Whistler Blackcomb is huge - the biggest ski resort in North America, it more resembles the Alps than anything in the Canadian Rockies or Colorado. Not only does Whistler Blackcomb offer up big mountain skiing (over 3,237 ha), it also has the best alpine village this side of the world! Whether you prefer lively après ski or a quiet family retreat, here are 10 reasons we love Whistler Blackcomb:
Skiing Fun for Everyone
With two big interconnected mountains, Whistler and Blackcomb will entertain any skier - for months. Each mountain has its own character, Blackcomb has true fall-line runs, while Whistler has more rolling twisting interesting trail skiing. Intermediate skiers can indulge in big bowl skiing at Whistler’s Symphony Amphitheatre, with groomed runs amid the wide open above tree terrain. Beginners will find their happy place with excellent snow sports instruction, big learning zones on both mountains, and super long green circle runs to practice. Both Whistler and Blackcomb have tons of expert terrain.
Steep Deep Double Black Baby
Experts will find too many crazy steeps chutes, cornices to huck and off-piste to hike up and charge down on Whistler and Blackcomb. Vast glacial blows and steep tricky pitches are dotted all over the huge trail map – and that’s what’s marked. Legendary drop-ins like Saudan’s Couloir with 42% pitch and Spanky’s Ladder should send a chill up the spine of even the most “chill” free skiers. This off-piste is off the charts! Did we mention Whistler Blackcomb is home to over 174,015 ha of heli and cat skiing operations as well? Pay to play, but the play is endless here.
Olympic calibre Trails and Terrain Parks
You can ski Whistler’s Dave Murray’s Downhill, where Lindsey Vonn won gold in the 2010 Winter Games hosted here. Skiing “Peak to Creek” is an 11 km run from top to bottom, Whistler’s full 1,609 m vertical – the kind of run you find in Zermatt Switzerland. There are so many great long trails on both mountains, and beefy terrain parks on Blackcomb for free skiers and riders to train for their next games.
Mind Blowing Lifts
The lifts at Whistler and Blackcomb are top shelf. The Peak2Peak Gondola is the longest single-span lift in the world covering 4 km, a truly jaw-dropping ride across the vast canyon, connecting the two ski peaks. But every peak, pocket and bowl at Whistler and Blackcomb has high speed quads and six packs. You can ride gondola to gondola to gondola – which is especially cool for non-skiers wanting to experience the high-alpine and haute cuisine with their skiing families. And there’s more on tap as Whistler Blackcomb will spend $66 million in 2018-19 on new lifts and a scenic cantilevered suspension bridge on Whistler Peak, it’s Canada’s epicentre for marvellous mountain engineering.
The On Mountain Cuisine
Whistler and Blackcomb have 17 fantastic on-mountain dining spots. Our favourite ski-in/ski-out lunch is Christine’s at Rendezvous Lodge on Blackcomb. The culinary offerings are out of this world, from ahi tuna, to himachi and fancy fried chicken, all served with sweeping views! Steeps at Whistler’s Round House is another culinary gem, and the Umbrella Bar located outside has a panorama and patio to die for on a sunny day, with heat lamps on the not so perfect days (read: Pac North West weather). For the early risers, hop aboard the Whistler Village gondola up to the Roundhouse Lodge for the Fresh Tracks Mountain Top Breakfast, a full-sized buffet, before skiing down the fresh powder-filled slopes before everyone else does. If you’re not a morning person then Wine and Dine at 1,829 m at the Steeps Grill & Wine Bar winemaker après ski tasting.
A Top Base Village
Whistler Village is big, beautifully designed and brimming with fun even if you’re not a skier! With a heated pedestrian plaza you can walk to everything, an avalanche of shops, dining, hotels. There are over 200 restaurants and après ski bars. Go to Sushi Village for authentic and fresh food, Basalt wine bar for creative small plates and cocktails, Longhorn for lumber jack pub grub. For lodging, Whistler has tons of condos and top brand hotels; Whistler’s Chateau Fairmont, The Four Seasons, Pan Pacific, Westin and Hilton are all 4 and 5-star ski properties with ski concierge and luxurious spas.
Whistler Après Ski
Whistler is a party town, starting with après ski at Garibaldi Lift Co, at the base of the gondi. Longhorn, Merlin’s, Black’s Pub and Brandy’s at the Keg are all classic après ski spots for beer and bonding or bragging about your ski day. Firepits with furry blankets, shot skis and music are happening all around the village. And Whistler’s nightlife scene is off the hook, as captured in the Bravo TV Après Ski series filmed here. This ski town never sleeps.
Whistler’s Quiet Side
Whistler Creekside is the quieter side – away from the sprawling Whistler village. Creekside is Whistler’s original ski village, where it all began before Intrawest. Staying here you have everything you need, in a compact cosy pedestrian village. First Tracks Lodge, as the name indicates, is literally steps to the gondola. Stroll across the ski plaza to Dusty’s Bar for après ski and pub fare, or you can walk across the covered bridge to Starbucks, a grocery market, liquor store, a pizza joint, ski shops and Whistler kids child care. Nita Lake Lodge is spectacular; a short walk from Creekside village with suite accommodations overlooking the lake. With a nod to grand style camps, Nita Lake Lodge has a beautiful lobby; it’s posh but approachable, with top clientele, setting and service. Inside the lodge, Cure Lounge is a cosy bar – the perfect cure for après ski, with fireplace and couches – where families can gather with snacks for the kids, cocktails for the parents and great food from burgers and fries to classic Canadian poutine. Nita lake Lodge also has Aura – a sleek utilitarian open-concept kitchen restaurant, with extraordinary cuisine.
So much to ski and do
Besides skiing on 3,307 ha, Whistler has tons of activities, family après ski games in the village, zip-lining, snowmobiling, snow tubing, Olympic Snow Zone sledding, scavenger hunts and theme nights, and tons of big events and festivals. Bring your boundless energy, and a pretty big wallet…
Whistler is Epic
Whistler Blackcomb is now part of Vail Resorts collection – you can buy an Epic season pass to Whistler Blackcomb for about $850 USD ($1,144 AUD) that’s also valid at 14 other ski resorts. That’s extraordinary, or Epic at the very least!