If you haven’t been to Whistler, make it a must-visit ski destination this year. The best part about the Whistler is that it connects you directly to another amazing peak North of Vancouver, the Blackcomb. So, you will have over 4,757 acres of skiable area in Whistler and around 3,414 acres in Blackcomb to explore in one trip.
With an average of 430 centimeters (14 feet) of snowfall, Whistler attracts more than 2 million visitors a year and can accommodate around 30000 at a time.
Now before you get carried away and start looking into bookings already, here is all you need to know about the Whistler experience.
Whistler and Blackcomb used to be different resorts until they merged in 1997, offering visitors a wider ground to ski and explore. The Whistler’s vertical height is 1,530 m while Blackcomb stands at 1,609 m. There is a gondola that takes the visitors from one peak to another. This cable car service also holds the record for the longest and highest gondola service that goes peak to peak without support.
There are 200 slopes in both the peaks and 35 are for beginners, 110 for intermediates, 35 difficult and 20 for experts. This means that skiers of all skill levels can enjoy the slopes and ski to their heart’s content. The slopes are of very fine powder quality so that skiers and snowboarders are attracted from all over the world. They also have a total of 37 lifts out of which 19 are on the Whistler and 17 on Blackcomb.
Whistler offers adventure and an enviable level of luxury and leisure. You can find some of the best hotels and accommodation options, and there is a town that will keep you entertained when you aren’t skiing. However, for anyone who is there just for the sake of skiing, it is essential to know the runs offs that are most suited for your skill level. While the Whistler experience is different for a rookie, amateur and a pro, it is nevertheless the most enjoyable ski experience you can expect.
Let’s see what Whistler has to offer to each skier.
Whistler is considerably tame as compared to Blackcomb. It may appear more attractive to serious adventure-seekers and challenge-hunters, but it is equally benevolent to the beginners. Blue and green level skiers will find plenty of opportunities to enjoy their ski vacations. The diversity actually makes it a perfect destination for those who just want to practice and polish their skills before they can ski some of the toughest slopes around the world.
As mentioned, there are around 35 slopes that can easily be categorized as beginner friendly. The Burnt Stew Trail for instance, is a run that is truly rewarding for any rookie. No matter how long you want to stay here, you won’t run out of such runs to hone your skiing skills. Ego bowls, Green Acres, Marmot are just a few we recommend, but if you want to stay near the base Blackcomb has more beginner runs to offer at a lower altitude. One advantage of staying down there is that you will avoid the huge crowd.
While skiers with intermediate skills enjoy the greens just as much as the beginners do, blues are what truly make the whole experience beautiful and memorable. There are as many as 110 slopes suitable for a skier who is neither a pro nor a newbie. This means Whistler is essentially an intermediate resort. However, some of the runs categorized as green in this part of the world can actually prove quite challenging for skiers from other countries. In fact, Whistlers has plenty of green runs that would have been rated black in other regions, including the US itself. With that said, there are a number of blue runs that are actually perfect for beginners who wish to take it up a notch.
So, basically Whistler is a dream destination for any skier who wishes to experience a whole new level of challenge without risking much.
One of our personal favorite runs includes the Saddle of the Whistler Peak Chair, but if you need a longer run Peak to Creek is highly recommended. It’s a tremendous 5,000 vertical feet run. So, if you are having a lazy day and plan to have no more than one run might as well go for a long one.
All those talks about versatility aside, the true test of any terrain lies in the way it satisfies the most seasoned skiers. Around 50 of the peaks Whistler runs are categorized as difficult or expert. Once again, keep in mind that the ratings are based on Canadian threshold for extreme adventure, which is slightly higher than that of the US.
Speaking of pros, the Dave Murray Downhill run on Whistler was chosen for several events including Super G Races and 2010 Whistler Olympics.
Most of the extreme slopes and bowls, however, are on Blackcomb. Spanky Ladder is one you won’t regret choosing. It gives you access to the Ruby, Garnet, Diamond and Sapphire bowls. Whistler also has some adrenaline pumping adventure waiting for you – the Whistler Bowl drop for instance.
Whistler may not be the most extreme peak out there, but it definitely has plenty of challenging bowls for the experts to shred. There is at least one bowl that is considered and called ‘extreme’ by all the skiers who have ever chosen it. Aptly named the Couloir Extreme, it offers a breathtaking view of the Coast Range before the steep drop.
We are all too passionate about skiing, but sometimes we do end up with companions who aren’t much about shredding the slopes. Whistler may be a skier’s dreamland, but it can also serve as a wonderland for a non-skier. The weather, landscape, scenery is beautiful and breathtaking. Even for skiers, there are days when you want to skip skiing and enjoy simpler things like a stroll or ice-cream. With its numerous restaurants and a beautiful village, Whistler doesn’t disappoint.
Speaking of non-skiers, Whistler is hands down one of the few North American resorts where you can take your kids along. They can enjoy many activities such as ice skating and tobogganing. You can even get the young ones enrolled in the ski school.
Whistler has around four golf clubs and one Mountain Bike Park. Summer is essentially a good time for biking enthusiast and serenity seekers. As for non-skiing adventures in winter, you can go for activities such as zip lining or snowmobiling. At the end of a busy day, you can hit the Meadow Park Sports Centre and enjoy a rejuvenating sauna or hot tub. The fun never ends. In fact, Whistler’s Après-ski is so amazing that we might need another post to give it the coverage it deserves.
Our future posts will cover everything from accommodation to Après-ski and other activities offered. There are many activities for the whole family to enjoy all year round and besides the wonderful slopes and runs, Whistler has so much to offer. So, take the Sea to Sky Highway from Vancouver and you will reach Whistler in two hours. The Vancouver airport also offers shuttle service that will drop you off at your destination. The journey is comfortable and presents a scenic view of the region.
Whenever you decide to go skiing, it is best to proactively plan and book your accommodation in advance. One of the best ways is to go through a travel agent or make plans online so you know what to expect when you get to the slopes.
At the base of the Whistler Creekside, ‘Dusty’s’ is one of the oldest establishments – serving the locals and skiers since 1965. It is the home to the sunniest patio and was rebuilt in 2000. This spot is one of the favorites among the locals. Talking about aesthetics, this place looks like a classic western ski lodge with wood beamed ceilings and a very warm and comfortable fireside. This place enhances the ambiance with an excellent sound system and video systems.
Another place called Garibaldi Lift Co or GLC is popular and overlooks the base of the Whistler Mountain. This place has an exquisite theme which means that those of you who live to chill out at sophisticated lounges, restaurants, bars and clubs – GLC has everything. This place is ambient and if you’re lucky you might even bump into a few celebrities.
For those of you who absolutely cannot live without having a pint of beer to lighten up your evenings look no further than the Brewhouse. The draught beer is brewed on the site and the kitchen produces dishes to make the perfect pairings – the north western style. Try a pint of Lifty’s ice-cold lager straight from the tap, which is typically a welcoming change from most of the Canadian domestic beers.
Citta’s is another ambient and must visit place situated in the village square, and the patio is considered to be the best viewing platform for people viewing at the Whistler. The bar is always crowded from après till the time they close. Another highly recommended place is the Crystal Lounge, but make sure that you get there early due to the limited seating they have available.
Whistler and the Blackcomb have developed a reputation as an international resort due to the vast number of activities they have to offer for every member of the family. The variety of cuisines they offer is another indication of how they cater to everyone – with varying budgets and taste preferences. Most of the restaurants are well stocked and replace the expensive supermarkets for self-caterers, but there are many options – you can find sushi, Chinese, Greek, Italian, French and North American restaurants, not counting the numerous coffee shops and cafes.
For those of you who prefer fine dining there are more than a few options. You can choose from Araxi, Bear Foot Bostro, II Caminetto di Umberto and Quattro’s. They have all received multiple positive reviews for the extensiveness of their menus and their wine selection. The crown jewel of Whistler’s fine dining, however, is the Rim Rock Café which is well known for its ‘Fish and Game’ menu. This place is so good and busy that you need to make reservations at least a week in advance.
Apart from all these options, you always have the option of going for a casual dining experience and choose from dozens of options. 21 Steps has amazing steaks and grills, and deserve at least one visit. Elements offers an affordable menu of tapas that will fill your food cravings in an economical way. The Sushi Village is a Japanese place well known for their massive flasks of sake, which complements the very exclusive sushi menu.
If you are seeking a family day out in Whistler, the Old Spaghetti Factory is economical and has a very good menu for kids. The Crabshack Caramba and Una Mas are other options for days when you are not in the mood for expensive fine dining places.
Whistler in particularly is known for the way it comes to life after dark. As they say, there is never a dull day – or night – in Whistler. For late night revelers there is an immense amount of action.
While Whistler invites you to a truly rewarding skiing adventure, it also gives you the opportunity to raid an amazing array of bars, discos, and nightclubs. Garfinkel’s, Down Under, Moe Joe’s and Tommy Africa’s are some of the places you absolutely cannot miss if you want to enjoy the nightlife the way it is meant to.
Interesting Tip: Check the local newspaper Pique for an extensive listing for clubs with various event timings.
Whistler and the Blackcomb are not just spectacular ski resorts, they are quite popular as party places. Even when the sun goes down the hillside doesn’t sleep and you can party all night long, making the
When you are planning to head down to a skiing location there are many aspects you need to consider and not just the depth, and quality of powder on the slopes. You need to think about what the after ski life will be like, what the night life has to offer and what other activities one can do at the resort.
Whistler is one of the most popular international skiing destinations with over 2 million tourists pouring in from all over the world and it is estimated that one-fifth of those visitors aren’t here for skiing. So what are they here for? It truly depends on what they want.
Summer or winter, Whistler is never a dull destination whether you like skiing or not. Other than skiing, there are plenty of activities to enjoy. You can go camping under the stars and witness nature’s divine splendor, relax in heated swimming pools or spas, or enjoy a game of golf.
Let’s take a look at all the activities you can enjoy when you are not in the mood for skiing.
If you are not into skiing, you can still enjoy the snow with activities like snowmobiling and dog sledding. You can even book a helicopter tour or Heli ice cave excursions. However, the best way to witness the beauty of the icy peaks is by taking a Peak 2 Peak Gondola ride from Whistler to Blackcomb. There are plenty of people who also come here just for the sake of ice fishing.
While most skiing resorts are closed for summer, you can see Whistler in a whole new avatar when the sun is out. Summers are equally entertaining for all the visitors. There are a number of adventurous activities to enjoy such as hiking and zip lining. It is also a great time to polish your mountain biking skills. Moreover, Whistler has a number of golf clubs where you can socialize with other guests who share your passion.
Most ski resorts aren’t the best place to plan a family vacation, but Whistler is an exception. Not only can you get your kids enrolled in a ski school, you can also take them to numerous family events held all year round. There are many camping and biking groups your kids can join in Whistler. For visitors with kids too young for these activities, there are a number of day care centers as well.
Other than that, the pedestrian-only village in Whistler is truly the most serene place to be. You can enjoy a delectable meal at one of the top restaurants in the village, you can shop for souvenirs and you can hit a bar, and get a taste of the electrifying nightlife Whistler is known for.
While Whistler is a ski resort, it can be a dream destination for anyone who wants to explore the region. For the best Whistler experience, always make sure that you make your reservations in advance and read up on the reviews of the various places you intend on visiting. Interestingly, you can save more if you are planning to stay for longer.