Big White-Out

Last week, we spent a few days up north skiing at Big White, eh?

So, I thought I'd write a few random comments:

  • Kelowna is a long way from Seattle. Count on at least 6 hours to get to Kelowna, plus another hour or so to get to Big White. About the same as it takes to get to Sun Peaks. You can fly in if you wish.

  • Brr. The first day was about 5 degrees but sunny. The second day was 5 degrees and windy. The third was 10 degrees and snowy. If you ski the Cascades, you aren't used to those conditions. Bring extra clothes and buy some hand warmers.

  • Cold == powder. We had about 5-8" of powder on our third day of skiing. Some nice skiing for a few hours.

  • Big White has interns setting up the top of their lifts. All of the high speed lifts I've ever ridden have a nice flat spot at the top, so you can stand up as the lift slows down. Big White has 4 high-speed quads, none of them are set up like this. Some of them go dead slow before you can stand up, some are a bit different. They're really hard to get off of.

  • Big White has a big area known as Gem Lake, with 2300' of vertical on a single lift. It has some nice terrain, except: 1) Some runs are marked as blue but have never been groomed, so you go down and then up on them and 2) you get there via a cat track named "oh go slow" (and various less-nice appelations) that is approximately 500 miles long and 3) the route on the map to get back to the village involves climbing a hill and then finding out that the route is closed.

  • Grooming is uneven. In a white-out at the top of Gem Lake on Monday, we were following a cat track down and I skied off of an 8" groomer lip and fell.

  • The village is small but nice. Interestingly, they have put their main school and lodge in the middle of the village.

  • We stayed at Moguls, which is true ski in/ski out. A great convenience.

  • We got a discount for our Stevens Pass Season Passes, so if you have a northwest pass, it's worthwhile to ask.

  • The mountain skis a lot like Bachelor does. It's not particularly challenging (we didn't ski the steep stuff because of weather).

  • My daughter recommends the Mega Snow Coaster. I do not recommend the "Outback spin" on the exit road from the resort. I used up about 50 years of car kharma there.


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