As the largest ski resort 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.
The two resorts, 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 within the ski boundary, which means it’s patrolled and avalanche secured by the resort.
Don’t miss the spectacular views on the Peak 2 Peak Gondola, although those with vertigo may want to avoid the two cabins with glass floors.
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 long windy blue run, Cloud Nine. The rollers are great fun with some speed, but don’t shoot off too fast and miss the views of Blackcomb Peak and Whistler mountain. Snowboarders love the Rock n Roll blue run for gaining some speed. There are plenty of playful side hits and raised banks as well as tree lines to dip into.
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 snow. Head down legendary routes like the 200m-long DOA couloir, the backside of Flute and the south-east face of Spearhead. Heliskiing unlocks another 173 glaciers and over 400,000 acres, which is 50 times the size of Whistler Blackcomb.
Whistler’s après isn’t quite as raucous as Europe’s. A few cold ones once the lifts have shut allow you the rest of the evening for off-piste activities. Want to soar through the sky like an eagle, why not try ziplining? Special occasion? Snowmobile to Crystal Hut for a candlelit fondue dinner at 6,000ft. Families may like to dogsled, 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.
Located by the Blackcomb gondola, the Fairmont Chateau is one of Whistler’s prestigious addresses. Rooms are large and stylish, choose between seven restaurant options and relax in the wellness centre’s eucalyptus steam room. Summit Boutique Hotel is a quirky hotel with 81 beautiful suites in Whistler Village. Dine at the highly regarded Sachi Sushi restaurant or Elements Urban Tapas Parlour, and wind down on the outdoor patio that has a heated pool and hot tub.