Whistler is one of the most highly regarded destinations in the world for ski holidays.
Some will never holiday anywhere else. Whistler is the biggest ski area in North America and one of the most famous ski resorts in the world. The mountain is all about flying through the trees, playing in high open bowls, and magnificent snow. Coupled with all the delights of a supreme modern village, you might say this is as good as it gets.
Whistler Village is a varied cluster of chalets, apartments and some high-rise blocks. It is purpose-built but tasteful, with a car-free centre. The colourful variety of après-ski bars and the vast array of eateries mean the only difficulty is choosing where to go. The village is very lively, but there are rocking bars with live music as well as quiet and cosy snugs, gourmet restaurants (make sure you book in advance) as well as cheap and cheerful cafés - whatever you’re looking for, something will fit the bill.
Resort Altitude: 670m
Resort Skiing: 2,284m
Total Ski Area: 200km
Blue Runs: 40km
Red Runs: 110km
Black Runs: 50km
Cross Country: 28km
Guaranteed snow, breathtaking views and a large variation of terrain; the multi-award-winning Whistler-Blackcomb ski area is one to be visited. With 200km of slopes and trails to experience over two mountains, there is something for all abilities and you are sure to find new runs every day of your holiday. Runs vary from gentle slopes in wide, groomed bowls to steep tree-skiing and numerous snow parks. There are also lots of off-piste ski areas available.
For intermediates, Whistler is a playground like no other, with extensive terrain that includes long cruising groomed trails through the trees and beautiful blues on the Horstman Glacier which dazzle in the sun. Some good off-piste can be found amongst the ridges and bowls across Whistler Mountain, and there are incredible views from blue trails in the same area. Experts will love the steeper bowls and gullies available and, though the terrain is a little more limited for beginners, the nursery slopes are excellent.
The lift system comprises almost exclusively of chairlifts and is consequently very boarder-friendly. (There is one T-bar up on the glacier, but the quality of the powder will make it worth the trip.) Blackcomb has a Terrain Park of 16 acres including one World Cup sized half-pipe, as well as a 17-foot radius Pipe Dragon. (There’s also a 2,000 watt sound system and a DJ booth.) In Whistler, the Nintendo Terrain Park covers 26 acres. It is accessed via a half-pipe at the top of the Emerald chair.
The two mountains have amalgamated their ski schools and standards are very high. They offer a full range of well-defined programmes for women only and skiers with disabilities as well as the usual child and adult courses. The ski school here also offers Bump Clinics and Powder Workshops, not to mention Snowboard Camps geared to all levels of riders. For budding ski racers, we recommend the Dave Murray Ski Camp. Free guided tours are offered daily on both mountains by the local 'Mountain Hosts'.
Whistler hosts a resort run childcare program for children aged 18 months to 5 years, located across the resort in four different locations. Staff have plenty of childcare experience and create a fun environment for children to relax and play.
French, Italian, Greek, Chinese, Thai, Pacific Rim, Modern American, Mexican. You name your favourite cuisine and the chances are that the cosmopolitan Whistler has a restaurant to provide it — and at a good standard, too. Moreover, there are restaurants and takeaways to suit every budget.
As the lifts start to close, the terraces of bars such as The Longhorn, The Garibaldi Lift Company (GLC), Dublin Gate, Black’s (all at Whistler base), Monk’s and Merlin’s (at Blackcomb) and Dusty's (at Creekside) are waiting to refresh tired skiers with large jugs of beer and Margaritas, not to mention occasional helpings of live or recorded music. The action here and elsewhere continues until dinner time when things quieten down for a short while.
Non-skiers in Whistler are not short of choice. Whistler village has plenty to explore with its local art, music and culture. Additionally, non-skiers are also able to venture up into the mountains with the Peak 2 Peak Sightseeing Experience. Other winter activities are also available such as snowmobiling and even bobsleighing at the Whistler Sliding Centre.