The Next Best Thing

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So some family and friends went to Whistler recently. I didn’t go. Tres jealous. What did happen though, is they brought us back some mugs. Surely that’s the next best thing? Seriously though, I love stuff like that. Ciara and I bought a couple of large mugs in Fernie and they’re without doubt the best choice of souvenir for me.

Two mugs and a piste map; a perfect combination, giving you something to ponder over while drinking some tea.

Actually, we all got together last weekend for dinner and a post-Canada chat. Very interesting. Fernie was my first (and only, so far) visit to Canada and to my mind, there were significant differences between it and the European resorts I’d been used to. Whistler again, is a different cup of tea to Fernie (ok, I’m overusing that); so I was keen to hear what they had to say. Some photos and video always help too.

Mountain layout/piste design. Trees. Bowls. Out of bounds. Size. Service. Friendliness. Travel. Cost. We talked about all of these things.

And snow. They had lots of it. In fact, similar to my own experience in Fernie, a large amount of snow can leave you with a somewhat unsettling experience. Canada is a long way to go when European resorts are almost on your doorstep (relatively). When your first visit is packed with a whole load of powder, the thought of returning to a potentially dry two-weeks is worrying.

The big question I wanted them to answer: was it so good that you’re going back next year? To me, Whistler has always been touted as one of the places to go; were they totally bowled over by it?

I didn’t get a straight forward answer to that. It wasn’t a resounding “yes”. And for good reasons too. Sure, they gave the place very high praise, but there are many factors to consider when planning a snowboarding trip! Although Whistler remains high on the list, Smaller-Canadian-Resorts, Mammoth, Breckenridge and Colorado as a whole were mentioned as potential North American alternatives…

So what about you? Anyone shredded in Canada, the USA and Europe, and have strong opinions as to which they prefer? Is it the case that if the snow is good, that’s all that matters? Or do you think that if you’re riding with good company, it’s what you make of it that counts?

6 Comments

  • Reply April 13, 2010

    Anonymous

    BC baby. So much better than Europe it’s not even funny. But don’t tell everyone otherwise they’ll all come here. The snow can be hit and miss but there is always somewhere to ride and when it does snow, the quality is unbeatable. Today, Friday, is a bluebird day and I expect about 100 people max to be on the hill I am skiing. Snow quality on the north aspect slopes is still amazing even after nearly a week of no snow. Only problem is that Tartiflette isn’t as easy to get hold of but the poutine just about makes up for it!

  • Reply April 13, 2010

    Ian

    Well here’s the official bottom line from me. If you are talking about safe ridable terrain then I think whistler is definately superior. You got the feeling you could ride pretty much anywhere you wanted to in complete safety. The parks were excellent with lots of variety for all abilities, and they were enormous in length with loads of hits all the way through, and we had a lot of fresh snow over the holiday.
    The service was outstanding in every respect.

    The negatives for me were: the monumental travel time – 25 hours straight to get home was not fun. Took me a few days to get over the jet lag when i was there.
    The terrain doesnt seem as grand nor spectacular as Europe, and more specifically the port de soleil (spelling?)

    I think I will be able to give you a better comparison in a few weeks when we hit avoriaz 🙂

    So in summary – its much better in a lot of areas, and not so in others. If i were to go again I would be getting direct flights. None of this hanging about for hours in amsterdam rubbish.

    Shameless plug of my write up 😮
    http://www.coxylaad.co.uk/whistler-2010.aspx

  • Reply April 13, 2010

    VancityAllie

    Definitely Canada all the way 😉

  • Reply April 13, 2010

    sewm

    I haven’t been to Europe or the USA but I’ve been to both Fernie and Whistler. I had bad luck at both resorts as it didn’t snow much while I was in either. I’d still go back again though to see if I have better luck.

    Powder days are great. Good friends are better, and will always improve the spirit of the day regardless of the conditions.

  • Reply April 13, 2010

    Gavin Hope

    Tron, that was a shameless plug, but I forgive you 🙂 I quite enjoyed the write up. Nice. We can talk more when you return from the PDS…

  • Reply April 13, 2010

    Gavin Hope

    Haha, nice 🙂

    I’ve got to agree, although it is based on limited experience, that some of the resorts in BC can be really quiet, even on powder days. I was amazed by this fact when in Fernie…

    Tartiflette is a miss, but, like you said the poutine is pretty good. I was gonna say that I remember having some good burgers out there, which, I am partial too. But, I’m not sure they were as good as what we’ve sampled in France… I think the USA triumphs in that department though.

    Thanks for commenting. Gav

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