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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My family and I have been itching to take our first trip to Whistler, in particular my 14 and 16 year old son's. So we are planning on making the pilgrimage next summer, driving from Santa Cruz, CA, stopping at other places along the way. So, the real question is what time next summer would be the sweet spot for good conditions? From what I've read late June is about as early as you'd want to try with snow on the top of the mountain, so maybe sometime in July?
 

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Destroyer of Worlds
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In BC we refer to June as Junuary, as the weather is so unpredictable. July is better, August is better yet. Usually. But by late August (usually) the smoke from the wildfires starts getting thick. Except this year, that started in June or early July. :rolleyes:

I guess the point is that you'll be taking a chance regardless of when you book it. But early in the season they don't necessarily have all the runs open yet, and it's still cold up top. It's too bad you have school-age kids, otherwise I'd suggest early September.

So really, it's July or August, and it's a coin toss as to exactly when.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Perfect info, thanks. It's much the same here riding in the sierras. We always try to hit the trails as soon as the snow is off them for perfect conditions, as within a couple weeks they are dusty. The fires the past several years have been the x-factor. You just never know when you'll get smoked out. I'll wait and see what kind of snow year we have, and plan on something in July or August. The kids start so early now that even late august they are back in school!
 

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Destroyer of Worlds
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Perfect info, thanks. It's much the same here riding in the sierras. We always try to hit the trails as soon as the snow is off them for perfect conditions, as within a couple weeks they are dusty. The fires the past several years have been the x-factor. You just never know when you'll get smoked out. I'll wait and see what kind of snow year we have, and plan on something in July or August. The kids start so early now that even late august they are back in school!
In BC, school starts after Labour Day (First full week of Sept) so the mountain is actually busy right through until the Tuesday after the long weekend. In fact, avoid the Labour Day weekend like the plague.

Any long weekend, really, but especially that one.
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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I just did the last week of August/first week of September and it was perfect. I wouldn't go much later, but I always seem to luck out in late August in the PNW.
 

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I was there the week leading into Crankworks in 2019 (early August). It was cool seeing the pros and industry personalities out and about. However, the event crowds quickly followed and the park got crazy busy as the weekend approached.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It's tricky because we are thinking of a broader trip, heading to Bend first for a few days, then on to whistler, maybe something in between. Bend is probably better earlier and is pretty blown out by late July, but since the focus is BC we'll likely just head there as quick as possible. Think Bend to Whistler is doable in one day? We pull a trailer with all the gear so speed is not great. Might need to add a stop in Washington...
 

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It's tricky because we are thinking of a broader trip, heading to Bend first for a few days, then on to whistler, maybe something in between. Bend is probably better earlier and is pretty blown out by late July, but since the focus is BC we'll likely just head there as quick as possible. Think Bend to Whistler is doable in one day? We pull a trailer with all the gear so speed is not great. Might need to add a stop in Washington...
I live in Bend. It takes me a little over 10 hours of driving and I can do it in a day (just went last month). I go the back way through Yakima in order to avoid Portland and Seattle traffic as much as possible but I-5 takes about the same amount of time. You just have to sit through bumper-to-bumper traffic near the major cities and I loathe having to do that.

July is typically dusty and the higher elevations trails might not be out from under snow all the way, depending on the snow that year. The best time to ride in Bend would be late fall actually, like October into November.

Are you going to stop in Bellingham since it's directly on the way to Whistler?
 

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Destroyer of Worlds
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I was there the week leading into Crankworks in 2019 (early August). It was cool seeing the pros and industry personalities out and about. However, the event crowds quickly followed and the park got crazy busy as the weekend approached.
Yeah. Still not sure if Crankworks will be back for 2022, but it's always a madhouse.
Sky Cloud Bicycle Daytime Tire
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yes, we'll stop someplace in Washington. I've never been but there are a few places I'd like to see even without biking. I could definitely do without the Crankworks crowds, but my boys would LOVE it. Bend in the late fall would be great I'm sure, but not happening on this trip. It's close enough to us (10 hours door to door) that we could make a separate trip sometime. We were there this summer in late July and it was good. A little hot, but we rode early which left more time for afternoon beers!
 

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WHISTLER!!!! Everything you've ever heard about it is 100% true.

You know what's funny and sad? I live only one day drive away and for years it never occurred to me to go. I'd take repeated trips to Moab 15 hours away instead because I had some mental block since Whistler is in a different country. Then when the border closed and I couldn't go I really wanted to go. What a dope. I'm planning on going again next year, probably late July or early August.
 

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Yes, we'll stop someplace in Washington. I've never been but there are a few places I'd like to see even without biking.
One of the greatest sights I've ever laid eyes on is Mt. Ranier. Five years ago or so I stopped there (on my way to Whistler actually) on a whim and it blew my socks off. Since you're open to doing something other than biking than maybe you'd also enjoy Mt. Ranier National Park? What a treasure.

Sky Mountain Ecoregion Snow Natural landscape


Cloud Sky Mountain Plant Ecoregion
 

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Yes, we'll stop someplace in Washington. I've never been but there are a few places I'd like to see even without biking. I could definitely do without the Crankworks crowds, but my boys would LOVE it. Bend in the late fall would be great I'm sure, but not happening on this trip. It's close enough to us (10 hours door to door) that we could make a separate trip sometime. We were there this summer in late July and it was good. A little hot, but we rode early which left more time for afternoon beers!
No matter what, DO NOT ride Whistler on the weekend. Make sure you are there midweek, NOT WEEKEND. Trust me.

If you have to be there on a weekend, ride across the valley or somewhere else on the excellent trail network:

Bicycle Cloud Wheel Tire Sky
 
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Actually, that wasn't the biggest problem. The biggest problem is you can't load on the damn gondola to get on the mountain, because only 1 in 5 gondolas can take a bike. The gondola goes higher than the first lift, so if you want to get to the very top, you can't. You can't load mid-station, because all the bike gondolas are all taken. If you could load on any gondola cab, then the uplift would be significantly increased, alleviating both lines. Never ending streams of "hiker" gondola-riders (not really hiking, just going for a ride).
 

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Actually, that wasn't the biggest problem. The biggest problem is you can't load on the damn gondola to get on the mountain, because only 1 in 5 gondolas can take a bike. The gondola goes higher than the first lift, so if you want to get to the very top, you can't. You can't load mid-station, because all the bike gondolas are all taken. If you could load on any gondola cab, then the uplift would be significantly increased, alleviating both lines. Never ending streams of "hiker" gondola-riders (not really hiking, just going for a ride).
So true
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
since we're on the subject, how about lodging? While my wife and I will ride for sure we won't be riding the lifts for 4 days like my sons. We'll explore some other trails, hike and bike, but we also like breweries, food, cool towns, etc. What's the vibe at Whistler? I get the sense it might be a little "fancy" for us, so wondering if we should stay elsewhere and drive the kids into the park? Not sure what else is around the area. We don't want to camp, but don't need and entire ski chalet either...
 

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since we're on the subject, how about lodging? While my wife and I will ride for sure we won't be riding the lifts for 4 days like my sons. We'll explore some other trails, hike and bike, but we also like breweries, food, cool towns, etc. What's the vibe at Whistler? I get the sense it might be a little "fancy" for us, so wondering if we should stay elsewhere and drive the kids into the park? Not sure what else is around the area. We don't want to camp, but don't need and entire ski chalet either...
I always have stayed right there in the village because that's where all the action is. It's nice to park the car for the week and access everything on foot. Wake up, walk to breakfast, go back to the hotel, get ready to ride, then walk to the lift. Repeat daily.

As for the vibe, the main village will be busy and you'll hear several foreign accents, which I think is super cool. Think European village feel. It's super touristy but awesome. If you don't want to be right in the middle of it all then the upper village is only a short distance away (~0.5 mile). One obstacle I've run into is that many hotels and vacation rentals explicitly state "no bikes inside" and have a stiff penalty, so pay attention to the fine print. Two places that have valet bike storage are the Sundial and Aava hotels. I stay at the Sundial since it's basically right there at the lift but Aava is right around the bend. Sundial is more expensive but they often have deals on their website, especially if you can go midweek.

If you want a quieter setting then look for a condo at the Creekside area. It's less expensive and you still have direct access to a gondola with almost no lift line but the base area feels empty, which is either good or bad depending on your viewpoint.

Personally, I wouldn't want to drive in each day so I stay on-site and settle in but if you choose to commute then the parking at Creekside is empty and free of charge.
 
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