Advice on Whistler
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powdertotheppl
January 31, 2007
Member since 11/16/2006 🔗
3 posts
Hi all,
I am trying to plan a trip to Whistler/Blackomb the first week of April. Myself and a friend will fly to Vancouver, where another 2 will meet us (they will drive up from Portland). None of us have ever been to BC, so any advice on where to stay, what to do, etc. from a vet would be much appreciated. Also, how is the snow usually around that time of year? Thanks in advance!
Roy
February 1, 2007
Member since 01/11/2000 🔗
609 posts
I've been to Whistler twice. The first time was in April so here is my experience. I also wrote an article talking about Whistler (and other resorts) so maybe it will help. Whistler

The first time I went, it was during the Telus Ski and Snowboard Festival. I didn't plan on going during that festival it just so happened I was there. If you're going at the same time, you'll have lots of options for partying, special events, etc.

Usually in April you can find some great deals to stay in Whistler village. We got a 1 bedroom loft in the village for two nights. It was about $300 (3 people) and we got 3 2-day lift tickets also. Check the Whistler website for deals. If you can't find anything affordable, try vrbo.com for rentals.

Typically after March, they close Blackcomb mountain (which sucks as I think it is the better of the two). They prepare it for their summer skiing which starts in May I believe (and then they shut down Whistler Mountain).

The top of Whistler will have great skiing. Wide-open bowls and steeps along with blue cruisers. Watch the shade early in the morning as it will be all ice. Once the sun hits it, those runs will soften up very nicely.

The middle part of the mountain will be hit or miss. If it is open, it will be like spring conditions (except for the shady parts) around here.

More than likely you will not be able to ski the bottom of the mountain. In fact, it's tought to do that in February as it can be slushy even then.

On my April trip, it was high's of 60's and lows of 40's at the bottom of the mountain around the village. It was high's of 30's and low's of 20's at the top.

Don't be discouraged by the temps at the bottom of the mountain when you get there. Once you go up 5000 vertical feet, things change a lot. When I went in February, it rained everyday at the bottom of the mountain. It snowed everyday at the top (depending on which side of the mountain you were on).

Once you get there, you do not need (or want) a car. In the middle of Whistler village, you'll find the grocery store, liquor store, and drug store. So you'll have all the necessity's available to you. Restaurants, bars, shops, etc. all over the place. This is the jewel in Intrawest's stable.

Have fun!
dcmidnight
February 1, 2007
Member since 11/11/2006 🔗
125 posts
I'll be going back in March for my 5th trip now and it gets better every time.

Great advice on not watching the weather at the bottom of the hill. In fact I've had some of my best skiing days there when its pouring rain at the bottom. 99% of the people that go there think, oh crap we'll stay home today. In reality 3 lifts later you are 5280 feet above the weather and its sunny and gorgeous in the back bowls.

There are so many options on where to stay its absurd. Really depends on you budget and what kind of place do you want, do you want to be crowded into a couple of rooms, do you mind shuttling to the lifts etc. I've stayed in several kinds of properties and they all have their pluses and minuses.

As far as what to do - JUST HAVE FUN. IMHO you will never find another resort with the size and variety of runs and lifts so take advantage of it. But also take advantage of the bars and restaurants Whistler has to offer. With the PacRim chefs and stuff right there, Whistler has some of the best restaurants I've been to around the world - Araxi and Bearfoot Bistro are our two favorites. But there are also a bunch of great "hole in the wall" type bars and breakfast places. Too many to mention but I'd be happy to provide more info if you want.

As far as the care goes, I've done it a lot of differnt ways. When the dollar was .6 vs the Canadian dollar we used to take limos or sedans as it was so cheap. Now that its at .9 and everything is 50% more expensive than it was before, we tend to rent a Jeep because of the price. Some hotels will offer free valet parking or there may be a parking lot if you rent a private condo/house. I believe Alamo is the only car company right on site at the airport the others will require a shuttle - but dont quote me on that.

I'd be happy to provide the name of the local travel company we use in Whistler but wont post it here as I dont know the rules on that kind of thing. I've used these guys for the last 10 years and they will provide you with great service and really get you into any accomodation you want from low to high end. Just a couple great guys to deal with. Drop me a line if you are interested - email is my username at hotmail dot com.
canaanman
February 2, 2007
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
358 posts
Just a point to note, if you're with any snowboarders at all, head to Blackcomb. It's got a much, much better lift layout than Whistler (there's a lot of frustration and hiking to be done by everyone.. it's just easier on skis).

As far as riding on Blackcomb goes, definatly explore the Glacier, though I'm forbidden to give you the exact route into one of the most pristine bowls down from Spanky's Ladder (then again, it involves a narrow chute with a cliff at the bottom). Definately ride the upper mountain on blackcomb and don't forget about awesome glades on skiers right of crystal ridge... you can find freshies for days in there.
JimK - DCSki Columnist
February 2, 2007
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,723 posts
I think I heard that because of some major repairs to lifts and buildings they are going to do it different and close Whistler early this year and keep Blackcomb open late, but I might be wrong on that. Never been to W/B. You are picking one of their greatest years ever for snow!
dcmidnight
February 2, 2007
Member since 11/11/2006 🔗
125 posts
Just made a quick call and there are no plans to close Whistler early - and certainly not after 32 feet of snow.

Maybe you heard about one of the new chairs that was being built (and opened) to allow access to some of the back bowls?
JimK - DCSki Columnist
February 2, 2007
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,723 posts
I probably don't know what I'm talking about. This is what I heard:
They're keeping Blackcomb open in May this year instead of Whistler, due to an overdue upgrade on the Whistler Village Gondola at that time.
dcmidnight
February 2, 2007
Member since 11/11/2006 🔗
125 posts
Interesting. Possible they changed their minds after all this snow - also possible it is I that have no idea what I'm talking about.
Leo
February 2, 2007
Member since 11/15/2005 🔗
279 posts
I skied at Whistler in 1998 and loved it...went back this summer for my honeymoon. You will undoubtedly love the place. Only thing I would add is that its probably going to take you longer than it should to get from Vancouver to Whistler due to the pre-Olympic construction projects. I don't know when they would be going full tilt again in the spring, but last summer there were times when you would be at a deadstop for blasting on the Sea to Sky Highway for pretty long periods of time.

Incidentally, when we somehow came up with the idea of going there for a summer honeymoon, I read somewhere about people who have stayed in the area after a visit, "come for the winters, stay for the summers." Completely true. If you've never been in the summer, definitely worth considering. Top notch hiking, mt biking, rafting, fishing, food, night life, etc etc etc.

Have a blast, you'll love it!
Roy
February 3, 2007
Member since 01/11/2000 🔗
609 posts
Leo are they widening the road for the Olympics?
Leo
February 5, 2007
Member since 11/15/2005 🔗
279 posts
Yes, they are. There are a lot of places where the Sea to Sky Highway goes down to 2 total lanes. I think they are trying to widen as many of those as possible for the Olympics.

As unwelcome as "progress" some times can be, being there this summer to see the work in progress was impressive. The amount of blasting and the logistics of the project are unfathomable.
Roy
February 6, 2007
Member since 01/11/2000 🔗
609 posts
Progress can suck sometimes. I just hope the design leaves great views from both sides of the road.
Mook
February 6, 2007
Member since 10/24/2005 🔗
19 posts
I have been to Whistler every year for the past 8 (over 35 days on the mountain)and it is my favorite place on Earth!I consider it my "home" mountain... I'll let you in on a few tips.
Lodging: If you are there to ski/ride and want a great value, stay at "Whistler Resort and Club" in the Creekside base area. It ain't posh, but is a good place to stay with incredibly friendly owners. It has studios, 1BR and 2BR suites. It also has a huge jacuzzi. It is across from the Creekside gondola, across the hwy from the base area...5 min walk. 2br suites at around $200 per night.
The skiing / riding: Start left (facing the mountain) and move right throughout the day. First run MUST be the saddle off peak chair before it gets chopped up. Great warm up. Then head to Harmony and Symphony bowls. If there has been snow, ride the ridges and drop down almost anywhere into the bowls. Soft landings. Also, get into the trees if its been a while since the last snow. Last run of the day: Frankie's. It is unreal how much fun that run is.As you can see, I perfer Whistler and know it better...and I am a snowboarder (did ski for 15 years though...so that affects my riding style. In general, Whistler has more flowing runs with less intersections. Its also an easier lift system...2 lifts to the top. Blackcomb has more intersecting runs and has a more difficult lift system: 3-4 lifts to the top. Blackcomb can be more technical and is usually perferred by boarders. I just love the open bowls on Whistler.
Food: Southside deli at Creekside for breakfast is a must. Lots of history in that place.

Have fun!
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