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Cormier 10-10-2012 04:11 PM

Fernie or Whistler in December?
Hey guys

So the Girlfriend and I are Intermediate snowboarders, the gf hasn't been to a big mountain before. Looking at a few destinations this winter... just looking for some input!

My top two choices are Whistler or Fernie. We're looking at going in early December so I was wondering about the condition differences between the two. I've heard Whistler can get rain early in the season... I don't want to book and wish we went later but I want to avoid the x-mas season rush and it would be easier for us to get holiday time while we're still in 2012. Also wondering about accommodations there, nightlife, trail availability, etc, really any info!

We were initially just looking at driving to Tremblant but western destinations are not unaffordable compared to QC

We were gonna book relatively soon as theres crazy start-of-season package deals

Any tips or experience would be great!

futurefunk 10-10-2012 04:17 PM

Go to Fernie. Beginning of December is early for Whistler. It's always hit or miss but why take the risk if you have two options available.

atr3yu 10-10-2012 04:40 PM

23 Attachment(s)
I live fairly close to Fernie and usually attend a Judo competition there early Dec. I don't think I have made that drive once where it hasn't been puking snow over there. Fernie is like right on the Western edge of the Rockies and therefore when storms roll in from the west coast they kinda just hang there getting stuck on the Rockies. So it just dumps there for days sometimes.

Lamps 10-10-2012 04:55 PM

I went Whistler Dec 15 last year as an intermediate boarder and had a fantastic time. The high alpine was open, but only it hadn't been open really long. Whistler is top tier in North America, in terms of terrain and the village scene.

I'd go as late in December as you can but before Xmas and it's really a bargain. Early december is pushing it but mid december or later is a great value and still pretty good snow.

Whistler has amazing deals on if you book by October 15, you can stay for example at the fairmont for I think 199 per night and can that bundled with a cheap flight. The fairmont is a great location, ski in/ski out, pools, bar service while you sit in the hot tub, great atmosphere, and so on.

For a first trip for your girlfriend out west I'd say go whistler (and strongly recommend the fairmont at current prices) unless you're hunting perfect snow conditions in which case you'd sacrifice the various other benefits of Whistler for the snow.

tesla 10-12-2012 04:29 AM

Whistler is great, but it gets TOO crowded during December due to holidays.

Cormier 10-12-2012 08:14 AM

Ya that's why we were looking a going like dec 3-8 or something, shouldn't be too busy then right?

Lamps 10-12-2012 08:54 AM


Originally Posted by Cormier (Post 525786)
Ya that's why we were looking a going like dec 3-8 or something, shouldn't be too busy then right?

Whistler's not that busy mid-december - everybody's saving their cash for Xmas, which is why they have these massive promotions and deals, to encourage people to go there. It's also relatively quiet in the week or two after new years.

Looking at your dates, especially if you are going to be there during the week as opposed to on the weekend, I really doubt you'll have an issue with crowds during the week for any of the three weeks prior to Xmas.

poutanen 10-12-2012 09:51 AM

I can't speak for Whistler, but I was at Fernie Dec 10th or so last year.

It was still in early season conditions, meaning the main runs were open but some of the bowls were closed. We had a slow start last year though so maybe December is typically full bore?!? Also Fernie can get rain too, though not likely in December.

For night life, it's pretty tame. A couple bars/pubs in town but otherwise best to hang out in the hot tub and prepare for another day on the slopes.

You can get really good on mountain lodging deals in December. We've stayed at the Wolfs Den a few times now, and it's certainly not fancy, but it's got everything we needed (including a shared BBQ on the back deck) and I think the rate last year in Dec was something like $50-60 a night (in mid season it's typically in the high $100s).

Westjet has a seat sale on right now too. If you're coming from Toronto check prices out of Hamilton airport they can be upwards of $100 cheaper depending on the flight. Airport fees are lower there. I'd be tempted to book the flight but hold off on booking any hotels until a little later. If Fernie hasn't been dumped on you could stay in Banff instead and board at Lake Louise and Sunshine. Or do a few days there and a few at Fernie.

BTW all of the above mentioned hills have excellent learning areas. Pretty much the whole lower half of Fernie is a learning area, tons of terrain that's not too steep, mild Blues and some greens. Lake Louise is great but the main lower lift area can get busy. Nakiska would be another one with tons of learning space.

Cormier 10-12-2012 11:30 AM

Ya I've been looking at all the seat sales -- Air Canada had one through Whistler as well...

I'm looking at booking with Skican, I've heard they have good deals and can hook up airfare and such for discounts too

I think I'm pretty sold on Fernie, just wondering where to stay now. We'd be looking for somewhere close to the lifts with nice ammenities like a good hot tub area and preferably a kitchen

poutanen 10-12-2012 11:56 AM


Originally Posted by Cormier (Post 525883)
I think I'm pretty sold on Fernie, just wondering where to stay now. We'd be looking for somewhere close to the lifts with nice ammenities like a good hot tub area and preferably a kitchen

I would 100% sacrifice interior finishes to be right on the hill. Some of the hotels right at the base are older inside, but they have hot tubs, good board lockers, etc.

I've stayed at the Wolfs Den and the Griz Inn. The wolfs den doesn't have kitchens, but it's cheaper. The rooms have beer fridges and there is a BBQ you can use. I brought cereal and milk for the mornings, and we BBQd ribs and steak for dinner. You have to get creative though and it's easier for me being able to pack everything in the car.

The Griz Inn is a little more expensive but we stayed in a two bedroom unit with our friends in the summer. The main floor kitchen units are FULL KITCHENS. Plus there was lots of room to spread out for 4 people. Not sure if their smaller units have kitchens.

If you stay in town it's only a 5-10 minute drive to the hill. If it's puking snow that drive could turn into 45 mins as everybody gets up to the mountain, gets parked, etc.

Again I would STRONGLY suggest staying on the hill.

RCR is the owner for Fernie and can book lodging, lift tickets, airfare, etc. all from the one site.

The griz inn has a 1 bed condo unit in early Dec for $208 a night.

Lizard Creek Lodge has a room with a kitchen for $150 a night and you get the 6th night free.

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