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Whistler/Blackcomb - Page 2

post #31 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesdeluxe View Post
As great as W/B probably is -- a European-sized ski area in North America -- if you're a destination skier, why not cut out the middleman and go straight to the Arlberg, Chamonix, Serre-Chevalier, Monterosa or a bazillion other places in Europe? Besides the skiing, you get to stay in a real place instead of McIntrawestland -- I've already been to Tremblant, so I know what their faux villages are like (no thanks).
2 Reasons:

a) Price. The US $ is weaker than it's been in decades, and you'll feel pain paying for a trip to Europe. Our company will soon fly 30 of our dealers on a promo trip to Europe. Projected cost: $3,500 per person.

b) Snow (or lack thereof). This was one of Europe's worst snow years. According to climatologists, Europe may be without skiing in 50 years, and will have increasingly poor snow years between now and then. It'll eventually happen here too, but Global Warming is hitting them harder, and sooner.

On the other hand, if $ isn't an issue, and you'd like to see the birthplace of skiing, better to go now before it's too late.

I share you views on the faux Alps feel of McIntrawest. But, as a frequent traveler to Europe, I'd rather have faux than freezing. I find heating systems in those "quaint" old buildings to be fit for Vikings.
post #32 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by WestEast View Post
Ha. That map would look different if it differentiated between boring rainy terrain and the high alpine. Don't get me wrong, Whistler and Blackcomb have some awesome terrain in the top third or so of each mountain, but the rest is pretty pedestrian. Also keep in mind that much of the lower parts of Whistler Blackcomb have trees too close together for tree skiing. (The gladed runs are an exception, but there aren't too many of them.) Go to Snowbird and you'll have a higher acreage of challenging terrain. The sun might even come out.

Nothing challenging on the lower 2/3's? Perhaps you just don't know W/B very well. How much time have you actually spent there. Next time hire a guide and tell her or him that you want to see some challenging terrain on the lower 2/3's.
Not sure what your level is - how far apart do you need to have trees before you'll ski 'em?


jamesdelux - skiing W/B (or anything worthwhile in NAmerica) is just a different thing than skiing in Europe. To suggest one is "better" than the other is silly. It's an apples and oranges situation.

goldsbar - Obviously the length of people's flights will vary, don't you think? But do you really consider a 2 hour bus ride to be "long"? ...or did you fly into Calgary and take the bus from there?
post #33 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by OldSchool View Post
Nhire a guide and tell her or him that you want to see some challenging terrain on the lower 2/3's.
why would you willingly spend time at lower elevations where the snow is shitty? actually the terrain is generally pretty mellow on the bottom 2/3 of the mountain (unless you are referring to cbc trees and some other out of bounds stashes that you basically need a local guide or a lot of skill to be able to find your way around). the beauty of W/B is that you can do laps in the high alpine without having to worry too much about actually "skiing" the lower elevations. Laps which take you out of the alpine generally involve a series of chutes/bowls of sweet alpine terrain and then a cat track to the lower lifts, but skiers who want the sweet terrain don't spend a lot of time on the bottom 2/3 of the mountain if the top chairs are open. (there are a few good spots below the tree-line useful when the alpine is closed due to high winds/avy danger/poor viz... but I wont give these away).
post #34 of 54
Quote:
jamesdelux - skiing W/B (or anything worthwhile in NAmerica) is just a different thing than skiing in Europe. To suggest one is "better" than the other is silly. It's an apples and oranges situation.
I never suggested that one is "better" than the other. I was just wondering why so many people from NYC and Boston go to Whistler rather than the Alps. My point was that it's cheaper (and often takes less time) for us to fly to Zurich or Geneva than Vancouver.

Quote:
The US $ is weaker than it's been in decades, and you'll feel pain paying for a trip to Europe. Our company will soon fly 30 of our dealers on a promo trip to Europe. Projected cost: $3,500 per person.
The weak US dollar drives up Canadian prices for us the same way as European prices, so that's moot. Until about 18 months ago, when I got back from ski trips to Quebec, I'd usually have more money than before I left. As for your promo trip, from the west coast, I'm sure flight costs alone are double what we'd pay here.

Quote:
This was one of Europe's worst snow years. According to climatologists, Europe may be without skiing in 50 years, and will have increasingly poor snow years between now and then.
If I remember correctly, W/B had a no-show winter recently, and people were going on about Whistler's ability to deal with global warming. It's a roll of the dice no matter where you go.
post #35 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesdeluxe View Post
I was just wondering why so many people from NYC and Boston go to Whistler rather than the Alps.
You're wondering why they come here, because you've never been here before. Others who have been to Whistler will understand what I'm talking about. It's a lot like trying to explain why we enjoy skiing so much to a non-skier. It's hard for the non-skier to 'get it'.
I meet American visitors that have come here for the first time on a daily basis, and they've found that the total experience is often worth more than the cheaper airfare to Europe. Many have been to Europe before, and although they enjoy many aspects of the European vacation, they still prefer staying in North America for many reasons. You should see the huge number of Europeans who've come here as well (and they're even from Germany, Austria, France, Switzerland and Italy - with major resorts all at their doorstep. And in case you're wondering, I have skied many European areas and loved it. I've also been to Colorado, Tahoe and many Eastern US ski hills.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesdeluxe View Post
If I remember correctly, W/B had a no-show winter recently, and people were going on about Whistler's ability to deal with global warming. It's a roll of the dice no matter where you go.
As for the global warming issue, the "no-show" season ('04-'05) that you're referring to was the first 2-month drought W/B had seen in 28 ski seasons. It was good until mid-January, then brutal for 2 months, then the season was salvaged by mid-winter conditions from mid-March through April. I find it funny how some people cling to that statistic and make sweeping statements about how our seasons can be 'wiped out' like everywhere else. How many rough seasons have the European Alps had in the past 15?
What baffles me the most, is how people who come here can go the whole week without seeing the sun at all (especially this month), and still say they had a blast.
Now, I'll go get my canoe and paddle down the street to the bubble lifts...
post #36 of 54
I used to think that there was no interesting terrain on the lower 2/3 of Whistler. Then I got there one day when the top was closed and only a few lifts were even running on the bottom of the mountain. I was bummed out. A three hour drive for nothing. I could have gone to Baker and gotten lots better stuff, etc., etc.

We started poking around on Emerald Chair on the Whistler side and began to come up with lots of great lines. Trees, weird angles, fairly steep stuff, you name it. Nobody was there. No lines. Great snow. We kept finding new ways down for half a day. Then we skied to the base. Wonderful soft, cold, deep snow the whole way down. We hunted out places I never knew anything about. I always used to pooh pooh the bottom of the mountain, but no more. It was great.

Yes, the snow can be crappy down there. It wasn't for at least two of the three days I've been there this year.
post #37 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by bwxmas View Post
I have another question..Is Whistler/bc family friendly as far as skiing..I would be taking my wife, and 8 yr old, and they ski mostly greens, and easy blues..It would not be cool if I took them, and the skiing was too hard for them..

Lee
I have been lucky enough to take my daughter (now 13 y.o.) to ski mountains throughout North America (including the SLC resorts, Snowmass and Summit County mountains, etc). We have had a damn good time at every place we have skied. But by far, our favorite is Whistler-Blackcomb: the variety of the terrain, the quality and professionalism of the ski instruction (for her), the friendliness of the ski groups that she has been able to join, and the views up in the alpine bowls are all hard to beat. We actually like the days when the skiing is mostly trails down through clouds and fog--maybe it's an acquired taste. :--)

We're off to Whistler next week for her spring vacation, and I am already checking out cheap condo rental deals for April 2008! (There is so much lodging at the base, it's possible to scout out some excellent deals from condo owners if you start looking 6-12 months in advance.)
post #38 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesdeluxe View Post
Besides the skiing, you get to stay in a real place instead of McIntrawestland -- I've already been to Tremblant, so I know what their faux villages are like (no thanks).
McIntrawestland... that's hilarious. I haven't heard that one before, but it's so true. Smoke and mirrors and no substance... nothing like a "real" ski town.
post #39 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by exracer View Post
McIntrawestland... that's hilarious. I haven't heard that one before, but it's so true. Smoke and mirrors and no substance... nothing like a "real" ski town.
If you're from Calgary, I'm guessing that would be Banff.

It's a real town, and a beauty. Possibly the nicest "tourist trap" I've seen.
post #40 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by exracer View Post
McIntrawestland... that's hilarious. I haven't heard that one before, but it's so true. Smoke and mirrors and no substance... nothing like a "real" ski town.
Me again...
Every resort that Intrawest has bought into existed to a degree with a real ski town before they came along.
Whistler/Blackcomb - 1987 (over 20 years after the ski town started)
Panorama - mid '90s (about 15 years after)
Copper Mtn. - mid '90s (decades after?)
Mt. Tremblant - late '90s (50 years after)
Collingwood - early '00s (20-30 years after?)


So you see, Intrawest simply added on to existing ski towns that still have some of the poorly insulated A-frame ski cabins with wood stoves and shag carpets.
They tend to snap up their property close to the lifts, so the glitzy newer places they've financed are in the forefront, with most of the original funky ski cabins hiding in the woods.
post #41 of 54
[quote=Beric in Whistler;684900]Me again...
Every resort that Intrawest has bought into existed to a degree with a real ski town before they came along.
Whistler/Blackcomb - 1987 (over 20 years after the ski town started)
Panorama - mid '90s (about 15 years after)
Copper Mtn. - mid '90s (decades after?)
Mt. Tremblant - late '90s (50 years after)
Collingwood - early '00s (20-30 years after?)


Good point. And Blue Mountain (Collingwood) is celebrating 65 years this year - so Intrawest came along a good 50-plus years after.
I've never understood the "ski town" distinction anyway - Intrawest or not, it's all local development that owes its existence to the ski industry.
post #42 of 54
Thread Starter 
Bob-Taylor,
Since you are going, I would appreciate knowing where you found to stay, and how you liked it..Give us a full report, and it would be appreciated..I am making plans in my head, but it would be nice to have places in mind to stay.

Lee
post #43 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by bwxmas View Post
Bob-Taylor,
Since you are going, I would appreciate knowing where you found to stay, and how you liked it..Give us a full report, and it would be appreciated..I am making plans in my head, but it would be nice to have places in mind to stay.

Lee
For lodging at Whistler, go to: www.alluradirect.com

This is a site of rentals directly from owners. If you book through Whistler's central reservations, you'll pay much more. Intrawest charges up to 40% "management fees" for listing your property on their system. End users pay this 40% mark-up.

Owners going through Allura Direct, VRBO, and other "owner" sites, avoid these hefty fees, as do the renters.

Unless it's a smoking deal, I never book through central reservations.

For April 6-8, we found a condo through Allura at Whistler Creekside for $80 per night - over a weekend (tough to find at Whistler). Last month, we found a condo for $75 per night, for a week.
post #44 of 54
I have been to WB at many times in all conditions (including the dry season of 2 years ago when it reminded me a bit of skiing in the East). This year (early March), we had snow, pouring rain one day, fog several days, etc. etc). If you want to go there it is just part of the deal.

The place is so vast that you will find something for everyone. They have a great kids' ski school if you want your child to go to class.

After skiing there is plenty to do in the village (faux European village, that is).

This time I stayed at Pan Pacific. It is a great hotel right at the base of
Whistler mountain, and if you want to ski Blackcomb, the gondola to BC is right in front of the hotel.

It used to be a better deal for the US folks --I first went when the exchange rate was around .70 USD/CDN. Now it is more like .90 USD/CDN, so much more like US rates.
post #45 of 54
Don't go.... Its bad, bad, bad, bad....Cause I am going April 2nd.
post #46 of 54
The snow can be wet...you may never see the sun...the lower half of the mountain may be slushy...and it's still the most awesome place I have ever been!

I have been to W/B twice...staying 8 days both times. It is just incredible. So much terrain...lots of nice people (the Canadians and Aussies are super nice) too. The last time I went, I used AlluraDirect. I had a great experience. We stayed at "Creekside" which is away from the Village, but has it's own gondola. You will find that prices are a bit cheaper there. Of course with the Olympics coming, I am sure prices are rising everywhere.

Go...go...go! I am jealous...I want to go back again soon.
post #47 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by bwxmas View Post
Bob-Taylor,
Since you are going, I would appreciate knowing where you found to stay, and how you liked it..Give us a full report, and it would be appreciated..I am making plans in my head, but it would be nice to have places in mind to stay.

Lee
Lee, PM sent to you about the condo I am renting next week. As others have already commented, Allura Direct is one of the best ways to find good condo deals in Whistler.

I have even used Priceline succcessfully for some last minute trips to Whistler when I have been in Vancouver on business. (Got Lost Lake Lodge in the Upper Village once, and Alpenglow in North Village another time.) I got the Priceline condos at a very good price...but there is much greater uncertainty in what property you are getting when you use the Priceline approach.

Good luck!
post #48 of 54
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the info,I really appreciate it, and will use it to my advantage when I go..As I said earlier, I would like to go Heliskiing when I am up there, and wanted to know the best time of year to go, with the safest conditions, and the best powder running..No steeps, just good long powder runs.

Lee
post #49 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by bwxmas View Post
As I said earlier, I would like to go Heliskiing when I am up there, and wanted to know the best time of year to go, with the safest conditions, and the best powder running..No steeps, just good long powder runs.

Lee
I didn't see anywhere above where you mentioned wanting to go Heliskiing, but now that you ask, I'd recommend Coast Range Heliskiing. They're based in Pemberton (15 minutes farther than the Whistler Heliport) - which gets you to the areas a little farther from the ocean, providing slightly drier snow and clearer weather. On the clear days, you can expect runs between 4000 and 5000 vertical feet. CRH starts at 9000 feet and goes down to as low as the 4000 foot elevation, depending upon snow conditions. You have to pick your days right, because in adverse weather, you may only get 2000 vert. per run (but it's still a blast all the same). The 4 passenger A-Star helicopters make for a more personalized experience too. Much nicer than going with up to 11 (like Whistler Heliskiing does).
As far as the best time of year is concerned; if you use this season as an example - there is no time better than another. Mid-December was fantastic, so was most of January and mid-February through March (in between all the storms). The avalanche conditions usually stabilize about 24 hours after a storm, and the layers consolidate nicely in the Coast Mountains of BC.
http://www.coastrangeheliskiing.com/PhotoOfDay.html
post #50 of 54

I've been to Whistler twice

I've skied Alta, Snowbird, Deer Valley, Park City, Canyons, Breckenridge, and Solitude. Not as many as a lot of you. But, I have to say hands down WB beats them all by a long shot! Only got one powder day at WB but you know what it doesn't matter. By far the most amazing village going! Two of the biggest most amazing mountains in north america. So much terrain it's impossible to see it all in a 3 week trip! The vast expanse of WB will humble you and make you feel small.
The first time I went it was during WB previous worst snow year( not 2 yrs ago) and the snow still rocked! Powder is great but it really isn't everything. Like a previous message read the snow sticks to everything making the skiing of super steep stuff more accessible than other places.
Another thing it can be raining somewhere and be a blizzard elsewhere on the mountain it's that huge!
post #51 of 54
I ski Whistler a lot. Great place, but in terms of favorite mountains, its not in my top three. The masses of people and pseudo village get me down a bit. As I age, the nightlife is not that important to me and IMO thats one of Whistlers strong points.

In terms of terrain, I think a lot of mountains are as good or better. Alta, Jackson, Taos, and Kicking Horse all have super terrain and I'll take the light snow over the sticky stuff any day! You don't need sticky snow to ski steep stuff, any fresh snow works great! The beauty of a place like Kicking Horse is that you can have fresh lines three days after a storm. At Whistler, sometimes its all gone by the morning!
post #52 of 54
Thread Starter 
Beric,
Sorry I posted that in another post..I still appreciate the info though, and will sure look into it.I agree I would rather be with 4 people, than with 11.

Thanks

Lee
post #53 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by seattle_sun View Post
You don't need sticky snow to ski steep stuff, any fresh snow works great!
Unfortunately fluffy interior snow doesn't stick to super rocky or steep slopes like it does at W/B... making the terrain in the interior a lot more rocky. In the rockies something like Spanky's Ladder would have a fraction of the coverage it does at W/B.
post #54 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beric in Whistler
What baffles me the most, is how people who come here can go the whole week without seeing the sun at all (especially this month), and still say they had a blast.
I can attest to that statement! I was there a few days after NY in '06 and I believe the sun peaked out from the clouds for about 1 hours in my week long stay. What I do remember was the incredible amount of powder that fell that week and how much fun I had blasting through it.

I friend of mine was instructing in Whistler/Blackcomb that drought year (04-05) and she was extremely jealous of the epic powder week I experienced in '06. It's just how the dice falls, I was in Europe in '89 and the Dolomites were experiencing their worst season on record. Still managed to have a very good time but you just can't pick it or expect perfect powder conditions every time you travel.
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