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Whistler in February

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Miami, Florida
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Whistler in February

Debating on Whistler in early February 2014. Do they get a good amount of snow in February? My husband and I are looking for a winter vacation and have never been skiing or snow boarding, in fact he's never seen snow so I am hoping we will catch some snow fall. Is Whistler good for beginners? Any suggestions on where to stay (hotels please no townhomes) and what to do would be apprecaited.

Seattle, Wa
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1. Re: Whistler in February

Yes, there will be lots of snow, more than almost anywhere. I think Whistler is very good for beginners because they have a designated beginner halfway up the mountain, in its own area, so you aren't stuck at the bottom with no views and in danger of being mowed down by other skiers as you are at most resorts. They also have an excellent ski school. And, you get the full ski resort experience there, so even if you decide skiing isn't for you, there are other things to do.

As for your other basic questions, look at the Top Questions to the right.

Vancouver, BC
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2. Re: Whistler in February

First, I have a review of whistler:

tripadvisor.ca/ShowUserReviews-g154948-d2196…

Whistler is about massive fall line skiing (eg. peak to creek), high alpine bowls and rather heavy west-coast powder. To be honest, a resort of this magnitude is wasted on beginners because you’re paying for the entire resort, but your abilities limit you to a very tiny portion of the terrain. As a beginner, you will often be on slopes that are mid-mountain or lower, often crowded and with groomed or crud conditions; additionally, the main complain at Whistler is weather: it is often foggy, snowing, bulletproof hardpack, or worse, raining; destination travelers risk getting locked into a week of less than ideal conditions. You can’t control the weather, but you can choose a resort that offers some greater guarantees of consistent cold weather. If you are visiting Whistler for other reasons like night life, then your decision will be easier, but if you are just looking to spend a romantic few days learning to ski with your partner, then I’d suggest Sun Peaks, Silver Star, or Big White. They are more intimate resorts with much smaller acreage and offer many amenities within close proximity to your lodging, and they’ll offer packages that are extremely reasonable compared to the lodging and lift deals at Whistler/Blackcomb. If you do go to Whistler, then my first lodging choice is Creekside: Evolution, First Tracks or Legends. In the village, stay close to the lifts Pan Pacific Mountainside, Westin, or Crystal. On the Blackcomb Bench: Fairmont.

Miami, Florida
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3. Re: Whistler in February

Great feedback! Thank you!!!

Seattle, Wa
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4. Re: Whistler in February

Given that the OP is coming from Miami, I don't think those interior BC resorts would be a logical other choice. I also wouldn't steer them toward the smaller purpose built resorts with few amenities, since beginning skiers aren't likely to spend all day every day skiing. More logical other choices would be Sun Valley, Aspen, Park City...real towns, interesting places with a good variety of things to do.

I think Whistler's supposedly bad weather is very exaggerated. Anyone that travels to ski regularly knows that weather is always a crapshoot, and I've had such bad conditions at so many resorts that supposedly are very consistant (I had awful hardpack at Sun Peaks, for example--really, they get hardly any snow; And don't get me started on the bad conditions I've had in Colorado and Utah). Whistler actually rarely disappoints me, and I'm up there 4 trips a year.

Vancouver, BC
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5. Re: Whistler in February

I agree. The US interior would be a better bet for an introduction to snowboarding or skiing. Whistler does offer a lift rate just for the magic chair learning area on Blackcomb, so that might be the best option to avoid the full lift rate of $110 per day. I mention the interior because it is a totally different experience to Whistler. The resorts are smaller and offer accommodations that are literally ski to your door; you're on the hill, not at the bottom of it. Most properties in Whistler require a short walk to the lifts, while many on the bench and village north are a 5-10 minute hike or bus/car commute. If the words Fraggle Rock, CBC trees, Khyber's, Peak to Creek, Grey Zone, Flute, Spanky's, or any name ending with the word "bowl" don't resonate with you, then you'll be happy riding any groomed slope at any resort. Save Whistler for your intermediate advanced lessons in a few years.

Vancouver
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6. Re: Whistler in February

BellaM9:

Well...here's my thoughts. :-)

As a beginner, I suspect you won't be skiing every day. In fact, as an experienced skier, I can't even ski every day of a ski week. So, wouldn't you like to be in a resort where you can do many other things as well? Like....zip lining, snowmobiling, tubing. All in the snow. Not to mention, a place that offers a gazillion options when it comes to restaurants, pubs, live music, spas, day time sleigh rides, night time sleigh rides, a nightly fire and ice show, did I mention the shopping yet?

Sorry to disagree drumz, but the last time I was at Silver Star it was bullet proof - and I mean blue. When we were at Sun Peaks, there were very limited options for adult entertainment, although I would agree that it is a great place for families.

I would not recommend staying on the Creekside - the backside of the mountain miles away from the village where you are isolated unless you have a car. In terms of accommodation in the village, there are many options from boutique style hotels like Sundial and Adara, mid-sized hotels like the Holiday Inn, right up to the large style hotels will all the amenities like Pan Pacific Mountainside and Weston, and further to the 5 stars like Four Seasons. Ever experience sitting outside in a hot tub when it's snowing? You will love it!

I agree, Whistler will be more expensive overall, but will also offer so much more in terms of variety of things to do and places to eat. Even as a beginner you can ride the lifts all the way to the top and enjoy the Peak to Peak gondola, the world's longest free spanning Gondola, stretching between Blackcomb to Whistler mountains.

I agree with drumz that if you are just wanting to go to a ski hill for the purpose of trying skiing then any small hill will do. In fact, I would suggest assuming you are in Florida, you just need to fly north to Vermont for that. Try Killington. But if you are looking for more than just skiing, then Whistler is a great place and you would thoroughly enjoy it.

Edited: 2:07 am, September 20, 2013
Miami, Florida
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7. Re: Whistler in February

Great feedback! Thank you!!!

I eas thinking Vermont but want some nightlife. Spa treatments would be great but not a deal breaker. I'm going to look up killington today. I have been to Park City but not to ski and my husband wasn't there. This will be our first trip away from our baby that was born this year so we're looking for something that has it all if possible. I really appreciate all of the feedback and suggestions.

Vancouver
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for San Jose del Cabo
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8. Re: Whistler in February

I've been to both Park City and Killington. Both are great mountains and if you are looking for "powder" you can't beat Park City. But beginners don't tend to seek out powder...just groomed runs. Neither have the night life that Whistler has.

Everything from the Longhorn for the "party hearty"

http://www.longhornsaloon.ca/

Buffalo Bills for the slightly more "mature clubbers"

http://www.buffalobills.ca/

To the down home friendly pub scene of Dubhln Gate

http://www.dubhlinngate.com/

And many, many in between including brew pubs, piano bars, and a whole scene for 20 somethings (which I try to avoid :-))

With regard to spas, there are many, but one that stands out is the Scandinave

http://www.scandinave.com/en/whistler/

Good luck on your selection. No matter where you go, I'm sure you'll have a great time.

Vancouver, Canada
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9. Re: Whistler in February

Whistler is amazing but not the place to learn or have your "first look at snow". The vertical and massive terrain, plus crowds, will probably overwhelm you. I would recommend BC interior mountain resorts instead...Silver Star, Big White, Sun Peaks, etc

Shropshire, England
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10. Re: Whistler in February

We learnt to ski in Whistler and absolutely loved it. Admittedly you will only use a small part of the terrain but the ski school is excellent. We were a family group aged from 16 to 50 and all first timers. Some of the party were skiing blue runs after a few days in ski school - some of the party never ventured from the learner area but we all agreed that the facilities and service were excellent. Please do not dismiss Whistler as a place to start your life as a skier!