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Whistler crowds, conditions and condos – set our expectations

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thinking of Whistler for March 10-17. This is March Break in Ontario, but not my knowledge in Alberta or BC (please chime in if I'm wrong). Questions:
1. How long can we expect the lift lineups to be? What should we stay away from and when? (we're early risers and flexible on lunch hour). Please set our expectations (my search turned up only an old post) - we've been spoiled by Interior BC resorts in years past which seldom get crowded.
2. Knowing that no one can predict conditions, would it be reasonable to think the lower mountain will be skiable at this time, based on history?
3. We'd like a condo, ski-in/out or very short walk - any recommended properties for lift access and relative peace and quiet? Appreciate any guidance...
post #2 of 20
The BC public school spring break is the week of Mar 19th so you will be fine. Whistler is never as uncrowded as the interior bc resorts, but the mountain(s) are huge & you can always move on to a less busy lift. Mid week will not be a problem, the weeks can sometimes get busy, so flex your lunch break.

In March, it will usually be still skiable right from top to bottom, although conditions can sometimes be quite variable down low. So no worries about limited terrain. Some of our biggest storms can occur in March, snow coverage will not be an issue.

Whistler village is quite well layed out & most of the accommodations in the village is less than a 15min walk to the lifts. The bus service is also free in the village & run quite regularly. I've never found a need for ski in/out accommodations because everything is so accessible.
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks Wizard. For morning lift crowds, is it better to be in W. village (where you have a choice of lifts)? or on Blackcomb or at Creekside? Any thoughts?
post #4 of 20
Creekside is generally less busy, but it's a long ways from the main village where all the action is. The main village has 2 gondolas feeding Blackcomb & Whistler. Creekside only feeds onto Whistler & you would have to ski down to the base to switch over to Blackcomb. Creekside is quieter & less busy, but my personal perference is the main village.
post #5 of 20
Aspens is ski in/out on blackcomb. there are couple of others nearby. march
is generally not a busy time.
post #6 of 20
I spent 2 weeks there last year. One week was BC spring break, other was not. Couldn't tell much difference. Was not too crowded. However, I've been going to Whistler for our spring break with family for 7 years. Some years have been ridiculously crowded. It seemed to coincide with Easter break being during same time. Personally, I like upper village. If you're slope side, easy access to Wizard chair. If not slopeside, bus service is good and will take you to either wizard chair or main village where you can take gondolas up either mt. It usually seems a bit hectic in village to me. I like Creekside, but if you're going out to eat each night, there's not too many restaurants over there and you have to drive to village. Not that bad, but if you want the full on pedestrian experience in evening I'd stay upper village or main village.
post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks all, but please define "not busy" - what would be a typical wait in line at base in morning? (Forgive my persistence, just hate long line-ups).
Not after much action - always too tired after skiing - so Creekside might be an option, with shuttle to village for food etc.
post #8 of 20
In march - I would be shocked if you have to wait in line at blackcomb base for more than a couple of minutes. whistler gondola can have lines as ski school feeds into it.
post #9 of 20

Alberta School Break

The Alberta School Break is the first week in April this year for the two Calgary boards and at least one of the Edmonton boards so no worries there.
post #10 of 20
In the early am the Whistler gondola can have a 15-20 minute wait. (Some of this is for the ski school upload on Whistler since the learning area is mid-mountain at Olympic Station). Later in the day, there will not be a wait at all because most people ski the upper mountain and there are so many lifts and trails that not too many come down to the bottom until late in the day.

Some condos: in the village, Stoney Creek and Northstar and Stoney Creek Sunpath are convenient to the village, but not too noisy, as they are off to the side. There is a shuttle to the lifts. For ski-in and out there is Aspens and also Marquis--I believe all of the ski-in and -outs are on Blackcomb Mt. These are not as convenient when you want to go to dinner.

There are also some quieter condos near the marketplace: Symphony and Glaciers Run. It is around 5-10 minutes from the mountain from those.

It all depends on the trade-off you want between convenience, cost and proximity to either the mountain or the town.

The snow has been great so far. There is no telling what March will bring, but they have a great start to the season. I think they have had 5 feet this week!

post #11 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks nyskier. For morning crowds, I take it being on the Blackcomb side would be better. But can you walk to Whistler lifts from bottom of Blackcomb Express (hard to tell on their map). We'll probably eat in 3-4 nights, so don't mind a walk or shuttle to the village on the other evenings. Definitely like some peace and quiet, so Blackcomb benchlands area may be the way to go. Any chance in March the snow cover would be a problem skiing in/out?
post #12 of 20
From Blackcomb day lodge which is by Wizard lift it would be a bit of a trek to Whistler lifts. I generally find it easier to go up on Wizrd and then either ski down to village or ski over to Blackcomb Gondola and download to village. Or you can catch bus over to village. Bus in morning is easy. Sometimes at end of day, it can be crowded and seems to take longer to catch. However, you're on vacation and it's not that big of a deal. Walking to village from upper village for dinner is easy. Not as easy when you're in ski boots in morning.
post #13 of 20
If you're going with Creekside, check out Legends. I just booked 5 nights there in April, got a great deal on a spectacular 3 bedroom unit.

In general you'll get much more condo for your $ anywhere besides the main village...so just expect to pay a hefty premium for that location.
post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 
Leaning toward Creekside or Upper Village (Blackcomb Benchlands) - no desire to be in main village. Just wondering if the snow cover will be okay to ski down to the lift - would hate to pay for slopeside, then find out we have to rely on the shuttle. Is this ever a problem in March?
post #15 of 20
We have been a few times in March or April and snow cover (on the upper mountain) has never been an issue. But, the base is at 2000 feet so as you get to that part of the season the lower level conditions are not often that great (as you will find when you get there you tend to spend all your time up top so the fact that it sucks down below is not an issue). It depends ultimately on what you mean by your query. If you want to know, will I physically be able to ski back to my condo then the answer is probably yes, on the basis that either natural or man made snow trails will exist to let you do that (although they may be of the "ribbon" variety in a so so year). If the question is.....will I be able to have an enjoyable run back to my condo at the end of the day then in my view no. The conditions/snow will likely not be great and may well largely be man made.By the end of the day conditions may not be that great ie slushy.

I should say that when I am there late season I download at the end of the day from either mountain......skiing shitty snow, in crowds, when tired, is not a fun end to my ski day, especially since the conditions in the Alpine are usually excellent so why waste your time, after that, on inferior snow. Others, I know, have a very different perspective and love that "last run of the day". Each to his own. We then meet up for a beer and we are both happy.

We tend to stay in the Village because it suits us (I go with my late teen/early 20s children and they like to be close to the centre) but whoever said you get more for your buck the further out you go is right.No real surprises there.
post #16 of 20
Mostly agree with Colin re snow at bottom at end of day. However, those dates are right on border of when it starts to get warm on bottom. In other words, it may be just fine all the way to bottom or it may be slush fest. My experience is that there is usually enuf snow to bottom, but it's more a matter of how thick it is. However, you will be able to ski down, but you may regret doing so. Look at weather and guage your decision accordingly. Downloading at Whistler is much more common than any resort I've been to.
post #17 of 20
Whistler and Blackcomb are both set up for easy downloads so you don't need to worry about how much snow there is on the bottom of the mountain. I skied at Blackcomb years ago in May and there was no snow at all near the village, people were walking around without jackets, sailboats on the lakes, golfers doing their golf thing. We got snowed on up on the mountain and had a wonderful day of skiing.

The public transport system is free and very convenient. It will take you right to the base of both mountains. Very little walking. Stay wherever you want and you'll be fine.

If you really want ski in-out Aspens is a good one, but you'll be kind of stuck at Blackcomb. It's no so easy to get to Whistler from there. I stayed there last year and it was nice.
post #18 of 20
We were there for the first time last year and had a great time. Here is my only word of caution. DO NOT rent a car from the Budget office located at the YVR airport. They ripped us off badly and I have since read that they have done the same thing to others. Avoid them and you will have a great time.
post #19 of 20
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by DJP View Post
We were there for the first time last year and had a great time. Here is my only word of caution. DO NOT rent a car from the Budget office located at the YVR airport. They ripped us off badly and I have since read that they have done the same thing to others. Avoid them and you will have a great time.
Thanks for the heads-up on car rental. Just curious, did they charge you something other than quoted? Or not have the right vehicle available?

I see Avis does a one-way rental that may save marginally on a week's rental. Anyone done that? For four people, car looks better than taking the bus.
post #20 of 20
If you're going for the car rental option then Avis do a one way round trip special where you rent a car from the airport and drop it off at Whistler on the same day. You then pick up a car the day you leave and drop it at the airport. IIRC it works out a bit cheaper than two separate one way hires.
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