Consistently voted as the top ski resort in North America, it’s not difficult to see why Whistler was the site for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. With the second-largest lift served vertical drop in North America, its enormous range of slopes and its enviable record of consistent snowfall, Whistler Blackcomb truly has it all.
Whistler first became known for its skiing fairly recently, back in 1966. At that time the resort consisted of little more than a lodge and four ski lifts. Since then however, the resort has been transformed and its slopes are now graced by plush, five-star resorts and luxury condominiums that welcome around two million skiers each years.
Hit the Slopes
The ski season here begins in November and runs to June, while summer glacier skiing is also available in June and July. Two mountains make up the ski area – Whistler and Blackcomb – together with three main bases – Creekside, the Upper Village and Whistler Village.
For beginners, Whistler Mountain is probably the best bet as it offers lots of simple terrain and many nursery slopes. One of the better learner areas is right underneath the Olympic chairlift, while just a bit further up the mountain there is a nice number of wide, gentle runs.
For more practiced skiers, there is a nice choice of challenging powder bowls and tree-lined runs for cruising, while over 25% of the terrain is graded at advanced or expert level, including the death-defying Couloir Extreme black run on Blackcomb.
For Thrill Seekers
Tree skiing on both mountains is quite sensational – Whistler has dozens of marked trails through its widely spaced wooded areas. Meanwhile, freestylers will also have a great time with five superb terrain parks to choose from, ranging from beginner level up to expert.
Both mountains are serviced by a highly efficient lift system, although queues often form at the most popular lifts at peak times. Connecting the two mountains is the incredible Peak 2 Peak gondola – it travels for a world record 4.4km in just over 11 minutes, lifting its passengers to a height of 436m from the bottom of the valley floor, making for an epic ride in itself, never mind the skiing! Even worse, some of the cabins feature glass bottoms, so passengers are able to look down and see all the way down to the valley below.
Currency: Canadian Dollar
Budget for one week: over $ 750 USD
Taxes and gratuity: Tipping is suggested
Official languages: English, French
Area: 161.72 km2 (62.4 sq mi)
- Voltage: 110-120 Volts (Most other areas are 220-240 Volts)
- Primary Socket Type: North American Grounded
- Multi-voltage appliances (laptops, etc.)
- 220-240V appliances: Plug adapter + step-up transformer
- 100V Japanese appliances: Japan to U.S. reducer transformer
Other key facts:
- Elevation – 7160 feet above sea level
- Skiable Area - 4,757 acres
- Total Runs – 200+
- Snowfall - 402 in.
Images courtesy: Wikipedia