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Author Topic: Whistler Trip Planner - to maximize time/skiing/$  (Read 10665 times)
avajane
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Whistler Trip Planner - to maximize time/skiing/$
« on: 12/10/15, 05:22 PM »

Since I started putting up Whistler trip reports, I've gotten an increasing number of requests for more information. I'm not going to write a book, or tell where every side country secret, is but I do have quite a bit of hard earned information to share. I first skied the old Whistler in the Spring of 1975. I came back in the 90's and them became a Season Pass holder around the year 2,000. I try to ski there a week or more there each month. It is a wonderful, large, complicated area that does take some getting used to. I have often heard of horror stories like long lift lines, traffic jams, bad visibility. Luckily, most difficulties are avoidable with proper planning and flexibility.

Drive Timing/Gear/Tickets/Boarder Crossing

Do not go on Friday afternoon at 3:00! You will get in a traffic jam getting to Everett and Marysville, at the boarder and thru Vancouver. Leave by 11-1 and you will be much better off. Or......leave late if you are not afraid of driving in the dark. There is not a high mountain pass to go over and most of the time the road is great.

Rent your gear ahead of time somewhere else! Don't take a friend without gear that wants to rent at Creekside. You will waste your morning and then get stuck in a Gondola line and be pissed. Treat this as a big deal which it is! Be prepared and don't expect to do things in the morning other than getting to the lift 15 minutes early. If you get there early on Friday then by all means rent gear there.

Get an Edge Pass online and pick it up Friday afternoon in Creekside, Below the GLC in Whistler Village, or in the Blackcomb Daylodge. Early season lines will kill you on Saturday morning.

Dont go home Sunday afternoon from the Village. Everybody else is doing that! It's always a traffic jam. Stay till Monday morning or drive home late, or at least park in Creekside to avoid most of the jam.

Go the Truck crossing every time and stop at the last Duty Free and buy me a bottle for giving you this advise! Follow the Blue overhead sign that says business or Duty Free or something and get a cheap liter of booze. Cut back and merge in and you will never wait more than 20 -25 minutes. No Duty Free at Peace Arch. Lynden takes at least 15 minutes longer. Go back via Lynden only if you can save an 45 minutes worth of boarder wait.

Listen to AM 1130 in Vancouver for traffic and border reports.
[b]
Early Season and Storms
[/b]

Whistler Blackcomb is big but gets small in a hurry if the Alpine lifts are closed. They are almost always closed after a large dump of snow that continues into the weekend. If the mid mountain has lots of snow (200 cm) then you ski the trees down low. If the mid mountain is still short of snow you will be hating life and wishing you didn't spend the money! The upper lifts gradually open during December but can't be counted on. The trees cannot be counted on until mid January lots of times. Last year trees were almost never an option. The Alpine is so large that they cannot open when there is bad avalanche danger and you also have to follow what the signs say. If it says closed they will pull your pass! If it says temporary boundary you are at your own risk and can hike or ski rocks. I advised people not to go up last weekend and I think the Alpine stayed closed the whole time. Crystal Chair is not the Alpine.

Beginners

Whistler is not a beginners area. There are very few flat, learning style areas. Whistler mid station Gondola is best. As this is low elevation the weather and snow are not always good. Teach people on Daisy at Stevens Pass. You will lose your new girlfriend telling her that there are lots of green runs up there. Whistler is great for intermediates and there is always a cat track to get down. Conditions in the Alpine, however, are often brutal and require advanced skills. Whistler is best for very good skiers that can follow the best snow, sun, and visibility wherever that leads. Beginners are also intimated by being in such a large place. Day skiing in Washington is great!

Tickets

Buy an Edge Pass! Shell used to give deals and sometimes REI or Costco may have passes.

Gotta go to a dinner party now but will come back with more stuff later.

Brian
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Brian Izdepski, Facebook TAY
haggis
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Re: Whistler Trip Planner - to maximize time/skiing/$
« Reply #1 on: 12/11/15, 11:09 AM »

Awesome info Brian!  Agree with it based on my limited experience last weekend.  We travelled up alpine start leaving Seattle at 4am which was awesome except driving to Squamish in the rain, that sucked.  Why are there no reflectors in the middle of the road, brutal visibility.  Found out the hard way about guest services and edge card, that was not good.  If you have all your gear and tickets ready then the 4am start is great and saves on a nights accommodation.  Leave late Sunday, wasted 15mins until we parked up at a bar for dinner and waited it out.

Wish the alpine was open because you are right, it got tracked within minutes and was busy although we skipped the long lines and had 5 mins max wait.  Still fun, but the full mountain with touring potential is where its really at.

Thanks for your replies over prior to last weekend, you've been our man on the ground!
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avajane
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Re: Whistler Trip Planner - to maximize time/skiing/$
« Reply #2 on: 12/11/15, 01:13 PM »

I have a friend there now skiing 7th heaven I think. I'm on my way for another week.
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Brian Izdepski, Facebook TAY
johndonee
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Re: Whistler Trip Planner - to maximize time/skiing/$
« Reply #3 on: 01/22/16, 12:02 PM »

Great advice on this thread! Along the lines of saving $$ I want to sleep in my truck when I'm there next weekend for two nights. Can anyone recommend a good place for that? Ideally someplace where a) I can leave the truck for 3 days and b) is within walking distance of the gondolas. If walking distance isn't achievable where is the inexpensive day parking lot at?

Thanks!
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avajane
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Re: Whistler Trip Planner - to maximize time/skiing/$
« Reply #4 on: 01/25/16, 03:58 PM »

I think you should send Silas Wild a personal message. I'm sure he's slept in every parking lot west of Colorado Springs. I do know that they have a campground NE of town.
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Brian Izdepski, Facebook TAY
johndonee
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Re: Whistler Trip Planner - to maximize time/skiing/$
« Reply #5 on: 01/26/16, 10:09 AM »

I think you should send Silas Wild a personal message. I'm sure he's slept in every parking lot west of Colorado Springs. I do know that they have a campground NE of town.
Thanks!
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pipedream
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Re: Whistler Trip Planner - to maximize time/skiing/$
« Reply #6 on: 01/26/16, 02:06 PM »

Whistler prohibits overnight parking in the day lots during the winter, but I've seen cars left overnight in the back of Lot 5 (nearest to the creek) as well as against the walls in Lot 4. Maybe they got tickets, but they sure weren't towed. In the non-winter months, you can park for up to 72 hours for free in Lot 4 & 5.

The Conference Center and Library garages offer $5 overnight parking, but I don't know how they'd handle someone sleeping in their vehicle: https://www.whistler.ca/services/transportation/parking

You can park on the even-numbered sides of the streets in the subdivisions between 5pm-9am M-F (and from 5pm F until 9am M), but those spots are hard to come by and I wonder if the RCMP would pay you a visit. Your best bet is probably looking for something just outside of town (e.g. a TH, sno-park equivalent, etc.). I second the suggestion to PM Silas.

As for day parking suggestions in Whistler, depending on when you get up there in the morning and where you want to ski, I suggest parking either at Creekside or Base II. The former gets you on the hill faster and helps you beat traffic on the way out (assuming you skip apres). The latter allows you to ski right back to your car, a rare delicacy at Whistler.
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Moral of story is don't ski when you can snowboard
Jim Oker
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Re: Whistler Trip Planner - to maximize time/skiing/$
« Reply #7 on: 01/26/16, 03:04 PM »

I have a vague memory that Zap, who is known to do some ski-bumming via camper van, may have some thoughts on this matter too - might be worth a PM to him as well.
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bfree32
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Re: Whistler Trip Planner - to maximize time/skiing/$
« Reply #8 on: 02/14/16, 03:22 PM »

Any tips on hotels that allow cancellation within a few days for no (or minimal) fee? Hotels are looking quite full this year (due to the exchange rate, I assume) so I'd like to pre-book if possible, but everything I'm seeing is full charge if cancelling within 14 or 21 days. (I think the reason is obvious, but if not: I have flexibility on the timing and don't want to go if conditions will suck).
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avajane
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Re: Whistler Trip Planner - to maximize time/skiing/$
« Reply #9 on: 02/14/16, 05:26 PM »

Book it! The odds of things really sucking up there when there's already a huge base in the middle of winter are quite slim. I'm sure you know it, but it is a big mountain that has north facing, south facing, west facing, east facing slopes from 2,200' to 7,400'. You will find something good somewhere. That's one of the reasons it's full. I just got back from 10 days in Colorado and we found very little powder, we had freeze - thaw conditions - but still had a great time because we had our choice of several areas, and tried to be at the right place in the right time.
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Brian Izdepski, Facebook TAY
ddk
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Re: Whistler Trip Planner - to maximize time/skiing/$
« Reply #10 on: 02/14/16, 10:47 PM »

If your willing to commute a little - Squamish would be the best possible last minute...even Whistler reservations can get you last minute rooms...I didnt do my last trip final till three days prior to arrival...but then I'm willin to stay in a nice room once in a while...though the basement parking is kinda expensive these days. Squamish is only 30 minutes out...or options can be found north in Pemberton - much less traffic from that direction.
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oftpiste
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Re: Whistler Trip Planner - to maximize time/skiing/$
« Reply #11 on: 02/16/16, 01:43 PM »

^^^^ and you an stay in Squamish for WAY cheaper.
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BRING BACK PNW BRIT!!!!
BRING BACK PNW BRIT!!!!
BRING BACK PNW BRIT!!!!
BRING BACK PNW BRIT!!!!
avajane
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Re: Whistler Trip Planner - to maximize time/skiing/$
« Reply #12 on: 03/17/16, 11:10 PM »

Hard earned research this week revealed the following...

Go clubbing on Tuesdays at Tommy Africa's
Go clubbing on Wednesdays at Buffalo Bills
Thursday's might be Garfinkels (someone else can fill that in)
Go after 1030-1100
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Brian Izdepski, Facebook TAY
avajane
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Re: Whistler Trip Planner - to maximize time/skiing/$
« Reply #13 on: 05/24/16, 01:32 PM »

Whistler/Blackcomb Alpine closed for season. Jersey Cream and Cat Skinner are only lifts open.

I just made another complaint that Whistler isn't open in the late Springtime like it used to be. No big surprise that 7th Heaven melted out with its bad exposure. It's been a great season up north but it would be nice to have others help try to convince them that we should still be skiing the great north facing bowls at Whistler.
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Brian Izdepski, Facebook TAY
avajane
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Re: Whistler Trip Planner - to maximize time/skiing/$
« Reply #14 on: 11/24/16, 06:47 PM »

Big opening confirmed. Ski pole deep new over some base. I'll be there tomorrow to see for myself, but I already know its a great opening with the potential for some high- side country skinning - and "first tracks" skiing.
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Brian Izdepski, Facebook TAY
avajane
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Re: Whistler Trip Planner - to maximize time/skiing/$
« Reply #15 on: 04/02/17, 12:19 PM »

Epic Pass's at Whistler will be game changers for anyone who could ride about 7 or more days at Whistler or other Vail resorts.

$859 US gets you a full pass for Whistler and lots of Tahoe, Colorado, and Utah.
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Brian Izdepski, Facebook TAY
avajane
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Re: Whistler Trip Planner - to maximize time/skiing/$
« Reply #16 on: 11/16/17, 09:03 AM »

Edge cards and Epic passes are only on sale until November 19th. After that, options are much more limited. You can still get advance purchase discounts, but if you walk up to a ticket window on the day of your trip - the price will be very high.
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Brian Izdepski, Facebook TAY
Charlie Hagedorn
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Re: Whistler Trip Planner - to maximize time/skiing/$
« Reply #17 on: 11/16/17, 04:44 PM »

Thanks for the reminder!
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avajane
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Re: Whistler Trip Planner - to maximize time/skiing/$
« Reply #18 on: 11/16/17, 05:17 PM »

I’m up for a long weekend starting Tomorrow! I just say that they have 74” at Pig Alley. That is usually a mid December total in a good year! Trees start getting good and safe at 100 inches! I’m stoked!!!
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Brian Izdepski, Facebook TAY
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