Whistler Blackcomb is the largest skiing in Canada, with 8,170 acres (that’s almost twice the size of Vail) with 37 lifts and 3 glaciers between the two interconnected mountains. Its one of the top ski resorts in the world, for size, terrain both on trails and off-piste, tame to steeps, with a super long ski season!
What makes Whistler “epic” besides the skiing, is the scenery, when the sun shines it’s amazing, and the resort village. You’d be hard pressed to find a more vibrant, activity-rich, lodging plentiful, culinarily sophisticated, shopping mecca, après-ski laden mountain village than Whistler.
Whistler opened for skiing in 1965, as Garibaldi Lift Company, and has grown dramatically, to now include Blackcomb and Whistler’s big mountain terrain, modern lifts like the PEAK 2 PEAK gondola, and a reputation for serious snow. Locals say it’s always snowing somewhere on Whistler or Blackcomb. Truth is they get crazy Pac North West weather, read: fog, rain, snow – all at once within the variable of 5,000’ elevation. Whistler tops out at 7,160’ and Blackcomb at 7,494’.
Both mountains have wild steeps, 2,200 of their collective 8,000-acres are expert and extreme. Blackcomb has double black diamond terrain, among the gnarliest anywhere, Blackcomb’s legendary Saudan Couloir and Spanky’s Ladder, and on Whistler’s side – West and Whistler Bowl are steep and usually deep. There’s also Whistler Heli-skiing with a 400,000-acre tenure, and backcountry cat-skiing too if you don’t find enough untracked within the 8,171 acres.
Whistler Blackcomb makes many skiers’ Top 10, its hosted a Winters Olympics in 2010, and was bought by Vail Resorts in 2016, for $1 billion, so its now part of the Epic portfolio of ski resorts, on the Epic Pass.
The mountain of Whistler was originally London Mountain, renamed for its whistling sound when it opened in 1965. The ski terrain came first, but the pedestrian village soon followed, with massive development in the 1980’s, with its unique Canadian car free alpine concept – mimicking the Alps. Whistler and Blackcomb (opened in 1980) sparred in chairlift and marketing wars, battling over skiers, throughout the 1980’s, till their merger in 1986.
Whistler Village warrants serious après ski time and respect. Whistler’s heated pedestrian plaza is more of a ski city, well-designed by Intrawest, with over 200 restaurants, some of the best après ski bars on the planet like Girabaldi Lift Co and Steeps Grill and Bar right at the base of the slopes and the gondola.
For lodging, Whistler has tons of condos, and top brand hotels from Whistler’s Fairmont, Four Seasons, Pan Pacific, Westin or Hilton; they all earn 5-stars as swank ski properties with ski concierge, and spas. Upper Village at the base of Blackcomb is perfectly ski in ski out. Creekside is 5 minutes away, with its own gondola, it’s considered the quieter side of Whistler, family friendly.
Whistler is an Olympic caliber resort, and also made the cool-kids scene with Bravo’s TV series Après Ski and Timber Creek, reality shows with very little skiing, mostly drama and late night partying in Whistler village. Whistler’s events, freestyle skiing to film and music fests, are off the hook. Whistler does get busy, read: 2 million skier visits, but the terrain is absolutely epic!
Whistler Blackcomb Stats:
Vertical Drop: 5,280’, 8,170-acres
Summit Elevation Whistler 7,160’, Blackcomb 7,494’
200+ Trails, 37 Lifts, 2 mountains, 3 glaciers, 500″ snow annually.
Terrain parks and pipes. Heli-skiing, Cat-skiing. Zip Line.
Whistler is 2 hours north of Vancouver, 4 from Seattle.