Saturday, February 18, 2012

Skiing at Whistler, British Columbia

In February, Inna, Alex, and I flew on Alaska Airlines from San Jose to Seattle, Washington, and then traveled by car to Whistler, Canada. We rented a Jeep Grand Cherokee using Alamo Car Rental (using to get a better rate), to make sure that we had 4 wheel drive available in case we needed it. However, it turned out that we never needed to use 4 wheel drive.

Since the drive from Seattle to Whistler is about 4 hours, we decided to fly into Seattle in the evening, stay overnight at Sleep Inn Sea-Tac hotel and then drive to Whistler in the morning.

Early morning, we got up, ate breakfast at the local iHop, and drove to the Pan-Pacific Whistler Mountainside hotel, which is located right at the Whistler/Blackcomb chair lift. 

The drive to Whistler was quite scenic and not difficult at all. In comparison, a drive to Lake Tahoe can be quite more challenging (due to the elevation gain of around 7,000 ft). There is little if any elevation again on the drive to Whistler. Pan-Pacific hotel is quite nice and is ideally suited for skiing and snowboarding.

The hotel has ski/snowboard lockers, so all of the wet skiing gear does not need to be stored either in a car or in one's room. 

The lockers make it easy to change gear and to lock it for safe keeping. The room was small but nicely furnished.

One day, we got to see the Fire & Ice show from the balcony of our Pan-Pacific Whistler Mountainside hotel. There were a number of ski and snowboard stunts performed.

I rented a snowboard for the first couple of days, while Alex took snowboarding lessons, and Inna rented skis. Inna and I skied together on mostly green and some blue slopes at Whistler.

Whistler has very long runs and skiing there was really quite good. The snow was in excellent condition; it was not icy of packed (at least  not on Whistler). When I did try to snowboard on Blackcomb another day, the conditions there were much more icy. 

Snowboarding at Whistler was a lot of fun and the whole Whistler Village setup adds a lot to the resort.

There are numerous restaurants to dine in, and lots of pubs and places to drink. We found quite a few very good restaurants and this added a lot of enjoyment to our stay there. Even the food at the Whistler lodges was delicious!

We especially enjoyed eating at Quattro Restaurant. The dishes there was especially delicious.

We also really liked the whole atmosphere of the resort and the exceptional food everywhere. The quality of food was significantly better than anything we have tried at Lake Tahoe's resorts (SugarbowlSquaw ValleyKirkwoodSierra-at-Tahoe, or Northstar).

After snowboarding for two days, I got fairly tired and decided to try skiing. I exchanged my rented snowboard for skis. I found that skiing was much less tiring than snowboarding. 

However, my skiing technique has declined over the years and I found that I could not control my skis as well as I used to. 

Alex really enjoyed his 3-day Snowboading camp and improved significantly. On the last day, we skiied/snowboarded together and Alex showed how much he improved.

On Thursday, February 23, we drove back to Seattle,Washington and then flew back to San Jose. The border crossing back to USA took some time. Overall, this ski trip was very tiring but extremely fun.