Whistler Ski Resort in Canada

Megan Mattingly-Arthur
Whistler Blackcomb

The Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort is an award-winning ski and snowboard resort located in scenic Whistler, British Columbia, Canada. Boasting more than 8,000 skiable acres and the world's longest continuous lift system, this resort offers winter sport enthusiasts an unparalleled vacation experience.

Convenient Location

For a destination ski resort, Whistler Blackcomb is surprisingly easy to reach thanks to its proximity to both Seattle and the Vancouver International Airport in British Columbia, which serves as the gateway airport to the resort area. A number of major airlines offer regular international flights to and from Vancouver International Airport. Once there, it's an enjoyable two-hour drive or ride to Whistler Blackcomb along Canada's picturesque Sea to Sky Highway, which takes travelers past fast-flowing rivers, and winds through lush green rainforests and snow-covered mountains.

Transportation options between Whistler and the Vancouver International Airport are numerous. Travelers can rent a car, arrange for transportation via coach line bus or 10-passenger shuttle, or book a sedan or limousine and arrive in style. Other available transportation includes the Rocky Mountaineer Whistler Sea to Sky Climb train, which offers a luxurious, three-hour train ride, and Blackcomb Aviation's helicopter transfers, which give travelers an unmatched, bird's eye view of the region and offer decreased travel time to and from the resort.

World-Class Slopes

Whistler Mountain Back Bowl
Whistler Mountain Back Bowl

Ski enthusiasts travel to Whistler Blackcomb to experience the finest skiing and snowboarding in North America. Many ski resorts tout their facilities, but Whistler Blackcomb has the industry awards to prove its excellence. The resort was named the number one overall best ski resort in North America in the 27th annual SKI Magazine Reader's Poll and received top marks for terrain variety, off-hill activities, and après-ski entertainment.

Comprised of the side-by-side Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains and featuring a whopping 8,171 skiable acres, Whistler Blackcomb is the largest ski area outside of Europe. Because of the resort's massive size, visitors receive a "trail atlas" rather than a simple trail map. Whistler Blackcomb offers an enjoyable experience for skiers of all abilities. Of the resort's more than 200 marked trails:

  • 18 percent are suitable for beginners
  • 55 percent are designed for intermediates
  • 22 percent are rated advanced
  • 5 percent are considered challenging enough for expert skiers

Whistler Blackcomb also includes 16 alpine bowls, including the popular black diamond Whistler Bowl, which Snow Seekers calls "one of the greatest runs you'll ever experience."

The resort also has three glacier ski areas including Horstman Glacier, which boasts two t-bars and a variety of terrain park features suitable for advanced and expert skiers and snowboarders.

The resort features two 7-mile runs. The beginner-rated Burnt Stew Trail -- ranked by CNN as one of the World's Best Ski Runs -- is the longest run on Whistler Mountain.

On neighboring Blackcomb Mountain, the beginner-rated Green Road, which turns into Easy Out, reigns supreme.

The resort features:

  • 462 inches of average annual snowfall
  • 5,020-foot vertical drop (Whistler); 5,280-foot vertical drop (Blackcomb)
  • 7,494-foot lift-served vertical drop
  • 2,214-foot base elevation

Guests can navigate the resort's more than 8,000 acres via a network of 37 lifts, including the amazing PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola, which connects Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains, and holds the Guinness World Record for the longest unsupported span between two cable car towers.

Whistler Mountain's lift system includes:

  • Two high-speed gondolas
  • Seven high-speed quads
  • Two triple chairs
  • Eight surface lifts
  • 34,545 hourly capacity

Blackcomb Mountain's lift system features:

  • One high-speed gondola
  • Six high-speed quads
  • Three triple chairs
  • Seven surface lifts
  • 31,762 hourly capacity

Whistler Blackcomb's lift system was ranked second-best in North America by Ski Magazine in 2015. However, due to the resort's popularity, lift lines may be longer than those encountered at smaller ski resorts. Despite the crowds, Whistler Blackcomb's skiing facilities received overwhelmingly positive feedback from past guests.

  • TripAdvisor reviewers said the resort offers great skiing although fresh snow is tracked out quickly.
  • Yelp reviewers raved about the resort's breathtaking views, particularly those seen from the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola.
  • Folks at OntheSnow said the resort is great for snowboarding.

Other Winter Activities

Whistler Blackcomb may be known for its skiing and snowboarding, but the resort also offers a number of other winter sport activities that guests can enjoy, including:

  • Heli-skiing and snowboarding
  • Snow tubing
  • Ziptrek ecotours
  • Snowmobile tours
  • Sledding
  • Dog sledding
  • Snowshoeing

Accommodations

Four Seasons Whistler
Four Seasons Whistler

The Whistler area offers lodging options to suit any taste or budget. Travelers can stay in one of Whistler's luxury ski hotels for the ultimate experience in pampering, rent a condo with ski-in/ski-out access, or opt for an opulent private residence that offers the best of everything. Whistler is home to some of Canada's poshest ski hotels, including the award-winning Four Seasons Resort and Residences Whistler and the charming, boutique Crystal Lodge and Suites.

While there are a few less-expensive lodging choices available, many of the accommodations in this ski resort town come with a hefty price tag -- the only downfall to visiting Whistler Blackcomb, according to one TripAdvisor reviewer.

Accommodations start at around $50 per night for budget hotels/motels located in communities a short distance from Whistler, while ski-in/ski-out lodging at luxury ski hotels can cost more than $250 per night. Make lodging reservations directly through the resort's central reservation desk for the best-price guarantee; if you find a lower price on another website, Whistler Blackcomb will beat it by 10 percent.

Shopping and Dining

Whistler Village
Whistler Village

The scenic, pedestrian-only Whistler Village features more than 200 upscale retail shops, offering everything from winter sport equipment, apparel, and accessories to fine art and jewelry.

When hunger strikes in Whistler, winter sport enthusiasts have no shortage of dining options. Whistler Mountain features eight on-mountain restaurants and Blackcomb Mountain has an additional nine on-mountain eateries. With so many choices, skiers and snowboarders don't even have to leave the resort to grab a bite to eat.

Travelers who do venture out to Whistler Village can take advantage of even more bars and restaurants. The sophisticated Rimrock Cafe topped Yelp's list of Whistler's best restaurants, with reviewers complimenting its exotic seafood dishes and seasonally changing entrees. Ciao Thyme Bistro won praise from Serious Eats for its intimate, neighborhood-bistro atmosphere, and Christine's Restaurant provides the best service on the mountain according to The Telegraph.

Something for Everyone

The Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort features a family-friendly atmosphere, and an array of kid-friendly attractions and activities to ensure that every member of the family enjoys the experience. These attractions include:

  • Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre
    Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre
    Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre: Celebrating the joint history of the Squamish and Lil'wat Nations, the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre offers cultural art exhibitions, performances, crafts, and guided tours designed to engage the whole family.
  • Coca-Cola Tube Park: Located in Blackcomb Mountain's Base 2 Zone, the Coca-Cola Tube Park features 1,000-foot tubing lanes and a state-of-the-art conveyor lift. Additionally, the park is open after the resort's regular lifts close, so the fun can continue into the evening.
  • Three Nintendo Gaming Lounges: Located in Rendezvous Lodge on Blackcomb Mountain, Roundhouse Lodge on Whistler Mountain, and off-mountain at the Wizard Grill, Whistler Blackcomb's Nintendo Gaming Lounges are cozy, safe places for children, teens, and families to check out the latest Nintendo Games. Admission to the lodges is free for guests during regular mountain operating hours.
  • Whistler Youth Centre: Offering an array of activities for teens ages 13 to 18 -- including ping pong, pool, and video games -- the Whistler Youth Centre is a drop-in activity center that's open to Whistler visitors.

Additionally, the renowned Whistler Blackcomb Snow School offers private and group ski or snowboarding lessons for winter sports enthusiasts of all ages and abilities. Speciality instruction includes ski or snowboard lessons taught by an Olympian and adaptive lessons for guests with physical and cognitive disabilities.

Ways to Save

With adult two-day passes starting at $250, Whistler Blackcomb is one of the most expensive ski resorts in Canada. However, budget conscious skiers and snowboarders can save by purchasing their lift tickets from Whistler Blackcomb's central reservation desk at least three days in advance. For the best possible pricing, purchase lift tickets before November 15. An additional benefit to buying lift tickets prior to November 15: children ages 12 and younger stay, ski, rent, and transfer free with an accompanying adult.

Hit the Slopes

Although a trip to the Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort has the potential to cause sticker shock, careful planning and advance lift ticket purchases can make the cost a bit more manageable. Featuring some of the world's best terrain, great shopping and dining, and instruction for all ages and skill levels, Whistler Blackcomb offers an unforgettable ski vacation experience for the whole family.

Whistler Ski Resort in Canada