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Winner of numerous awards for 'Best Resort in the World', Whistler-Blackcomb is the biggest ski area in North America. It was the host for the Alpine events of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games, and offers something for all ability levels, together with excellent amenities across several purpose-built, mostly traffic-free, lively base-area resort developments.

Overview

As the resort's full proper name suggests, Whistler-Blackcomb is comprised of two distinct mountain sectors which have been linked to form this world-class ski area. A spectacular 'Peak 2 Peak' gondola links the upper slopes of Whistler Mountain with those on Blackcomb Mountain, facilitating the switch between sectors without requiring a descent all the way down via the busy central base area, a real advantage on days when there are queues and/or rain at resort level.

Whistler Village is the heart of the resort, clustered around the Skiers Plaza base area at the foot of the slopes on the Whistler Mountain side; the 'Village Stroll' pedestrian route snakes through the bustling core of shops, bars, restaurants, hotels and apartments, linking to the resort's Village North and Village Park quarters.

Blackcomb base to the East is referred to as the Upper Village, and is also within walking distance of Whistler Village. Whistler's original local ski-hill base area, Creekside, is situated 3km drive to the south; it has its own low-key resort development with a gondola link to the mid-mountain flanks of the main Whistler Mountain slopes.

The main resort centre and its surrounding slopes often get very crowded in high season and on most weekends, but the scale of the area and the choice of various resort quarters means that there are still some quieter corners where you can easily escape the hoards.


Ski area

Whistler-Blackcomb boasts a fantastic range of terrain: 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 six snowparks, plus the Olympic-standard superpipe.

Advanced-level skiers and riders come for the famous super-steep chutes into the access-all-areas ungroomed bowls high above Creekside on Whistler Mountain. There are also many tough but enjoyable gladed slopes to be discovered on the mid- to lower-altitude sectors throughout the ski area. As long as they stay clear of the [clearly marked] steepest terrain, all levels of intermediate-ability visitors and even confident novices can effectively access all areas to rack up the miles across the entire ski area.

Thanks to its proximity to the Pacific, Whistler-Blackcomb boasts a highly enviable snowfall history; 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 and the Horstman glaciers, meaning that snow conditions at altitude are seldom a problem, although it should be noted that many of the lower and base-area slopes in the main ski area do frequently get very slushy and heavily chopped-up in the afternoons.


Off the slopes and apres ski

Non-ski activities and facilities include indoor climbing walls and outdoor zip-wire adventure-course routes, snowmobile and dog-sled excursions, a number of plush spas and fitness suites, plus a multi-screen cinema.

A huge choice of truly global cuisine is on offer from a wide selection of good eateries throughout the resort, although despite the grand scale of some of the restaurants, many often get very busy and queues for tables are a common sight.

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.

Apres 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; Dusty's and the Garibaldi Lift Co. Bar are prime examples. Dedicated dance-lovers and hedonistic night-owls will also find a fair collection of late-night music bars and several clubs; Garfinkel's (aka Garf's) and Tommy Africa's are a couple of the resort's longstanding favourites.

// HIGHLIGHTS //
Apres Ski
8
Families
8
Lift System
10
Off the slopes
9
Off-piste
10
Resort Charm
7
Ski Area
10
Vertical drop
1631m
Altitude range
653–2284m
Parks
6
Resort height
675m
Summit
2284m
Airport
Vancouver
Train station
Whistler
beginner
18%
intermediate
55%
expert
27%