Grand Poobah's ski area pros and cons: British Columbia
(No compensation or trade was exchanged for this BC ski area review.
This is not sponsored content)
Over the decades I've been lucky enough to ski more than 60 ski areas in the Western U.S. and Canada, including heli and cat skiing. I've seen the good and great - bad and ugly of snow and ski areas. We are lucky, our neighbor British Columbia, has some of the best skiing anywhere -- and it's only a few hours away.
BC is the Mother Lode of great snow, incredible terrain and fabulous skiing. It's no accident most of the top cat and heli ski operations on earth are located in BC. Most of the ski resorts are remote and not too busy. Many have been going through upgrades in lodging and operations for the last 20 years. The mountains are big and they seem to go on forever. The Canadians are fun, easy going and seem to like Americans. The exchange rate has been favorable lately, so it tends to be a good deal for the U.S. dollar and your pocketbook.
Pro: Big, excellent terrain, good snow upper slopes, you can ski it in a weekend - major, first class resort, close to Seattle, fabulous lift system, many lodging options, it's "happening " in the Village, good ski conditions early and late season, international flavor - you'll meet people from all over the world, it's not a difficult mountain drive to get there
Tip: do "first tracks" program on a powder day or any day.
Tip: I do favor Blackcomb, but like them both. Ski one per day.
Con: pricey, busy, too big? Weekends are congested, border crossing a hassle both ways (bring your passport). Get a Nexus pass if you go often. When border patrol asks if you have anything to declare, enthusiastically singing out "I am awesome" will get you detained and searched.
Pro: Better quality snow, fewer people, many cat and heli ski options, lodging rates sometimes better than Whistler, good local BC vibe, you can cross border at low volume area like Sumas, more sun than coastal ski areas
Con: challenging to get there: you need long weekend or more, colder overall, some areas have less snow than Whistler
My favorite areas in Interior BC are: Red Mtn, Whitewater, Sun Peaks and Big White. I want to get to: Fernie, Kicking Horse, Silver and Revelstoke
Nearby Alberta favorites: Lake Louise and Sunshine Village. To do list: Castle Mountain
Tips to blend in
- Always pretend you're a big Vancouver Canucks fan, but you had nothing to do with the downtown riot in 2011
- No matter how you feel about the U.S. election, do not say you are moving to Canada. But do inquire about crashing on their couch for a few days...weeks... years.
- To fit in as a local, always complain about Vancouver traffic
- Be aware, a loonie is not a Canadian hockey fan, but a one dollar coin
A couple of decades ago, a Canadian asked me if I had change for a "loonie". I had no idea what he was talking about. I said no, people don't change.
Canadians are amazed we can buy cheap beer at a gas station and they love Trader Joes.