know too much about.

Someone mentioned Fernie, we spent 10 days in Fernie this year and had a great time. We stayed in a large three bed plus loft serviced apartment at Lizard Creek Lodge which was fantastic. Lizard is probably the pick of the accommodation choices in Fernie with a wonderful lounge bar area and adjoining restuarant. They also have their own ski rental facility, heated pool and hot tubs. We went to Fernie primarily to be involved in a special ski instruction camp run by a couple of Aussie guys. Easily the best ski instruction I have ever recieved, see this web site:
HTML Code:
www.harbskisystems.com.au
You asked about driving times. We drove from Fernie to Big White and that was about 9 hrs. Banff to Big White would be further than that I guess although it is probably a different route. I have not done Whistler to BW but it would be similar, about 8-9hrs. Big White to Silver Star is about 1.5hrs. Maybe a bit too much driving for just a three week stay I would say.

If you are driving with luggage between resorts you must rent something as large as possible IMO. Get a GMC Suburban or an equivalent. Heaps of space and they handle pretty well.

If you need a good travel agent in OZ to sought it all out I can recommend someone who did ours. She has extensive knowledge about BW, SS and Sun Peaks.
post #14 of 27
Banff to Big White should be no more than 7 hours maybe 7.5 hours. Silver Star in 6 from Banff.
post #15 of 27
unfortunately, Panorama Ski Area is one of those extremely rare things that I have NO OPINION on, and so I can't offer anything. sorry.
post #16 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gonzostrike
unfortunately, Panorama Ski Area is one of those extremely rare things that I have NO OPINION on, and so I can't offer anything. sorry.
Thanks for your response anyway, but I am sure you must have advice and opinions on other resorts for a new visitor to Canada. Dont be shy!
post #17 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gpaul
Whistler yes, BUT book it after you've arrived, so you can go during good weather (it is so unpredictable!!!). Land in Calgary, and take it from there. We really enjoyed Sun Peaks, the only other Western Canada resort we know. Reserve your car NOW for cheaper rates. When are you going?
I am going early March 06, Gpaul. Am interested in your comment re early car rental booking?
post #18 of 27
Go into www.orbitz.com, you'll see all options with taxes included.
post #19 of 27
I would avoid a lot of travelling with kids. It is a pain to pack up and re-establish your accommodation base and get orientated. You don't say exactly say how long you intend to make the trip but it looks like about 2.5 - 3 weeks. I wouldn't try to do Whistler/SS/BW and the Rockies unless I was going for 4 weeks. My itineary for 2.5 weeks would be:

Day 1 Drive to Whistler. Stay near or in Whistler village to be close to all the village facilities. It is cheaper to stay over at Creekside but I don't think it has a Ski School for the kids.

Days 2-6. Ski Whistler. Five days skiing Whistler is barely enough. If you get good conditions it is the best in North America. It can rain but that is usually at the village base and up above mid mountain it will be snowing. Remember Whistler has about 1600m vertical, nearly twice that of BW and SS.

Day 7. Drive to SS stay in a house at the top of the Silver Queen chair.

Day 8-11 Ski SS. At night the kids can use the tube park, ice rink and the mini snow mobiles. They also have adult back country snow mobile tours which is a must do if the conditions are right.

Day 12 Travel to BW. Stay at Stonebridge.

Day 13-16 Ski BW. Also has tubing and ice skating good night skiing and a fantastic terrain park.

If you can fit in a few more days you could do Sun Peaks between Whistler and SS. The village set up is much better than SS or BW.

If you must do the Rockies I would skip SS and BW and fly to Calgary after a week in Whistler and do LL, Sunshine and Panorama if the conditions are good.

If I take another family ski trip to Canada I will cover Fernie, Kimberely, LL, Sunshine & Panorama. All of these can be skied on the one ski pass.

To be honest I think that Colorado and Utah have much more to offer compared to Canada (aside from Whistler if the conditions are right) so my next trip in 2006 will be to the US.
post #20 of 27
I have booked car hire in Canada through www.holidayautos.com.au. They were much cheaper than any quotes I recieved dealing directly with the rental companies online.
post #21 of 27
fly van to calgary?

Just drive it. 10 hour drive, vs WB to Van 2 hours, check in, fly 2 hours, check out, get 2nd car, drive calgary to banff 2 hours.

Really nice drive,
post #22 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashski
If I take another family ski trip to Canada I will cover Fernie, Kimberely, LL, Sunshine & Panorama. All of these can be skied on the one ski pass.
That one pass is only a season's pass and costs about $1600 for one adult last year IF you bought it in Sept. LL and Sunshine do interchangeable day or multi day passes. Fernie, Kimberley, LL must have something as they are the same company but not sure how it works. The season's pass to cover these hills is cheaper but will not include Sunshine of Panorama.
post #23 of 27
Warning, don't know British Columbia well, but I do a lot of family ski trips. Agree with comment that limiting "intertrip relocations" to new accommodations reduces stress when traveling with kids. For a 15-18 day trip, three stops of 3-5 days or more each would be preferable over more frequent changes of venue.

At the risk of stating the obvious...incorporating both Whistler and Banff in your trip is made more feasible if flying into Canada at Vancouver and flying out from Calgary. For March weather/snow reasons you might want to visit Whistler first. Drive the trip in a rental car in only one direction; e.g. 5 days Whistler, 3 days in a midpoint like Sun Peaks, and 5 days in Banff, with a few non-ski days thrown in for air travel arrival, departure, and driving between ski areas.
If it is economically much more advantageous to fly (and rent car) in and out of same Canadian city then perhaps you should decide which is higher priority, Whistler or Banff and build itinerary concentrated around one or the other; e.g., Whistler, Sun Peaks, & Silver Star - or - Banff (LL, Sunshine) & Fernie.
www.goski.com might help you decide which ski areas meet your skill level, family needs, or are more snowsure (or ask again here).

Having said all that, if you had a family of hyperactive road warriors you could fly into Vancouver and go up to Whistler. The driving distance from Whistler to Banff is about 500 miles/11 hours in optimum conditions. You could ski 4 or 5 days at Whistler, then 2 at Sun Peaks (or Kicking Horse for advanced terrain), then 4 at Banff, then stop at Big White or Silver Star for 2 days on return to Vancouver.
post #24 of 27
Thread Starter 
You have all been a great help, and given me more to think about! I have about 4 weeks (+ or -), and am flying in to Vancouver, March 11. Will fly out from Calgary to LA, then back home. Departure date is not yet confirmed.
post #25 of 27
Whistler and Lake Louise are must-skis - Fernie, too...and probably Kicking Horse, though it might be difficult for a family (mostly black diamonds).

Sun Peaks is worth consideration, I'd think.

Any way you do it, you're going to have one fantastic trip!

NOTE: If you can avoid American airports you'll have a much more pleasant trip.
post #26 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashski
To be honest I think that Colorado and Utah have much more to offer compared to Canada (aside from Whistler if the conditions are right) so my next trip in 2006 will be to the US.
Oh absolutely! The truth is there is little decent skiing in Canada. I advise everyone to skip Canada and ski in Colorado and Utah instead.
post #27 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by OldSchool
Oh absolutely! The truth is there is little decent skiing in Canada. I advise everyone to skip Canada and ski in Colorado and Utah instead.
Are you sure you're not Gonzo masquerading as Old school?
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Resorts, Conditions & Travel › Opinions on Panorama appreciated!