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Whistler or Park City?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
A buddy and I (both in late 20s) are looking to take five days in mid-December 2005 to go skiing. Lodging will be taken care of already (he has a time share to trade for a spot at either resort).

We think we have narrowed our choices to two resorts: Whistler and Park City. Has anyone been to one or both who can comment? I have been to Vail (and loved it), so comparisons to Vail are welcome!

We plan to ski for 3-4 days and look to do a non-skiing activity on the other day(s) - snowmobiling, touristy stuff, etc.

We'd like to take into consideration the entire experience - travel from airport, prices of restaurants, friendliness of the locals, excitement of the ski town, bars, etc. I'm guessing that the quality of skiing/snow will be approximately equal at both places, but if I'm wrong, please correct me.

Thanks in advance!

Mike
post #2 of 23
Whistler
post #3 of 23
Notwithstanding last year, Whistler may be a bit more reliable on snow mid December than Park City. However, not more reliable than Cottonwood Canyons. If you can wait, you may want to see where the snow falls. I have a trip planned Dec. 14, but am waiting to see where it snows. Whistler has a bit better partying scene in my experience. Park City has a much faster easier drive than from Vancouer to Whistler.
post #4 of 23
Except for last year, early snow at Whistler is fairly reliable, and the mountain is wonderful. It's also a great party town. That's a non-attraction for me, but others love it, especially 20-somethings.

I've never been to PC (going this year), but I visited the town once in the summer. A charming ski-town with a great atmosphere.

There's also plenty to do at Whister. Like Vail, it has a huge base area, but Whistler's is much better designed. However, it is a hoof (about 2 hrs) to get to Vancouver, whereas Park City is much closer to SLC.

I've lived in both SLC and Vancouver. Vancouver is a fabulous urban center with endless variety and panache. There are some folks on this forum who like SLC. But, it didn't work at all for me.
post #5 of 23
Travelling from NY to Park City will be much easier than travelling to Whistler. The flights will be shorter and cheaper and the drive from the airport to the resort will also be easier. You can fly out of NY in the morning and be on the slopes in PC in the afternoon and can also nab an extra half day of skiing on the way out.

From what I've observed, the night life at Whistler is outstanding and better than at Park City, although Park City is better than average.

The terrain at Whistler is as good as you'll find anywhere as long as the weather cooperates, but you always run the risk of rain. It rained both times I visited Whistler and the last time it rained pretty hard on the summit (in February). Usually the rain turns to snow half-way up the mountain, so it is not usually a problem as long as you stay on upper portion of the mountain.

If you're willing to travel to the Cottonwood Canyons while staying in PC, the terrain and December snow quality will be comparable to Whistler, but you'll have the hassle of driving to and from the slopes (about 45 mins in each direction). If you're planning to restrict your skiing to the PC areas (PCMR, Deer Valley, Canyons), I think Whistler will have the edge in terms of both terrain and December snow quality in most years.

If it were me and I were still in my late-20s I'd probably take a chance on Whistler and hope the rain isn't too much of a problem. If you hit it right, the night life and skiing will be worth the travel hassles from NY. You can spend your non-skiing (or perhaps rain) day either in Vancouver, which is a wonderful city to visit, or in the Whistler area.
post #6 of 23

Whistler

I think the off-piste options at Park City are significantly less than Vail, and Whistler has quite a bit more off trail terrain than Vail.

The trip from Vancouver up to Whistler is one of the prettiest drives I have ever taken, and Vancouver itself as you come over the ??Lion's Gate Bridge?? is almost like San Francisco (or Hong Kong?). Gorgeous. Make sure the first trip is in the daylight.

Whistler also seemed cheaper (make that "less expensive") but that could vary based on the exchange rate.

You need to confirm that the timeshare is available; that's not always as straightforward as you might believe and may make your decision for you.
post #7 of 23
Whistler without a doubt. Only problem is you’re blowing a day traveling each way.
post #8 of 23
Definitely Whistler. Park City's snow is much less reliable. And if you go for the better snow in Cottonwood Canyons you give up most of the apres ski activities you mention or have tedious daily commutes from Park City.
post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by gandalf
I think the off-piste options at Park City are significantly less than Vail...
Your kidding right? Park City & the area surrounding it has some of the best BC around. The Wasatch Crest runs from Deer Valley's Bald Mountain to Murdock Peak with thousands of acres between the resorts, then there is the backside of the Crest, BCC, Bonanza Flats, 10420, Mill Creek Canyon and Mt Aire. That's not even including the Uintas, which are 45 min. from PC.

post #10 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Powdr
Your kidding right? Park City & the area surrounding it has some of the best BC around.
He didn't say Back Country, he said off-piste. Not the same. In my mind, off-piste is lift-served with minimal hiking. BC requires specialized gear and specialized training. Vail's Back Bowls could swallow the entire PCMR. So he's right.
post #11 of 23
bjohansson:

OK, I'll give you the off-piste vs. BC thing. I incorrectly interpreted his post. And you are close, but not right when you say the Back Bowls are larger than PCMR:

Back Bowls: 2966 arces
source: Vail's Chamber Page

PCMR: 3300 acres
source: PCMR website

So again close, but not correct. But it is a good point that Vails off piste selection is large.

Powdr
post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Powdr
Your kidding right? Park City & the area surrounding it has some of the best BC around. The Wasatch Crest runs from Deer Valley's Bald Mountain to Murdock Peak with thousands of acres between the resorts, then there is the backside of the Crest, BCC, Bonanza Flats, 10420, Mill Creek Canyon and Mt Aire. That's not even including the Uintas, which are 45 min. from PC.

Hey! I can see my house from here!
post #13 of 23

Whistler or Park City?

In late December I have skied the Park City area quite a few times and Whistler only once. I like the travel to PC; close to the airport and non-stop flights are readily available. Whistler was absolutely gorgeous, but certainly a trek. I am traveling from South Florida. I did have one disappointment at Whistler that I did not expect. I had read about the low altitude (a good thing) and the risk of wet weather (we didn’t have a problem with this), but what surprised me was what seemed as very short hours of daylight at that time of the year. It seemed that we were getting out on the mountain later in the morning and leaving earlier in the afternoon. Afternoons seem to shadow by three...ish. We wound up skiing 10:00 to 3:00 without breaking for food instead of first thru last run days. I would certainly go back to Whistler, but wold look for a later season trip. As a matter of fair disclosure, I have a condo in the Deer Valley area. Whistler is a great choice but feedback from others about the daylight might be helpful.
post #14 of 23
Bro,if your group are all twenty somthing than whistler is the place to go.Been there twice,a little dissapointing last year not as much snow as usual but still had a good time.The terrain is great and village is second to none,bars,clubs,and rest. everywhere.The ride from the airport is a little long,but is beatiful.We rented a limo the first time so we could kick back after the long flight from Boston and if money isn't an issue I would recommend the heli-jet,did it last year 30 min. each way.GOOD LUCK!!!!
post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by bruno
if money isn't an issue I would recommend the heli-jet,did it last year 30 min. each way.GOOD LUCK!!!!
I want Bruno's job!
post #16 of 23
Hmm, "snow is more reliable at Whistler than PC", where on the mountain are you guys talking about? I know PC doesn't have a glacier, but with a base elev. of 6900 as opposed to near sea level, I have to imagine your chances of early season conditions overall would be just as good, if not better, in PC. I also know that PC has a really good snowmaking system so as long as temps are below freezing it'll be white on the mountain.
Back to your question about the town, there are plenty of great bars and food in town and the nightlife, Utah's rep not withstanding, is acutally quite happening. Lots of non-skiing things to do in the area too, a ride down the Olympic bobsled track is unique and there are plenty of snowmobile, hot air balloon and other cool mountain town activities to sample.
I haven't personally been to W, so can't speak to these things up there.
post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by flaskier
In late December I have skied the Park City area quite a few times and Whistler only once. I like the travel to PC; close to the airport and non-stop flights are readily available. Whistler was absolutely gorgeous, but certainly a trek. I am traveling from South Florida. I did have one disappointment at Whistler that I did not expect. I had read about the low altitude (a good thing) and the risk of wet weather (we didn’t have a problem with this), but what surprised me was what seemed as very short hours of daylight at that time of the year. It seemed that we were getting out on the mountain later in the morning and leaving earlier in the afternoon. Afternoons seem to shadow by three...ish. We wound up skiing 10:00 to 3:00 without breaking for food instead of first thru last run days. I would certainly go back to Whistler, but wold look for a later season trip. As a matter of fair disclosure, I have a condo in the Deer Valley area. Whistler is a great choice but feedback from others about the daylight might be helpful.
Regarding Lift times at whistler in Dec, Jan - You can ski from 830am to 330pm. That's plenty of skiing. Now - if after all the partying in WHistler village - you don't wake up before 10am - that's a different story.
post #18 of 23

Partying?

I think the skiing issues are well discussed above and in other places, but some factors might be more important. As for partying, if I were in my 20s, Whistler would have better, more accessible talent and the environment(s) in which it will flaunt itself. Truly outstanding, in my experience. Now, if only I were in my 20s again...
post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dino
Now, if only I were in my 20s again...
Since you can't do that, just surround yourself with 20 year old talent.
post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD
Since you can't do that, just surround yourself with 20 year old talent.
LMAO! Good one Shred. I've never had a bad experience at Whistler, and I hope to continue that streak in January '06. I was contemplating doing PC this ski season but decided to stick with Whistler. Someday I'll get my self out to PC and ski but if both PC and Whistler have no snow in December, you can still find a lot of things to do at Whistler.
post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toadman
Someday I'll get my self out to PC and ski but if both PC and Whistler have no snow in December, you can still find a lot of things to do at Whistler.
Well, there is always Temple Square.
post #22 of 23

Surrounding oneself with talent

"Since you can't do that, just surround yourself with 20 year old talent."

I do, every time I go to Whistler! ; )
post #23 of 23

Whistler, a mans adventure.

Starting out at 6am to catch my flight out of boston to whistler. I'm there 1 1/2 hrs early like they tell ya. After waiting in line for way too long I'm able to grab a cup of coffee and a muffin before the flight. After 2 1/2 hrs we touch down for our lay over where we have to wait an hour in airport luxury. Next we reboard for the final 4 1/2 hrs, not bad because we got extra peanuts. After what seemed to be several light years we land. My legs feel like one giant charlie horse and my back felt like I was hit with a sledge hammer.
Only 1 1/2 hrs later we get out of customs all standing in line.
We grab our bags and it's only 2 short hours to the mountain.
1/2 hrs check in process and I now want to kill myself. I am so miserable that I'm home sick already and I swear to myself Never will I come back to this f#$%ing mountain. I can't believe I'm 3000 miles away from home. If I could leave now I would.
The next day we wake up eat our miserable F^%&ing breakfast head for the lifts.Take the Blackcomb Gondi to the top.Take another couple of lifts to blackcomb peak.
Start down the mountain after a few turns and looking around we all swear that we'll make the very same trip every year as long as we can.It's a Magical place!Whistler is an amazing place. You have some of the best apres and you never need to see a car the whole week. Awesome awesome place.My thanks to the man up stairs!
Never been to PC.
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