Whistler is one of the best and most famous ski resorts in the world and is popular both with longer haul travelers and locals looking for a weekend on the slopes. It is about 1 and a half hours north of Vancouver in British Colombia, Canada. There is over 8,000 acres of ski terrain including around 200 runs and countless backcountry skiing opportunities. There really are ample options for all abilities across the two mountains- Whistler mountain and Blackcomb.
Fraser and I differ greatly in ski ability- this was Fraser’s first time whereas I have been almost yearly since I was 8 (although never in North America). Because of this we decided to part company for this part of the trip. Fraser booked lessons on the max 4 scheme. This meant he was in a group of no more than 4 learners all of similar ability levels meaning he had plenty of one on one time with the instructor. We pre-booked which was 3 days for the price of 2 worth of lessons, ski pass and equipment hire for only slightly more than my 4 day lift pass. Even though he had a couple of falls I think he secretly enjoyed it all.
I got a 4 day pass for the ski lifts. The first day I skied Whistler mountain, the next blackcomb, the third day the blackcomb glacier and then on the fourth I tried to do the bits I missed on the first day but the weather had other ideas, it was appalling so most of the lifts were closed and it was miserable. Safe to say I didn’t last long that day.
Between both mountains runs the peak to peak gondola which at 4.4km is the longest lift in the world. Even if not skiing it is worth buying a sightseeing lift pass to go on it to see the views.
Before the second day I discovered the free mountain guide service who meet at 11.30 and take you around the mountain showing you their favourite runs. I did this for the 2nd and 3rd days. This was a great service especially for directing me to get to the blackcomb glacier and it was sociable for me so I didn’t have to ski on my own the whole time. I was lucky that everyone in my groups were pretty decent skiers so we didn’t have to hang around for them and kept up a good pace throughout. The only issue I had was that we stuck to blue slopes, I would have liked to go on a few more single or double black diamond ones, but I was able to go on some at other times.
The snow conditions were amazing, this did mean at the weekend the queues to get up the mountains were insane!! I was almost glad we weren’t skiing that day so we didn’t have to join the back. I have never seen so many people riding in one day (and I did a season in one of the busiest resorts in the Alps). It would have been the perfect day to go heli or cat skiing in the back country which is extremely popular in Whistler but I’m afraid our budget didn’t quite stretch that far.
I love the Alps but there is something so chilled about skiing in Whistler that is so appealing. I had an amazing time and it fully deserves its title as a top resort. I loved that during the week I was often the only person on an entire slope and could just ski straight onto the lifts. I definitely want to go back and do it all over again.
I hope you enjoy the video, I had a few issues with the filming so it’s not the greatest but it gives you a good idea. Also I was only able to capture Fraser on his first morning (I didn’t see him following that) which was a bit disappointing.
Have you been to Whistler? What did you make of the skiing? Did you get lessons or use the free mountain guide service?