Help w/ lodging in Whistler, BC; Or alternate ski trip suggestion
January 31, 2008 12:56 AM   Subscribe

Can you help me find cheap lodging in Whistler, BC? Or if not, suggest another destination in North America for great skiing and cheap digs?

I've skied Whistler/Blackcomb and loved it, would love to take my gf there. She has a $400 flight voucher we have to use by the end of February, and I have 90,000 travel miles through my credit card, so airfare shouldn't be a problem. I could even get hotel with my miles, but the only accommodations offered for miles in Whistler happen to be suites with 5 night minimums. We're hoping to do a Friday to Monday trip, taking off only 2 days from work.

While we'd love to go to Whistler, we're open to pretty much anywhere in the US. She mentioned Wyoming, Colorado, or Utah.

Things to consider:

+ We are on a budget and a tight schedule, so not having to rent a car and drive 4 hours from the airport is a plus. Maybe a package that includes lift tickets?

+ We're also lazy, so staying within walking distance of the slope would be cool.

+ And it wouldn't hurt to be somewhere romantic, so maybe slightly better than a Super 8, and in a cute village of sorts. We could probably budget for $100/nt, maybe a little more.

+ We're adventurous, so we are fine to try "non-traditional" lodging.

+ We live in SoCal, so taking advantage of free airfare would be cool, (ie Mammoth is nice, but doesn't utilize our voucher)

Thinking of Feb 22-25 just cuz it's not V-day or President's day, so maybe availability will be better.

We're excited to be able to choose anywhere, but overwhelmed by researching all those possibilities. Hope my fellow mefites can share their wisdom! Thanks!

posted by tslugmo to Travel & Transportation around Whistler, BC (16 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure how early it fills up but I recommend trying the UBC Whistler Lodge for budget accommodations in Whistler.
posted by sanitycheck at 1:07 AM on January 31, 2008

I only know Whistler, so FWIW:

it wouldn't hurt to be somewhere romantic, so maybe slightly better than a Super 8, and in a cute village of sorts

Whistler village is totally walkable,as you probably know -- I lived there for a few years without a car. There is no motel-style low-end accommodation of any kind that I'm aware of in Whistler itself. I've had good luck with Allura Direct in the past when I've gone back for visits -- they have a wide range of condo accommo, at all kinds of price ranges, and you can often arrange packages with the owners. A quick search for your preferred days brought back quite a few properties ranging from CDN$175 on up. February's going to be pricey no matter what, though, and I don't think there's any chance of finding something cheaper anywhere in the area during Whistler peak season .

so not having to rent a car and drive 4 hours from the airport is a plus.

There's a shuttle bus direct from Vancouver airport that leaves pretty much hourly or more frequently. And like I said, the village is walkable, and taxis are plentiful.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:11 AM on January 31, 2008

There's also the train, which is a spectacular way to get up there.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 5:05 AM on January 31, 2008

I don't think the train runs in Winter any more.

I was just at Whistler last month (and I envy anyone going back) and I am not sure how you could swing anything that is $100/night that is within walking distance of the slopes. You'll certainly want to call the main Whistler reservation number and see if they can help you. Can't hurt. Otherwise I think you are stuck with an outside chance of a VRBO type places or finding something very non-traditional or lucky (like a very friendly Mefite that has a Whistler condo that isn't rented for that weekend)..

If you are willing to rent a car, there are hotel/motel places that are in Squamish (about a 30-45 drive to Whistler) as well as some places that are beyond Whistler. Everything will be cheaper in Squamish (including a 7-11 with a good discount on lift tickets). If you get a place with a kitchen, the grocery stores in Squamish are also cheaper.
posted by mmascolino at 5:47 AM on January 31, 2008

Go to Fernie. Fernie is to Whistler as Santa Cruz is to Santa Barbara.
posted by unSane at 6:15 AM on January 31, 2008

Although Squamish is also great...
posted by unSane at 6:16 AM on January 31, 2008

If you're looking for potential alternatives, I grew up skiing Big Sky in Montana. It's about 45 minutes south of the Bozeman MT airport, not too horrible a drive if you rent, shuttle buses available if you'd rather let them drive. Lodging available right at the base of the slopes, resort packages are available through the website. It's a nice place, lots of great runs, and doesn't seem to get the kind of traffic that some of the bigger-name places get. I've seen it in ski magazines named one of the best places to ski in North America a couple of times over the years.

Caveat: I haven't been there in about 16 years, but my relatives in MT haven't told me the place has gone to hell yet.
posted by caution live frogs at 6:38 AM on January 31, 2008

Don't know anything about BC, but in Salt Lake City the resorts Alta, Snowbird, Brighton and Solitude are very close to downtown. You can stay in a cheap motel in the city and get to any of the mountains with a half-hour bus-ride.
posted by nameless.k at 6:51 AM on January 31, 2008

There are plenty of Colorado destinations there are an hour or two away from Denver. In terms of air fare, SoCal -> Denver will be the cheapest and there are certainly some shuttle services from DIA to the more popular resorts. The situation is very similar with Salt Lake City, albeit with fewer mountains to choose from.

Alternatively, you could come to Vancouver but just stay in the city. There are three "local" mountains (Grouse, Seymour and Cypress) and there are plenty of shuttle services to each. They're all smaller than Whistler, but with a day or two at each, you absolutely won't notice. Lodging will be much cheaper in Vancouver than in Whistler and you won't need a car at all.

We are on a budget and a tight schedule, so not having to rent a car and drive 4 hours from the airport is a plus.

Avoid Wyoming. I was born and raised in Jackson (Hole) and while the mountain is fantastic, it's really far away from just about everything. Your gf's $400 voucher probably won't cover the air fare entirely if you fly into Jackson. Flying into Idaho Falls or Salt Lake City will involve many hours of driving to get to Jackson.
posted by Nelsormensch at 7:07 AM on January 31, 2008

Heh. I'll be skiing Whistler that weekend. That's also the week of the World Cup. That might impact finding last minute accommodations.
posted by yeti at 7:40 AM on January 31, 2008

Big White, in Canada. Like Whistler, but cheaper, with tons of ski-in/ski-out options. Less shopping, and more "cozy" than Whistler, but GREAT skiing and lots of fun restaurants. You can fly into Kelowna in Canada, and it's about a 45 min. drive. I've even seen cabs dropping people off at the mountain.
posted by jildelicious at 8:59 AM on January 31, 2008

Seconding alta/snowbird. Alta in particular has some cheap (for ski in ski out) nice lodging, and is very conveniently located. Oh yeah, and they're having a great year.
posted by alkupe at 9:12 AM on January 31, 2008

Response by poster: Wow, knew I could count on you guys for some great input. I'll check these out. Sad to hear Jackson Hole is far away, was looking forward to trying that out. Montana sounds like an interesting alternative.

Thanks so much for your feedback!
posted by tslugmo at 10:55 AM on January 31, 2008

Second vote for Big Sky. It is a huge mountain like Whistler - runs that go for miles. Whistler is the only ski area in North America with more vertical. Prices are very reasonable and the joint is never crowded (although there can be a wait for the tram to the top of Lone Mountain). Shuttles run from Bozeman Gallatin Field so you don't need a car. Easy access from Cali - usually through SLC or Denver. Huntley Lodge is slopeside. We usually stay at bottom of mountain at Buck's T-4 Best Western & shuttle up to top.
posted by troubleon14thst at 2:08 PM on January 31, 2008

Leavenworth, WA is a model of a Bavarian Village, and has shuttles to ski resorts. (Stevens is closer.) The same site has a service to the Wenatchee airport. So it's not onsite but matches other requirements, and ski resorts in WA are half as expensive as CO ones. We stayed here, the hot tub was nice to have. Just thought I'd throw that out there.

Staying in Wenatchee and going to Mission Ridge is a far better skiing experience (one I'm going to have again in 10 days), IMO, but the Red Lion hotels aren't hella romantic.
posted by herbaliser at 2:25 PM on January 31, 2008

Response by poster: Yeah, I'm ready to admit my requirements are too strict. I don't mind a shuttle ride to the slope as long as other stuff might be walking distance, like restaurants. And it doesn't have to be romantic necessarily, although a hot tub sounds great. We could be fine with a Best Western if the surroundings are beautiful enough, and the price is right.

Getting excited!
posted by tslugmo at 3:33 PM on January 31, 2008

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