Man vs. AI Ski Trip Planner

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Artificial intelligence is making news, but can it do the important things? Human Adam Bisby faces off against the “first-ever AI ski trip planner” in planning a family adventure to B.C.

My initial reaction verged on confrontational when Wertu CEO Matan Noti informed me that the online travel startup had recently launched a ski trip planner powered by ChatGBT, to “help ski travellers build their dream trip in minutes instead of hours.”

Whenever I hear about a new use for OpenAI‘s seemingly ubiquitous applications–composing music, generating artwork, writing Ski Canada articles, drafting emails–I feel compelled to test my own abilities against those of ChatGBT. With ski trip planning being right in my wheelhouse, I saw Noti’s announcement as a prime opportunity to end my winless streak. 

Here’s how my metaphorical cage match versus went down, using Wertu’s own search parameters:

  • We are expert skiers
  • We are traveling from Toronto to British Columbia from Jan. 27 to Feb. 3 
  • We are willing to spend up to $1,500 (per person)
  • We care about snowparks, après-ski, and family-friendliness

After a conversion to Canadian dollars, here’s what the computer spat out.

Wertu: Ski trips you’d love…

Panorama Mountain Village from $1,440 (per person)

  • Stay: From $1,135 at Panorama Vacation Retreat at Horsethief Lodge
  • Flight: From $215 (via Calgary)
  • Transfer: $90
  • Lift tickets: $760 (for six days) 

My initial reaction: so no skiing, then? It seems Wertu’s total price does not factor in the $760 for lift tickets. This does not bode well. Moving on…

  • Stay: While there’s nothing inherently wrong with Wertu redirecting me to for booking accommodations, it feels like cheating given that I could just as easily visit any travel site without Wertu’s help. Plus all the prices are in U.S. dollars.

Further, why does the stay highlighted on cost several hundred dollars more than the one initially presented by Wertu, which can only be found by scrolling down (and involves changing rooms mid-stay)? Also, why are all the Agoda-listed stays based on double occupancy when I indicated a preference for a family-friendly trip? Sure, I can use Agoda to search for something that would fit my family of four, but this adds a step to the supposedly shorter dream-trip-building process. Oh, and it turns out Horsethief’s two-bedroom units are sold out anyway. The final lodging option presented by Agoda, Embarc Panorama, does have one-bedroom suites with pull-out couches available, but they’re $4,330 for the week. Book through the official and a similar one-bedroom unit that sleeps four in the Panorama Springs lodge can be had for $2,515.

Advantage: Bisby.

  • Flight: Again, $215 is an amazing direct fare from YYZ to YYC and back again. Now, let’s just click the link and…the third-party booking site,, tells me that “We ran into some unexpected weather. Sorry, something went wrong on our end. Please go back to search and try again.”

I do as instructed, and lo and beyond, Flair Airlines really is charging $215 for the itinerary in question. Trouble is, that price gets you on a plane with nothing but a small “personal bag” weighing no more than 7kg. The solution, as I’ve noted before, is to pay $69 each way for “one set of ski equipment consisting of skis and boots” in bags that together weigh 23kg or less. Cram some skiwear in there, board the plane wearing everything else, and presto, you’re flying from Hogtown to Cowtown and back for around $360 (including tax). 

Advantage: Bisby (mainly because Wertu fails to account for the luggage).

  • Transfer: Last time I checked, the twice-daily shuttle between YYC and Panorama costs $175 each way, not $90. According to Wertu, the latter is for a rental car, with taxi service reportedly costing $190 per person. (The link to that price on was broken, with a visit to that site revealing not a taxi fare, but a list of rental car options. Various other online services put one-way cab fare at around $600.) Wertu’s seemingly excellent rental car price, meanwhile, was $90 per day (Bisby rolls eyes), with the cheapest seven-day booking coming in at $180 through the linked

Advantage: Bisby

  • Lift tickets: returned a six-consecutive-day price of $765, which is the same as what Wertu listed. That’s because Wertu links to…wait for it…

Advantage: Bisby (for going directly to the source)


The human touch still seems to have Wertu beat when it comes to planning and booking most aspects of a ski getaway. Wertu also suggested trips to Whistler, Sun Peaks, Revelstoke and Fernie in my original search, proving that the AI ski trip planner is capable of correctly identifying B.C.-based ski resorts and stabbing at a few parital leads. It fails to deliver much beyond that.

When I asked ChatGBT “What do you think about Wertu?” it provided the following response: 

“As of my last knowledge update in January 2022, I don’t have specific information about ‘Wertu’ as it doesn’t appear to be a widely recognized term, company, or concept at that time.”

For now, at least, it’s best to keep it that way.

Adam Bisby
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