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Date: 16th to 23rd feb 2007
Our holiday: Two mates heading out to get some snow after dodgy European conditions. Me a boarder with about 30 days experience, my mate on planks after 40 days experience
Website : www.whistlerblackcomb.com
Basics : Early evening flight from Heathrow with BA for ¬£450 return, no problems with baggage, boots, board etc. We arrived about 7 pm on a Friday and the Greyhound coaches had finished for the night and the private coaches were fully booked (local Friday travellers). I had not booked so me, my mate and another lost soul booked a stretch limo one way for $260 which could seat 8 easily (skis on roof/in boot but not to good for baord bags with clothes in them in the rain) but we had to put one big long wheelie in the limo with us. The private bus is about $70 one way. Limo took about 2.5 hours
Lift system : Typical mixture of Gondolas, Chairs etc. but one really nice touch is that the lift attendants actually put your skis/board in to the slots on the edge of the gondolas. Also there is an incredibly good natured que system mostly manned by attendants that works on the basis of lots of mini ques filtering into each other (left side goes forward, the right side of que goes forward etc.) until you get to the final que. Lots of waiting time at all lifts/chairs etc., which was not what I expected, but it was Presidents Week ?? and college holidays. A lot of the lifts are really long so wrap up warm, also because the lifts are long it means it takes a long time to get about from one area/bowl to the next, i.e. not much lift hopping to middle of runs etc. Ques had a single lane which was good becasue this was filtered to the final part ofm the que so the mainly 4 man chairs were always full. Lifts close early 3.30pm and higher lifts (7th Heaven) closed at 3 pm.
The terrain : Pistes are very good, certain pistes each day are pisted and the lifts have 'pistes of the day' recommendations. I found that I could cope with all pistes I attempted, even double diamond blacks. being a boarder I liked the open 'bowls' of Harmony, Symphony and Seventh Heaven, these being pisted areas of not very steep terraine but with huge between piste areas for barding (not steep so little avalanche risk). Great riding on powder days but these areas had quite flat narrow areas either to access them or to exit them, which on a board is a pain. Particularly liked the Peak to Creak run first thing in the morning followed by a Dusty's full breakfast. One annoying thing was that the piste marking was not very good, basically after any junction in the the piste it all of a sudden had a new name. I think also only that when you get to a fork in the piste only the new piste is sign posted and the piste you are on is not (assuming that you know piste you are on - which I did not at time ). Piste names are also pinned to trees on the edge of the piste but I only noticed this late on in the hoilday
The snow : It tends to rain a lot at village level and the first few days it was very drizzly, but then the snow hit and it snowed every day and night. Great snow conditions but Ihave no idea whether Whistler actually has a sky
Off-piste : Never did any off piste but the wide open bowls gave a good approximation for me on my board in up to a foot of fresh snow
The resort : The village itself, facilities and character or lack thereof
Food : Not much on the mountains but loads are restaurants in the town. i liked the Amsterdam Bar in Village Square, plus the two big bars/restaurants at the main Whistler gondola area. Also Dustys in Creakside seemed good but i was only there for breakfast
Accommodation : Stayed in a two bed two bath apartment in Glaciers Reach (15/20 min walk with gear to main gondola area), about ¬£90 a night and was great quality and all the comforts of home, plus a jaccuzi bath and private hot tub on balcony. Booked through www.alluradirect.com/whistler
Costs: See above
Conclusion: The resort is actually the size of a small town, loads of shopping and enough to do on off days (not that I had any or did any shopping). Very slick act for booking lessons, skis etc. Lift pass for eight days was about ¬£35 a day (I think). Basically it snowed all the time, the service was great, pistes were great, the range of skiing was great. Infact everything was great except the jet lag which to be honest might put me off heading out again, especially for anything less than the 8 nights I stayed ...... but there again .......
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