BY POWDERHEADZ TEAM
Whistler-Blackcomb, BC – 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.
How to Get There
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.
Tips and Tricks
- Whistler Blackcomb usually opens on the Thursday of American Thanksgiving Weekend (usually the fourth Thursday of November) . Whistler’s Last Day is Late April and Blackcomb’s Last Day is usually Memorial Day Weekend. 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.
- Even better, get yourself an Epic Pass.
Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort: At a Glance
|Nearest Major City||Vancouver, BC|
|Vertical||Whistler: 1,530 m (5,020 ft)|
Blackcomb: 1,565 m (5,133 ft)
|Top Elevation||Whistler: 2,182 m (7,160 ft)|
Blackcomb: 2,436 m (7,992 ft)
|Base Elevation||Creekside: 653 m (2,140 ft)|
Village: 675 m (2214 ft)
|Skiable area||Whistler: 4,757 acres (1,925 ha)|
Blackcomb: 3,414 acres (1,382 ha)
35 – Beginner
110 – Intermediate
35 – Advanced
20 – Expert
|Lift system||39 total|
1 high-speed six-pack chairlift
12 high-speed quad chairlifts
16 surface lifts
|Lift capacity||65,507 skiers/hr|
|Snowfall||10.22 m/year (402 in.)|
|Snow-making||Whistler: 215 acres|
(87 hectares), 4.5%
Blackcomb: 350 acres
(142 hectares), 10.3%