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Big White or Silver star or Sun peak for christmas ski trip

Petaling Jaya...
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Big White or Silver star or Sun peak for christmas ski trip

We are a family of 5 with children aged 11 to 17. Only the children ski. We are trying to decide between whistler, sun peak, big white and silver star. We been to whistler before and absolutely love it but lodging during christmas seems really expensive. Please advice:

1. which of these resort has a easier and safer drive? we cant afford to fly with 5 of us but dont mind public transport that is cheaper if driving is really hazardous.

2. which of these has more room, less queue for beginner skier ( third time skiing).

3. which of these has lodging that is real close to the beginners lift, like less than 5 mins with normal shoes or maybe ten mins with ski boots etc.

4. which of these has more things to do for the non skier, ie the parents?

5. how do they compared to whistler?

Thank you very much for your time.

Newcastle, Australia
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1. Re: Big White or Silver star or Sun peak for christmas ski trip

We have stayed at all 4 of these resorts In dec/ jan period. Flew though and didn't drive.

Sun peaks is the largest mountain and village outside whistler and the prettiest village of the remaining three. It has great runs for beginners but has the lowest snowfall in jan. We did a great x country ski day there and a morning on some skidoos.

Big whites village is very scattered and silver stars village is unique but very small. All three are heaps smaller than whister and have a significant different feel - much better ski in and out than whistler. Still packed with us Aussies.

Big white would have the better activities for kids.

Silver stars accommodation prices over Xmas are pretty expensive due to the

smaller village.

Lift lines are 5 min max at any resort.

Not sure about beginners areas as we can ski pretty well. It's better to stay as close to central village as possible and very hard not to be within 10 min walk any where.

Pick either big white or sun peaks.

BC
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2. Re: Big White or Silver star or Sun peak for christmas ski trip

I've been to all three of these places, but it has been a few years now, so I will leave the question about non-skiing activities for someone else to hopefully answer for you. Check the websites, they may give good info.

Big White has a lot of accommodation options that are very close to the beginner runs. We've also stayed at Silver Star and been very close, as well. The one time I stayed at Sun Peak, it was with friends who had booked a large house and it was a long walk away, but I'm not sure about closer things, there is the hotel right close by, which is nice. My hubby and two sons stayed there one time just before Christmas two years ago, when prices were low.

At Christmas all prices are the the highest of the season and I think that quite a few places might have a five night minimum booking, so check into that.

As far as the driving goes, from Vancouver you will take the same highway as far as Merritt for all three. From there, you would continue on Highway 5 (Coquihalla) to Kamloops and onward for Sun Peaks; or, turn off onto the Connector--Highway 97C-- to Kelowna for both Big White or Silver Star.

The drive to Sun Peaks is a bit shorter than the other two. For all three it is a high mountain road and conditions could be treacherous in the worst situation. Without snow or with only light snow it is fine, there is a lot of traffic travelling all the time. You will want to ensure that the rental car has proper snow tires.

As these are ski resorts they get a LOT of snow, and once you are close to the resort, there is a good chance that it will be snowing. Comparing Big White and Silver Star, the road to SS from Kelowna is a much easier drive than the road to BW, but a bit farther; most people from Kelowna go to BW. My son always got carsick on that winding mountain road to BW and on one trip we saw four cars off the road.

I think that you would be happy in any of these resorts. I know Big White best and can say that it is really beautiful and is the perfect winter wonderland. The Christmas season is special up there and there are lots of celebration type things going on. The Kids' ski school is great, my kids always enjoyed their lessons and time there.

good luck!

Petaling Jaya...
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3. Re: Big White or Silver star or Sun peak for christmas ski trip

Thank you so much. It is hard to tell from the big white trail map, is the village at the valley surrounded by the various lifts or is the village at the mountain top with the lift and gondola running down? Looking at the green beginner run, I would think the plaza chair with the hummingbird run will be a suitable beginner run for us? How about the telus park chair? I am thinking of ptarmigan inn, stonebridge, stonegate or White foot, White crystal? Are they all ski in and ski out and very close to the beginners run?

We have from mid dec to first week of Jan was thinking of going to somewhere else first and do the ski resort last but it sounded like there will be plenty of snow even in mid dec right?

Thanks a lot for helping out.

BC
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4. Re: Big White or Silver star or Sun peak for christmas ski trip

<<is the village at the mountain top with the lift and gondola running down? >>

Yes. From this area you can ski right down the beginner's run and then come back up on the Plaza chair. The Telus Park Chair is for the snowboarders and the tricks that they do.

The gondola goes down from the village to the Happy Valley area, this is a newer area, built up in the past 9 years. The gondola serves the big parking lot and the skating rink and the accommodations in that area. Also the tubing, my kids loved the tubing!

I always preferred the actual village area, but I believe someone (a visitor with kids) who posted another time said that she thought Happy Valley better....I dunno, I guess I never liked the change!

A good, easy green run is Serwa's. It is reached via the Ridge Rocket Chair, and it is a much longer run than Hummingbird. You would like it. Some of the green runs have snowboarders going really fast on them and this always made me nervous, but there weren't very many on Serwas, which is one reason I liked that run. Another I liked is Mille's Mile, reached from the Black Forest chair.

All of your accommodation choices are central and ski in ski out. Not all will be suitable for a family of five, though.

Regarding snow, well you just never know. The first year I moved here, 10 years ago, Big White opened in October! Hard to believe....Some years it has been pretty poor/not much snow even past Christmas time. Although opening date is usually early December, that doesn't mean that all runs and chair lifts are open, and if not much snow, then people would use their old skis in case of hitting rocks.

Considering how far you are travelling, I think you should put the skiing at the end of your trip. It is really nice to do Christmas at Big White, but the rooms do cost more for the week between Xmas and New Year's.

Petaling Jaya...
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5. Re: Big White or Silver star or Sun peak for christmas ski trip

Thank you so much for your help. I have not been able to get a response of our many queries from big White by e mail. I think they are closed for the season. I am so pleased you gave us more options than the hummingbird though the serwes and mille mile looked intimidating on a two dimentional map as it did not show the elevation. Probably it is more length rather than height!

Sorry for being ignorant, may I ask about ski in ski out lodging? Does that mean one can put on the ski boots and just ski out from the condo, say, using the hummingbird then up using the ridge rocket chair to get up and down again by serwes then by by plaza chair and when get down from plaza chair can ski in to the condo if desired rather than walk back in ski boots or change to normal shoe and carrying the boots back?

Port Moody, Canada
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6. Re: Big White or Silver star or Sun peak for christmas ski trip

ski in ski out should mean a very short walk inboots or sometimes it is literally put on your skis and ski out ( and back) We've stayed several times at a house in Silver start that was right beside the Silver Queen chair.. the donwhiller's put on thier boots..walk out a very short distance and then put on skis and jump on the chair...when coming back they literally have skiied right to the door. another place we stayed in Silver Star was beside the T bar.. again skiers literally skied home to the to back door, took off skis and jumped into hot tub ( well also took off clothes on porch before getting into tub!) but in this case they had to walk about 1 block to the village chair to ski "out" . ....ski in/out would generally mean you don't have to take a shuttle or walk more than a very short distance in boots.

BC
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7. Re: Big White or Silver star or Sun peak for christmas ski trip

Serwas is definitely easy, I was a real beginner and am not athletic at all, and I was doing that run fairly early on. It has one tiny spot that is a bit steeper (ok, skiers would laugh at me for saying that) which would worry me, and then you'd be past that and carry on. I am sure that you are better than I was for my entire first season. Millie's Mile is steeper than Serwas, but it is so nice there in the trees and usually wouldn't have anyone else on it.

A long easy run is Ogo-slow, but the problem with it is that it leads you to the Westridge chair or parking lot, and then you have to get down from the top of that chair. They call it a green run from up there, but it is harder and very narrow (eg. I was worried about falling off).

The above is exactly how I would describe ski in ski out.

Yes, Big White is closed for the season, so it may take longer to get back to you. Actually even when we have made reservations in the middle of the season, it takes them awhile to get back to us, like two days or so.

I saw on their web site that there is a phone number to call for next year's bookings, so someone is working on it. Maybe try phoning and ask them, or else you will have to be patient...

Petaling Jaya...
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8. Re: Big White or Silver star or Sun peak for christmas ski trip

Thank you so much for the description of ski in ski out. I would presumed it will depend on the weather and that it may not be ski in ski out if there is not much snow on the ground? Also, the property may be sking out to a more advanced or intermediate trail rather than on the run of the beginner trail, right? So need to be careful to choose one that ski out to a beginner trail? The trails are interconnecting and very confusing, will it be marked with it's name like a road?

If we stay, say in the village, but want to ski the mille mile run, will there be shuttle bus or do we need to either walk quite long there or drive there, i noted there is a car park near the black forest chair. So far we have not considered staying out of village, thinking that all ski in ski out are in the village. Looking at the big White map, am i right to say that we may even be able to choose a place, say, at feathertop, then ski out using the Mille mile run? Or a place at snow pine estate then ski out to the swere trail?

We don't ski, only the three children ski, being young they are a bit fearless which worry us so I am trying to identify where they can safely ski.

Last question, is the happy valley on a higher elevation than the village or vice versa?

BC
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9. Re: Big White or Silver star or Sun peak for christmas ski trip

Oh, there will be enough snow on the ground for ski in, ski out. You would only need a bit of snow for that, Big White gets something like 27 feet of snow in a season! The reason that a lot of snow is better, though, is because there are big rocks that need to be covered by snow. So they measure the "base" and it can be anywhere from 3 feet to 6 feet, obviously when it is 200 centimetres, (6 feet) all the rocks are covered thoroughly.

The nice thing about Big White is that it is relatively safe for the kids, not so big that they could get lost very easily. Although as a mom, I understand concerns....I would never let my youngest out of my sight while we were there. There are always ski patrol around to help out, if they run into problems. If, for example, they broke a ski on a run, ski patrol would bring them down in a toboggan or on the skidoo and look after them. My hubby did ski patrol for years and sometimes kids would just get tired and not want to ski down the hill, and they would be taken care of.

Yes, there are some signs naming the runs. Everything leads downhill and most runs end up at the Village or at the bottom of the Ridge Rocket so it isn't too easy to get lost. The Bullet chair is easy to get to from the Village, it is flat or a little uphill and you can get to it with your skis on. But you are right, to get to the Black Forest Chair, it is more complicated, you have to go up and then ski over to the Black Forest chair via Short cut. You won't need any shuttles or cars, you can ski to all areas as they are all connected in some manner.

I don't know Feathertop, it is new since I was last there, but it does look like you could ski out to Black Forest from there. Likewise, you can ski out from Snow Pines, but from what I remember it is a bit harder--not more difficult, just further, more flat terrain, etc. I almost bought a place at Snow PInes, so checked into that at the time. My opinion is that it is nicest to stay as close to the Village as possible.

Happy Valley is at the bottom. This is where cars drive in and park when they come for the day. You continue driving and head uphill if you are parking at your accommodation.

Petaling Jaya...
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10. Re: Big White or Silver star or Sun peak for christmas ski trip

Hi we have narrowed down our preferred choice to stone bridge but both the units that we enquired are already fully booked? Wow I thought it will be such a long time till Christmas. I am looking at the woodcutter cabin at the moment, it is a bit far from the village compared to White foot and White crystal, I think, but the interior looked nicer. The people at the big White told us it is ski to and ski from but the stone bridge is ski in and ski out? Aren't they the same thing?

Any comment on the woodcutter cabin? We prefer low than high rising hotel/ apartment type.