We’ve put together a guide on skiing in Whistler and what you can expect from Whistler ski resort. As one of the largest ski resorts in North America and home to the record-breaking Peak 2 Peak Gondola, keen skiers and snowboarders have over 8,000 acres of incredible and varied terrain to tackle across the two mountains. The pedestrianised village has lively après, a wide variety of fine dining and spas to soothe aching muscles.
Whistler and Blackcomb merged in 1997 and have since become one of the most sought-after ski destinations in the world. Just a two-hour drive from Vancouver and under a ten-hour direct flight from London, it is well worth the journey. Renowned around the world for its snowy seasons and providing a wide range of slope gradients and difficulties, it is suitable for all levels.
Whistler Blackcomb has an expansive ski area that covers a remarkable 200 marked runs, 16 alpine bowls and three glaciers, with suitable terrain for all levels. Unlike European skiing, tree runs, powder bowls and steep couloirs are included in the ski boundary, which means its avalanche secured and patrolled by the resort. Don’t miss the spectacular views from the Peak 2 Peak Gondola. Connecting Whistler Blackcomb and Whistler Mountain, at 436m this is the highest lift of it’s kind and spans a jaw-dropping 3km. Passengers looking for the best view should wait for one of two glass-bottomed gondola cabins that provide unparalleled views over the valleys and glaciers below.
Graced with an average snowfall of 12m a year, Whistler catches storms that brew in the Pacific and head inland, dumping copious amounts of fluffy powder. Local backcountry guides can lead you around the wilderness, discovering fresh tracks. Head down legendary routes like the 200m-long DOA couloir, the backside of Flute and the south eastern face of Spearhead. Heli skiing unlocks another 173 glaciers and over 400,000 acres, which is 50 times the size of Whistler Blackcomb.
If you or your children are looking to improve their technique, the ski school takes children from three years old. The Family Ski Zone is great for practising turns, and the high-speed chairlift means no hanging around. For untouched powder lessons, backcountry guides offer brilliant local knowledge of the best routes as well as ensuring your safety.
A snowboard friendly resort, Whistler Blackcomb has a fantastic variety of terrain and speedy chairlifts. Thankfully for boarders, there’s only one T-bar on the glacier! Whether you’re learning on the beginner slopes, pushing yourself on steeper runs or heading to the park, there’s plenty to keep you occupied. Experienced boarders will enjoy the numerous bowls and tree runs as well as the boardercross track and super pipe. Snowboarders love the Rock n Roll blue for playful side hits and raised banks, as well as tree lines to dip into.
Saying you are on cloud nine wouldn’t be far from the truth in Whistler. Take the 7th Heaven Express to Horstman Hut to begin the aptly named Cloud Nine cruisy blue run. Cruise over the natural rollers with some speed, but don’t shoot off too fast and miss the views of Blackcomb Peak and Whistler mountain. Try out the Ridge Runner from the top of the Crystal Ridge Express or push yourself on the double diamond Outer Limits run at around 6,000ft.
Mount Pattison, Decker Mount and the Flute are the backcountry’s finest areas with cliff drops, chutes and glaciers. Looking for inspiration or tips to take your skiing to the next level? Head to the Peak Chair on a powder day and watch skiers descend three impressive cliff jumps – Waterfall, 3rd Step and Air Jordan.
Vancouver is the nearest airport to Whistler and is under ten hours in the sky if you fly direct from London. From Vancouver, the drive is around two hours and extremely scenic as you travel along the Sea to Sky Highway. A fantastic city, we recommend you add a couple of days in Vancouver to see the sights and enjoy the outdoorsy vibe. Read our guide to Vancouver here.
Whistler’s après isn’t as raucous as Europe’s, but the Canadians make up for it with their friendliness. Spend a relaxed après by the fire at Basalt Wine & Salumeria or listen to live music at Merlin’s or the Dubh Linn Gate. Alternatively, a few cold ones at The GLC when the lifts shut allows you the evening for off-piste activities.
Soar through the sky on the zipline or celebrate a special occasion by snowmobiling to Crystal Hut. Here you can dine on a candlelit fondue dinner at 6,000ft. Families may like to go dogsledding, have a hot chocolate in an igloo or try tubing. Or, your well-used muscles may be yearning for a pamper session at the Scandinave Spa. The best bit – you’re fresh-faced for first lifts.
After a day’s skiing in Whistler, you will have worked up quite the appetite. Indulge in Canada’s national dish of poutine – cheesy chips topped with gravy – followed by a maple taffy made on snow! Whistler’s restaurants have refined five-star dining and Canadian comfort food.
The pedestrianised village is full of restaurants, local favourites include the Garibaldi Lift Co, Dusty’s Bar & BBQ and the Bearfoot Bistro. Glacier Creek Lodge is on the mountain and serves Udon noodles and create-your-own sandwiches – we love the pulled pork wraps. While Crystal Hut on Blackcomb Mountain serves waffles piled high with berries and ice cream. View Whistler restaurants here.
By the Blackcomb gondola, the Fairmont Chateau is one of Whistler’s prestigious addresses with large stylish rooms. Choose between seven restaurants and great wellness facilities, including a eucalyptus steam room. Summit Boutique Hotel is a quirky hotel with beautiful suites in Whistler Village. Dine at the highly regarded Sachi Sushi restaurant or more casually at Elements Urban Tapas Parlour. The outdoor patio that has a heated pool and hot tub for relaxing in the sun after skiing. View Whistler accommodation here
Whistler’s snowfall records are impressive, with an average of 12 metres a year and conditions are reliable throughout the season. View Whistler’s snow conditions here.
Our ski experts can help you organise your Whistler skiing holiday, please speak to them on 0207 471 7700.