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I'm looking into planning a trip later in the year and one possibility is a jaunt over to LA to see some mates and do some shopping and then up to Vancouver to see more friends and hopefully test out some newly acquired gear over the 1800 meters of vert that is Whistler-Blackcomb.

 

This is supposed to be an early season trip, so my question is from when is it worth going to Whistler? I would imagine it depends on the snowfall, but any advice from personal experience would be really helpful. I can get the "official" start off the website, but that doesn't mean it's worth going there then.

 

Info on favourites in the Whistler area also appreciated.

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Whistler-Blackcomb is UNBELIEVABLE!!

 

Truly, one of the greatest places to ski in the world...you can't ski it all in an entire week...its endless...

 

as for early season...up until new years it can be kind of shady...if there is a good nov. and it stays cold, you could be set, but if not, it could be thin, and don't expect all terrain to be open...

but, this is true for any mtn...you don't know what you are going to get until you are there...

 

but make the trip anyways...you won't be disappointed...

 

danz

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Never mind scouser, you could always tell us what you think of Lee Bowyer.

 

A Liverpool fan told me that Evertonians jumped Robbie Fowler a couple of times in the 'pool. Young Lee better keep his head down or the same will happen to him no doubt. No Cream for that boy.

 

Thanx danz. Yeah, the place looks absolutely massive.

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The word on Whistler/Blackcombe by Belle (a Canadaphile).

 

These resorts are awesome NoFakie - you would have a blast. Without a doubt incredible. Whistler/Blackcombe is sooo huge and takes quite some time to explore one side, let alone the other. Speedy chairs, gondolas and long runs down.

 

The complaints are:

 

* early season is very dicey. Because it is on the coast side of the Rockies it can get a fair bit of rain at that time of year. Also, the snow is not as dry (heavy) and you don't get that super crisp fresh air feeling you get in other resorts in Canada. That's most likely because it is nowhere near as damn cold say, as Lake Louise (where -30 is a warm day in Feb).

 

* the village is super commercial and has lost its Canadian charm - this is one of the biggest complaints....

 

* it is overrun by too many damn Australians. The Canadians have even coined a phrase for it: "Fnckin' Aussies, eh?" (I'm one myself so don't get defensive here people).

 

A lot of people rave about Mt Washington also in BC, which gets about 800cms a season. But it also doesn't start until December.

 

I have been to most of the Canadian resorts in the west, but the one that catches my eye is Lake Louise. Beautiful, quintessentially Canadian but a whole lot smaller than Whistler. If you are hardcore, then 2 days and you have done it. But you are close to a few other resorts which are also worth exploring.

 

My Canadian friends are simply raving about Kicking Horse resort which is a fairly new resort in Alberta (close to the BC border). Its been around for a couple of seasons I believe but is undergoing major, major development. This is where I am headed for the next o/s winter sojourn.

 

The advantage of these resorts is that they are east of the Rockies where it is a whole lot colder and drier. If November starts well, you are more or less set for the season. The disadvantage is that they are further to travel and a whole lot colder.

 

Check it out for yourself. Any Canadians here have any views?

 

http://www.mtwashington.bc.ca/summer/default.cfm http://www.snowbc.com/resorts/kickinghorse.shtml

 

For what it is worth, I have been both as a skier and a boarder - I'd say that skiers tend to be the main population at most resorts, but Whistler is definitely changing. Most resorts are friendly to both, although the Canadians like to button lifts (pomas/drags/t-bars etc) a wee bit too much for my liking.

 

'nough said. for now.

Belle

 

[This message has been edited by belle (edited 16 July 2002).]

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Wow thanks Belle!

 

That's just the kind of info I was looking for!

 

We took a trip through BC and down the Icefields Parkway in a camper van two years ago. We called in at Lake Louise, and yeah, it's really beautiful, as is Lake Moraine nearby. It was September so there was no snow to hit, but at least I managed to get a good deal on a board in Banff. My advice to anyone autocamping in Canada - check out if there's a train line near the camp site. We were afflicted three times, and those freight trains do have mighty horns on them. I didn't know what it meant at the time, but the first place we stopped at had a sign saying "YES WE KNOW ABOUT THE TRAINS!" on the counter.

 

Mt. Washington is on Vancouver Island, would you believe. Still, just goes to show how big that island is.

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NoFakie - Anything else, feel free to ask... I have clocked up some serious snow hours in Canada (lived in Banff on and off for 6 months)... absolutely adore the place and would call it home but for the fact that I live in Tokyo. Oh, and that I am Australian and not Canadian. But those minor details aside....

 

Who did you buy your board from? Rude Boys? Unlimited? That time of the year you must have got yourself a seriously good deal. I picked up my board and bindings et al. for about CA$400 - was seriously chuffed when I saw just the deck down in Oz for AU$1200.

 

Lake Morraine is not suprisingly closed in winter, so have seen it but briefly.. I have some awesome Whistler photos, see if I can dig up one or two as a treat for us all.

 

Why not delay your trip and go in Jan or Feb when the chances of the snow being awesome are a bit better?

 

Belle

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Cakehead - it depends where you go in Canada and whether it is a good season or not, but the average season is from mid November to April/May - but it can extend well either side of these months. The best time is Jan/Feb but it is also brutally cold. End of February is perfect, March you start to get into spring snow but it is still pretty good stuff.

 

Canadian resorts tend to groom runs more than the Japanese resorts do. As a result the snow cover can be quite packed on the main traffic areas, but elsewhere is simply magic!

 

Last season, Lake Louise had a number of areas which they opened up after blasting which were otherwise out of bounds. A very helpful employee stands at the marked entrances to these areas and keeps count of who goes in, and down below someone else counts who comes out... beautiful powder first thing in the morning... but a lot of hiking and true dedication required.

 

One heartfelt boarder friendly feature of most resorts is a sign at the start of runs which are flat and no good for boarders. Particularly the cat tracks. Manna from heaven.

 

Its worth noting that heli skiing and boarding in those resorts located in the national parks is verboten (so Lake Louise, Sunshine, Norquay and I think Radium Springs and resorts near Jasper are of no use if this is what you are after). Generally, you need to head to the resorts in BC if you want to go extreme.

 

Cheers

Belle

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Belle

 

The place I bought the board was a shop on the main drag on the same side as the big supermarket. I can't remember the name, but it was kind of square-shaped with the counter in the very middle. With it being September, they had lots of expensive mountain bikes in there. I got an ex-demo (same as new) Burton Balance for 400 Canadian, which was 28,000 yen at the time. We didn't stay in Banff long, but managed to take the cable car up the hill there. There was a hot spring on the road going up, but I bet it's very different to the ones in Japan.

 

We were hoping to get some gear Stateside before the season starts here, hence the timing of the trip. I fancy hitting the backcountry this year, so I'm after some quality gear that won't get too sweaty when hiking up. Another board wouldn't go amiss either. I've never skied or boarded in another country, so I'm quite excited about it all.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I used to live in Seattle and made my usual pilgrimiges up to Whistler. My take on it:

 

-Traditional opening of the season is Thanksgiving (American or canadian, American is ~nov 23rd, canadian is a bit earlier I think)

 

-Snow usually doesn't get good until xmas though. But it really varies year to year.

 

-Weather is tricky. There are basically 3 parts to each of whistler/blackcomb. It have can 3 different weather patterns (meaning it might be horrible at top but great in the middle and sunny at the bottom). Rain is also common.

 

-Snow is kinda wet. If you want dry flakey powder, go to the rockies.

 

-Mountains are really big. I think that's the big attraction. A slow-moderate cruising run from the top of blackcomb down to the base is about 30 minutes.

 

-Great little town/clubs/bars. (if you're young or young at heart ask a local about the beagle) Tons of nightlife. Great long island ice teas at the base of blackcomb.

 

Overall, it's fun but not my fave due to the snow/weather.

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Spired - if Whistler is not your favourite, where in the States would you recommend? I am planning a month boarding holiday to Kicking Horse in BC and Mt Washington on VI in Canada, but would also love to board in the US for a week as I have not been there yet. Thinking about Lake Tahoe, but would love to hear other people's suggestions.

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belle...

 

JACKSON HOLE! if you want to find out what extreme is, that is the place... would love to see a snowboarder tackle Corbeits Colouir!you might have to bring your skiis along...

 

seriously, Jackson Hole is the steepest mountain top-to-bottom anywhere in the US...4000+ vert. feet, make that SUSTAINED vert...

 

also, you could base out of Salt Lake City and hit Snowbird, Alta, Solitude, Canyons, Park City...and famous Utah powder...

 

if you end up at Tahoe, Kirkwood is the place to be...most of Tahoe doesn't have much elevation except kirkwood==better snow

 

those are my recs...enjoy!

 

danz

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danz right on the mark. Jackson Hole's quite extreme but a bit inconsistent because of weather though. It can be great or not so great.

 

My favorite all time...Alta in Utah. But it's skiiers only. It's got its fans and detractors. It has very slow lifts (intentionally so that it never gets too crowded and so that the snow never get too cruddy) and has cheap lift tickets compared with the rest of utah/colorado.

 

If you're a boarder, you can try Snowbird in Utah which is just next to Alta on the same mountain but I've never actually skiied it (since I always go to Alta if I have the chance).

 

Generally, Utah snow's my favorite but I haven't done any skiing in Colorado.

 

As far as Tahoe goes, the views of the lake are great but the snow is not as good--it's more wet than the rockies. Kirkwood's great, as is squaw valley. Heavenly's close to casinos but a poorly designed resort with subpar terrain.

 

Other places that I've heard are great but that I haven't tried yet include Sun Valley Idaho (as the name states, great sunny powder) and Taos New Mexico (supposed to be amazing and quite different).

 

Also, if you're going to spend time in seattle, I'd check out Mt. Baker. It's a little old-school as far as the facilities go but the snow and the mountain are quite amazing. (and quite scary if you're not experienced) It's probably the best powder in the northwest (1. mt baker 2. blackcomb 3. mt hood 4. crystal mtn). if you like steeps, try alpental near seattle...probably my fave for convenient skiing close to a city.

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"Snowboarder" magazine had a BC special in December 2001. I lent in to a friend and only got in back last week. It says that Kicking Horse has recently developed from what was originally just a one-chair operation called Whitetooth. It says that the first season there with the gondola was "plagued with a pathetic snow pack" but "there is a substantial amount of stellar terrain in and out of bounds". The pic they have is a long shot of a single guy going down a vast bowl, dreams-come-true stylee. It says that you should check out the Dogtooth Cafe and the Rude Boys Seven board shop if you're going. 2 3/4 hours from Calgary, by the sounds.

 

Official site

 

http://www.kickinghorseresort.com/winter/default.asp

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