We started skiing as a family when my teenagers were just little girls. We’ve taken many ski trips and have discovered what we consider the “gold standard” of family ski trips. Unfortunately, all of our winter vacations are compared to Colorado.
Although we try to expand our horizons and “try something new” we always end up disappointed and wishing we were in the Centennial state. Recently we visited Whistler, Canada over Christmas week. Do you see where this story is going?
Whistler is huge. In fact, one of the features on their website allows the user to superimpose other ski areas onto the Whistler map to showcase the massive size of this ski area. It also offers challenging terrain. So, what’s the problem you ask?
Our experience left us asking, “What’s the benefit of a huge mountain if only a portion of it has great snow?” To be fair we understand that the slope operators can’t control the amount of snowfall and locals told us that this was the worst season for snow in about a decade. (Guess when we were there last? Yup, about 10 years ago.) During our vacation week the bottom quarter of the mountain was bare; entire runs of nothing but brown grass. They were blowing snow on the main trails to the lifts and Gondolas. The craggy, rocky peak of the mountain was closed on a few occasions for winds in excess of 50mph. Bare rocks everywhere could easily damage equipment and cause a face plant. So, that just leaves the middle 50% of the mountain. We skied on mash potatoes, frozen mashed potatoes that felt like rocks under our skis, slush, fine granules of sand, and ice. Beautiful powder was only found at the peaks when the wind gusts didn’t blow you backward. Finding groomed corduroy was impossible.
We specifically use Beaver Creek, CO as our standard for comparison. Each evening Beaver Creek is crawling with the headlamps of snow cats as they meticulously groom the slopes for the next day. I gazed up at the mountain every night in Whistler hoping to be rewarded with the satisfying sight of a snow cat headlight. I was unsuccessful. Maybe, my snow cat heros were out there working in the dark, but I found no abundance of corduroy the following day.
Whistler and Blackcomb mountains were always shrouded in clouds. It was so cloudy, rainy and generally miserable that I think we started to suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). It was so dark and gloomy every morning that we questioned if our clocks were correct. Of course, we compared this to our beloved Colorado where sunshine is abundant.
This experience solidified our decision to invest in additional Colorado inventory for Sundance Vacations’ travelers. This past fall we hand-picked several new properties in Winter Park, Colorado. I can’t wait to get feedback from our travelers. I hope they love Colorado at much as we do.
Check out our Colorado properties.
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