With terrain spread across its two neighbouring peaks of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, easily accessible from a huge network of lifts and gondolas, this famous resort in British Columbia, Canada, has no true competitors for its crown of being the largest ski resort in North America.
Whistler truly is exceptional. A mile of vertical, two massive mountains, stunning terrain, vast backcountry, huge snow, fantastic ski school options, an Olympic pedigree, a long season and a village with a great après-ski vibe, Whistler ticks all the boxes – and then some!
Add in a massive range of every type of accommodation from budget lodgings to high-end luxury plus pretty much every kind of restaurant you could wish for and you've got a complete holiday destination.
Where is Whistler?
It's then a straightforward two-hour transfer along the spectacular Sea to Sky Highway to Whistler resort.
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What makes Whistler Blackcomb one of the best ski resorts in the World?
Whistler is no one-trick pony. The combined Whistler and Blackcomb mountains offer a marvellously diverse range of terrain to delight and thrill every level of skier and snowboarder.
Advanced skiers and riders come for the famous super-steep chutes into the ungroomed bowls high above Creekside on Whistler Mountain. There are also many tough but enjoyable glades to be discovered on the mid- to lower-altitude sectors throughout the ski area. And as long as they stay clear of the (clearly marked) steepest terrain, pretty much every intermediate skier and even confident novices can effectively access all areas to rack up the ski miles.
Due to its proximity to the Pacific on the west coast, Whistler Blackcomb gets a lot of snow; the reliable prevailing weather patterns deliver huge dumps of powder at regular intervals throughout an impressively long winter season. Blackcomb Mountain also has two permanent snowfields, on the Blackcomb glacier and the Horstman glacier, meaning that snow conditions at altitude are seldom a problem
Recent lift upgrades have also made reaching the slopes even faster and easier. In addition to the introduction of three new lifts (the Emerald Express chair, Catskinner chair and Blackcomb Gondola) in the 2018/19 season, this winter sees two brand new lift improvements on the Creekside Gondola and the Big Red Express chair. With higher speeds and higher capacity, these upgrades will get you skiing Whistler faster than even ever before!
Huge and varied ski terrain
Whistler has more than 8,000 acres, with 200+ marked trails from green groomers to blue cruisers, from high glacial slopes, open powder-filled bowls and steep challenging chutes, to sheltered tree-lined cruising pistes, pretty glades and gentle well-serviced beginners' zones. There are also five snowparks, plus the Olympic-standard superpipe and a snow-cross area. The longest runs - Peak to Creek and Green Road - are seven miles long.
Plus, for those just starting out or want to brush-up their skills, Whistler Blackcomb ski school has you covered from first turns right through to bucket-list backcountry adventures. The snow school takes children as young as three and teaches them how to get around the mountain in a controlled and enjoyable way led by instructors specially trained in teaching kids of all ages. At the other end of the spectrum you will find the Extremely Canadian programmes, designed specifically for the more adventurous skier. These lessons will certainly take you out of your comfort zone...
The spectacular 'Peak 2 Peak' gondola links the upper slopes on the two mountains of Whistler and Blackcomb, meaning you can switch between sectors without needing to descend all the way down to the central base area and back up again. Plus, if you combine a ride on the Peak 2 Peak with a trip on the Whistler Village Gondola and new Blackcomb Gondola, it creates a huge 13.5-kilometre continuous loop, providing easy access to the pistes as well as showcasing the spectacular mountain views from all around.
You can even make the Peak 2 Peak even more exciting by riding in one of the cabins that's been fitted with a glass section in the floor, giving you a whole new perspective on the 436-metre drop below.
For the ultimate thrill, Whistler Heli-skiing offer a great range of packages for intermediate skiers and above (from approx. £800pp), giving access to more than 400,000 acres of virgin backcountry terrain.
Off the slopes, other unmissable Whistler experiences include trying your hand at the Olympic bobsleigh course (one of the most intense experiences on ice), giving the skeleton run a go, or venturing into the woods to experience the breath-taking spectacle of the Vallea Lumina light instillations.
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Great value lift passes
The Whistler Blackcomb Day Pass is flexible, affordable and customisable. Day Passes are booked at the same time as your accommodation and can be tailored to your needs with a choice of between one and ten days to fit your time in resort. You can also get fantastic savings of up to 61% when you book in advance, and Epic Coverage is also included with every Whistler Blackcomb Day Pass, which provides refunds if certain circumstances result in resort closures or if personal events such as illness prevent you from being able to travel.
Great resort centre for shopping, après and activities
Non-ski activities and facilities include outdoor zip-wire adventure-course routes, snowmobile trips, dog-sled excursions, tubing, outdoor ice skating and a number of plush spas and fitness suites.
You can browse a huge range of shops from ski retail to art galleries, wind down or rev up in Whistler’s legendary bars and night-spots and catch some live music, dine in restaurants to suit all tastes and budgets, or just stroll through the compact pedestrianised family-friendly village. A huge choice of truly global cuisine is on offer from a wide selection of good eateries throughout the resort, but remember to reserve a table as certain spots are extremely popular.
A great idea for discovering some of the best establishments is to book a place on a Whistler Tasting Tour, a multi-course dining experience with each course served in a different restaurant.
Après ski is very lively, driven by a booming hub of loud busy bars, mostly clustered close to the main Whistler Village base area, rocking from mid-afternoon and carrying on late into the evening. The Garibaldi Lift Company (GLC) at the base of Whistler Mountain is a particularly popular place after a hard day on the mountain.
Dubh Linn Gate at the Pan Pacific Mountainside, right by the Whistler base, has a traditional Irish pub feel and excellent food, and Dusty’s at the base of the Creekside Gondola, is full of local Canadian flavour and host to the Canadian National BBQ Championships. There are plenty of other bars – including the world’s coldest vodka tasting bar, the Ketel One Ice Room at the Bearfoot Bistro – and several clubs to keep even the most energetic entertained through until the early hours.
What is the best way to ski Whistler from the UK?
A package holiday takes all the worry and hassle out of organising a trip to Whistler. Frontier Ski has been offering the finest tailor-made ski holidays to Canada for over 30 years, and its expertise and knowledge of the country and resorts is second to none. With Frontier you can even add a city stay in Vancouver at the end of your ski holiday for the chance to experience its fantastic harbour-side hotels, colourful markets, lively shopping and plenty of entertainment. Perfect for a relaxing city break.
Choose from 15 accommodation offerings in Whistler, such as the luxury Fairmont Chateau Whistler with its six restaurants, fantastic spa facilities and an indoor/outdoor pool, and the Four Seasons Resort and Residences, located in the Upper Village of Whistler near the base of Blackcomb Mountain: which has an excellent spa, swimming pool, fitness facilities as well as two fantastic restaurants.
The Delta Whistler Village Suites is a full-service, friendly, modern hotel centrally located in Whistler Village North, close to Market Square. With studios, 1 and 2-bedroom suites, just 6 minutes walk from the lifts, large outdoor pool and steps away from the shops and restaurants.
Families looking for a quieter option might like First Tracks Lodge which is located just steps from the Whistler Creekside lifts and features luxury one- to four-bedroom suites, Whistler Creekside base is the original Whistler base area and is a smaller less busy base area.
The Westin Resort & Spa Whistler is an all-suite hotel conveniently located just steps from Whistler Village and the mountain gondolas. All of the spacious suites offer kitchenettes and dining areas.