Thinking about Whistler
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Scott - DCSki Editor
December 30, 2007
Member since 10/10/1999 🔗
1,143 posts
I'm thinking of heading to Whistler some time this winter for a ski trip. I've never been to Whistler/Blackcomb before. Logistically, does anyone have recommendations on the best way to get there, preferably flying out of BWI? Not sure which airline is best. Once in Vancouver, is it best to take a bus to Whistler? Would you recommend spending the first night in Vancouver? I would lean towards spending the last night in Vancouver to catch a morning plane back home, and head to Whistler the first night. Would three days of skiing be good or is that too short of a trip?

Oh, umm.. How's the skiing? Is mid-January an OK time to go?
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
December 30, 2007
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,938 posts
Scott:

Never skied Whistler but there are two factors that make Canada a bad option:

1. The record high Canadian dollar.

2. Higher air fares in Canada. I have a colleague who regularly commutes to Toronto and he often flies Jet Blue to Buffalo to avoid the fees and taxes involved in crossing an international border by plane. It's often twice as expensive to fly to Toronto from DC than Buffalo. One option for you might be to fly to Seattle, rent a car in the US (in American dollars), and drive to Whistler. Google maps says it is about 220 miles.
The Colonel - DCSki Supporter
December 30, 2007
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
3,107 posts
Scott,
I have been to Whistler just once. I flew to Seatle and rented a car to drive to Whistler. By the way, what a beautiful drive after you leave Vancouver. I skied in early May, so the snow was sparse near the bottom, but after taking two chairs (2000 vertical feet) there was plenty of snow and about 3,500 vertical feet of skiing. I believe Whistler has been pounded with snow this year. Wonderful village(s), lots to do on and off the slopes. Three days is a bit short to do, see, ski everything.
Whistler not real high as western ski mountains go so underdeveloped snow is always a possibility near the base. Yes, JohnL is right, the Canadian dollar is no longer a bargain, but I suspect if you wait to go the prices at Whistler will only increase as it gets closer to the 2010 Olympics.
Enjoy, check the snow on their website, and expect to have a rushed by wonderful time.
The Colonel
Scott - DCSki Editor
December 30, 2007
Member since 10/10/1999 🔗
1,143 posts
One thing that I noticed is that the lodging costs seem to be quite reasonable, even accounting for the weak dollar. This may be because there's more supply of beds than demand right now (which certainly won't be the case when 2010 rolls around, but will probably again be the case after the Olympics.) For example, there's a Four Seasons at Whistler that is rated as one of the best hotels in the world, and you can get a room there for around $300 US a night even at the height of the ski season. Hotels near that caliber in the U.S. run at least 2-3 times that!

But the airfare does look more expensive, unless I can find a good deal. I have to give some bonus points to Whistler since it continuously gets rated as the #1 or #2 resort in North America -- I've always wanted to go there and see why. I've heard the road from Vancouver can be bad in the winter, and it doesn't sound like there's much need for a car once you get to Whistler, so I'm not sure I would want to get a rental car. My last trip to Colorado I did rent a car (it was more economical than a shuttle as I was going with friends), and it got a flat tire just as we entered the mountains. It was cold and snowing and a bit miserable until we got back on the road, and made me not want to get a rental car in the snow again.

Since I only make it out west every two or three years, I don't mind spending a bit more if the experience is worth it. I get in the habit of constantly going to the same place, such as Vail, as I know it's a guranteed good trip. But it would be nice to branch out.
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lbotta - DCSki Supporter
December 30, 2007
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,527 posts
Hey Scott, as you may know, I've been at Whistler/Blackcomb for the last five years in a row. This year, I'm begging off on account of diversity and the fact that I need my Yankee fix in Vermont. And I'll also get my Canada fix at Mt Tremblant.

January is a great time to get to Whistler. At least for the last four years and this year has been spectacular. They have had over 10 feet of snow at the base so far this year. The weather pattern that has got us a mediocre season so far in the East has treated them like snowbunnies. And it shows no signs of letting go.

My first year, it stunk at the base. The rest of the years have been a godsend snow wise. The good thing about WB is that there are three distinct levels, given its 5,300 vertical. Yes, you can indeed go all 5,300 feet on the Peak to Creek trail, you do it three times and you're done for the day. The first level, basically the first 1,500 feet, is green and intermediate. The bad year I witnessed, you could have played golf there. The second level, there was Eastern-type snow. Runs are intermediate and tree-glade expert. Then the glacier level was just... well, like glaciers. If the snow Gods have allowed it, right under the Blackcomb Chair you may be able to enter an ice cave that is tens of thousands of years old. Pretty awesome. The bowls are immense.

As far as the dollar, it won't be as much a bargain as in previous years, but you're guaranteed fun. WB is so freakin' large that it has developed a large budget economy, with locals, ski bums, foreigners and what else in budget accommodations and eating at inexpensive places. The overbuilding on account of the Olympics has created an early glut of accommodations, so they are also reasonable. Of course, you can blow 1,000 a day for a room at the Fairmont and 500 a plate in Araxis, but you can also pay 2 bucks for an Indian wrap. The sports bars are the rage there and the folks are super friendly. Garibaldi's at Whistler, Merlin's and Monk's at Blackcomb, and Dusty's at Creekside, they're worth the people you will meet. If you want a bit more classy, Dublin's (spelled a weird way) right near the Whistler bus stop will give you a more yuppie clientele.

The bus system is awesome and goes everywhere. ABSOLUTELY NO NEED for a car once you are there. Within the three villages, it is free. Once you get into the town itself, it is a bit more than a dollar.

If you're on the budget, Creekside gives you not only better prices, more reasonable accommodations, but also great food. The best restaurant deal for the price in the entire resort is there, Rim Rock. IMHO, it is a better experience than Araxis, for a fourth of the price.

Plane wise I've done both. Vancouver is a great place with a friendly and ergonomic airport. If you can get there and spend a day, it is an incredible city. Clean like nothing in the US. Progressive, friendly, liberal. There are several Whistler buses of different prices. I took Perimeter, a bit costly but very convenient. The good thing about the return trip is that you clear US Customs and Immigration in Vancouver, so you arrive and don't have to do the bag drag with the surly ICE folks stateside.

Going the road trip way, I've done both Portland and Seattle. I have family in Portland/Salem OR and great friends in Seattle, so did both in different years. Depends on how much you want to drive and if the ticket savings make it worthwhile. Seattle is a great place, also a super urban center, and the technique is to go accross the border early in the AM before the frantic weekend traffic creates hours-long tie ups on the border. By the way, on this land route, Canadian customs officials compete very successfully with their US counterparts in the rudeness category. I think either we gave them lessons or they want to get back at us. As far as the road conditions on the Sea to Sky Highway, my last day there last year, we were leaving from Vancouver and there was an avalanche and rock slide that closed the road that evening. They had it open within six hours. When we went by, it was a one-laner and it was obvious that they were working their rear ends off. Too many tourists and too much an economic impact for the road to be ill-maintained.

All in all, if you're interested in the experience and sights, go the Seattle/Vancouver route and stay in Vancouver for a day. You'll love the town. Spectacularly beautiful too. And a ski town in its own right with several resorts within city limits, although with a heavy dose of construction and dust in preparation for the Olympics.

Once at Whistler, the sky is the limit. Skiing measured in square miles, instead of trails. People from all over the world. Reasonable and outstanding ski lodge food. No dog poop on a soggy roll like in US resorts.

One more tidbit: If you take the bus to Whistler, make sure you're on the window on the left side on the way up and on the right side on the way back. Leaving Vancouver, you go up a fjord (Howe Sound?) for about 40 miles until Squamish and the views are beyond outstanding. At Squamish there is the Whistler Outlet Store with deals galore (there is a smaller one at the non-commercial end of Whistler Village where the locals go, but it doesn't have a third of the stuff that the Squamish store has).

Oh yes, one last last... I had all my tickets bought beforehand as my homeowner status at Snowshoe gave me 50% off lift tickets at Whistler. But my friends from Seattle stopped at the 7-11 at Squamish and got incredibly discounted prices on the lift tickets. I think you can get them in any 7-11 in Vancouver but Squamish is the last place to get them.

Enjoy
fishnski
December 30, 2007
Member since 03/27/2005 🔗
3,530 posts
You must like Snowshoe for the summer coolness & the Mountain Biking or something...I Don't understand why a man of your means wastes their time at SS during winter!???!....BOMB SHELTER?..
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
December 30, 2007
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,527 posts
Thanks for the comments, Fish... You'd be surprised. My tastes vary greatly. I like Snowshoe because:

1. Like you said... The reality is that we live in an unfriendly world. Snowshoe is my evacuation destination in case something happens. I have the place wired better than my office. Fax, turtle conference phone, etc. etc.

2. I have an 11-year old Black Lab who is my kid. I bought the condo at SS because of him. I couldn't take him along if I had to travel.

3. I love to invite my friends and colleagues up there in both winter and summer. Friends are the salt of life and I'm proud to be able to host them.

4. I have my family from Miami and Nashville, as well as Connecticut, come over every year. Ever since we were kids and were forced to leave the country of my birth due to the political upheaval there, we had not got together because our family dispersed all over the US. Now we get together every year.

5. I have my condo with a HUGE owner's closet, an owner's pantry and my own little work room where I can have my own stuff. I leave DC with the clothes on my back, my dog, his favorite squeaky toy, and get to Snowshoe where I have everything from ski outfits to all the non-perishables.

6. I plan to retire in Stowe or Burlington, Vermont in a few years, or perhaps Compton NH or Tanglewood, Massachusetts. New England values and politics are close to mine. The real estate at Snowshoe has done quite well and that will likely be my trade-in for my retirement home in New England.

7. I am really, really high-energy. I can do a vigorous 10-mile hike or sometimes I can veg out. But I won't drive my friends nuts...

8. When I leave the 100-degree weather in DC in July, and get to Snowshoe and it is 72 degrees, I am glad I bought a place there.
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
December 30, 2007
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,527 posts
Please note this site: http://www.bctransit.com/regions/whi/
it is the mass transit site for Whistler, schedules, fares, etc. I'll go back in my computer and pull out some other URLs for my stays there.
fishnski
December 30, 2007
Member since 03/27/2005 🔗
3,530 posts
Good points My Man...Can I stop over for some Lattee(???) smart move on the NE thang...Winter is more interesting there!
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
December 30, 2007
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,527 posts
My Espresso machine is always on for friends. Latte or Cappuccino or even straight espresso.
fishnski
December 31, 2007
Member since 03/27/2005 🔗
3,530 posts
As far as moving operations up to NE Mr Ibotta..I Have always felt that New Hampshire would be the place...The biggest & most scenic Mtns on the east coast + many ski areas to choose from...A hop skip & a skate to both the Vermont areas & the Maine areas.. B-u-tiful lakes & You could hop on down to the coast for a taste of that salt air & a fresh Lobster!....Would be hard for me though because of my love of Canaan Vly & my digs down here in coastal NC..the perfect setup!....If down the road you somehow end up in NH I will take you up on one of those latte's!.....Now back to reality..one more day here in FL till I go back to that Arctic Blast..UGGG Or YEHHHH...confused...I think I'll catch a few Whiting in the surf today for a fish fry tonite & think about it!
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
December 31, 2007
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,527 posts
I am soooo torn between New Hampshire and Vermont. Makes me think of the poem by our Poet Laureate, Robert Frost...

Well, if I have to choose one or the other,
I choose to be a plain New Hampshire farmer
With an income in cash of, say, a thousand
(From, say, a publisher in New York City).
It's restful to arrive at a decision,
And restful just to think about New Hampshire.
At present I am living in Vermont.

My College roommate was from Ripton, Vermont, next to East Middlebury, and took me to the place where Frost was inspired to write "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening". I am captivated my New England, having gone to school there. But another one of my great friend's parents had an inn in Redstone, now absorbed into the shopping sprawl of Conway.

Vermont has a body politic with values that are the same as mine and I consider it about the best place to live on the planet, although New Hampshire is catching up fast. But you're right, the mountains in NH are much more beckoning. About six years ago, I worked in the Boston area for about 5 months and got to join a group of hikers who would literally do three of the Presidentials on a day's hike. These guys were monsters... the next year they went up the Aconcagua. Some of them had second homes in Compton, next to Waterville Valley, and a stone's throw from the Kankamangus Highway. The scenery in the place is spell binding. And yes, next to Maine and lobstah country... And much closer to the only above-tree-line skiing in the East.

It will be a difficult decision...
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
December 31, 2007
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,527 posts
Scott, have you decided?
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
December 31, 2007
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,527 posts
Scott, another addendum from my reply to you. Check http://www.piquenewsmagazine.com/pique/index.php This is the weekly at Whistler and surrounding communities. Lots of stuff, good deals, local entertainment, etc. By the way, they have an awesome community center on the local village, bus accessible, with a huge gym and olympic pool.
hockeydave
December 31, 2007
Member since 06/30/2004 🔗
772 posts
Go. You won't be disappointed. Been there once for skiing and once in the late summer. Departing next Tuesday for 5 days in Whistler and 2 days in Vancouver. The dollar v. loonie stinks right now, but the views along the 80 mile Sea to Sky Highway from Vancouver to Whistler alone will make you forget about that. The views are truly breathtaking. And the views from atop Whistler or Blackcomb are just as much so. If your into nightlife, the Village is hoppin'. The food is great, anywhere from a lower end spaghetti restaurant to a $300 a plate meal. Oh, by the way, the skiing is pretty darn good too (I think they've got a 6 or 7 foot base already). There is a bus company called Perimeter "http://www.perimeterbus.com/" that makes 6 or 7 runs daily to Whistler from Vancouver Airport (a couple of them makes stops in downtown Vancouver; the city is so beautiful, you won't mind).

Bumps
December 31, 2007
Member since 12/29/2004 🔗
538 posts

Scott,
Came across the below post on a UK snowboarding site http://www.snowboardclub.co.uk/PNphpBB2-viewtopic-t-20979-postdays-0-postorder-asc-start-660.html while looking at tree well information. Hopefully helpful.
Best,
Wendell

JohnnyBelfast
Post subject: Posted: Sep 21, 2007 - 12:22 PM




Joined: Aug 10, 2007
Posts: 104


I wrote this a couple years ago for some friends, thought i would post it here if anyone is interested. Its not a full list by any means, just some things that came to my head. Sorry for the massive post.


Useful Things To Know.

Take a laptop, internet cafes are hell expensive.
Buy "Whistler and Blackcomb Advanced/Expert Guide book" small palm sized book available in most outdoor shops and the grocery store. Incredibly useful for those secret runs and lots of advise
Before you go up check the webcams and call snowphone 604.932.4211 (if it's the same number) weather could be totally different on the mountain. It could be raining in the village and bluebird above
If its cloudy don't let it put you off, just head for the trees. Trees are infact magic and disperse the cloud, plus you are not travelling as fast. Many powder turn people miss out on because of overcast days.
If the village gondola queue is big, upload on Fitz and Garbo chair, which manage to miss all the tourist queues.
On a big pow day there is nothing wrong with waiting at Peak chair for 2 hours, to be on the first few chairs up. It could well be the best run of your season.
From personal experience only ride Lower Peak to Creek if it is a pow day or has been recently groomed. 5km is one hell of a long mogul run, and you will be crying at the bottom.
Tie a whistle onto your jacket, and ride the trees with others, tree wells can be deep and near impossible to get out of.
Wax your board often, every few hardcore days riding, or about every week as a rule. It makes such a difference and looks after your base.
Carry ID and insurance papers at all times on the mountain.
Ride a good bit with people better than you, it improves your riding immensely. Get out of your comfort zone be it on the steepest thing you have done, fastest speed, or biggest kicker.
Slap hands and say hi to everyone you meet, its all about knowing. Get to know bartenders and bouncers, you can get all kinds of privileges from no queue, no cover charge, to free drinks. Make sure you tip!! At least 10% on drinks and a bit more for food if the service was good. If you don't tip you wont get anywhere, bartenders might even ignore you and serve everyone else first.
Don't forget the tax on all goods. Its about 15% you need to add on to everything you buy, ie something in the shop marked at $5 will actually be nearly $6.50 when you get to the till. Only the liquor stores have the tax included in the price.

Places you must go - Food and Drink

Wildwood for breakfast, before riding or when hungover. The classic breakfast is awesome, but for the more hungry try the Olympic with banana bread French toast. Found at the racket club at the far end of the village. Price: $9 classic and coffee ($11 Olympic + coffee)
Splitz Grill, best burgers ever! You pick what goes in like subway. Order a Splitz combo 1 first, burger fries and drink. Try some splitz sauce. Found on Main street opposite 7/11. Price: $10 Combo 1 with cheese
Merlins at Blackcomb base just to order nachos. Bring about 6 people to help eat them all. Price: $17 for a small mountain of nachos, $12 jugs.
21 Steps - in the loft, up the 21 steps to the restaurant then up the next flight to a chilled out lounge. Never too busy and cool for a couple quiet drinks. Located on the village stroll. Price: $5.50 pint
Cinnamon Bear - found downstairs in the Hilton. Actually a super chilled out bar with a good few Yo-boys and then poshies from the hotel. Also has a kick ass entertainment system, like games and things, pool and TVs and free nibbles. Price: $6 beer
Brandys, woot woot!! Go for a Beef dip (big garlic baguette with shaved prime rib steak sautéed mushrooms and onions and swiss cheese with a dipping au jus) and ice cold pint of Keiths (don't order Canadian) Awesome deal. Some of the cheapest quality pints in town. Price: $12 Beef dip and beer, $4.50 pints
Garfs to dance the night away, and drink jager till you cant remember.
The Pie Shop properly called "4 and 20 Pies" has some awesome pies for that 2am snack. Found by the conference centre beside subway. Price: $3.80 for a pie
Cittas patio (pronounced chee-tas) Best people watching and drinking spot full stop. You cant miss it. Price: $6 pint
Moguls café - great smoothies for when the alcohol starts getting all too much. Kick ass breakfast bagels and wraps. Good to site outside and watch the world go by. Found opposite Cittas. Price: $5 smoothie, $4.50 bagels




Places you must go - On the Mountain
Flute bowl - Absolute must. Any pow day get some awesome well earned turns in a quiet area. Can hold powder patches for 3 or so days after a big dump.
Spankys ladder - Again another pow day must, climb the bottle neck of the ladder (steps in the snow and rock, don't fall or drop your board) to be rewarded with several massive bowls of perfect riding. Double black is the easiest way down from the ladder.
Couloir - On Whistler mountain, a classic couloir, get it on a pow day and its epic. Daunting to look at but not too bad to ride, good initiation into double blacks.
7th Heaven - Perfect open glades, gentle slopes and such a wide area fresh tracks can be found everywhere. Nice into to tree riding on the lower half, not too dense. Awesome riding
Peak to Creek - get this when it has been freshly groom and it is the most awesome fun long run, 7km of pure ripping straight from Whistler Peak right down to the pub in Creekside in one run.
Straightline the Saddle - no fresh snow? Time to mess about, a straightline race down the Saddle is called for. Get to the top of the Saddle, find a clear line straight down, point and shoot. No turning or speed checking until you reach Peak chair. Guaranteed to make your eyes water.
The parks - Start of small and get bigger. Generally the bigger the park the better it is kept and often ridden less. Just don't be a tit in the park, have some sense, don't cut people up, stop beneath an obstacle etc
Backcountry - the proper stuff, fully out of bounds in the middle of nowhere. Make sure you are going with someone who knows the area, best bet is to go on the Avalanche Awareness Course. Teaches you a lot about snowpack, avalanches, and general safety in the mountains. Will learn how to use transceivers and probes etc, do some snowshoe hiking and ride some perfect untouched terrain.
Harmony - everything from easy cruising to sick ridges, just a massive play area.
Trees - on a cloudy day head for the trees, also intense on a pow day or just for a bit of fun. Look in the W/B guide for some runs or just make them up yourself, find a hole in the trees and dive in (make sure you know where it comes out and you're not heading to oblivion)
Chic Pea on Whistler mountain. Kick ass pizza in a funky cabin. Escapes the crowds of the big Roundhouse lodge
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
December 31, 2007
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,527 posts
I miss Whistler already...

The other thing: About one of the most dog-friendly places I've ever seen. Fido is welcome anywhere.
Clay
December 31, 2007
Member since 04/11/2006 🔗
555 posts
Lou,
I noticed that when I was in Europe (not skiing sadly). Dinner in a restaurant with Fido under the table. Seems the US is the only one hung up on having pets go out with their owners.
MangyMarmot
January 2, 2008
Member since 12/25/2002 🔗
183 posts
Hiya.

I am headed to Whistler in mid-Feb. Looking forward to it. It appears the Whistler Snowbus (http://www.snowbus.ca/snowbus/_cont/bookstep1.aspx) is a deal and takes u from downtown Vancouver. Plus, u can add on lift tickets which appear to be the best deal on them I've seen. (From my somewhat cursory internet research)

I am at a loss to decide where to stay. I'd like somewhere at $150/night (or less if possible!)

Anyone stayed at different lodging there who can recommend a place? My wife and I have put most of our hard-partying days behind us, so quiet would be kinda nice...

mm
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
January 2, 2008
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,527 posts
If you can get a good rate, which I believe you can, the Residence Inn at Whistler is about one of the best places. Out of the way at the top of Blackcomb, end of the bus route, free breakfasts, heavy hors d'oeuvres, and you literally ski into the pool and hot tub. If you want to party and go out, head over on the bus to Whistler Village. If you want to have a quiet evening, you've got it.
hockeydave
January 2, 2008
Member since 06/30/2004 🔗
772 posts
I would highly recommend the Durlacher Hof http://www.durlacherhof.com/ (this will be my 3rd time staying there). The breakfasts are authentic Austrian and out of this world. You are a 5 minute walk from the Village and a $2 bus ride (necessary when skiing). Very quiet & peaceful.
dcmidnight
January 3, 2008
Member since 11/11/2006 🔗
125 posts
Scott, I've been to Whistler 6 times now and loved it more each time. My wife and I love it so much that we are considering buying a condo up there and will be going there for the Olympics. We've even been in the summer which is an amazing time to go as well. I think last March when I went I wrote a big trip report here I will try to find it. As you will see, I just love Whistler and miss it even as I write this. I really consider it a home away from home.

I've flown a number of different ways but the best by far was flying nonstop out of Dulles. But IMO 3 days is way too short. It is a 6ish hour flight out there, an hour or so to get through the airport and customs, and at least a 2 hour drive to Whistler - and easily more if it snows. I've never gone for less than 8 days and I think 10 would be ideal. Give yourself some time to rest on each end and take a couple days off in between. 5,000+ feet of vertical can take its toll on even someone in really good shape - which I have never been on any of our trips. I have stayed near the airport though on the night before a flight and its not a bad way to go. But to be honest I've never had a problem driving from Whistler the morning of a flight, even an early one.

Oh and there is NO need for a car. First of all you cant drive it around in the village anyway and second the shuttles are so good it would be a waste of money. You will end up parking it the day you get there, paying to park every day probably, and never needing it. Take the shuttle bus or train or catch a charter.

Time of year - there are a number of things to consider. One is that Whistler is a popular school destination so if its Canada school break or something like that it will be crowded. Also it hosts a lot of theme weeks so thats something to keep an eye on - ladies week, gay pride week, kids week - things like that. Weeks like this tend to be REALLY crowded.

As far as the weather goes I recommend late February as the latest to go. Whistler sits in a funny weather climate where they get hit by something called the Pineapple Express. Basically it can rain there - alot. This can really put a damper, no pun intended, on your walking around the village area which to me is one of the best things about Whistler. But what most people dont think of when they are there is that just because its raining at 2500 feet or so - which is the base - at 7500 feet that rain is pure powder gold. It made for easily the best skiing I've seen in all my life. I'm not going to lie though, the weather can be a pain. There is usually a "fog zone" on the mountain where as long as you stay above it you are in sun and powder but usually on those days you can download without a problem. I would say of the 50 or so days I have been I have truly and honestly only had one day where we could not ski at all, it was raining and warm from top to bottom, but then again it was the end of March.

When I first went back in 1996, I used a company that had just been started by a couple guys I met over on rec.skiing. I would *highly* recommend these guys in terms of planning out your whole trip. I've known them now for 11 years and they really take good care of you. They can take care of as much or as little of the planning as you want, they will make hotel reservations, buy your lift tickets for you and have them at your hotel upon arrival, get lessons hooked up, pretty much anything you want. All of them are long time locals so they will give you advice on places to shop and eat or more importantly where not to eat. Also I think with most of your reservations one of them will take you out for a day of guided skiing. For me that was the biggest thrill last year, getting a mountain tour from a true local. But its also nice that when you arrive in Whistler they meet you at your hotel, get you checked in and hand you a packet with all your stuff in it - lesson confirmations, lift tickets preprinted, any dinner reservations you asked for, they will even buy groceries for you ahead of time. Anyway here is their website:

http://www.vipmountainholidays.com

If you tell them I recommended them I think they get a kick out of how far word of mouth can get. I'm sure this and a dollar will get you absolutely nothing though. They will put together any kind of package for you that you want and you dont pay extra for the service. But I've used them now since 1996 or so and its the only way I will travel there.

I've stayed in a wide variety of places, from the Westin to the Four Seasons to a few private condo/house rentals and I have never had a bad place to stay. I could probably make a whole long rambling thread about how sick the Four Seasons was. This is where we stayed this past March. By far the best part was the ski concierge. They have a building at the base of Blackcomb where you pick up your skis and boots in the morning. They are cleaned the night before and your boots warmed up in the morning. When you come in at night you drop your stuff off right there, pick up your regular boots and its off to the bars. No lugging your skis around or traipsing around in ski boots. There were so many great things about it, God I loved that place.

Anyway as you can see I could ramble on forever about how much I love Whistler but I'd be happy to answer specific questions if you had them.

Phil
MarkMascolino
January 4, 2008
Member since 01/18/2007 🔗
32 posts
Just got back from Whistler last night and it was crazy awesome. Crowds weren't too bad (and frankly after you do those monster long runs, I didn't mind a few minutes rest in line). Perhaps if I get some time I will write up a trip report.
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