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Canda Easter 2018

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@BCjohnny, Sounds good. Is Whistler that much of a must-do? Very Happy
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Like most places, depends on the conditions, but ......

Massive terrain, unique atmosphere, partyville.

Huuuge lift queues just before lunchtime too, lol.

Personally, I'd pick other areas in my dotage, but you gotta go at least once ......
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
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If you are sticking to one area I would say whistler, banff, or fernie are the best options. All have plenty of stuff to keep intermediates happy. Some of the interior resorts like revelstoke and kicking horse are more orientated to advanced.

Whistler queues are totally over emphasised. Yes, they can be terrible during holidays and/or days when the alpine doesn't open. An average weekday you can walk pretty much straight onto all the lifts. Weekends are busier but pretty easy to avoid the queues if you know what your doing. By April a lot of locals are hanging up the skis for the season and getting the bikes/golf clubs out, so I definitely wouldn't be worrying about queues.

Weather can be hit or miss (as with most ski resorts). The fact they closed with over 3m base this year should tell you it's more hit than miss.

Whistler ski area is pretty unbeatable. Its huge and has an abundance of everything. Trees, bowls, groomers, chutes, parks etc. You can ski there for months and still be finding new lines. Whistler village is definitely not the place if youre looking for the "real Canadian experience" - its very touristy. It is however pedestrianised and has everything you could possibly need.

Unpopular opinion but Vancouver is super overrated as a tourist destination. Don't get me wrong on the whole its a very nice city, its definitely somewhere I would like to live. But there's just not that much interesting unique stuff for tourists. 2 days to catch a cannucks game, go whale watching, and have a walk around Stanley park and downtown (if its not raining) is probably enough. It is a good place to buy cheap ski/snowboard stuff though.
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Langers Utd wrote:
Are you saying it is easier to drive to LL and park under my own steam, rather than take the ski-bus?

If you HAVE a car, driving almost always beats the bus. You're not constrained by the bus schedule. Unless it was snowing heavily, then you may not want the stress.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Langers Utd wrote:
@BCjohnny, Sounds good. Is Whistler that much of a must-do? Very Happy

Short answer, YES!

It's the largest resort in Canada and one of the top 3 in all of America. Terrain is amazing. And if the weather is sunny, the view is pretty amazing too. It's kind of asking if 3 Valley or the Sella Ronda is a must do.

But the biggest reason is you'll be driving right past it. I'll repeat, the only reason you will skip it this time is you're planning to spend a week or two there next year (ok, sometime in the near future)

Langers Utd wrote:
@Jake43, I really do fancy Whistler, but the dire weather-warnings put me off. Sounds like the warnings are somewhat over-egged?

Warning is good for having the right expectation. But yes, the "dire" warning is very much "over-egged". I'd use a stronger expression: "blown way out of proportion"!

I was there on a couple days when it was drizzling at the village level. But the skiing up on the mountain was absolutely lovely. In fact, I found the cloud and poor visibility at the top more of an issue than the drizzle at the bottom.
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With only 10 days of skiing, I'd suggest 4-5 days in Banff (split between Sunshine and Lake Louise), a few days at Whislter, with the balance (~2 days?) spend in ONE location mid-way between the two. (I'm not familiar with that part of Canada, don't know if there's a "centralized" location that has access to more than one mountains to minimize the nightly moving of hotels, see below)

Personally, I dislike constantly packing and unpacking, checking in and out of hotels. I'd much rather stay put and spend a few days in each place. I think with children, you'll be even less thrill with all the moving about.

Last but not least, try not to lock in all your itinerary if you could. Storm may seriously affect any such concrete "plans" made in the dry warm living room in the summer! wink
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
In the discussion about weather and season closures, no-one has yet mentioned that Easter Sunday 2018 is 1 April, two weeks earlier than "usual".
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I think Fernie is pushing it at this time of year. We were at Silver Star on closing weekend this year and it was good, although the lower slopes had been rained on.
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Most people use the Coquihalla not the Duffy Lake Road.

Ski bus versus drive: try it both ways. The bus you'll have to find and maybe wait a few minutes for, and it's going to be slower. It's free, probably safer, and you'll have less of a walk at the resort end, plus you don't need "in out" privileges at your hotel, who may charge you for parking. When I was poor, I always used the bus. Now I'm not, I drive.

Whistler? It's overrated certainly, an odd mix of hard core people and tourists, but like a few other places you have to go to know.

Vancouver: It's not Disney Land, and I expect their McDonalds is not as good as you can get at home either. wink
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Quote:
Whistler? It's overrated certainly


I'm genuinely interested in how whistler is overrated. Sure the accommodation is overpriced, there can be queues, the village is not everyone's taste, I get that its no perfect. I can understand preferring other places, especially if you want to see a more authentic Canada. But, I don't understand where the overrated bit comes from.
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Everyone has gotta go to WB, at least once .......

Spent my first six weeks in Ca there, a blast. Then on the next trip elsewhere began to discover the 'other' Canada ....... possibly the 'authentic' Canada people refer to but, maybe apart from aspects of Banff, be warned not to everyone's taste, nightlife wise wink

Expensive now, WB, but massive, varied terrain. However even outside of 'holidays' the queues can be huge, more than an hour at Solar Coaster, and not just once either.

And then you go to somewhere like Marmot, and there's more staff on the mountain than guests, and you're sliding through the lift gates, unclipping as you catch a chair. Or, keeping an eye out for the Griz, you get more powder than you've ever seen, and maybe ever will. Even Panorama, in the 'doughnut' has it's moments. 'Stairway to Heaven', 'The Ripper' chair, 'Gem Lake' ...... unforgettable moments, that I've never had 'over here'.

The only place I've been lucky enough to go to in AB/BC, that I wouldn't go back to, was Sunshine ........

But even spending the whole ten days in WB would just be scratching the surface. Gotta go ........
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
boarder2020 wrote:
Quote:
Whistler? It's overrated certainly


I'm genuinely interested in how whistler is overrated.

Rate anything high enough, you overrate it.

Whistler is good. But some people rates it as a be-all-end-all "best of Canada". Well, it's not "THE best". Just "ONE of the best".
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
abc wrote:
boarder2020 wrote:
Quote:
Whistler? It's overrated certainly


I'm genuinely interested in how whistler is overrated.

Rate anything high enough, you overrate it.

Whistler is good. But some people rates it as a be-all-end-all "best of Canada". Well, it's not "THE best". Just "ONE of the best".


I get your point. I don't really see many people describe whistler as the "best" though. Seems more common to hear the "it always rains there" line. Most of the whistler mentions in this thread have stuck pretty much to the facts of huge area with great terrain, which it seems pretty impossible to over or under rate as it simply is what it is.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
boarder2020 wrote:
abc wrote:
boarder2020 wrote:
Quote:
Whistler? It's overrated certainly


I'm genuinely interested in how whistler is overrated.

Rate anything high enough, you overrate it.

Whistler is good. But some people rates it as a be-all-end-all "best of Canada". Well, it's not "THE best". Just "ONE of the best".


I get your point. I don't really see many people describe whistler as the "best" though. Seems more common to hear the "it always rains there" line. Most of the whistler mentions in this thread have stuck pretty much to the facts of huge area with great terrain, which it seems pretty impossible to over or under rate as it simply is what it is.

It really depends who's rating it and who's reading it.

I read about the frequent mentioning of "the cold" in interior BC/AB here on snowhead. I always chuckle a little. Cold? What cold? I spent 6 years of my post-graduate years in Michigan (near Chicago). Look up its winter average temperature (plus windchill), you'll understand what I mean. I learned to ski there. "There's no such thing as too cold weather, just inappropriate clothing". BTW, I never seen that issue even being mentioned in US based resort reviews, never mind Canadian ones. So it's a strictly UK point of view.

Take the long lift queue of Whistler, I've experienced worse in Europe! But everybody expect some sort of lift line so it was rarely mentioned. By North American standard, Whistler's queue CAN BE unacceptably long SOME of the time.

I have skied IN the rain. Keep in mind that you can only have rain when it's above 0C. So it's never cold. Just wet. And if you have the right, i.e. waterproof shell, you don't even get wet for several hours. The snow can be surprisingly nice, creamy like butter. The skis cut through it like it's not there. Dreamy skiing. But in Whistler, that's unlikely where people will be skiing. They would be going to the higher elevation, where the "rain" is coming down as "snow"! So there you go, the two major negatives of Whistler in context.

Whistler has a lot to offer. On the other hand, Canada has a lot of very good mountains. When someone feel Whistler is being overrated, they may actually be thinking another mountain almost as good but a lot less expensive and not half as crowded. Hence the notion.


Last edited by You know it makes sense. on Wed 7-06-17 17:30; edited 2 times in total
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
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Kind of what he said.

Cold: well if it's cold enough for your board to squeak then you need the right wax and it can be an issue, even with the right clothing and a helicopter. That doesn't happen often, mind.

Whistler's great for what it is.
Even so, sometimes there are better places to ride in BC, and if you don't know that, then you're "overrating" Whistler.
I think that is a logical approach.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@philwig,

It's not all about the skiing/riding.
Sure, Red Mountain may have better expert skiing, Sun Peaks or Big White may be a better family area, Lake Louise is probably prettier, etc... But Whistler is easy to get to, loads of decent restaurants and bars, nice hotels, all in one place, _and_ a range of skiing to suit all levels (though I'd not be super keen on starting out there myself). So what it does have is a good all-round experience which is probably pretty important if you're flying 6000 miles for 10 days.

Oh and Vancouver region is imho a much better place to visit in the Summer than Winter.
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btw, my vote would be stick around Banff.
Possibly a bit late for the interior (again, not sure, but it gets pretty warm in the interior, so you should check it out). Whistler is better the better you are - [selfishness mode] the less people there the better for me! [/selfishness mode] wink
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
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philwig wrote:
Jake43 wrote:
... why they do not have a bypass for Vancouver for Whistler from the Airport is a mystery ....
wink it's called "geography" I believe.

But driving through the city is usually fluid at the start of the season at least. I'm more likely to hit issues with lots of snow above Squamish, or lots of tourists and snow in the worst case, but they follow predictable and avoidable patterns wink
FWIW the highway was upgraded for the Olympics and used to be much more sporting.


Yes I know they did some improvements on the road, we used it before the update. But we always seem to hit rush hour both ways through Vancouver with Lions Gate brilliant bridge as the last straw. I can see current route is a straight line, but surely a road out to HY1 missing the downtown area would have been worth the money?

Not end of the world and interesting the first couple of times but then a slow crawl each time is just a pain. I suspect you go up first thing in a morning or late evening if you have your own place up there, and probably don't start from the airport.
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@Jake43,
Probably most traffic going to Whistler is local or from Seattle area, so the majority wouldn't be going through downtown (would be on highway 1 over the second narrows). I wouldn't be totally unhappy with that idea though as driving from North Vancouver to the airport is a pita Happy
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
But for the locals, I'm not sure how much of a priority airport-to-Whistler is to them.

Highways are usually not build for the convenience of the visitors. They're build when the locals got tired of visitors speed through their town or creating traffic jams.

If the majority of the traffic volume is just locals going about their business, a bypass highway wouldn't help. The visitors will just have to deal with it.
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stuarth wrote:
btw, my vote would be stick around Banff.


Nooh, nooh ........

You don't fly over 4k miles to "stick around Banff.''
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BCjohnny wrote:
stuarth wrote:
btw, my vote would be stick around Banff.


Nooh, nooh ........

You don't fly over 4k miles to "stick around Banff.''


OK, well stick around somewhere.
Why would you go on a roadtrip to Revelstoke, kicking horse, Red, Whitewater, etc, etc. These are all great places to go skiing, but not necessarily the best place for intermediate kids. Would kids appreciate that experience or the more canned Whistler/Banff experience? Big White or Sun Peaks would be good family alternatives, but not sure in April.

Reason for suggesting Banff is
a) it is very pretty, with interesting wildlife
b) you can be based in one place and ski several places with minimum fuss - between Sunshine and Lake Louise alone you're good for a couple of weeks. Can even do lessons that cover all the mountains in the same group I think.
c) quite a lot going on
d) can Visit Calgary for the Eddie the Eagle experience, or to watch the Flames (if you really have to wink)
e) snow is probably still decent in April (Sure Gryphea can confirm)
f) Reasonable sized alternative to Whistler if you really don't want to go there.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
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BCjohnny wrote:
stuarth wrote:
btw, my vote would be stick around Banff.


Nooh, nooh ........

You don't fly over 4k miles to "stick around Banff.''

Why not?

BTW, I think it's a lot more than 4k miles... Puzzled
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Going slightly OT, was in the Canadian Rockies the last week, truly amazing scenery, the drive from Calgary through the mountains was awesome, stopped off in banff for shopping, lake louise (walked up to agnes lake - snow line around 2000m), emerald lake for a wedding, and some rafting in golden.

One thing I couldn't work out, kicking horse resort - that just looked like the same bit of mountain cut out in straight lines, am I missing something, wouldn't you get bored of essentially running the same piste just moved along the mountain a bit Wink
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@Langers Utd, It a beautiful drive on a good day but its " why didn't fly to Vancouver " on a bad day. and its pemberton to whistler not pentiction thats the south end of the Okanagan. ( summer wine tasting hols)
We normally drive but we do so knowing we may lose a night in Whistler and pay for an extra night in Kelowna /vernon/kamloops.
We have been doing this for 12-15 yrs now we have always managed the trip in 1 day but its often been a long day..... Check the weather and the road conditions and avalanche warning for the roads your going to travel before you drive anywhere in winter in the mountains in BC. The other route is via the Coquihalla which on a bad day is a long slow drive slaloming the trucks 2 lane highway 4x4 needed which ever route you take. You may not need 4x4 but some days you do, some years no snow on travel days then no problem!!!
The distances are huge the roads a quiet and well maintained phone signal nil.
The signs on the roads are a clue 280k to next fuel stop!! buy a map or look on line but distances ........
We have a place there and go summer and winter so we are used to the travelling. You can have bad days driving to the alps the service stations are a bit closer together in Europe.
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BCjohnny wrote:
You don't fly over 4k miles to "stick around Banff.''


abc wrote:
BTW, I think it's a lot more than 4k miles... Puzzled


4216 miles

I'm certainly no expert regarding the Banff trio, but have had a few days at SSV, and from comments made by others it was widely regarded as the best of the bunch. I'd be very disappointed to fly that far and ride 'lesser' areas into the bargain. And it's all spread out, by some distance, drive to every day mostly, not everyone's cup of tea.

We all have our preferences, and I've stated mine.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
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Little Martin wrote:


One thing I couldn't work out, kicking horse resort - that just looked like the same bit of mountain cut out in straight lines, am I missing something, wouldn't you get bored of essentially running the same piste just moved along the mountain a bit Wink


Think what you can see cut is the lower mountain which is a bit crap essentially just back to the gondy. The real skiing is 3 ridges and 2-3 bowls at the top.
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
The other problem with KH is that you can end up lapping the gondola, which gets old fast.

Great terrain up top, but until they improve the lifts, I won't be going back, except for maybe the odd couple of days here and there.
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BCjohnny wrote:
BCjohnny wrote:
You don't fly over 4k miles to "stick around Banff.''


abc wrote:
BTW, I think it's a lot more than 4k miles... Puzzled


4216 miles

I'm certainly no expert regarding the Banff trio, but have had a few days at SSV, and from comments made by others it was widely regarded as the best of the bunch. I'd be very disappointed to fly that far and ride 'lesser' areas into the bargain. And it's all spread out, by some distance, drive to every day mostly, not everyone's cup of tea.

We all have our preferences, and I've stated mine.


Lake Louise is favoured over SS by everyone I know that's done both. That said they've never been at SS when delirium dive was open (although don't think op is really looking for that kind of experience).

I agree that picking a single area is better than travelling around in the case of the op (kids, intermediates).
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@boarder2020, I genuinely prefer SSV to LL. Skied at both, a lot. I find the snow to be better generally at SSV. And the terrain more interesting. LL tends to be more crowded and can be icey on the frontside.
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gryphea wrote:
@boarder2020, I genuinely prefer SSV to LL. Skied at both, a lot. I find the snow to be better generally at SSV. And the terrain more interesting. LL tends to be more crowded and can be icey on the frontside.
Couldn't agree more. Was massively underwhelmed by Lake Louise, not particularly inspiring terrain, icy and just felt a bit soulless compared to Sunshine. Would happily spend a week at Sunshine without a second thought.
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bigtuboflard wrote:
gryphea wrote:
@boarder2020, I genuinely prefer SSV to LL. Skied at both, a lot. I find the snow to be better generally at SSV. And the terrain more interesting. LL tends to be more crowded and can be icey on the frontside.
Couldn't agree more. Was massively underwhelmed by Lake Louise, not particularly inspiring terrain, icy and just felt a bit soulless compared to Sunshine. Would happily spend a week at Sunshine without a second thought.


^+2. I've only been to the area for three weeks. I would say out of that I spent one day at Norquay, two weeks in SSV and whatever was left at LL. Better terrain in Sunshine - Goat Eye/South chutes, better snow, less queues (marginal).
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Well, so much for "not sticking to Banff"!

Seems like the opinion are all over the map:

- some will get the hell out of Banff as soon as possible

- some will happily spens a week at Sunshine but not bother with Lake Louise

- some will spend more time at Lake Louise and not bothered with Sunshine

- still others who are happy to ski both equally.

I know exactly what that REALLY means! ... FOR ME!!! Toofy Grin
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Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
... Think what you can see cut is the lower mountain which is a bit crap essentially just back to the gondy. The real skiing is 3 ridges and 2-3 bowls at the top. ...

Which as you probably know was the old "Whitetooth" local ski hill. The upper stuff was in the Purcell heli tenure, which they used for daily heli-skiers.
Quality snow. If you were out late there they'd sometimes fly the heli back down at tree-top level down those runs.
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