Whistler is an exceptional ski resort. A mile of vertical, two massive mountains, stunning terrain, huge snow, an Olympic pedigree, a long season and a village with a vibe to rival anything on the planet - the superlatives go on and on. It ticks all the boxes – and then some!
Anyone who has ever clicked into a pair of skis or tightened the bindings on a snowboard should make the pilgrimage here at least once. As legendary ski filmmaker Warren Miller put it: ‘If you don’t come this year, you’ll be a year older when you do come.’
And if a ski trip halfway round the world seems daunting, tailor-made ski specialists, Ski Independence, one of the UK’s leading independent ski tour operators, can put together your bespoke package, with the best places to stay, the best travel options and some fierce discounts for early bookers!
10 reasons to visit Whistler
1. The Mountain
Make that mountains, plural. Whistler, in the Coast range of Canada’s British Columbia, has two, Whistler and Blackcomb, host of the 2010 Winter Olympic ski and bobsleigh events. Linked by the magnificent PEAK 2 PEAK cable car, these one-time rival mountains are home to one mile of vertical and more than 8,000 acres of incredibly varied terrain, with more than 200 marked trails from green groomers to blue cruisers, plus alpine bowls, chutes, glades and steeps.
Whistler has a massive range of every type of accommodation from budget lodgings to high-end luxury. Top selling properties are the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, the Westin Whistler Resort, the Four Seasons Whistler & Residences and the Delta Whistler Village Suites.
3. Ski school
Whistler Blackcomb snow school has you covered from first turns right through to the sort of backcountry adventures you can tick off your bucket list. The snow school will take children as young as three and teach them how to get around the mountain in a controlled and enjoyable way in groups led by instructors who have been specially trained to teach children of all ages. At the other end of the spectrum you will find the Extremely Canadian programmes, designed specifically for the more adventurous. These lessons are guaranteed to take you out of your comfort zone while assuring your safety at every turn. From nursery slopes to steep and deep… as Pete, Ski Independence Overseas Operations Manager, puts it: ‘Whistler Blackcomb Ski School is for life, not just a holiday.’
4. World-class après-ski
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, dine in restaurants to suit all tastes and budgets, or just stroll through the compact pedestrianised family-friendly village
Head to the GLC, the Dubh Linn Gate or the Longhorn for a well-earned pitcher of Kokanee and great tunes, or immerse yourself in the sumptuous surrounds of the must-do Mallard Lounge... Whistler offers an impressive array of restaurants from world class fine-dining at the Bearfoot Bistro or the Rimrock Café, to simply stunning value food and drink at the El Furniture Warehouse. Expect a range of cuisines from across the planet, served with panache. Whistler’s food and drink scene is vibrant and enticing!
5. Whistler is now Epic
Skiing at Whistler Blackcomb is now included on the Epic Season Pass, which offers unlimited skiing in 10 major resorts in Canada and the USA. Epic Passes are only available for a limited time so it’s best to book as early as possible.
6. Did we mention the snow?
Measured in metres, not centimetres, Whistler gets huge snow! The resort has a 10-year average of 11.70 metres of snow per winter. Winter 2015-16 and 2016-17 both produced a whopping 12+ metres – a staggering 40+ feet of snow.
7. A season that keeps on giving
With a consistently long winter season lasting from November to May you can book Whistler safe in the knowledge that snow conditions will most likely be epic.
8. Heli-ski heaven
Perhaps the ultimate ski experience and more affordable than you might expect, Whistler Heli-skiing offer a great range of packages for intermediate skiers and above (from £639pp), giving access to more than 400,000 acres of virgin backcountry terrain.
9. Getting there is easy
There are daily flights with BA and Air Canada from Heathrow to Vancouver, then a straightforward two-hour journey along the scenic Sea to Sky Highway to Whistler resort. And while you’re in BC, plug in a day or two in Vancouver at the start or end of your holiday. This wonderfully cosmopolitan city is overlooked by mountains and rimmed by water. A stunning mix of urban style and outdoor exuberance, it even comes complete with its own ski resort. Just a 15-minute cab ride from downtown Vancouver is Grouse Mountain, a beautiful snowy playground for the city’s urban skiers.
10. Value for money
Ski Independence have two great money-saving offers: book by 31 August and get massive early booking discounts of up to 50% on the complete package, from accommodation, flights and transfers to lift passes, equipment rentals and lessons.
If that’s too soon, then book by 15 November and you’ll still qualify for great savings on your holiday package.
In association with Ski Independence