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Offer your insight - PLEASE!

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I am planning my first trip out west to ski. (I have been skiing in the Midwest, mainly Wisconson and Michigan, for the last 6 years.)

However, I am having a hard time deciding where to go. I was hoping some more experienced skiers could offer some insight.

We have narrowed it down to either Beaver Creek, Big Sky or Whistler Blackcomb. The main items we are looking for are hills that are not crowded (mainly greens), a resort with restaruants and lodging nearby, and of course, some great views.

We are planning on going the week of February 19th.

Please offer any suggestions you may have!!!

Thanks!!!!!!
post #2 of 17
I have not been to Big Sky, but given your needs, I would think that Beaver Creek would fit your needs perfectly. It limits the number of lift tickets sold, so crowds are rarely a problem. It has plently of green runs and easy blues, and there are many hotel/condo choices that are ski in/ski out (one 'affordable' choice is call "The Charter"). The Bachelor's Gulch area is almost entirely green runs (and there is a very nice Ritz-Carlton). There are plenty of restaurants nearby and Vail is just down the road and provides even more choices (and would also be a good place to stay and ski).
post #3 of 17
I have only been to Whistler (twice), but I LOVE it.

Although it can be fairly crowded and the greens are just a bit tougher than most resorts. The night life is just amazing and everyone is pretty friendly.
post #4 of 17
Whistler is awesome--two huge mountains next to one another. There are a fair number of green runs, though they may be tougher than those elsewhere. I would check the weather patterns at all of the places you mention. Whistler has had an epic season so far--I think they have had 25 feet of snow since Nov 1. I can't speak to BC or Big Sky, but I can tell you that Whistler has mountains, restaurants and great nightlife if that is what you are looking for.:
post #5 of 17
No doubt you gotta chose Whistler (from what you listed I say its the best). I know, I haven't been to any of the other resorts, but Big Sky is having a bad year for snow, and Whistler is getting pounded. Huge mountain villages, and the best thing is, is you can get hotels with luxury for less because of the competition they have there.
post #6 of 17
Beaver Creek was great. You might want to stretch a bit a try some of the blues there for the sheer pleasure of excellent grooming, nearly absent lift lines and great scenery. BC is however, expensive, and unashamedly so. But there is a diversity of lodging, an excellent bus system and the terrain is worth it -- especially as it does have a large amount of easy terrain as well as death defying steepness. In fact some of the best easy trails are at the top of the mountain, and if I remember there is even some beginner glades to try tree sking. Just don't expect anything to be cheap.


Quote:
Originally Posted by purduegrad03 View Post
I am planning my first trip out west to ski. (I have been skiing in the Midwest, mainly Wisconson and Michigan, for the last 6 years.)

However, I am having a hard time deciding where to go. I was hoping some more experienced skiers could offer some insight.

We have narrowed it down to either Beaver Creek, Big Sky or Whistler Blackcomb. The main items we are looking for are hills that are not crowded (mainly greens), a resort with restaruants and lodging nearby, and of course, some great views.

We are planning on going the week of February 19th.

Please offer any suggestions you may have!!!

Thanks!!!!!!
post #7 of 17
The common denominator seems to be that those who've been to Whistler before will often recommend it, and those who've never been just can't fathom how much we have to offer and how there's nothing else like it in North America.
This graphic shows the difference in size compared to other North American resorts:
http://www.whistlerblackcomb.com/mou...ps/compare.htm
The exchange rate saves you 15%, so the $70 lift ticket suddenly becomes $59.50 US - compare that to Beaver Creek's lift ticket rates at $85 for a much smaller area.
Another important thing to consider is the fact that our village elevation is 2200 feet and our top elevation is 7,400 feet above sea level, so you wont need 2-3 days to acclimatize, or worry about high altitude discomfort. The weather conditions at 6,000 feet up here is similar to those found at 9,000 feet in Colorado, due to our more northerly latitude.
I've met many flatlanders that used to ski in Colorado and have tried Whistler for a change and 1) they can't believe how much energy they have and 2) they always thought that it was "just the mountian air" that made things so wacky on their other ski vacations.
Anyway, I'm obviously biased because I've lived in Whistler for 7 years, but I should point out that we don't have an abundance of green runs, especially the type that you may be used to. Many of our blue runs would be rated as blacks out East, for example.
Hopefully Beaver Creek and Big Sky gets some of the snow that we've been hogging this season, because from what I hear, they need it really bad. Sure it snowed in Denver, but my friend who lives in Vail says the storms didn't really make it to the mountains, and there's currently really not much of a base to speak of up there.
And last but not least, here in Whistler, we're the friendliest people on the planet!
post #8 of 17
I like both places..BC is in my backyard so I end up there quite a bit, but
Whistler/B. Comb is awesome too for the international flavor it has and about it being friendly it is very friendly indeed (I have had locals show me the goods on powder days and invite me to drink with them afterwards). Expect to be ribbed in a good natured way about being from the US (I was there in 02 when the gold medal hockey round was being played between the US and Canada-and that was a really fun time)

It is hard to beat the groomers at BC and you will have a very good chance of nice weather (Colorado bluebirds) if that is what you are after. Some of the best green terrain is on the top of the mountain where the snow/views are really good.

for the kind of skiing you describe the base is fine at BC and will be better by Feb. A lot of locals hit up the Beave over Vail on the weekends because crowds are rarely an issue at BC ...some one mentioned that ticket sales were limited at BC?? I have never heard that..I can't imagine that would be needed.

decisions, decisions
post #9 of 17
Going against the grain, I'll chime in for Big Sky. You haven't seen uncrowded slopes until you've been to Montana. The lower mountain has lots of blue & green groomers. Right next door is Moonlight Basin, and it generally makes Big Sky look crowded. There are some decent places to eat, but I think nightlife options are somewhat limited.

Whistler is great too. Was there for a week and it snowed about 6 feet - we never saw Blackcomb - skied there 4 of 6 days, but it was always snowing/socked in so we had to stay lower. Got a few hours of sunshine up high on Whistler and it was fantastic. One of the days the snow was really heavy - it was actually raining about 1/4 of the way up the hill, and we ended up stopping early. They are having a banner year though, so I don't know if that iwll tip the scales. Good luck.
post #10 of 17
I've been to Whistler and if the Boilermaker was an expert that would be his best choice. But for a first trip to the mountains, I don't think Whistler is a very good choice for skiing.
Most of the easy terrain is at the bottom, but the bottom has the worst snow conditions.
The weather sucks in Whistler, if you’re an expert, you just deal with it to get the goods. If you’re a beginner/intermediate, you’re skiing in the rain at least one day out of a week.
I think either BC or BS would be a better choice for skiing.

Nightlife, Whistler wins hands down.
post #11 of 17
Let me chime in for Big Sky - As mentioned: no crowds, nice blue and green runs, not much for night life and the big party crowd. Google Bucks T4 for one nice eating place.

One new thought. A big mountain with huge base/lift complex can sometimes be intimidating for a first time mountain skiiers especially if you have a group. Sometimes even getting to the first lift can be a problem. Big Sky is very midwesterner friendly and would make a perfect first trip west.
post #12 of 17
After skiing in Wisconsin (where I grew up skiing) you would have a blast at any of the three mountains you are considering. Big Sky will have the smallest crowds but highest chance for cold and possibly cloudy weather. It would also probably be the cheapest because they market heavily to the mid-west, and has lots of easy cruiser runs. Whistler is the biggest and best mountain, but more crowded and also has the northwest tendancy for cloudy weather and Candaian perchant for cold. Beaver Creek will be a little crowded, but probably not worse than what you are used to in Wisco. Plus it offers Vail right next store, which you should definitley try for a day if possible.

My recommendation would be Beaver Creek, which would have the highest chance for the winning combination of sunshine, good snow and small crowds, but you really can't go wrong with any of your choices if you hit good weather.
post #13 of 17
cal to colorado and shredhead hit it right on the mark, BEAVER CREEK. It's perfect for what you want, and the green runs are really nice, blues you can handle. Weather is usually great there, contrary to WB. WB is way too big for you, wait 'till you can gobble up the blues and blacks.

Don't know Big Sky.
post #14 of 17
All things being equal you might as well follow the snow. WB is getting KILLED this year:

WB: 335" YTD, 119" base
BC: 119", 48"
BS: not sure but not even close to WB, 55"

Never been to any of them (hoping for WB in April) but looking at the snow totals is there really any decision here???

post #15 of 17
Yeah, Whistler is huge and getting lots of snow but for someone who says they want to ski green runs and in an environment without crowds, WB hardly foots the bill, particularly during President's Week! Haven't been to Beaver Creek or Big Sky, but would suggest that Whistler is best saved for when skiing ability transcends intermediate status.
post #16 of 17
Both Whistler and Big Sky are on the list of "must visit" ski resorts, but for a first trip, I think BC wins this year. Good snow fall, consistent conditions and the terrain for greens and intermediates that you are looking for.

Just be smart and bring your camelbacks, snacks etc. Some spots on the mountain were VERY pricey. I found $4.12 for a 12 oz. bottle of water excessive, but they had a fountain or other 'no charge' water available which I used to top off the camelback.
I was there mid december and found it to be a great place. Wide variety of restaurants from very expensive to quite reasonable in the village.
Caution: if you stay in the village of Avon at the base of the mountain, there are only shuttles to bring you to and fro. If it snows, the going is tuff and the shuttles over-crowded. On mountain accommodations are a better use of your time and energy. (I had a rental car which I never used except to go to and from Denver, it snowed and the car was useless on the hill going down to Avon. I aborted)
post #17 of 17
Beaver Creek, Big Sky or Whistler Blackcomb. The main items we are looking for are hills that are not crowded (mainly greens), a resort with restaruants and lodging nearby, and of course, some great views.

Feb 19 - President's week, one of busiest of season)

Going by your list:
Big Sky will be least crowded and has renowned assortment of greens, weak on restaurant variety, some lodging nearby, nice views associated with Lone Peak.
Beaver Creek and Whistler will have more crowds; both have greens, far more restaurant (if you include Vail) and lodging nearby, views nice.

If uncrowded greens is highest priority Big Sky wins.
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