Not impressed with Whistler/Blackcomb
My wife and I decided to go to Whistler for our honeymoon. This was pretty much my idea. Its been rated the top ski resort in world by just about every magazine and a lot of people here spoke highly about it. I was very stoked about the trip and was looking forward to hitting some nice pow.
We were in Whistler the week of Feb 28 till March 3rd and we boarded for 3 days. I am not looking to trash these 2 mountains nor am I trying to discourage anyone from going but I want to give my honest opinion/review.
I've never been to a more massive ski resort in my life. The mountains are just enormous. I was completely awestruck when I saw the mountains. From the trail maps it seems like there were more trails than I would ever get a chance to ride. My wife and I hit Blackcomb the first day and Whistler the next 2 days.
We did most of the blue trails on Blackcomb the first day. It seems like the green tails were a little crowded and some traversing was required. I started off on the Expressway and soon realized it was a waste of time. The blue trails such as Springboard and Ross's gold were a bit more enjoyable but there were patches of ice that you had to watch out for. Yes ice. I only thought this was a North East thing. Never the less we had a decent time on Blackcomb that day. I did enjoy the left side of the mountain and trails like the Ridge runner, Twist and shout and Rock n'Roll.
Whistler was a little more enjoyable but there were way too many trails that required traversing and moguls. All the Creekside trails had annoying moguls and were just not meant for snowboarders. All the bowls were completely traveled on with not a single area of fresh snow. I made the mistake of taking the Upper Peak to creek trail to the Lower Peak to Creek and had the bumpy ride all the way down. If the trail was nice and smooth it would have been a lot of fun. There were not a lot of people on this trail and I would have enjoyed it.
The trails on the left such as the Harmony were fun but if you went down Marmot you were stuck and had to get off your board and walk to the lift. You also had to Traverse up top on Harmony as well. Also these trails were quick and over before you knew it. The best run in my opinion was the upper peak to creek to Highway 86 but this required 3 lifts to get to from the bottom. It just seems like I was on the cot damn lift more than I was on the trails.
On our last day (Friday) the mountain was cloudy. A front came in and cover 2/3 of the mountain with a blanket blinding fog. This lasted till Sunday. You could only ride the middle of each mountain. The top and bottom of the mountains were covered in a fog so dense you could barely see 5 feet in front of you. It was a pretty hairy experience riding through that and we decided that it was best to call it a day after a few runs.
All in all I left Whistler/Blackcomb underwhelmed with no desire to ever return. Here were my major complaints:
1- Blackcomb snow conditions were not that good with lots of ice patches. (I thought this was supposed to be the best snow on the planet)
2- Several trails on both mountains required traversing and way too many trails with moguls.
3- If it gets a little cloudy it gets dangers and the trails with visibility get very crowded.
4- Too many lifts to get to the top. I don't care what people say their lifts and not fast moving.
5- Fun trails are short.
As I said, this is just my opinion. I guess I was to excited and got my hopes up too much about this resort that I ended up being disappointed. I strongly believe Whistler/Blackcomb is a skier's mountain and would suggest snowboarders save their money and go elsewhere.
Yeah, I don't need to hear that. You take that back! :laugh:
Seriously, I'm going up there with the family for a week on the 18th. I'm hoping that your issues were caused more by the crappy weather we've been having than anything else. The date range you speak of did in fact have a huge jump in the freezing level for a few days. Don't want to bum you out, but I think your timing may have been a bit off (If it helps at all, I could end up with the same ;) )
It is always a problem when something gets talked up to the point where your expectations are enormous, and the reality turns out to be at the level of simple mortals. I think there's a thread on right now where someone bought (or tried) a Never Summer and wasn't impressed.
Anyway, reading between the lines of disappointment, I appreciate the pointers of what to try and what to avoid.
You know what, if you go to Whistler without all the excitement and optimism I went with then I think you should be fine. I kinda blame myself. I was looking forward to this trip more than anything in the world and I ended up being disappointed.
Here is my advice; spend more time on Whistler. The conditions were better than Blackcomb and the trails were more enjoyable. Just be prepared to sit on a lift most of the day. I wish they would just invest money in a gondola that would take you from top to bottom rather than dealing with those lifts.
If it had of snowed five feet while you were there you probably would have been raving about it.
The mountains are huge, not sure about the catering to snowboarders with the trail lay out. Sometimes the natural features of the mountain make it what it is. I haven't ridden there so I can't really comment on it.
I do know that it's a Disney Land for traveling snow sports types. For some that is great, for others it's a turn off.
I have been to Whistler 3 times in my life. Once 15 years ago, 5 years ago and last year. I love this place, but the only thing that ruins it for me are the crowds. Any weather sport (surfing/skiing etc.) and your traveling has potential disappointments. I went to powder mountain this year as it was a family vacation and I had 4 young kids that needed lessons and I wanted a low key place. Scored the best day and week of the season last week. I may never go to Whistler again, but I'm glad I went there when I did. Each time was special, but I don't like being one of the many like cattle.
Any mountain with bad condtion is not going to be good no matter how the runs are laid out.
I think Whistler is rated number 1 resort because of the village and hospitality.
They are rated number 1 resort not number 1 snow. No mountain has powder for 6 month straight. Every mountain has good days and bad days, you happen to pick 3 bad days. I like Whistler for all the stuff you can do after skiing (restaurants, bars, movies etc). At other resorts you are stuck in a hotel rest of the nite. And when it snows the mountain is also awesome and the whole resort has good atmosphere and people. If you want to go somewhere just for the best snow condition, you should go to MT baker or Canadian Rockies, but you will have absolutely nothing to do after skiing.
There is only one problem with Whistler/Blackcomb: people.
They get a shit-ton of great snow (yes some is a little wet/heavy at times) that gets mobbed out so fricken quick by the massive weekend crowds and the hungry locals that is isn't worth it.
The marketing department at WB is genius and draws enormous crowds of holiday people just like the OP.
Sure the terrain is amazing, and if you stay away from groomed and marked trails you can score... but it's unlikely and very much more likely you will discover huge icy mogul hell bumps... oh well
My 2cents :D
To top it all off the Hotel we were staying in the Fairmont Chateau Whistler stuck my wife and I in a shitty room with 2 queen beds. I told the asshole receptionist that this was our honeymoon and asked him to please give us a King size bed he told me that wasn't happening and to deal with the room we got. Assholes. You know what fuck Whistler/Blackcomb!!! The more I think about this trip the angrier I get.
If I could take back this honeymoon and go to a tropical resort instead I would do it in a heartbeat.
I'm truly sorry for your experience man.
My gf and I have had *some* good days up there but have also been lucky with having a guy we know (with about 40yrs WB experience) show us around some of the stashes.
That said, we were up there on monday and were just thoroughly pissed off by many different incidents during the day. Decided then and there to not bother again.
I did get a good drop on one of the horseshoes over on harmony which would've been the highlight of my day... other than that, nah...
Hope you can find somewhere to head to make up for it. Plenty great places left to see :thumbsup:
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