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Whistler Crowds.

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Whistler Crowds.

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I'm just wandering what people's experiences are of lift queues in Whistler, particularly during more popular periods? I read in various reviews that they can be awful - but is that a European 45 minutes plus awful, or a Canadian nearly 5 minutes awful?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Sometimes they are bad, sometimes good.

They're obviously bad if lots of the lifts are closed, for instance when there are high winds at the top, or there is a big snow dump so the avalanche patrol are out frantically blasting everything.

Even if they are bad, people are much better at taking their turn than they are in the european funnelling types of lift queue... Smile
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
ajpaul, as snowy says, sometimes they are bad. They have a few traffic light display boards around the place where you can see how long the main lift queues are - from memory they are <5min, <10min, < 15min. Anything over about 20 minutes would be rare.
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In whistler specifcallym there were often queues of 45 minutes - but only to get the gondola up the mountain first thing. You didn;t have to wait as there are other ways of accessing the mountain. Once up the mountain, queus are dramatically shorter and - here's the key difference to europe - incredibly well organised so that every seat is full, thus reducing waiting times. If queues are particularly long at a specific chair then scrolling message boards will say so at all the other chairs - in fact I seem to remember them listing queue times for all chairs
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
We took the chair up Whistler mountain when the gondola had huge queues.
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getting up the mountain was the worst bit, and the weekend was not good at all, we didn't ski the second saturday and went to vancouver instead.

creekside was much quieter.

getting a place in the resturants was not fun, especially the roundhouse at the top of the whistler gondola. (also lock your skis there as they are easily stolen)

I prefer sun peaks to whistler anyday
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Theres an old thread on this somewhere, but for the moment feast your eyes on Harmony Chair Shocked





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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Its never too bad, as everyone takes their turn and all the chairs are full! this would be the worst I have seen it!!

We were up there this last weekend and it was surprisingly quiet - Superbowl Sunday is a great day to ski!! Laughing plus it was a little bit chilly which tends to send people back down off the mountain!!

All in all worth the wait in line as you can always find a piece of mountain to yourselves!!!
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
It can be busy, but we hardly ever wait because:

-we're up early on more or less the first chair/gondola
-go in for a break about 11 when crowds are building
-go out by noon when crowds are heading in, and after that, afternoons are rarely as busy.

Also move before the crowds. When 7th Heaven/Harmony open, go there fast, ski 2-3 runs and then head elsewhere when crowds build.

A virtually foolproof recipe for big vert days Madeye-Smiley
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
I've been in queus like that at harmony. ten minutes, at most
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
gortonator, has the right tactics .. normally you only have to do it at the weekends + holidays ...
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Overall the lift lines are normally a short wait. lately it is basically a case of skiing straight onto a chair. As mentioned before, the bad time is trying to upload in the morning, if going up Whistler, take either fitzsimmon chair, or the creekside gondola. Those pictures of harmony, show it at about 3/4 its worst. and imo harmony is the worst lift on the two mountains for queues. they are considering replacing it with an 8 seater.
Back to OP, holiday times, the lift lines are pretty big, can average 15 mins , maybe 25 tops if it stops for a while, which isn't too bad, I think the worst is that holidays bring the 'casual' skier who blocks up the runs. Besides from holidays, i am normally pleased with the wait times, as in, there is no wait times, especially on blackcomb mountain. Saturdays are quite busy every week, but only in the mornings, it seems to get a lot better by the afternoons.
As people have said, it is organised, no pushing and shoving to get on, everyone lines up, and takes equal turns at junctions in the lift lines.
I don't think i have ever waited 45 mins, except maybe for a chair to open......
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So all in all, sometimes longish queues, but well managed. I presume this new gondola that will link the two mountains will take a fair bit of pressure off the lower lifts too?
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
ajpaul, I wouldn;t imagine so, the min pressuer on the lowest lifts is for uplift first thing in the morning, and I do recall reading that trips on the new fondola wioll cost extra on top of the lift ticket...
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Bones, I think the worst thing about queuing at harmony on a snow dump day like in your photos is trying to avoid getting smacked on the head by a snow ball. rolling eyes

(i.e. a good reason to wear a helmet, that probably hasn't been mentioned in the the 'reasons to wear a helmet thread'!) Laughing
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Harmony from my experience was about the busiest lift most of the time, Emerald could get a little busy occasionally.
7th Heaven on Blackcomb I found busy more often than not, as a result only visited that area once. Oh and Excelerator on a busy day queues up, its the entry up the mountain from the Gondola, and also a feeding point for a lot of runs on that side of the mountain (inc the glacier and all the runs that feed on to Glacier road).

However, given the number of people about as a whole - it was quite acceptable, and all the lines were very ordered, not least because each little feeding line people automatically take turns to let each other through so even if you're waiting a while - you never got annoyed about people pushing in, it just didn't happen.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
eddyr wrote:
However, given the number of people about as a whole - it was quite acceptable, and all the lines were very ordered, not least because each little feeding line people automatically take turns to let each other through so even if you're waiting a while - you never got annoyed about people pushing in, it just didn't happen.


I remember when I was there (on excelerator even, I think!) the lifties hauled two german guys out of the queue for pushing past people and sent them to the back with a warning that a seond occurrence would see their lift tickets revoked. Shocked Shocked Razz Wish that happened in Europe!
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
In my experience the two chairs to avoid at peak times are Harmony and Red (which is the chair at the top of the Creekside gondola and thus gets the whole traffic from the gondola.) Emerald can be busy but you can avoid that line by skiing down to the Garbanzo chair or to the Whistler Gondola midstation. Garbanzo takes you part way up the mountain, the gondola takes you to the Roundhouse restaurant and easy access to the Peak Chair

The other option is to break your group and always use the singles line. The pics above are I assume for those in groups of 2/3/4 who actually want to sit together on the lift. If you dont mind going up alone you can significantly reduce your wait time and the queues are so civilised that there is never any issue with a single skier (or 2 single skiers) joining a group of 2. or 3 to get up

The "start early" advice is very relevant. If you want to ski Harmony get over there quick, get it done and then go elsewhere. You dont want to be there at 11am on a Saturday.

Through the week there are usually no big problems in normal conditions. Equally an early start on the gondola should give rise to no issues. I have been to Whistler about 8 times and have never queued for 45 mins, anywhere.
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I skiied alone a couple of times and got into the singles line, speeds things up considerably and of course, its such a smug feeling to get in front of everyone (legitimately!) Smile
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
singles line is great later in the day, i find it is much better to 'join' a group in the main line during the initial upload
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I was in Whistler last week and the queues were only bad at the weekends but the singles were standing there for ages. I think most singles now just join in the main queue to make up a 4. I stood in a queue like the on in the picture for Harmony but it did only take about 10 minutes to get on the lift. I wish the Europeans would learn to the north american way of standing in line!!!
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
no-one ever take my garbo (Garbanzo) chair. PLEASE

I ski onto it without any line 80% of the time with zero people in front, and when i am carry 100lb+ of gate i don;t want anyone in my way.......................
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
We last went there in early March 2006 and it was pretty crowded at times, especially at the base gondolas, but not horrendous. Most of the time it was acceptable, but I wouldn't want to go there at peak times. By Canadian standards it's a bit of a zoo. If you're going to Canada I'd recommend going somewhere less touristy to get the full Canadian experience. There are so many resorts to choose from, Whistler is way too obvious. Having said that, I still prefer Whistler to any of the big European resorts.
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
serious point, if you know how the crowds movce, you can pretty much avoid most lines all but during christmas break.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
I go to Whistler about 30-45 times a year. Hit the hill at 8:30. By 10:30 you may have the worst lineups and that is 10-15 mins at a couple of the main central lifts. The picture of Harmony was probably opening weekend for the Symphony area thus everyone was at this lift to go check out the new opening.

Opening weekend is usually the worst as much of the mountain isn't open or usually only one of the two mountains is open. Holidays you can expect the 10-15 mins at main lifts.

If you really want fantastic experiences go after Spring break when everyone thinks we close down. If you like spring conditions you can go right through June and no one is around. Just you and the sun and still good base. As well after mid-Apr you can get $89 a night studio accomidation.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
I couldn't handle waiting 10-15 min for a lift. It doesn't sound much, but that's quite a pain.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
paulsparrow wrote:
I go to Whistler about 30-45 times a year. Hit the hill at 8:30. By 10:30 you may have the worst lineups and that is 10-15 mins at a couple of the main central lifts. The picture of Harmony was probably opening weekend for the Symphony area thus everyone was at this lift to go check out the new opening.



Yep - an early start is the key. If you like standing in lines, get up late ...

Just blogged about President's Weekend - see http://gortonator.spaces.live.com/ for a report and some pics showing how busy (!) some of the runs are Madeye-Smiley
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 franzman
franzman
Guest
Those lift lines are typical, but if you go with an experienced guide in Whistler, he can make sure you avoid those lines. TIP: Book a private instructor that can get you through the lines and at the same time show you the good spots and give you some ski or board tips while you rip it up!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Quote:

The picture of Harmony was probably opening weekend for the Symphony area thus everyone was at this lift to go check out the new opening.



Wrong, was taken on a Sunday, 16th March Smile The resort had similar queues for the whole of that week and the next, no matter which lift you took, the only time the lifts were quieter was during the lunch period. We always have an early start, as by 9 am the queues build up at the bases Shocked
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Bones wrote:
Quote:

The picture of Harmony was probably opening weekend for the Symphony area thus everyone was at this lift to go check out the new opening.



Wrong, was taken on a Sunday, 16th March Smile The resort had similar queues for the whole of that week and the next, no matter which lift you took, the only time the lifts were quieter was during the lunch period. We always have an early start, as by 9 am the queues build up at the bases Shocked


Line at Harmony on President's Day weekend this year was this bad. But only Harmony, Symphony and 7th Heaven - rest of lifts were either 5-10 minute wait max or pretty much deserted. It doesn't get much busier than a sunny President's weekend, so I find it very hard to believe every lift incurred a long wait for a whole week? I've done at least 60 days there, and never had such an experience?
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Whistler is a victim of its own success at times. The lazy do get punished if they choose to try to upload from the village at say 9.30am.

However those who've skied there a bit know the lifts/combos that deliver minimum waits and the times of day to hit them. Its not like you can't work it out with a lift map. Symphony lift has pretty much screwed Harmony IMO with a load of additional traffic on the way there or back. The peak to peak will screw Blackcomb in the afternoon similarly I expect.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Quote:

Wrong, was taken on a Sunday, 16th March The resort had similar queues for the whole of that week and the next, no matter which lift you took, the only time the lifts were quieter was during the lunch period. We always have an early start, as by 9 am the queues build up at the bases



Wow! I was there that day (and stood in that queue - though I'm not in those pics). While the queue for the Harmony chair was longish, I don't recall it taking that long to clear. - The Symphony chair also had a long queue (it was worse the following weekend, but that was due to a lift malfunction), though I don't recall any of the other lines being anything like so long, and they mos certainly weren't so bad outside the weekends.


I'll be there again, in a couple of weeks Very Happy
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
thinking the only way is just to go and find out for myself...

Saw much worse in Europe/
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was in whistler a few weeks ago no ques at all but most of skiing was done during the week not weekend.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Basically, come during a holiday week/weekend, get big lines. Come on a Saturday, maybe get big lines. Saturday during a holiday, don't even bother.
Then again I am comparing to the whole season, where I generally ski straight onto a chair, or a 2-3 minute wait at most.
I guess most resorts are the same, the build lift capacity to cater to the busy times, so the non-busy times, the chairs are empty
do your self a favour, and don't go skiing on the official holiday weeks, take some annual leave, and go when the other people don't.
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