Ask a Snowmama: Whistler vs Park City?

Posted by Kristen on October 19, 2011

We are in the beginning stages of planning a ski vacation for our family (3&6 year olds). The Last two years we skied Beaver Creek. We're looking at Whistler now. What will Park City give us that Whistler might not?

- Asked by Kerry October 17, 2011


Thanks for your question to "Ask a Snowmama"!

While I have not been to Whistler, I have been to Vail/Beaver Creek, as well as many other areas such as Lake Tahoe, Aspen/Snowmass and throughout the Northeastern US. The best way to respond is to tell you our experience as a family traveling with small children.

My husband and I love to ski, so we have brought our kids on a ski vacation out west from CT, NJ, and now Toronto, every single year for over 14 years.  Our children are now ages 3, 9, 12, and 14, and after visiting many places, we have decided to keep going back to Park City, and in particular, Park City Mountain Resort, every single year.

There are several reasons for this: Great accessibility, reliable snow, and a perfect family atmosphere.

SLC is an easy flight from just about anywhere, and from there it is a mere 35 minute drive to Park City.    If you don't want to rent a car, shuttles run constantly from the airport.  We have come to count on its amazing snow and dry climate to make those winter temperatures feel more moderate. 435-901-8830 (5661845011_067c495f95_o)
Signature 3 ski school at Park City Mountain Resort.

Park City has a cozy western town feel with a host of great restaurants that are great for families, fun off hill activities like tubing and ice skating, and shopping nearby to grab necessities.   A free public transportation system in town makes it easy to get from place to place.

There are three resorts in Park City - Park City Mountain Resort, Deer Valley, and The Canyons - all under 10 minutes from one another.  Park City Mountain Resort is right in the middle of the two and closest to the town.  In fact, there is even a chairlift and a ski slope that allows you to ski right down to Main Street in Park City.

Once you add up all the mountains in town, there are actually more skiable acres in Park City than at Whistler. Park City Mountain Resort alone has 3300 skiable acres, but has a central area and base that bring it together to take away that overwhelming feeling.  Most lifts have terrain that service all levels, which allows families to ski together with ease.

Probably the best thing about PCMR is the ski programs! The Signature 3 and Signature 5 ski and snowboard school guarantee small ratios (3:1 for 3 1/2 to 5 year olds, 5:1 for 6 & up).  I found this to be extremely rare, and the result was fabulous instruction for my kids.  The rates include ski rental and lunch, and the cost is fairly comparable to Whistler.

Since I now live in Canada,  I can also tell you that with the US and Canadian dollar at par, the cost of coming to Canada is more expensive than it has ever been.  The benefit of the exchange rate does not currently apply.

Park City is a very manageable town that is easy to navigate and you will spend more time as a family enjoying your time on the hill rather than trying to get from one place to another.

Good luck with your travel planning!



Comment posted by Kristen Wint on October 23, 2011 11:27 PM MDT

I moved to Whistler 15 years ago in search of powder and never looked back. After 15 years of skiing and riding, I’m still finding new powder stashes and getting stoked for another season to begin. I am now married and raising two children aged 5 and 7 years old, so I feel I can answer to Kerry’s question of travelling to Whistler with kids. Whistler is so magical; it makes everyone feel like a kid again. The mountains offer an unbelievable variety of terrain between both Whistler and Blackcomb, with designated family ski zones on each. Whistler consistently offers the most reliable snow conditions and due to its coastal proximity, temperatures are moderate during the winter season, rarely dipping below 22°F in the alpine during most winter months. The intimate mountain Village is located at the base of both mountains making it effortless to access all of Whistler Blackcomb’s 8,171 acres of terrain. The PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola is reason enough alone to come visit, as the 11-minute ride from peak to peak gives you the freedom to stay up in the alpine all day long and easily hook-up with your kids for lunch, even if they’re skiing on another mountain. Did I mention that you only need one lift ticket to ski and ride both mountains? That’s right, no driving between resorts, trekking gear around and finding parking. A car isn’t even necessary in Whistler during the winter months. Your best bet is to fly in to Vancouver, take the airport shuttle right to your Whistler accommodation and then walk to the lifts and Village amenities. The main Village Stroll is a vehicle-free area where you and the kids are free to wander and check out the family-friendly restaurants, cafes, shops, movie theatres and more. There is a complimentary Village shuttle bus as well if you do want to hop a ride with bags and gear, or need a lift when little ones are complaining because their legs are tired from skiing so hard all day! Whistler is warm and welcoming with all the comforts of a large city, including grocery stores, pharmacies, spas, a recreation centre with indoor pool and skating rink, a kid’s park, indoor climbing walls and more. The children’s ski & snowboard school is second to none with daily programs and weekly camps, aftercare and infant daycare. There are tons of family-friendly activities like ziplining, snowmobiling, sleigh rides, Olympic venue tours and more that can be accessed right from the Village. If they are just outside of town, tour operators will pick you up from your hotel with a free shuttle. There are two excellent babysitting agencies in the resort, a library with large children’s area, and special family-friendly indoor and outdoor activities for the holiday season and New Year’s Eve. From one mom to another, Whistler is tops. Check out the official website at for tons of info and an amazing blog with insider tips from other Whistler locals like myself. Hope to see you here!

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Comment posted by Kristen Haaijer on October 20, 2011 6:06 PM MDT

Thanks, Erin! It's great to get information from someone who has gone to Whistler with little ones. Park City also has wonderful babysitting programs, some great spas, and there is a sleigh ride dinner offered nightly at PCMR!

Thanks again for the feedback!

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Comment posted by Erin Kemp on October 20, 2011 7:43 AM MDT

We live here in Park city and share a condo in whistler. While my girls enjoy whistler village with the park and stores, we have had a hard time finding as many family friendly restaraunts and activities. We usually end up heading way out of town to go sledding or find a distant sleigh ride and it takes the entire day. Our girls have also had a more difficult time with the whistler mountain as it is not very consistant snow and so they still do not have favorite runs it is also harder to keep us meeting up through out the day because the layout of terrain keeps us seperated. I think as my kids are teenagers it may be even more enjoyable. All of that said we have had great experiences wit the local nanny program and my mother loves the spas there.

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