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Whistler DIY

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Quote:

I didn't see anyone mention the weather at Whistler, which is often dicey


Is it? I know it's a popular thing to say, but in my experience it's simply not true. Does it sometimes rain lower down? Yes, but usually means dumping higher up. Does it rain to the top? Very occasionally, but it resets so quick as they get huge amounts of snow (average over 11m snowfall per season, which is considerably more than the interior). It also doesn't tend to suffer from the brutal cold that you can get the interior. If the weather was so bad and the snow so heavy why would so many pros choose to make it home for the winter?

Of course no one can predict the weather, so we can't say with any certainty one choice will be better than the other anyway. I certainly wouldn't discount whistler due to perceived issues with weather though.

Quote:

Hmm doesn't help that you're pricing at the (current) trough of Brexit sterling crapness


It's not really changed much over the last 2 years. The issue is not really the Canadian dollar being a lot stronger than the pound, but that accomodation in whistler is expensive. As said you can have cheap skiing in Canada, but whistler isn't the place.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
The weather bitches about Whistler are usually from people who've had bad luck in their single trip. Over a season it tends to be fine so the longer the trip the greater the chances you're not closed in by wet storms, high winds etc.

Objectively the EOSB week in Val T this year was crap but it's the first such week in a number of years and had the payoff of a great powder day so y'know skiing.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
The weather bitches about Whistler are usually from people who've had bad luck in their single trip. Over a season it tends to be fine so the longer the trip the greater the chances you're not closed in by wet storms, high winds etc.

Objectively the EOSB week in Val T this year was crap but it's the first such week in a number of years and had the payoff of a great powder day so y'know skiing.

Well said. We have been going for 15 years and last year was the best for us we stay on piste. Yes we have had low visibility some times but that is 'cause it snows so much. Don't often get one without the other.
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"The weather bitches" Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
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A mate of mine did quite a few seasons in Canada/NA not tied to any particular area. When we've discussed where to go his opinion was to avoid Whistler, it does rain at resort level which does mean snow at higher levels, but he did make the point that the snow is wetter and heavier than interior snow. The further in you go, the less snow but the drier and lighter too. Just his opinion.

I'm off to Red Mountain and Whitewater this year and I'm currently glued to the El Nino, La Nina discussions/forecasts. It seems this years El Nino was way weaker than forecasted, and the possibility is this might be a precursor to a La Nina event next year. Fingers crossed.
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You want high probability of dry powdery snow? Go to Japan!
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Yup, but I went there last year, and I got dry powdery snow and lots of it. This year I'm going to Canada, having been to Banff Revelstoke and Fernie, Nelson and Rossland seem a good bet, slightly more inland so might get a bit less in terms of volume, but maybe better quality snow?
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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've skied the interior and Whistler. It's true the heaviest snow I skied was at Whistler. However, I had plenty of days of light powder too. Again, ask yourself why so many people, including pro skiers and industry experts flock to Whistler. You really think they would go if the snow sucked?

In comparison to Whistler averaging over 11m of snow a year, Red gets about 3m. It's all well and good it being light (which isnt always the case anyway!), but no good if it only snows once a fortnight, particularly if you only have a short time there.

I've done one season in Whistler, 2 in the interior (1 at Red, 1 at Kicking horse), and am back to the interior this winter so have no unfair bias. However, I have to agree the *weather bitches* are usually people that did one weekend in Whistler got unlucky with bad conditions (can happen anywhere) and now swear the weather is always bad there.
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What he said. All of it.

In my experience Whistler is a better bet than anywhere else if you need to bet.

For the smaller places, I rent a car which makes getting there and getting around easier,
plus it gives the flexibility to chase the best snow.
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rogg wrote:
Yup, but I went there last year, and I got dry powdery snow and lots of it. This year I'm going to Canada, having been to Banff Revelstoke and Fernie, Nelson and Rossland seem a good bet, slightly more inland so might get a bit less in terms of volume, but maybe better quality snow?

You’ve had good luck that were based on good average. So now you want to risk it by trying the less promising place and hope your luck still be as good?
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Continuing with the Round the World air ticket with 6-8 flights. If you are going to do Whistler skiing, you will probably also want to be in NZ for June/July.

Fiji is a small island, and a long term 3 month visa is not the normal issue. (although things may have changed since I was last there)

This means you will be aiming for late season in Canada, probably when camping is less likely to be a problem (warmer nights and longer light during days).

I get that cold camping is a problem, but the Riverside campsite has saunas, jacuzzis, bathrooms, showers, drying rooms etc, so it is a far cry from mountain top winter camping. So with your thermal roll mat, and electric blanket (or hot water bottle if you are going to go rustic), it might not be such an issue in Spring time.

Perhaps you could do Colorado as well?

My RTW flight went in from London to Montreal. Then I got a driveaway (delivering a car across the USA for the price of petrol, which is low in USA, and for some vehicles they pay petrol too). Next flight was from Vancouver to Fiji. I was offered a car to Denver Colorado from Boston, but turned it down due to the heatwave and no air con in the car. They said they would also arrange a series of vehicles to get me to Vancouver. In the end I got a vehicle to San Francisco, and then another from SF to Vancouver island. There was time restictions and mileage restrictions, however it was not a problem for me and allowed plenty of touristy visits albeit at pace compared to most tourists. It is about 3000 miles which they give you 8 days to do it. Plenty of time. Also plenty of places to camp in the heat of southern US states. (although it rains there too and sometimes thunder and lightening)

So you could knock off Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and maybe even Aspen before you get to Whistler on the way to Banff and Lake Louise youth hostel.

Then you are looking to kill some time in the beaches of Fiji, watching the rugby.

Next stop would be Auckland or maybe just go straight to the South Island as most of the good skiing is there along with the best vineyards. I would get a campervan there, as they are very cheap to hire and it would be ideal to visit several ski resorts.

For me the next flights went to OZ, Singapore, India, and then back to London. However, you may want a more expensive route!

My ticket was with BA.

(they also offer cheap internal flights in OZ as part of the deal. I got ticket from Tasmania to Uluru, and another from Uluru to Cairns)
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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.
Guess you already maximise your spend by using a loyalty credit card or cards?

Be surprised how quick they can rack up if you churn. Plan well & it can save a bundle.
Even if you spend 3-4k this time, it could cover a trip the time after.
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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
boarder2020 wrote:
I've skied the interior and Whistler. It's true the heaviest snow I skied was at Whistler. However, I had plenty of days of light powder too. Again, ask yourself why so many people, including pro skiers and industry experts flock to Whistler. You really think they would go if the snow sucked?

In comparison to Whistler averaging over 11m of snow a year, Red gets about 3m. It's all well and good it being light (which isnt always the case anyway!), but no good if it only snows once a fortnight, particularly if you only have a short time there.

I've done one season in Whistler, 2 in the interior (1 at Red, 1 at Kicking horse), and am back to the interior this winter so have no unfair bias. However, I have to agree the *weather bitches* are usually people that did one weekend in Whistler got unlucky with bad conditions (can happen anywhere) and now swear the weather is always bad there.


Red gets considerably more than 3 metres per year. About 300 inches which is 750 cm. So about 7.5 metres.
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You know it makes sense.
My weather comments are based on going to Whistler dozens of times over the last 40 years. Anybody who posts weather info based on one trip, or thinks that I would, is an idiot. I live in this weather. As for snow totals, cotton balls pile up higher and deeper than dust, so such comparisons are specious. Note that all the major copter operations are in the interior, not the coast. Interior snow starts drier and sublimates from there, staying good for days. Not so in the coastal ranges, really from Whistler down to Tahoe, where a nice pow day often turns to cement in the afternoon. Remember folks, the OP has two weeks; the comments about a full season are not germane. Someone staying all season should go to Whistler, its huge and certainly has its great days....as do all ski areas. Such lucky folks can sit out the Chinooks and busy days (90 minutes from Vancouver) because they have the luxury of being there all season, which the OP does not have. I'd suggest they get a car and when Whistler is skied out and nasty, head east (beautiful drive) to dry out. The character and vibe of the interior areas is something that many prefer as well. I'm one of them; I can get to Whistler in 4 hours but usually go 6-8 hours for the interior.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Quote:

Red gets considerably more than 3 metres per year. About 300 inches which is 750 cm. So about 7.5 metres.


Ok I must have converted wrong or got mixed up with average snowfall and last year snowfall (which was around 3.5m). Still 750cm is a lot less than 1100cm. Also it's wrong to assume all snow in whistler is wet and heavy, just like it's wrong to assume all interior snow is dry light powder.

Quote:

the OP has two weeks; the comments about a full season are not germane.


Well if we are not judging it on the overall season and averages what can we do? Scotland has some great days, if you want to ignore season averages you could book a trip there. Actually 2 weeks is perfect for whistler. A weekend and you could get unlucky with a pineapple express. 2 weeks in mid winter and you would have to be really unlucky to not get some good to great conditions for at least some of your trip.

Quote:

Note that all the major copter operations are in the interior, not the coast.


If I had the money to go Heli skiing anywhere in Canada it would be right on the coast in Bella coola.
http://youtube.com/v/BCISAdFYt4Q

There's lots of reasons why someone might prefer interior to whistler. However to dismiss whistler purely on the idea the weather is always bad and the snow is wet and heavy is silly. As I keep saying why do so many pros and industry experts make whistler home if it's so bad?
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 Poster: A snowHead
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boarder2020 wrote:
Quote:

Red gets considerably more than 3 metres per year. About 300 inches which is 750 cm. So about 7.5 metres.


Ok I must have converted wrong or got mixed up with average snowfall and last year snowfall (which was around 3.5m). Still 750cm is a lot less than 1100cm. Also it's wrong to assume all snow in whistler is wet and heavy, just like it's wrong to assume all interior snow is dry light powder.

Quote:

the OP has two weeks; the comments about a full season are not germane.


Well if we are not judging it on the overall season and averages what can we do? Scotland has some great days, if you want to ignore season averages you could book a trip there. Actually 2 weeks is perfect for whistler. A weekend and you could get unlucky with a pineapple express. 2 weeks in mid winter and you would have to be really unlucky to not get some good to great conditions for at least some of your trip.


My last trip to Canada was for 2 weeks, one at Revelstoke, one at Banff mid to end of feb 2015. Revelstoke first, icy and no fresh. Banff no fresh but cold, so what was there was deep frozen. Whilst we were there we met 'refugees' from the coast, according to them the whole area was a disaster and they were talking about closing some of the hills on the coast (local to vancouver?) and down lifts in operation in a lot of places including Whistler. I'm not saying this is commonplace, but you're saying two weeks you'd be unlucky not to get good conditions, coastal conditions were appalling for two weeks that year in the depths of winter. Just saying. The saving grace for me was the temperature in the interior.

My theory for booking Nelson and Rossland still stands, it should be on average cooler than the coast, with a tradeoff of less chance of dumpage. Forty five years of heading to the mountains means I've encountered some quite varied conditions, and I understand the risks of booking early, but travelling to N/A, Japan and the likes take a bit of preplanning for me. If I go to Europe I generally book last minute, three or four days before departure, which usually secures good conditions and sometimes a bargain too.
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Scooter in Seattle wrote:
... Note that all the major copter operations are in the interior, not the coast. Interior snow starts drier and sublimates from there, staying good for days....
Don't you think that the reason there are more operators outside Whistler than in it
could be something to do with the fact that there's actually more of BC outside of Whistler than there is inside it?


Whistler has a couple of heli operators with adjacent tenures, one now run by the resort, the other is Powder Mountain.
Powder Mountain gets about 40% more snow than the resort because it's one range closer to the coast.
In terms of booking numbers these two operators are major.

Obviously coastal snow is different from interior snow. Whistler snow is best actually in the storm, which is just as well as it snows a lot.
Heli often can't fly in storms, which is why Powder Mountain also runs snowcats. None of this is relevant to the OP.
2020 wrote:
..to dismiss whistler purely on the idea the weather is always bad and the snow is wet and heavy is silly. ...
Precisely.

Bella Coola and Last Frontier both benefit from coastal conditions, as does most of Alaska and Iceland. You'd probably find more operators there if you could more easily access the bits in between.


--
rogg wrote:
...they were talking about closing some of the hills on the coast (local to vancouver?) and down lifts in operation in a lot of places including Whistler. I'm not saying this is commonplace, but you're saying two weeks you'd be unlucky not to get good conditions, coastal conditions were appalling for two weeks that year in the depths of winter. Just saying. The saving grace for me was the temperature in the interior.
There are three "down town" hills in Vancouver city. They're pretty much at sea level, so often close when it's warm. This is not a worry/ concern. They are great when in condition, but it's rare.

You can always down-lift at Whistler, because when it snows on the mountains, it's often raining in the village. I've never taken a down-lift, but I don't usually go down to the village until I'm done.
The lift system is designed this way for a reason.

I've been in Whistler in bad conditions, but I can't recall ever not being able to ride there. That's not true of anywhere else mentioned in this thread.
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Quote:

I'm not saying this is commonplace, but you're saying two weeks you'd be unlucky not to get good conditions, coastal conditions were appalling for two weeks that year in the depths of winter. Just saying.


I stand by it, you would be extremely unlucky not to get some good to great conditions over 2 weeks. Of course there is always someone that will be that unlucky person, and it can happen at any resort. If we want to start cherry picking anomalies we can probably find a week in January where Scotland got more snow than Japan. Last season whistler got more snow in December than red got all season. It's not really relevant though, as it's not the norm, which is all you have to go off when booking far in advance.

Quote:

My theory for booking Nelson and Rossland still stands


I don't think anyone is saying the interior sucks or is worse (I actually really like red), it's just different - some pros, some cons. What we are saying based on numerous seasons in bc is it's silly to say don't go to whistler because of weather issues. Like I keep saying there is a reason so many pros make it home, if it was bad they would be living elsewhere!
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I have only visited Whistler twice - to warm up for heli weeks and both occasions had great conditions.

I'd go back in a flash. As "resort" skiing goes, it's terrific.
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
boarder2020 wrote:
Quote:

I'm not saying this is commonplace, but you're saying two weeks you'd be unlucky not to get good conditions, coastal conditions were appalling for two weeks that year in the depths of winter. Just saying.


I stand by it, you would be extremely unlucky not to get some good to great conditions over 2 weeks. Of course there is always someone that will be that unlucky person, and it can happen at any resort. If we want to start cherry picking anomalies we can probably find a week in January where Scotland got more snow than Japan. Last season whistler got more snow in December than red got all season. It's not really relevant though, as it's not the norm, which is all you have to go off when booking far in advance. !

Too many people never understand Statistic and Probability. They confuses that with their own antidotal experience.

Just because it was cold when they visited Banff, they think Banff is always cold. They're not shy to keep saying that on every thread that touches on Banff.

Those who got rain in Whistler, they BELIEVE Whistler get rain all the time! They ignore the fact that Whistler is a big mountain with huge elevation. Rain in the lower mountain often means snow on the upper mountain.


Pick a destination based on what you like about its terrain, runs (or après if that's important to you). Take into account of snow fall patterns in choosing WHEN to go. There's no comparison between Whistler and Red/Whitewater. They're not even in the same league.
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But Banff is cold Laughing It snowed at Sunshine this past weekend.

Watched this thread with interest and agree that comparing Whistler to almost any other Canadian Resort is tricky. It's a very different beast and if you want the Whistler experience then you should go to Whistler. Fernie/Banff/Sun Peaks/Revelstoke etc are not the same.

Having said that if you want to experience Canada (not Whistler) on a budget then other options are potentially cheaper etc with their own pros/cons.
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Whistler is a neatly packaged compact little European imitation in North America. It's the best combination of European connected resort with avi controlled off-piste. In that, it's unique, unlike any other north America resorts. Whether that is your cup of tea or not is a different matter.

For many European skiers, it's a great step into the north American skiing scene. It still has a bit of Euro feel. It has sufficient après options without needing to get into a car (like the majority of other NA mountains). The most significant different for Euro skier is the inbound off-piste, which Whistler has TONS of!

For North American skiers, it's a baby step to get a taste of what the Euros take for granted. Ski-in/ski-out, interconnect mountains, lively après, without the long flight and jet lag. And the skiing is not too shabby even by north American standard.

For those reasons, it's a "must do" for many skiing families. It's wildly successful at that. As a result, it's expensive.

And even for keen north Americans and European skiers, the terrain and the amount of snow is just un-matched. So many simply bite the bullet and pull out their credit cards time and time again. (there're other mountains with radical terrain and snow, but few has the variety). As a 1-stop ski destination, it's in a league by itself.

It doesn't mean everyone should go there. But for many, it's a very good choice.

As for the cost, that's where compromises are made. Many of us choose NOT to go there every trip due to cost. But I don't need to pretend or ignore what I'm giving up when I go somewhere else.
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That's a well balanced review, thank you.
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Good overview from abc.

Quote:

but few has the variety


It's a good point. When I had friends visit in whistler I could simply say "what type of terrain do you want to ski today" knowing whatever they said (trees, bowls, groomers, cliffs, steeps etc.) there was ample choices. The interior resorts tend to be a bit more one-dimensional, in that they do one or two things very well but lack on the others. Not such an issue for people that know exactly what they want, but for euro skiers that may have predominantly skied pistes whistler is a great place to go where you can try a bit of everything and see what you like. It's also great for mixed ability groups, where you can ski completely different lines off the same lift (e.g. harmony mum and dad can take the nice cruisy piste along the ridge back to the lift while the kids go huck the horseshoes, both meeting back at the bottom together).
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Can anyone lend me £5100 please? NehNeh
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I'd go back to Whistler in a heartbeat too, not to Banff though.
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Gainz wrote:
I'd go back to Whistler in a heartbeat too, not to Banff though.

Nor Kicking Horse either, I presume? rolling eyes
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@abc, wow you're so clever!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
homers double wrote:
Can anyone lend me £5100 please? NehNeh

Try a different week. Or different location in the vicinity.

Or just keep checking, you may get lucky.

By the way, the Epic pass also includes some mountains in the Alps. You may want to look into that. If it happen to cover one of the mountain you plan to go, you just saved yourself another few hundred each!
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@abc, thank you, I didn't know that!
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If you do not fancy the campsite at Riverside this looks like a good option;

https://hihostels.ca/en/destinations/british-columbia/hi-whistler

Also to get there

https://www.tripsavvy.com/getting-from-vancouver-to-whistler-1482166

Bus looks like the best option.

https://www.poparide.com

is one of these ride sharing websites which might be cheaper than the bus, but could be more troublesome. I personally have had no success with ride sharing websites, however main throughfare routes like Vancouver to Whistler might be easier to hitch a lift from (especially if you are going to pay for it).
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I found one more alternative for ride sharing in British Columbia which is fastly growing in local ride. https://luckytogocanada.com/
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@naveen, some people may not like the security issue regarding lift sharing. Not least of which is that there may be contraband in either those giving the lift or those taking a ride. The driver is responsible legally for anything in the car, even though it may not be their car.

This thought crossed my mind when one of the cars I drove accross the USA had the boot (or trunk in American English) filled with belongings. Was I transporting illegal drugs across the USA for a trafficer. Indeed, was I a gun runner who was using this vehicle as a covert ploy to hide my identity.

The problem of these issues are overcomed by trust on both parties. Difficult to see how that is gained, but the main issue is that both parties are identified and known by the driveaway company and also the ride sharing company (presumably they have similar identity checks as airbnb)
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