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Alta vs Whistler

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
All - A group of us (male, ages 40-50, level 6-9) have been doing an annual trip to SLC for the past 20 years. Being so well aged, we are quite set in our ways and have come to ski almost wholly in the same area, Catherine's up off the Supreme lift at Alta with maybe a sojourn to Devils Castle if we feel like we can time it for the drop of the rope. We generally go sometime between MLK Day and President's Day to avoid crowds but increase the odds of good base/snow. Lately, some of our group have been advocating the unthinkable: ditch Utah for Whistler. Any of you who have skied both have feelings one way or the other? Thanks for the input.

Sully

PS: As you can imagine, night life is irrelevant . . .
post #2 of 29
so many mountains, so little time....do both if you can swing it!
post #3 of 29
Not to put any sort of knock on Alta, but Whistler should be experienced--compared with LCC the snow is not as light, but the terrain is more varied, and the possibilities are endless. The 9s in your group will be humbled & the 6s will find plenty to ski. Buy the little guidebook. Realize that in a week it will be hard to see enough of the resort to even get a sense of how much you like it. And the village is more than nightlife--you sound like people who might like a good dinner, or a post dinner stroll for gear window shopping etc.
post #4 of 29
depends on what you're looking for. I like Alta better. I used to live in whistler. Whistler is a great town, lots of fun. Two huge mountains, but the bottom line is that you only ski the top couple thousand feet of vertical anyway. when you really start comparing the terrain, chute for chute, Alta has more of it. But Whistler does have some nice long blue runs for cruising, Alta, not so much. Just depends what you're looking for. There is utterly no comparison between Alta snow and Whistler snow, on that factor Alta wins hands down...at all times of the year, not just on pow days.
post #5 of 29
We hit Whistler for the 1st time this year and during our trip conditions were awesome...maybe we just timed it right but the snow seemed just as light as anything we get in CO. The terrain is awesome. You should give it a shot...be warned though, obtaining lodging was a bit of problem so start looking into it early.
post #6 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by jay_p View Post
maybe we just timed it right but the snow seemed just as light as anything we get in CO.
That is very unusual.
post #7 of 29
I live in Utah and have been to Whistler/Blackcomb 3 times. I agree that Whistler should be experienced--great place. I would definitely give it a shot at some point. Whistler/Blackcomb clearly has better and more extensive cruising terrain while the advanced/expert alpine terrain is similar. Alta/Snowbird clearly has better and more consistent snow conditions. Weather is much more of a wild card at Whistler and you will probably lose at least a day or so of skiing (as compared to Alta) trying to get there.
post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by SB77 View Post
I live in Utah and have been to Whistler/Blackcomb 3 times. I agree that Whistler should be experienced--great place. I would definitely give it a shot at some point. Whistler/Blackcomb clearly has better and more extensive cruising terrain while the advanced/expert alpine terrain is similar. Alta/Snowbird clearly has better and more consistent snow conditions. Weather is much more of a wild card at Whistler and you will probably lose at least a day or so of skiing (as compared to Alta) trying to get there.
I have never been to whistler but from everyone who has skied both says whistlers has some of the sickest in bound terrain anywhere. whistler is allways in every ski movie but its rare you ever see inbounds at alta/bird. I would try whistler for next year. If you dont like it better than alta, then come back to LCC and spend a day at the bird where the terrain is MUCHO better than alta. Without having to traverse / hike ski long run outs. I could even be your guide....
post #9 of 29
you should go to every resort atleast once in your life! Whistler/Blackcomb should certainly be on everyones must ski list.
post #10 of 29
what he says ^
post #11 of 29

what they say^

do it.

change things up.

great mountains. ain't like you'll be slumming.
post #12 of 29
To all those who say Whistler has the same terrain as Alta you must be joking and pulling sullywhacker`s leg. Say please what area/trail/bowl in Alta can be compared to the Gemstone Bowls?! Don`t forget about Chainsaw ridge and Flute bowl and Whistler bowl and so much more. If I have to compare a resort in Utah to W/B I would definitely go with the Bird, but even this grat mountain looks somewhat tiny!
post #13 of 29
I've been to both, and Whistler several times. You cannot compare the two. Whistler hands down! If all you care about is powder go Utah. Whistler gets a ton of snow, not as much a Alta and SB but in every other way whistler kills any and all Utah mountains.
post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by borntoski683 View Post
That is very unusual.
This is the quality of snow we saw quite often in the Whistler area this past season...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ubUXLv-6iw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gq6U2RGw-sg
post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by sullywhacker View Post
All - A group of us (male, ages 40-50, level 6-9) have been doing an annual trip to SLC for the past 20 years. Being so well aged, we are quite set in our ways
I'm afraid you may be disappointed.

"Well-aged" males who're "qutie set in their ways" may not enjoy Whistler as much as the younger and more "open" gang.

To start with, the night life is wild there. Actually, I should say apre-ski instead, because the "life" actually starts 3pm! (well before "night" fall)

I heard quite a fee people commented on Alta skiers (not all, of course) in comparison to Snowbird skiers as a group. "Snowbird has more better skiers while Alta has more layback skiers, some of whom are also quite good".

Well, your 9's might get so "humbled" by Whistler they'll hate it, because they realize they're only 7's!

Those are just a couple of the things that stick out. It may not apply but do keep them in mind.
post #16 of 29
I'm biased... The more I ski other resorts, the more I realize how awesome whistler is. It's really got it all whether you're looking for cruisers to the steeps & so much of it you'll never exhaust the possibilities. The wet west coast snow makes for a base that sticks to the steepest slopes which normally would not have coverage at other resorts. This makes for some of the most challenging terrain you'll find anywhere. And yeah.... be prepared to be humbled. I can ski most of the most difficult lines at other resorts. But here are so many inbounds lines at whistler that I've yet to tackle because the terrain is beyond my comfort/skill level.
post #17 of 29
Whistler is the nearest to a Euro resort (both good and bad) in North America.
post #18 of 29
Do you Americans know what an euro resort is?
I think most of you don`t.
I have been to so many european resorts, cuz they are the nearest big mountains to where I live (Moscow). I know you all think that a european mountain is a huge freerider`s paradise, like heliskiing but better and lift served. Lets`put it quite clear you won`t find any real freeride at most euro resorts most of time. The reason for that is the ridiculous lack of snow and this situation happens from year to year. :
If we speak about Whistler that`s another story, the same great terrain as the one at euro resorts, but tons of snow. You won`t find such a great snow anywhere in Europe, even though most of you consider it wetty and crappy compared for example to utahn snow. Never been to Utah so I only have to imagine how fabulous this fluffy stuff is over there.
So when you want to say that a mountain is really good and has super-duper skiing and you say it`s euro like resort, well it sounds just lots of laugh.
post #19 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by apeyros View Post
Do you Americans know what an euro resort is?
I think most of you don`t.
...
So when you want to say that a mountain is really good and has super-duper skiing and you say it`s euro like resort, well it sounds just lots of laugh.
As I said, Whistler is the nearest thing to a Euro resort in North America.
It has lift lines.
It has apres ski.
It has Aussies working the bars
It has bigger terrain than anywhere else in NA.

Trust me, it is the nearest thing. (I work in France)
post #20 of 29
Quote:
As I said, Whistler is the nearest thing to a Euro resort in North America.
It has lift lines.
It has apres ski.
It has Aussies working the bars
It has bigger terrain than anywhere else in NA.
Ah so, than you are absolutely right.
post #21 of 29
Chairs -
Supreme  
Sugarloaf
Gad 2
Little Cloud
Peruvian Express
Mt. Baldy
Mineral Basin
Wildcat

vs. Whistler / Blackcomb?
post #22 of 29
If you only ski catherines area and devils castel thats all pretty mellow terrain. If you want to be challenged there is alot more duanding stuff just 1 ridge over under the supreme lift or over at snowbird. You don't need to go to whistler to find more gnar runs than that.
post #23 of 29
 I was just wondering if Whistler had comparable terrain. I could lap those chairs forever I think, and I love how easy the difficult stuff is to find in LCC / BCC.

I wouldn't want to book a trip to Whistler and get there to find the terrain is like Park City Mountain if you get what I am saying.
post #24 of 29
You are absolutely correct, Ryan, Whistler has no steeps whatsoever.  The mountains are completely flat.  You are much better off in Utah, please tell all your friends.
post #25 of 29
Well I hit Whistler for the first time this past weekend and I hit Alta in February,.....Whistler/Blackcomb, hands down, beat Alta for me in every way.  The snow on April 9th was the nicest I've skied all year. Utah lacked this year and what fresh we did have was not the light fluffy stuff I'm used to in BC's interior, it was heavy, didn't blow away off the skis (sat 4 to 5 inches deep on the skis when lifted out of it, in Utah).  Whistler's snow this weekend was beautiful and easily blew off the skis. Yes, it was exceptional conditions and Utah was not up to it's standard, so snow conditions can't be counted on anywhere.

Terrain was far more available, varied and accessible at Whistler/Blackcomb then Alta.  The Blackcomb Glacier was awesome and the steep stuff of Spanky's ladder didn't look like it could be beat anywhere for your guys that love steep.  The intermediate access to bowls and amount of open terrain in the Seventh Heaven area was surreal.  I've never seen so much available,lift served open bowl terrain for intermediates.  I left after three full days of skiing wanting to book 2 weeks next year, knowing that even if I spend two weeks of solid skiing there next year with out a break, I'll have no need to ski the same run twice.  

I've avoided Whistler and it's crowds for years now...Time to find a quieter time and go enjoy the terrain.  I loved it. Staff did tell me to go before MLK weekend and after Christmas to get the quietest times.
post #26 of 29
 Variety is the spice of life.  

If you can swing the extra travel time and the cost/hassle of the border crossing then check out Whistler.  There is more than enough terrain to keep you busy and who doesn't want to explore new runs.  It is a beautiful place (7th Heaven is amazingly spectacular).

As for crowds, I went a few years back between Christmas and New Year's and despite there being a tremendous amount of fresh snow, we hardly ever saw lines once we got up the mountain.  Just like most places, if you avoid coming down to the base you won't have to worry about crowds (and for the most part the lift system allows you to avoid the base).

There is also plenty of lodging that is close but not in the "wild and crazy" village.  There was a group of 8 us who rented a house that was about a 10 minute walk to the Blackcomb Gondola (or very short bus ride).  With a place like that you can avoid the village all together.
post #27 of 29
I am not too concerned with lift lines since it seems almost any resort on any predictably busy weekend will have lines at one point in time. You all know how it is obviously, lines at the bottom, but after mid-mountain things clear up.

Some of you can tell my source of contention here, accessibility to the goods. One positive is when I get to Whistler I won't have to wait in line at the entrance of LCC / BCC on Wasatch Blvd, or parking my 2wd rental vehicle at the park & ride on a 4x4 only day.
post #28 of 29
I have never skied Whistler, but I did hear from a snow patroller in Snowbird that had just gone to Whistler that he was humbled by the mountain.  He said he thought he could handle everything being a snow patroller at the mighty 'Bird, but he found himself "initmidated" by Whistler.

If that gets you excited..GO! 
If it has you a little leary.....DONT!
post #29 of 29
I've skied whistler and utah many times. Agree with above. If you've never been to whistler, it should be experienced. massive terrain and huge vertical. However, you may or may not be able to actually experience it depending on the weather. Rain, upper mt closures due to snow/wind etc. Lower mt. funky due to slush/rain, etc. Clouds greatly limiting visibility anywhere. However, if you catch it right or can be there long enough to make sure you don't get skunked, it can be wonderful. Massive terrain and scenery. Huge open bowls. However, I've never seen the snow quality be as good as it is in utah on a good powder day.Personally, if you've never gone, I would go. That being said, I like utah better for combo of snow, visibility and weather. but I've been to whistler probably a dozen times if that says anything.     
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