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Where to go in BC?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
For the past 17 years, my family has met with friends that live in Seattle for President's week to ski. We have hit all the major (Western) resorts, and feel that the kids are finally old enough to handle the trek to BC from where we live (East coast). Yeah, I know: WHISTLER. The other family has skiied there, and despite the tremendous year they are having, I have heard too many stories of people coming back and not liking the snow quality/quantity. SO, any other resorts that would be recommended as the next step? Our abilities vary from advanced intermediate to expert (whatever that means) -- we ski on groomed, off-piste, trees, bumps, bowls, chutes, whatever. We usually crash at night, so night life is not important -- having access to some food/liquor stores and maybe some restaurants would be nice.

Any (non-obscene) suggestions would be welcome!

Bob
post #2 of 18
Fernie's having a great year, as is Banff. Sunshine, Lake Louise and Fernie all have more than enough of the terrain you're after and access isn't much different from W/B, jut through Calgary instead of Van.
I wouldn't discount Whistler, though. For a group that's upper int. to expert, there's pretty much always good snow to be had.
post #3 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by bbinder View Post
WHISTLER. I have heard too many stories of people coming back and not liking the snow quality/quantity.
Bob
Quality was bad last month but the last two weeks have been fantastic. More to come after a spike in temps. this weekend. There is a LOT of snow.
post #4 of 18
I'd suggest the interior of BC: Big White, Silverstar and Sun Peaks. All 3 have lots of sun, dry snow, and good, varied terrain.

Admittedly, they don't have Whistler's size, snow quantity or epic terrain. Also, deep powder days are rare.

But, there's virtually no chance of rain (it's colder), the snow is more consistent, top to bottom, and you'll save money. All 3 are simpler, and less glitzy.

We bought passes at Sun Peaks last year. It was wonderful, but we tired of the long drive, there and back. But, for a one-time shot, it's fine!
post #5 of 18
I vote for LL, SSV and stay in Banff. Lots of good accomations in Banff (good dining too)and free shuttle service to the mountains (including Norqay). 2 plus hour drive from Calgary
Second choice, would Panorama and Kimberley...particularly Panorama (lots of slopeside and close accomodations..Invermere is town and 3+ hrs from Calgary). The mtn itself has some great diverse terrain. Kimberley is a little farther from Calgary, but you can fly into Cranbrook. Kimberley Mtn. is smaller than Panorama but nice mtn and has a neat Bavarian town closeby. Kimberley also has slopeside lodging. Lift ticket prices are really good for both too.
Third, would be Fernie. You can drive up from Montana...lots of good powder skiing there. Developing base area (it has been seven yrs since I have been) and a great mtn.
post #6 of 18
With kids, I would recommend Big White, Panorama or Sun Peaks over Banff. Lots of activities, great village and on-hill accommodation - very convenient.
post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the comments -- it sounds like there are alot of option for me to check out. Too bad that I only have 11 months til this trip occurs...

Bob
post #8 of 18
Quote:
We have hit all the major (Western) resorts, and feel that the kids are finally old enough to handle the trek to BC
I've never quite figured out why there seems to be a barrier to some Americans crossing the Canadian border for ski vacations. Particularly before the recent passport requirements. I read somewhere that, excluding Whistler, only 6% of B.C. skier visits were from Americans. I started going up there in 1997 and have been there nearly every year since.

Get out a map when you are looking at these places. Distances can be long, and the east-west driving on Routes #1 and #3 can be slow.

Whistler is a must-do sometime. The other trip I like is the "Calgary loop," dividing time between Banff/Lake Louise and Fernie/Castle. The latter are easily accessible from Whitefish/The Big Mountain as an alternative, also very worthwhile. Kicking Horse, Panorama and Kimberley are on the backside of the Calgary loop trip. The latter 2 areas (and the bottom half of KH) don't get much snow on average. I know the skiing is great at all 3 areas this season, but they should be avoided in below average years.

I think the skiing at Big White/Silver Star/Sun Peaks can be best summarized as Summit County Colorado without the crowds.
post #9 of 18
How about Red Mountain and Whitewater? Can't give you any beta, however it is on my short list.
post #10 of 18

Canada

Bbinder, Just got back from BC last night. For what its worth here's my 3 trips into BC this winter.

Panorama. Skied Tue Wed and Thur this week. Snow packed, enough but not a lot off piste. Groomers Advanced to Beginner, mostly intermediate but good intermediate with a lot of terrain and steeps for inter. rating. Some really long groomers up to 3600 vertical in one swoop. Lots of moguls if you want them of all pitches. Expert terrain Taynton Bowl, hike to off top lift or access off top lift off 1000 Peaks run. Definitely expert terrain but a good advaanced skier can do most of bowl. this is a very big area and you couldn't ski all the lines in a week. Draw back is a long (but downhill) road back to bottom. No crowds at all when wife and I were there. Good bar and restaurant in bar Crazyhorse. Pools and hot tubs everywhere, snowmobiling, wolf exhibit, pool, heli-skiing. This was "my wife picks the resort" year and she likes cruising groomers and Panorama definitely meets this desscription.

Kimberly. Skied Fri (yesterday) More snow than Panorama. Good hill good pitches not any real expert terrain. couple pretty good mogul runs and snow was good.

Fernie. Skied 3 weeks ago. Had 4" of freshies one night, skied for 2 days with ski bud from Tahoe. Excellent skiers hill, lot of tough tree, off piste, chute and mogul skiing. Sort of a tricky hill for skiing across the Mt., lot of traverses to reach the good stuff. Don't know if a family could stay connected or not. Really enjoyed the skiing in Lizard Bowl area. We just stayed in a mod priced motel no big deal, can't really comment on extra activities, food etc. but great skiing, awesome mt.

Red. Skied in early Jan, visibility zero in AM and better in PM because the rain washed away the fog. UGLY Trip and really can't comment on area because even though I took 5 runs on the front side the tope and back was closed and couldn't seen #$#&!

NOTE. The scenery was Panorama #1 and Fernie #2 In a few days will try to post some pics of Panorama trip, if I can figure out how.

Even next year if you plan on Panorama, PM me and I can fill in some detailsl.
post #11 of 18
Excellent summary of Panorama and Kimberley, Pete. The skiing of the Summit Chair at Pan was our favorite, although we didn't hike to the bowl. Wish we had now. Loved Crazyhorse Saloon. I loved how they called the mass quantity of suds jugs of beer instead of pitchers...
post #12 of 18

Bc

Kdski2, Crazyhorse good beer and good food. I like how much better the beer tastes at a good ski bar at the end of the day. The hike over to Taynton Bowl is worth it for you next time. If the snows good though just ski 1000 Peaks run and not very far down you will see Heliski run on your right and you can drop in there. I know the trees look very close together but you will only go some 50 yards and drop into an almost open slope, come trees but ok, pretty steep but good constant pitch all the was down. Sort of cool doing 4,000 vertical in one run even if some of it is on a road. Tip. Don't dress too warm or you'll really get warm coming down, at least I did.
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
More good tips! Thanks! FWIW -- our reluctance to go to BC in the past was not crossing the Canadian border, but rather the length of a travel day with small children. Teenagers with electronic devices handle long trips more easily...
post #14 of 18

Just got back from Whistler...

I just got back from a week in Whistler - and it was great!!! Can't imagine a better place to ski. THey have something for everyone. (I haven't been to any other resorts up that way - so I am obviously biased.)

The snow conditions were fantastic. The runs weren't crowded, and the views were spectacular.

Even if other people have already been - I think its still worth going to for a group/family trip.
post #15 of 18
With kids, the interior BC resorts are great. Big White, Silver Star, and Sun Peaks are all great kid friendly places. Of the three, Sun Peaks is my favorite. Uncrowded runs, nice village, and good snow.

The Canadian rocky resorts are also great, but for family skiing I perfer the interior resorts. Whistler, Kicking Horse, Sunshine are usually boy trips for me-it all depends on what you are looking for.
post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by seattle_sun View Post
With kids, the interior BC resorts are great. Big White, Silver Star, and Sun Peaks are all great kid friendly places. Of the three, Sun Peaks is my favorite. Uncrowded runs, nice village, and good snow.
Exactly, except I prefer Silver Star. To each their own.
post #17 of 18

Big White

Just spent 5 ski days at Big White in February. My kids are 9 & 11, one started lessons as a beginner and advanced to intermediate. The other moved from mid to upper intermediate. Both had an amazing time. the resort is geared towards families with plenty of options for ski in/out with kitchens. they had movie and carnival nights, apres ski live music in the day lodge and fireworks etc. Staff was friendly and helpful.

Reasonable pricing for accomodations but the village market was pricey. We were going to drive to Vermont but chickened out because of the lack of snow. For not a heck of lot more we flew to Kelowna and skiied Big White.

There are plenty of restaurants in the village ( 17 although cafeterias are included in that number). You can order pizza in the village as well.We ate out two of the nights and the food was better than expected.

The skiing is varied too. Plenty of glade skiing which in some cases is still fairly wide open and can be handled easily by intermediates. We had a chance to make tracks in powder, something we don't get to do at home in Ontario. They left a few runs ungroomed for an extended time to let the snow get deep ( classified black due to condtions). The snow is dry and powdery.Not the moisture content you get sometimes at Whistler.

It wasn't crowded at all. Many times you were the only ones on the hill or you might see 3 or 4 other skiiers on the way down. It is big and they have a huge lift capacity with 2 or 3 high speed sixes.Only downside is that it can get cloudy and the clouds sit on the hill reducing visibility. One of five days was pretty bad but when it was clear it was beautiful.

K
post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by purduegrad03 View Post
I just got back from a week in Whistler - and it was great!!! Can't imagine a better place to ski. THey have something for everyone. (I haven't been to any other resorts up that way - so I am obviously biased.)

The snow conditions were fantastic. The runs weren't crowded, and the views were spectacular.

Even if other people have already been - I think its still worth going to for a group/family trip.
Great to see it all worked out! You definitely lucked out with the weather that week, as it's been pretty much snowing ever since.
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