Ski holidays to Whistler…
Often a bucket list destination, Whistler really does live up to the expectation of delivering a first-class ski holiday.
Whistler is one of the largest ski areas in the world that is spread across three interconnected villages, Creekside, Whistler Village and Upper Village, all have great access to the ski area and the Peak 2 Peak Gondola between Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain via lifts from each village. The area is perfect for everyone from families who can enjoy the specially designed family areas to the park addicts who can hit the half and superpipe before exploring the superb off-piste terrain. Accommodation in Whistler is of a high standard with luxury spas, themed bars and excellent quality restaurants often on-site or in the pedestrianised village. If you are going on your first ski holiday explore Whistler Mountain and in particular Symphony Bowl. For those who have skied before Seventh Heaven on Blackcomb Mountain is perfect for those who enjoy tree skiing. If you prefer to explore the vast off-piste areas, then Whistler Peak and Blackcomb Glacier are great for those who enjoy backcountry skiing.
Whistler , Canada
SKIING IN WHISTLER
What to expect…
Whistler Resort has three bases, Whistler Village, Upper Village (Blackcomb) and Creekside, each with links to the Peak 2 Peak Gondola to give you access to 8,171 acres of piste. With 200 runs, 3 glaciers and 12 alpine bowls and extensive off piste areas there are endless opportunities for skiers and boarders of all abilities. It should be noted that Canada measures its ski area in acres as opposed to the European standard of kilometres and runs are classed as beginner greens, intermediate blues and expert blacks with steeper slopes called black diamonds or, in some cases, double black diamonds. The resort runs a free orientation tour for intermediates and experts every morning for both Whistler and Blackcomb mountains along, with a service called Fresh Tracks to give early birds the chance to be first on the slopes. For beginners or those wanting to take it easy, there are designated family areas and beginner zones on each mountain.
"A magical village vibe like no other and mountains that are second to none. Ask me about the sleeping volcano, the Whiskey Jacks, the Dave Murray Downhill, skiing off Spanky's Ladder and the Crystal Waffles! At Whistler you will likely find yourself in a state of Disney-like fulfilment."
LOCAL SKI AREA - WHISTLER
Did you know, the luxurious Whistler Village was built on a rubbish dump?
Each village has lifts that will take you up either the Blackcomb or Whistler side of the resort and to the Peak 2 Peak Gondola where you can easily access the altertante side. Generally, it is sunnier on Whistler in the morning, so head there first then ride the Peak 2 Peak to Blackcomb for the afternoon. Whistler mountain is slightly more beginner friendly with some lovely greens and blues to enjoy. Matthew's Traverse will lead you to the start of a green run signed Burnt Stew Trail that has a number of options to enjoy including picking up the Symphony Express chair where, from the top you can come down blue run Ode to Joy or one of the other blues that link into the area. You can also take the lift to the top of the Roundhouse and from there it's down Upper Whiskey Jack to the Family Zone, where you can have a play on some gentle slopes. At the bottom, follow the Upper Olympic back down to mid-station and up to the Roundhouse, where you'll find the Peak 2 Peak gondola across to Blackcomb mountain.
For the immediate there are a good range of pistes on offer on the Whistler side as well. These range from long cruising runs and scenic slopes through glades and creeks to high mountain bowls which attract experts from around the world. If you are up for a bit more of a challenge you can take on the 2010 Winter Olympic men's downhill course – The Dave Murray. It's a long, glorious run that meanders its way through the trees from the middle of Whistler mountain right down to Whistler Creekside, although it's a single black diamond, after its been groomed it's a wonderful fast and varied cruise.
WIDER AREA - WHISTLER BLACKCOMB
Did you know that you can ski and ride all summer on Horstman Glacier on Blackcomb? That's right, Horstman Glacier is open all summer long with two T-bars and a terrain park perfect for intermediate and advanced skiers and riders.
Although technically Blackcomb is the neighbouring area to Whistler, they are classed under the same lift pass so you don't have to make the decision on which area pass to go for. Also, that both the mountains are linked by the Peak 2 Peak Gondola. Blackcomb has some great green and blue runs from top to bottom that are fun to enjoy in the afternoon, with some little tricky areas to push your skiing ability. Notably, Hugh's Heaven and Upper and Lower Panorama are green runs with a steeper section towards the end.
The Big Easy Terrain Garden is a great introduction to park and it has plenty of jumps for all abilities, such as little tabletops, boxes and rails. If you are more advanced or have found your confidence then the nearby Blackcomb Nintendo Terrain Park, beneath the Peak2Peak station, is one of the best in the world and worth watching the experts perform on the kickers and features.
If you more want powder than big air then there's an excellent, huge, usually deserted area on top of Blackcomb Mountain reached by a short hike up Spankys ladder. From here you have access to the Blackcomb Glacier and from the Spanky's Ladder entrance there are a number of small bowls, Garnet, Diamond, Ruby and Sapphire, all of varying difficulty with many drops and chutes to choose from.
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Approximate transfer times:
- Vancouver: 3 Hrs
Believe it or not, Whistler Village was once a garbage dump and in 1978 construction of the current Whistler Village began.
Whistler village is at the heart of the resort and has all the buzz and fun of a lively alpine town. The pedestrianised resort is home to over 200 restaurants and bars as well as lots of activities to keep non skiers entertained. The pedestrian stroll area is lined with a huge variety of shops and galleries which are perfect for walking around or relaxing in and taking in the views of the towering mountains above. Families have also been expertly catered for with an array of activities to keep everyone busy from tubing to ziplines and from spas to swimming.
For those seeking a livelier scene with après and nightlife high on the agenda then Whistler will tick all the boxes. Many of the bars come alive when the lifts close and you can go from dancing on the tables in ski boots to dancing in the clubs in easy succession. One notable feature of Whistler resort is its smoking policy. It is a smoke-free resort, with smoking prohibited in all bars and restaurants, including outdoor areas, and in lift queues, on chairlifts and gondolas, on the ski runs, hiking trails and bike trails and in all car parks.
Both Creekside and the Upper Village have a much quieter relaxed scene with a couple of bars and restaurants. The short walk or bus ride will bring you to Whistler Village where you can be as lively as you like before heading back to your own accommodation.
RESTAURANTS & BARS
Whistler receives approximately 3 million overnight and non-overnight visitors each year (approximately 45 per cent in winter and 55 per cent in summer).
With over 200 eating establishments in Whistler even the fussiest of eaters will be sure to find something they like. For those on a budget there are some great options such as El Furniture Warehouse where all meals are $5 and its good food! There are also fast food restaurants such as McDonald's and KFC. For those seeking international cuisine go to Creekbread for Pizza (located in the Creekside village), Peaked Pies (Australian), The RimRock Café for seriously good seafood, Southside Diner for traditional American breakfast/brunch along with the sushi bars and Indian curry houses that are nestled in the village.
For a more special evening visit Bearfoot Bistro for its fine dining. While you wait for your meal, you are welcome to visit the underground wine cellar for some champagne sabering! Surrounded by over 20,000 bottles of the world's best vintages, pick your favourite bubbly and go for it, sword in hand. Then raise a toast with your dining companions and enjoy the taste of your adventure. Once you have enjoyed your meal, it's time for a visit to the Ketel One Ice room, the world's coldest vodka tasting room at -32C. Wrapped in Canada Goose parkas you'll feel cosy as the vodka expert explains all while you drink it in.
Talking of drink there are a dozen bars and six nightclubs in Whistler village that are extremely popular with workers and guests alike with the fun starting at apres time.
In Whistler, at the beginning of the winter season eager snow revellers join together for a pagan-style party and worship Ullr, the God of Snow.
If you want to party then Whistler is the place for you. With some iconic and well known establishments based here there is no reason you can't try somewhere different every night. Après begins when the lifts close and carry on until the small hours.
The GLC has been rated as one of North America's best après bars by SKI magazine, the GLC is a great choice for groups that are looking for a sophisticated lounge-style restaurant with an amazing patio that overlooks the ski out on Whistler. Merlins Bar & Grill is one of the most famous party venues at the bottom of Blackcomb mountain where you will often find people dancing on tables while enjoying DJ's and bands and eating their famous nachos to refuel. Dustys Bar & BBQ -is also famous for its location at the base of the 2010 Olympic downhill runs and home to Whistler's sunniest patio. It has a family friendly atmosphere with live bands at après. For the more traditional laid back feel then a visit to Tapleys Neighbourhood Pub is a must. Known as “Whistlers working man's pub they show all the sports, have bingo nights and live music.
Whistler first submitted its application to host the Winter Olympic Games in 1968, however it wasn't until the 2010 Winter Olympics did Whistler win the bid to host.
There is lots to keep non skiers entertained while in Whistler. For those looking to be active you can book on a food tasting tour of the area or enjoy some mountain fondue on a Snowcat tour. If you would like to see the area from a higher point, then take one of the helicopter tours to experience the mountains in a whole new way. If relaxing is more your thing, then there are plenty of shops to meander around and lots of coffee shops to sit in to watch the world go back. For the ultimate chill, out experience then visit the Scandinavian baths and pamper yourself with Swedish, Hot Stone, Sports and Thai Yoga massages and enjoy the Finnish sauna, thermal and Nordic waterfalls, cold plunge baths and solariums, followed by relaxation next to the outdoor fireplace.
WHO IS WHISTLER SUITABLE FOR?
Here are the highlights...
In Whistler, November 2009 saw more than 560 glorious centimeters of fresh snow, creating the perfect base for yet another unforgettable season.
There isn't even a question on the suitability for families in Whistler as it has been created with families at the heart of the resort. From the pedestrian-only streets, creating a safe village feel, to the childcare programme for tots aged 18-48 months, that provides parents with a complimentary pager so that you can check up on how they are doing; it is the resort that understands the needs of a family. On the slopes, there are designated beginner's areas along with family zones and the Magic Castle and Tree Fort adventure playground. Teenagers can benefit from the gaming areas and smaller snowparks where they can practice their tricks and watch some experts in action.
OFF-PISTE & EXPERTS
There's a lot of terrain to explore on Whistler and Blackcomb mountains – 8,171 acres, to be exact – and when there is fresh powder to be found, don't waste any time getting around.
Many Olympians live in Whistler so that should be testament enough for experts to head here for some off the chart skiing and boarding. There is a platitude of wide bowls, gullies, huge mogul and bump runs alongside award-winning parks complete with a high and superpipe. Powder hounds will find themselves in a dream situation with the backcountry terrain in Garibaldi Provincial Park along with the heli-skiing options and early bird passes that give you access to the lifts earlier than everyone else, perfect for getting those fresh tracks.
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MAP OF WHISTLER
Find your way…
Here's our map of Whistler showing you the key accommodation as well as some of the main points of interest.