Powderheadz.com heads to Japan!

Powderheadz.com Japan


BY POWDERHEADZ TEAM

Osaka, Japan- The guys at www.powderheadz.com are taking a break from the Pacific Northwest and heading off to Japan for a week.  We’ll be spending a couple of days at Osaka, renting an 8-person van, and heading to Shiga Kogen to go snowboarding and testing out some new gear as well. Hopefully we’ll get a day or two in Tokyo before we bullet train it back to Osaka and back home.

Shiga Kogen

This’ll be more of a scouting trip to see if we can survive Japan as we plan for a much bigger trip next 2018-2019 season to Hakuba Valley, which was recently added to the Epic Pass. Check back here while we try and figure it out as we go along, leaving tips on how to plan your own trip out here.

 

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Snowboard Destination: Breckenridge, CO

Breckenridge Ski Resort
The view from Vista Haus.

Located about 80 miles (128km) southwest of Denver, Colorado, or about a 2-hour drive from Denver International Airport (DEN), Breckenridge Ski Resort is one of the most visited Ski Resorts in the Western Hemisphere. It’s owned by Vail Resorts, Inc., which owns and operates a plethora of other ski resorts such as Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone, Park City Mountain Resort, and Whistler Blackcomb.

Breckenridge Ski Resort offers over 180+ trails with 32 lifts across 600 acres of groomed runs and 1061 acres of alpine bowls and off-piste glades.

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How to Get There


There are multiple ways to get to Breckenridge. The best way to get there is flying into Denver International Airport (DEN) and taking an airport shuttle to the resort. By Car, you drive straight from Denver International Airport on I-70 to exit 203 in Frisco and take CO-9 South all the way to Breckenridge, CO. You can also fly into Eagle County Regional Airport (EGE) which is 63 miles west of Breck or Colorado Springs Aiport (COS) which is 110 miles away.
But if you’re here for a week or more, rent a car so you can ride the 7 mountains within an hour drive from Breckenridge. If you have an Epic Pass or Epic Local Pass, you’ll have access to Arapahoe Basin, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, or Vail. Sometimes you need a change-up from the same mountain, and we recommend you trying the other mountains for a different flavor of riding. Before heading out to any of the resorts, be sure to pay attention to weather and traffic reports.

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Tips and Tricks


  • Account for the altitude. The Breckenridge base is at 9600 feet and the Summit barely kisses 13000 feet (12998 feet if you like specifics), which means you’ll get exhausted a lot faster than you normally would, unless you’re a mountain goat. Walking up a flight of stairs can get you winded, so be sure to be drink plenty of fluids (beer doesn’t count) while your body acclimates itself.  Don’t bum rush into a hard day of riding. Take it easy for the first day to ease into it or you’ll run the risk of getting Altitude Sickness: shortness of breath, nausea, and general weakness.
  • There’s a ton of options when it comes to renting ski and snowboard equipment. We found that Christie’s in Denver on University Blvd. was the easiest and most knowledgeable. Also, they have multiple locations at Breckenridge so if your boots are too tight and you need to change something, you can visit one of the other locations.
  • There’s a lot of terrain to navigate at Breckenridge, but luckily you can break it down pretty easily.
    • Peak 6 is for the Intermediate-Expert Crowd. Ride in the wide open bowls or through the trees.
    • Peak 7 is for those who are trying to graduate from Beginner to Intermediate.
    • Peak 8 is Homebase for Breck. There’s something for everyone on this Peak and perfect for groups with a variety of riding abilities. Be warned that it’s also one of the busiest areas. Expect the longest lines here.
    • Peak 9 is where you come to learn how to ski or board. It’s the family area so it’s also one of the slowest areas on the mountain. You’ll be wanting for more if you’re anything above an Intermediate Rider.
    • Peak 10 is not for the faint of heart. It has easily the most complicated terrain and expert trails that Breck has to offer. You can ruin relationships if you take an inexperienced rider up here.

Breckenridge Trail Map

  • The city of Breckenridge offers more fare than your typical ski resort. It’s a full fledged town that has a plethora of bars, restaurants, spas, and stores. And Breck Free Ride is a free bus system that will get you all over town with over 8 routes and a stop at nearly every street corner.

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Breckenridge, CO: At a Glance


LocationBreckenridge, CO
Nearest Major CityDenver, CO
Vertical1036 m (3398 ft)
Top Elevation3962 m (12998 ft)
Base Elevation2926 m (9600 ft)
Skiable area2908 acres (1177 ha)
Runs187
Ski trail rating symbol-green circle.svg 21 – Beginner
Ski trail rating symbol-blue square.svg 58 – Intermediate
Ski trail rating symbol-black diamond.svg 45 – Intermediate
Ski trail rating symbol-double black diamond.svg 63 – Advanced
Lift system32 total
1 gondola
4 high-speed six-packs
6 high-speed quads
1 fixed-grip quad
1 triple chairlift
6 double chairlifts
1 gondola
4 high-speed six-packs
6 surface
Lift capacity46800 skiers/hr
Snowfall89.9 m/year (354 in.)
Snow-making617 acres
(250 hectares)

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Snowboarding Destination: Park City Mountain Resort, UT

Park City, Utah | Powderheadz.com
Park City Mountain Resort

Located about 32 miles (51km) east of Salt Lake City, Utah, or about 35 minutes from Salt Lake City International Airport (SLT), Park City Mountain Resort is one of the best Ski Resorts in the Western US. With the recent merger of two iconic ski resorts by the Quicksilver Gondola—Park City and Canyons—Park City is now known as the largest Ski Resort in the United States. The whole area now operates as one giant resort called Park City Mountain Resort with Canyons referred to as “Canyons at Park City”.

Park City Mountain Resort offers more than 300+ trails across 7300 Acres of ski-able terrain with 41 lifts, 8 terrain parks, 14 bowls, 6 natural half pipes, a super pipe and a mini pipe.  It also has a variety of ski-in and ski-out properties throughout the resort to make Park City one of the most easily accessible mountain destinations in the world.

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How to Get There


The best way to get to Park City Mountain Resort is by flying into Salt Lake City International Airport (SLT),  and taking one of the many shuttles or taxis to either the Main Park City Base Area or the Canyon’s Base Area.  Since the Resort is the economic lifeblood of the city, transportation through buses, trolley, and shuttles around both base areas are free. If you need to get there fast, Ubers and Taxis are pretty easy to come by.

 

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Tips and Tricks


  • If you’re going to Park City Mountain Resort to wake up early and immediately get on the slopes, stay in the Canyons Base Area, as they have the best ski-in/ski-out lodging options available. However, they don’t have much to offer when it comes to shops, nightlife, or dining.
  • If you’re going to Park City Mountain Resort with a more relaxed approach to skiing or snowboarding, stay closer to Main Street, the heart of Park City Proper. It’s harder to get to the mountain from the city, but the famous Town Lift from Main Street can get you there.
  • There’s an excellent, free bus system and hotel shuttles are available throughout the resort. You’ll never really need to call a taxi, but Uber is also available.
  • The best way to “conquer” the resort as a local is to take a shuttle or park your car at Canyons where there’s ample parking, ski to the west to main base area, have some apres-ski and dinner in town, and then take the shuttles back to Canyons.
  • Park City is also a part of the Vail Resorts network of Mountain Resorts like Whistler-Blackcomb and Breckenridge. So if you plan on coming a few days, look into purchasing an Epic Pass.

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Park City Mountain Resort: At a Glance


LocationPark City, UT
Nearest Major CitySalt Lake City, UT
Vertical975 m (3,200 ft)
Top Elevation3,048m (10,000 ft)
Base Elevation2,103m (6,900 ft)
Skiable area7,300 acres (2,954 ha)
Runs324
Ski trail rating symbol-green circle.svg 23 – Beginner
Ski trail rating symbol-blue square.svg 159 – Intermediate
Ski trail rating symbol-black diamond.svg 142 – Advanced
Lift system41 total
4 gondolas
6 high-speed six-pack chairlift
9 high-speed quad chairlifts
5 quads
8 triples
4 doubles
3 magic carpet
Lift capacity31000 skiers/hr
Snowfall90 m/year (355 in.)
Snow-making500 acres
(202 hectares)

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Snowboarding Destination: Big White Ski Resort, BC

Big Mountain Ski Resort
Snow Ghosts Big Mountain Ski Resort

Located about 35 miles (56km) southeast of Kelowna, British Columbia, or about 56 minutes from Kelowna International Airport (YLW), Big White Ski Resort is one of the best Ski Resorts in the Western Canada. It’s the third largest Ski Resort in BC after Whistler-Blackcomb and Sun Peaks and has Western Canada’s Largest Resort Night Skiing Area with 38 acres.

Big White Ski Resort offers over 100+ trails with 16 lifts across 905 acres of groomed runs and 1525 acres of 5 alpine bowls and off-piste glades. And there are plenty of places to stay in the area with 3 Village Hotels, 25 Condo Complexes, 244 Vacation homes, and 1 ski-in/ski-out youth hostel.

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How to Get There


There are multiple ways to get to Big White. The best way to get there is flying into Kelowna International Airport (YLW) and taking an airport shuttle to the resort. But if you want to go the more scenic route, fly into Vancouver International Airport (YVR), rent a car, and drive 5 hours through interior BC to get to the resort. However, during the Winter, Interior BC can get snowed in pretty quickly so the highway may be closed off in some areas. Before heading out there, be sure to pay attention to weather and traffic reports. There are three highways that can eventually get you to Big White from Vancouver, but the detours can add hours to your travel time.

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Tips and Tricks


  • During cloudy or low visibility days, head to the Black Forest side of the resort. The runs are shorter, but you usually be able have better visibility than other sides of the mountain.
  • If you’re planning on riding a bunch of days at Big White and you’re a BC or Alberta Resident, pick up a Biggie Card at a retailer before you go. You can save up to $24 a day by reloading the card.
  • One of the most iconic things you can do at the Resort is head to the very top of Falcon Chair and ride amongst the world famous “Snow Ghosts”- ethereal snow caked trees that scatter the summit.

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Big White Resort: At a Glance


LocationKootenay Boundary, BC
Nearest Major CityKelowna, BC
Vertical811 m (2656 ft)
Top Elevation2319 m (7606 ft)
Base Elevation1508 m (4950 ft)
Skiable area2765 acres (1119 ha)
Runs118
Ski trail rating symbol-green circle.svg 21 – Beginner
Ski trail rating symbol-blue square.svg 64 – Intermediate
Ski trail rating symbol-black diamond.svg 26 – Intermediate
Ski trail rating symbol-double black diamond.svg 7 – Advanced
Lift system16 total
1 gondola
5 high-speed chairs
5 chairs
3 ground/t-bar
2 tubing
Lift capacity28000 skiers/hr
Snowfall75 m/year (295 in.)
Snow-making38 acres
(15.3 hectares)

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Powderheadz.com heads to Whistler-Blackcomb, BC for some Summer Park Laps

Riding the Top of Blackcomb
Lower Half of the Whistler Blackcomb Terrain Park

BY POWDERHEADZ TEAM

Whistler Blackcomb, BC – Snowboarding isn’t technically over at Whistler-Blackcomb Ski Resort. Although the regular season at Whistler ended on April 23rd and Blackcomb ended on May 22nd, you can still get some turns in at the Top of Blackcomb Mountain. After a couple of weeks to set up the Terrain Park, Hortsman Glacier opened on June 10th and plans to stay running until July 16th, 2017.

Powderheadz.com

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The park was built specifically to host a multitude of Ski and Snowboarding Camps throughout the short summer period. However, the Glacier is open to the public, albeit you should be advanced or expert rider to feel comfortable up there. There are two t-bars that give you access to two parks full of features (the top terrain park is closed off for the camps) and a couple of runs (The top half of Crystal Traverse and Blue Line). We were also able to ride down the Green Line from the Hortsman Hut back to Rendezvous at the end of the day to download back to the bottom of the mountain (which might not be the case as the summer continues). So if you’re desperate for snow like us, head to Whistler while you still can.


 

Glacier Summer Camp
Riding anything and everything at Hortsman Glacier

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Tips and Tricks


  • Operating Hours are from 12PM to 3PM, weather permitting. Public upload begins at 11AM at the Wizard Express Chairlift that is at the base of Blackcomb Mountain. Only camps are allowed to load before then. Last upload for Skiers and Snowboarders are at 1:30PM.
  • Lift Ticket includes a shuttle bus to and from 7th Heaven and access to the public lane that includes some Terrain Park features. Other lanes are reserved for Glacier Camps.
  • You must be an advanced or expert skier/snowboarder to ride, no exceptions. You also need to be able to use a T-bar as there are no chairlifts working during this time.
  • Definitely recommend getting there as early as possible, because you have to ride the Wizard Express, Solar Coaster Express, wait for a shuttle bus to take you to 7th Heaven before you get to Hortsman Hut. It can take up to an hour to finally get to the top.
  • Bring Sunscreen. It get’s pretty bright and hot up there and you are exposed to sun for extended periods of time. Many people leave with sunburns because they aren’t prepared.
  • Because it’s hot up there, you won’t need to bring as much gear as you would on a regular winter day. You’ll probably still want to wear a long sleeve shirt so you don’t get a weird tan. That being said, wear a helmet and practice safe riding.

 

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Powderheadz.com heads to Big White, BC

Heading to Big White | Powderheadz.com
On the Canadian 5 towards Big White Ski Resort

BY POWDERHEADZ TEAM

Kelowna, BC – The guys at www.powderheadz.com are back in the Pacific Northwest and are taking a 5-hour drive from Vancouver, BC to Kootenay Boundary, BC to head up to Big White Ski Resort. We’ll be spending a couple of days at Big White to check out what snowboarding in Interior BC is like compared to the Western BC. Conditions look pretty decent from www.snow-forecast.com:

Big White Snow Report | Powderheadz.com

Looks like the Pacific Northwest isn’t done with Winter quite yet.


 

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Powderheadz.com heads to Park City, Utah

Park City, Utah | Powderheadz.com


BY POWDERHEADZ TEAM

Park City, UT- The guys at www.powderheadz.com are taking a break from the Pacific Northwest and heading off to the Utah.  We’ll be spending a couple of days at Park City testing out some new gear as well as testing out a new snowboarder.  One of Powderheadz.com cousins decided to get married this year and for his bachelor party he wanted to learn how to snowboard like the rest of us.

Some of the equipment we’ll be testing out this week is:

Hopefully he survives the trip.

 

Park City Utah | Powderheadz.com


Powderheadz.com

Snowboarding Destination: Mont-Tremblant, QC

Mont Tremblant Village
View of Mont Tremblant Village

Located one and a half hours north of Downtown Montreal, QC in the Laurentians, Mont-Tremblant is the second-oldest Ski Resort in North America that offers the best skiing and snowboarding in Eastern North America.  Founded in 1939 by America Joe Ryan and later purchased and updated by Intrawest in 1991, this charming resort is reminiscent of skiing the Alps without the expensive plane ticket to get there.

Tremblant is consistently rated as the #1 ski-resort on the Eastern Seaboard by Ski Magazine and offers 630 ski-able acres with 96 runs on four distinctive slopes:

  • Versant Sud
  • Versant Soleil
  • Versant Nord
  • Versant Edge

And although you’ll get bigger skiing and snowboarding out west, Tremblant is a year-round resort that offers a more intimate slope-side village with world-class food and an amazing après-ski atmosphere.

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How to Get There


The best way to get Mont-Tremblant is to take a flight into Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL) grab a car and drive 90 minutes north:

  1. Take Route 520 East towards Montreal
  2. Merge onto Autoroute 40 East and take Exit 70 for Autoroute 15 North
  3. Drive about an hour on Autoroute 15 North until it becomes Route 117 North
  4. Take Exit 119 (Montée Ryan) and drive towards the mountain and make a right onto Chemin Duplessis and follow signs for Mont-Tremblant Resort.

From Toronto/Ottowa:

  1. Head East on Autoroute 50 towards Montreal
  2. Take Exit 210 for Quebec 323 towards Mont-Tremblant
  3. Turn Left onto Route 117 North
  4. Take Exit 119 (Montée Ryan) and drive towards the mountain and make a right onto Chemin Duplessis and follow signs for Mont-Tremblant Resort.

A quick search online will also offer shuttles from Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL) or Downtown Montreal to Mont-Tremblant as well.

During the Winter, Air Canada offers direct flights to Mont-Tremblant International Airport (YTM) from Toronto Pearson (YYZ) and Toronto Pearson (YYZ) from LaGuardia (LGA).  Those two airports should give enough options for those flying from around the world to Tremblant.  More information can be found here.  Shuttle service is available once you get to  Mont-Tremblant Airport (YTM) that can take you to participating hotels and offer other premium services like luggage valet and express check-in.

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Tips and Tricks


  • Mont Tremblant is often fairly busy and getting up the Mountain can take more than half an hour if not longer if you are loading up from the village.  If you have a car and you’re with a group of more experienced skiers and snowboarders, take Chemin Duplessis to the North Side of the Mountain.  It’s less busy, has ample parking, and you’re practically in front of the lifts (Duncan Express and Expo Express).
  • Mont Tremblant is the largest mountain on the East Coast and can be the busiest.  Bring a sack lunch to eat up the mountain or head to the village around 2pm for world-class food.  Either way, you’ll find very empty hills around lunch time.
  • Quebec Winters are BRUTAL.  Pay attention to weather forecasts at the Base of the Mountain as well as the Summit.  Don’t get caught up top without the proper gear.  You’ll hate yourself for it.
  • Follow the Sun.  Ride the North Side (technically the East Side) in the morning and after lunch, ride the South Side (towards the main village).  Check out our list of Top 10 Skiing and Snowboarding Goggles to make sure you’ve got the right lenses on.
  • If it’s a windy day, stay on the North Side.
  • If you plan on going to Mont-Tremblant or any other Quebec Ski Resorts for an extended amount of time consider purchasing the Ski-Passe Partout Card.
    • 70 participating ski areas offering 5 discounts each.
      • 1 x 40%, 2 x 35%, 2 x 30% off at most of the ski resorts.
      • 1 x 35%, 2 x 30%, and 2 x 25% off at Mont-Tremblant, Le Massif de Charlevoix, and le Mont-Sainte-Anne.
    • $44.99 plus tax.  You’ll more often than not make your money back after two days on any of the mountains.  This is perfect for anyone who lives in Quebec, Ontario, Upstate New York, and Vermont.
    • Available at Sports Experts or Intersport.

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Mont-Tremblant Ski Resort: At a Glance


LocationMont-Tremblant, QC
Nearest Major CityMontreal, QC
Vertical645 m (2,116 ft)
Top Elevation875 m (2,871 ft)
Base Elevation230 m (755 ft)
Skiable area630 acres (255 ha)
Runs96
Ski trail rating symbol-green circle.svg 20 – Beginner
Ski trail rating symbol-blue square.svg 31 – Intermediate
Ski trail rating symbol-black diamond.svg 35 – Advanced
Ski trail rating symbol-double black diamond.svg 10 – Expert
Lift system14 total
2 gondolas
12 high-speed quad chairlifts
9 chairlifts
3 magic carpets
Lift capacity27,230 skiers/hr
Snowfall39.5 m/year (156 in.)
Snow-making(181 hectares), 71%

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Snowboarding Destination: Whistler-Blackcomb Mtn., BC.

Whistler Blackcomb
Overlooking Whistler-Blackcomb Resort

Located two hours north of Vancouver in the spectacular Coast Mountains of British Columbia, Whistler Blackcomb is not just Canada’s favorite ski-resort, but according to 2016’s Telegraph Ultra Awards and Ski Magazine, the number 1 ski-resort of the world.  There are two colossal mountains, Whistler and Blackcomb, connected with the longest continuous lift system, the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola, with a combined 8,171 acres of accessible terrain serviced by 37 lifts for skiers and riders across the world.

Also known as North America’s largest ski resort, these two massive mountains offer more than 200 marked trails that include perfectly groomed trails, secluded glades, powder-filled bowls, in-bounds back country riding, and wide-open glaciers available deep into the summer months.  Freestyle Skiers and Snowboarders will find six terrain parks ranging from beginner to insane, including a 22 foot Super Pipe. Averaging 462 inches of snowfall each year, there’s something for everyone at Whistler Blackcomb.

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How to Get There


The best way to get to Whistler is by flying into Vancouver International Airport (YVR), grabbing (renting) a car and driving through Downtown Vancouver, across the Lions Gate Bridge and onto the Sea to Sky Highway:

 

 

From Downtown Vancouver to Whistler usually takes around 1.5 to 2hrs by car, depending on traffic. However, if you plan on going to Whistler just to see the sights, there are plenty of other stops along the way that you should definitely consider:

  • Horseshoe Bay – A quaint, picturesque waterfront village on the North Shore that is home to the Horsehoe Bay Ferry Terminal, which gets you to How Sound, the Sunshine Coast, and Vancouver Island.
  • Britannia Mining Museum – A former copper mine in Howe Sound that has been converted into a museum that preserves the history of British Columbia’s Mining Industry.
  • Shannon Falls – The third highest falls in BC composed of a series of cliffs rising 335 meters above Highway 99.
  • Squamish – Considered the halfway point between Downtown Vancouver and Whistler and is known as the Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada.
  • Alice Lake – This Provincial Park is a group of four lakes surrounded by towering mountains, dense forests and grassy areas.
  • Tantalus Lookout – One of the most spectacular viewpoints along the Sea to Sky Highway.
  • Brandywine Falls – A 70 meter waterfall and park that provides opportunities for picnics, hiking, and mountain biking.

For those without a car, Whistler offers a shuttle bus that can pick you up from either Vancouver International Airport or Downtown Vancouver.

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Tips and Tricks


  • Whistler Blackcomb opens on 11.24.2016.  Whistler’s Last Day is 04.23.2017.  Blackcomb’s Last Day is 05.22.2017.  You can find more detailed hours of operations here.
  • Whistler Blackcomb can get pretty busy. If you want to go riding as soon as possible, the fastest way up the mountain is by taking the Excalibur Gondola and not the Whistler Village Gondola.  If you get bored of riding Blackcomb, it’s quicker to take the Peak 2 Peak Gondola instead of riding back down to the Village.
  • Whistler is known as the Family Friendly Mountain and is often the busiest.  Blackcomb is the quieter mountain and is more tailored to seasoned vets.  If you’re a beginner, stick to Whistler.  If you’re intermediate to advanced, head to Blackcomb.
  • Accommodations at Whistler Village can be quite expensive during the Peak Holiday Season.  With Whistler being less than 2 hours away from Vancouver or 1 hour away from Squamish, it’s often better to find lodging there and waking up earlier to drive up to the mountain and back.  Parking at the Day Lots is around $8 a day and is only about a 10 minute walk to the Lifts in the Village.
  • If you’re from Canada, Oregon State, or Washington State, purchase the 3 or 5 Day Edge Card if you plan on spending a long weekend or even a week at Whistler Blackcomb.  You can save up to $40 a day.

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Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort: At a Glance


LocationWhistler, BC
Nearest Major CityVancouver, BC
VerticalWhistler: 1,530 m (5,020 ft)
Blackcomb: 1,565 m (5,133 ft)
Top ElevationWhistler: 2,182 m (7,160 ft)
Blackcomb: 2,436 m (7,992 ft)
Base ElevationCreekside: 653 m (2,140 ft)
Village: 675 m (2214 ft)
Skiable areaWhistler: 4,757 acres (1,925 ha)
Blackcomb: 3,414 acres (1,382 ha)
Runs200+
Ski trail rating symbol-green circle.svg 35 – Beginner
Ski trail rating symbol-blue square.svg 110 – Intermediate
Ski trail rating symbol-black diamond.svg 35 – Advanced
Ski trail rating symbol-double black diamond.svg 20 – Expert
Lift system39 total
5 gondolas
1 high-speed six-pack chairlift
12 high-speed quad chairlifts
5 chairlifts
16 surface lifts
Lift capacity65,507 skiers/hr
Whistler: 34,345
Blackcomb: 31,162
Snowfall10.22 m/year (402 in.)
Snow-makingWhistler: 215 acres
(87 hectares), 4.5%
Blackcomb: 350 acres
(142 hectares), 10.3%

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