Whistler is not just the biggest ski resort in Canada – it’s the biggest in North America. There are 8,171 acres of terrain across Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, which get smothered in around 40 feet of snow each year.
Whistler’s a great place to learn the ropes, with beginner areas, slow-skiing zones and friendly ski school instructors. But with so much terrain, it’s a proper playground for intermediates and experts. Runs are graded differently in North America, so you won’t find red on the piste map. Beginners should stick to the green runs, while more confident skiers have over 170 blue, black and double black slopes to explore.
Tempted? Here are 9 more reasons why you should give Whistler a go…
Make fresh tracks
Empty slopes and untouched snow – it’s a skier’s dream start to the day. Get to the Whistler Village gondola before 7am and you can be up on the mountain before the masses. You’ll fuel up with breakfast at the top of the lift. After that, it’s just you and miles of fresh corduroy until the lifts open to the public.
Get a guided tour
If you’re a keen skier but are new to Whistler, buddy up with a Mountain Host to get a guided tour of the ski area. They’ll help you get your bearings and give you a local’s look at the best runs and quietest bowls – and all for free.
Take a spa day
Everyone appreciates a little ‘me time’. Hidden in the forest, the Scandinave Spa has outdoor hot pools, cold baths, saunas and steam rooms to help you achieve total relaxation. Doze around the open fire pits, indulge in a massage and enjoy a light lunch in the bistro. And the best bit? This is a no-talking spa, so you can savour some proper peace and quiet.
Stroll through the village
Rambling through the heart of town is the pedestrians-only Village Stroll. Here, a rainbow of shops, bars, restaurants and hotels bubble over with that famously friendly Canadian atmosphere. It’s even prettier around Christmas, when it’s decked out with fairy lights, garlands and Christmas trees.
Ride from Peak 2 Peak
The 11-minute ride on the Peak 2 Peak gondola will give you plenty of time to gape at dizzying views of the peaks and bowls. The lift spans 2.7 miles between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, 1,500 feet above the valley – making it the highest unsupported lift in the world. For an extra thrill, wait for one of the two silver cabins – they’ve got glass floors.
The resort has over 90 restaurants, from fast food to fine dining. Being close to the Pacific Ocean means there’s tons of fresh fish and seafood. For prime British Columbian steak, try Hy’s, The Grill Room or Sidecut. Or for a more casual meal, the Brewhouse pub has ribs, poutine and local beers, plus 24/7 hockey on the TVs. If you’re looking for a cool bar, check out the Ice Room at the Listel Hotel – it’s the world’s coldest ice bar.
Zip through the trees
Zoom through pine forests at 100 kilometres an hour, 600 feet above the ground, on Whistler’s ziplines. There are loads of tours, from easy family routes to heart-stopping falls – and even a night-time excursion that’ll let you zipline by torchlight.
Race like an Olympian
Whistler hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics, and you can take your turn on the fastest ice track in the world at the Olympic Sliding Centre. Climb into a bobsled and race round twists and turns at over 125 kilometres an hour. If that doesn’t leave your heart racing, fly face-first down the track, skeleton style. Commemorate your victory with a selfie in front of the Olympic rings back in the village.
Drive from Sea to Sky
You know a resort is special when just getting there is a jaw-dropping experience. You’ll drive through downtown Vancouver then head up towards Whistler on the Sea to Sky Highway. Incredible views are everywhere as you wind through the straights and sounds, past the ocean and through the rainforest. This is one transfer you won’t want to end.
Eager to see it all for yourself? Start planning your trip to Whistler.