No matter how revved one is to sweat the bumps all afternoon, no one likes the gear-laden schlep back to the condo at the end of the day. That's the beauty of Big White, where every accommodation-from the luxe Chateau to the youth hostel and RV park-is ski-in/ski-out. And this convenience comes cheap, thanks in part to the exchange rate: Condos go for as low as $31 (U.S.) and hotel rooms as low as $68 (U.S.) per night. There are some drawbacks, however, to this compact alpine village. For one thing, even with retail, restaurants and rooms all on top of one another, "nightlife is limited," grumbles one reader. "If you want to party, go elsewhere," adds a second. Another design peeve: "No warming huts or restrooms anywhere mid-mountain," so a bathroom break means skiing down to one of the base areas or stopping at your room. But children find no complaint with this mountain. Last winter saw the opening of the Happy Valley Adventure Centre, featuring amusements such as a multi-lane inner-tube course and an ice-skating park. And every year, the Kids Centre-Big White's ski-school and day care facility-wins praise from readers. "Kids are king here; family activities galore," pipes one parent. Grooming, variety of terrain (every chair offers a green way down) and "snow quality and quantity" also garnered approval. And those who consider Big White "a cruiser capital" may just change their minds after they see the four new expert runs carved into "Never-Never Land" this season.
WHAT'S NEW Two new lodging alternatives: The luxurious Stonebridge Lodge Resort boasts 75 two-bedroom suites featuring kitchens, gas fireplaces, private hot tubs and balconies, plus a fitness center and pool; Trappers' Crossing is a collection of 42 townhouses.
A GOOD DEAL Celebrate American Thanksgiving in Canada with two nights' slopeside accommodation at the White Crystal Inn, two days of skiing and a two-hour ski-analysis session, plus a Thanksgiving turkey dinner, starting at $113 per person; 800-663-2772.
HIGH/LOW PACIFIC RANK Snow (1), Service, (2), Lodging (3); Weather (26), Scenery (31), Access (33).
DON'T MISS This après-ski pick-me-up: A Gunbarrel Coffee from Snowshoe Sam's Bar & Restaurant. Flaming liqueur flows down the barrel of a gun and into your glass, which is already filled with hot coffee, more liqueurs and whipped cream.
READER REMARKS (+) "Value, terrain, value." "Ski-in/ski-out; great skiers' mountain. Lots of varied terrain."
(-) "Not much to do or many places to go." "Fog, fog, fog."