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Whistler - busy pre Christmas week?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Are there any Whistler experts out there? We are thinking of a trip out to Whistler this winter and would like to avoid peak holiday / weekend dates (not big fans of the queues). We've been over public holiday weekends before and would prefer to avoid the busiest dates when we visit next. If we skied the Monday to Friday on the lead up to Christmas (19th to 23rd Dec) does anyone know if that's likely to be - weekend / public holiday busy; a little busier than a normal mid-week; or just about a normal week?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I would guess it'll be busy busy as that is effectively holiday week for many, getting busier as the week progresses. Also unlikely to be worth the flight for 5 days skiing when snow may not be stellar unless you have other complementary plans.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
It's likely to be busy.

Last year (pretty much your dates) was particularly hectic as the roads to everywhere else were closed, and at least some parts of the Vail Resorts empire didn't have a right lot of snow. So I would expect line ups, but they're efficient and polite, and you can avoid nearly all of them if that's a priority for you. Most people start/ end/ take a break at the same predictable times and in specific parts of the mountain, and they don't ride early or late.

Sunday December 19 2021. No line ups here, but it was 06:30 for an 08:15 first lift. We got 1st chair, these guys were amateurs.


Monday December 20 2021. Packed out all day on every slope. Not. People all go to the same places, so avoiding them is very easy, but you may need to use the grey cells a little.


The Duffy Lake Road was accessible again by the 22nd, so I escaped to Big White, which was commensurately quiet...
Friday December 24 2021 08:45 lift opening. That's the entire line up. We didn't need first chair as I was riding with the guy who opens the upper pistes;-) Even then, we ripped fresh tracks down the middle of some of the longer good pistes multiple times before it was done. Note that at this time of year the off piste snow depth was marginal (deep, but not deep enough to cover all the buried branches), not that we needed to go there.
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Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
I would guess it'll be busy busy as that is effectively holiday week for many, getting busier as the week progresses. Also unlikely to be worth the flight for 5 days skiing when snow may not be stellar unless you have other complementary plans.


Yes, would be a long way for 5 days but it's part of a bigger trip
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
philwig wrote:
It's likely to be busy.

Last year (pretty much your dates) was particularly hectic as the roads to everywhere else were closed, and at least some parts of the Vail Resorts empire didn't have a right lot of snow. So I would expect line ups, but they're efficient and polite, and you can avoid nearly all of them if that's a priority for you. Most people start/ end/ take a break at the same predictable times and in specific parts of the mountain, and they don't ride early or late.

Sunday December 19 2021. No line ups here, but it was 06:30 for an 08:15 first lift. We got 1st chair, these guys were amateurs.


Monday December 20 2021. Packed out all day on every slope. Not. People all go to the same places, so avoiding them is very easy, but you may need to use the grey cells a little.


The Duffy Lake Road was accessible again by the 22nd, so I escaped to Big White, which was commensurately quiet...
Friday December 24 2021 08:45 lift opening. That's the entire line up. We didn't need first chair as I was riding with the guy who opens the upper pistes;-) Even then, we ripped fresh tracks down the middle of some of the longer good pistes multiple times before it was done. Note that at this time of year the off piste snow depth was marginal (deep, but not deep enough to cover all the buried branches), not that we needed to go there.


Thanks, if only I could get the (now post teenage) kids out for first lifts rolling eyes You have given me a bit of food for thought though - we could potentially do more of a road trip and cover maybe 2 other BC resorts, and save for a longer Whistler stay til a bit more into the main season.
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@gbium,

Was fairly quiet in Whistler up to Christmas (we were there until 23rd or 24th I think) - this is fairly normal, before Christmas is not really a holiday week here or in the US, it is 26th onwards when it gets very busy, but this year was very cold so kept the crowds away a bit.
You should note that the Duffy Lake Road (a small road that many dont drive in winter, and significant detour), was the _only_ road open to the interior which may have significantly affected numbers in Big White as its heavily marketed to the lower mainland. That said, no idea what normal crowds there are like over the Christmas holidays, but have been there over a another holiday and it wasnt particularly busy.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@gbium,

Snow wise, the pre Christmas week could go either way.
The last few years have been good, but though I dont recall any year with no skiing at Christmas, some years things haven't really got going. I used to think it was a bonus if I was skiing off piste before Christmas (usually very easy to find good untracked pow that week if there was good snow), then I think 2019 was mostly core shots from skiing on piste at Blackcomb! 2020 no idea due to covid restrictions, but snow was good on the local hills. 2021very good.
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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!
Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
I would guess it'll be busy busy as that is effectively holiday week for many, getting busier as the week progresses.

???
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Not hard to understand is it? Lots of people take vacation in days leading up to Xmas, kids are off school etc etc particularly if they are trying to dodge the really busy week following.
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Without deliberate misunderstanding of obvious stuff the internet point scoring game would be much harder to play.

Here's another shot from December 19 2021.


Last year was a bit different from usual, but Whistler was busy in that pre-xmas week last year, and even busier around New Year 21/22, which wasn't the OP's question. So: more busy than a normal week, in my direct experience of both over a few decades. It's possible you could google down actual numbers, which would be fun.

If solitude is your thing, either drive somewhere small, or fly into Kamloops or Kelowna and bag the local hills, which will certainly be quieter.
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@philwig - quite like the idea of doing a bit of an interior tour - but probably need more days available that we'll have this time.

I think generally the view is - a bit busier than a normal week but not quite as busy as it will be the week after Very Happy - sound great not really after total solitude - we've just hit a few public holidays in the past (Canada and US resorts) and they tested my crowd tolerance a little.
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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.
Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
Not hard to understand is it? Lots of people take vacation in days leading up to Xmas, kids are off school etc etc particularly if they are trying to dodge the really busy week following.

That maybe your "understanding". But it isn't at all related to the real world!

You then went ahead and presented your "(mis)understanding" as fact.
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