Itinerary ideas! Whistler mid Dec, Sun Peaks/Silver Star/Panorama for Xmas week, Kicking Horse NY?

Discussion in 'Canada' started by Mumneedsaholiday, Jul 9, 2017.

  1. Mumneedsaholiday

    Mumneedsaholiday Just Registered

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    I'd really appreciate some assistance in trying to plan a Canada 3+ week ski trip mid Dec - early Jan itinerary for a family of 5 (kids ages 15, 14, 12).

    Four of the family are at the beginner end of the scale, two ski trips under their belts (La Plagne and Nozawa Onsen), past the green runs and solid on the easy blues, wanting to improve and will go hard with ski school daily lessons. I'm ok on the harder blues, reds and some black runs but will stay well away from the double blacks.

    We are planning to fly into Vancouver. Arriving mid Dec, fingers crossed for some early season snow falls. Will fly out by 10-12 Jan. Can depart Calgary if need be.

    We have friends who have a ski lodge in Golden BC at the foot of Kicking Horse who have invited us to stay, hopefully over the NY week when the prices seem to go through the roof everywhere! I know this is a big hill and not great for beginners, but hoping that 2 weeks prior skiing and lessons at other resorts will help us cope at KH.

    Ideas welcome, including things to see and go on non ski days, and hints to stretch the budget.
     
  2. gareth_oau

    gareth_oau Old And Crusty
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    Whistler will be ludicrously busy and expensive over the christmas new year period.

    Sun Peaks and the other inland resorts will be busy, but nowhere near as busy as Whistler.

    If you decide on Sun Peaks, there's a great Aussie crowd there with kids and so you will fit in very nicely, and there's even a big christmas dinner organised, with anything up to 30 expats attending.

    SP is a very easy resort that your kids will love.

    Wherever you go, make sure you get in super early with accommodation and vehicle bookings
     
  3. SnowflakesRule

    SnowflakesRule New Member

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    Welcome to the forums!

    We're heading over around about the same time. However we're a settle in one place for a month kind of family so we're heading to Silver Star 15 Dec- 14 Jan.

    First step, if you haven't already, check out the flight cost. You're a big family and it's absolute peak time. It might make a difference to what you decide especially if you have a set budget you can't stretch. We booked ours a couple of months ago and managed a family of four (2 adults, 2 kids 5, 10) for approximately 7.5K. (Brisbane - Vancouver - Kelowna return). Bear in mind the route you take could make a difference to price but balance it out with how long it takes, stopover length etc. We chose the Bris-Van direct option to take off about 7 hours worth of travel - not to mention the good nights sleep beforehand because we don't have to be up at 4am since the first flight leaves at lunch time! To us, after a 4 trips with those early starts, especially with young active kids, we'd decided before we booked that we'd be willing to pay extra for that convenience.

    Accommodation - We tend to book directly through the owner, which works out quite well for how we travel (long and one place), but given you're looking to move around travel agents might be able to get you a better deal on the full package. I know some forum members have scored some really good deals through them. Definitely worth the research and asking questions of both agents and owners directly (regarding accommodation) once you have more of an idea of dates that you would be looking to stay at particular resorts. ownerdirect alluradirect vrbo are all good ones to check out and see what you can do.

    Christmas is going to be tricky so that would probably be the focus. Winter break over there, I think, is around 16th Dec - 8th Jan. It varies between areas but I know that when I was looking for accommodation that two week period was pretty heavily booked.

    I'll leave the hints to stretch the budget up to the others are my hints would revolve around staying in one place! However, if you get a place with a decent kitchen it could save a bit if you can eat in more than out. Nice ski in-ski out location always helps with this as it's not a hassle to go home for a quick bite. If you aren't planning on renting a car, consider looking for some resort transfer companies that give you a shopping stop along the way. The prices of groceries on the hills are generally higher and it can be worth the extra in transfer costs if you are able to load up with groceries before you head up.

    Wherever you end up I'm sure you'll have a fantastic time.
    Good luck.
     
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  4. gareth_oau

    gareth_oau Old And Crusty
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    Are you planning on driving through BC or flying/bussing etc?

    for a group of 5, driving would probably work out cheaper and give you a heap more flexibility

    check out here http://www.economycarrentals.com/ and grab a big SUV
     
  5. tr+h

    tr+h Dedicated Member

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    ...and one place means one seasons pass...

    Also look at what else can be done nearby wherever you stay yo reduce the monotony, eg ice hockey, NBA, dog sledding, ect.
     
  6. KneeDeep

    KneeDeep Dedicated Member

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    Buy a family season pass in September, early bird deal applies, good value. Silverstar pass covers, cross country, tube park, ice skating etc.
     
  7. sly_karma

    sly_karma Part of the Furniture
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    Kids are older so a road trip is doable. Whistler gets pretty reliable early season snow, go there before Christmas, always good deals to be had just before the holidays and it's about as uncrowded then as Whistler ever gets. Hit one of the big interior family resorts like Big White, Silver Star or Sun Peaks for the Christmas New Year period, I go to SP most years for a couple days right around NYE and it's not too bad for crowds, at least not on the mountain itself. Try to get a condo rather than a hotel room because the restaurants are full as a seaside dunny on Boxing Day. That'll be the same for the other two I mentioned as well. They all have enough variety of terrain for your family, plus a fine array of off-snow activities like dog sledding, ice skating, snowmobile tours, shopping, swimming pools, etc. Actually you could also add Panorama to the list, similarly family friendly and only an hour and a half from your Kicking Horse friends.

    The other alternative over Christmas would be somewhere a bit lower down on the full service rankings. These resorts are known more as 'real skier's mountains', but their heart and soul is the loyal locals who have multiple generations of families skiing there. It's not all totally hard core gnar, there are loads of families with all the spread of ability level that implies. It's just that those families mostly stay in their own cabins and condos and have their own friends, so there are fewer organised off snow activities. The payoff is smaller crowds and lower price structure, even over the holiday period. On this list I'd put Red, Whitewater, Apex, Revelstoke, Kicking Horse, Fernie, Kimberley. You'd still need to book very soon to get good accoms deals, but these places are very relaxed over the holidays compared to their more upscale competitors.
     
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