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Finally made it to Whistler, first ski trip in Canada, we loved it! Stayed at Delta Whistler Suites; great quality studios with incredibly comfortable beds and good space. Great ski hire at Affinity within hotel. We lucked out with fantastic snow most of the week. Enjoyed the tree lined runs. Mountain lunches at Crystal Hut, Glacier Creek and Raven's Nest were all excellent with great food. The area is massive and you need to plan well to make most if it, we did a lot of skiing in Blackcombe area. Evening meals, would highly recommend Caramba for best pizzas in town plus Earl's Kitchen and Tandoori Grill for good food with great service. Apres is not as mad and fun as Europe tends to be more grown up family dining out.
We were really impressed with the service and customer focus from the Whistler team from people at our hotel, staff in restaurants , shops and ski lifts to mountain hosts. Great day out with ski club leader Steve Burles, thanks Steve!
Having spent the last 20 years coming to the US and Canada skiing i was really looking forwrd to my first trip to the mighty Whistler, oh the disappointment over valued over priced and defiantly over rated in my opinion. Standard north american accommodation which i dont mind, the usual north american food which again i dont mind (though pricey in comparison to other ski areas),the resort area is ok but nothing happens off the mountains to entertain other than a weekly fire and ice show . But to the mountains the reason why you come here yes big area yes good snow record but due to the coastal climate if the snow is not great all the way to the bottom then every man and his dog goes higher looking for the better conditions thus the large area is know not so large and the runs and lifts become busy and if the snow is good expect plenty of day trippers from Vancouver and northern US cities. Will not be rushing back alot better places to go and play with great snow better prices less people and if you multi centre or go on road trips bigger areas.
Excellent ski area !
Pistes/Groomers were perfect, and our Ski Club Leader Mike Kirk managed to find a few hidden gems off-piste even though most was tracked out.
We'll be back !
The powder in Whistler Blackcomb was knee to waste deep in the back country on 29/12/16. The club organised a local guide who took us ski touring up Disease Ridge to allow us to then ski into Body Bag bowl. After some avalanche and transceiver training, we did two amazing runs through the powder with the back drop of crystal clear blue sky's.
1 night stay Delta Whistler Village Suites.Delta Suite room was excellent as SC-large room,well equipped,staff were excellent,small charge for the 4x4 to be valet parked.9 people on this roadtrip Myself &partner,her Aussie friend(once she remembered what day it was).A couple who have only skied for 1 wk in Cortina and a couple we have skied with on several occasions and their 2 daughters.
Partner and myself were last in Whistler with our 7yr old granddaughter in 2011.
As back then we had torrential rain all night & into the morning.Damp walk to lift ticket office and gondola.Tickets bought via Liftopia from UK straight forward exchange to resort ticket 16% saving.
Terrain is good and am sure that in good snow conditions both mountains are excellent.However due to its maritine position both our visits have coincided with heavy rain and poor snow conditions.
The Peak 2 Peak gondola is an epic ride across mountain to mountain and a superb piece of engineering.
However in short the only way i would ski Whistler again is if i stepped of the plane in Vancouver to a foot of new powder and could change my holiday plans,to spend a few days at the resort(maybe 3rd time lucky)and that was the opinion of all our companions at the end of this roadtrip.
2017 roadtrip already being drafted Whistler not included.
Consider that other resorts in Canada offer as good skiing and better value for money and have more reliable snow conditions.
Next stop Sun Peaks.
Whistler has so much skiing it will take you years to cover it all with freedom to go off piste but still be inbounds. The lifts are virtually on your doorstep wherever you stay and the Peak to Peak lift links the two Alpine areas which helps when snow conditions are not at their best at lower levels.
Having SCGB Leaders in resort helps you find many of the areas that otherwise might remain hidden. However with such a vast area catering to all abilities having only one leader here at a time restricts all standards every day.
The ski school can cater for all standards and of course there is no language barrier. There are also all sorts of 2-3 day 'camps' too.
Once you've visited it once, you'll want to keep coming back.
Great ski leading, wonderful powder, fantastic all-round resort ! Michelle and Ryan are both amazing skiers and guides and they took me to slopes that I'd never be able to access on my own. Really grateful, thank you. More North American Ski Club guiding please !
Having booked a holiday in Whistler I joint the Ski Club of Great Britain as they have a ski club leader in the resort.
I had an excellent time skiing with Michelle Carr (the ski club leader during my visit) and Ryan Crisp. They have a great knowledge of the ski area and we skied places I would not have found or attempted without them. There is a vast amount of skiing outside of the marked runs all of which you are allowed to ski if you know where it is.
Jointing the ski club leaded group is a great way to explore a ski resort and meet fellow skiers.
The lift queues are so organised and polite, unlike Europe and the lift staff always have a friendly greeting.
With the way Europe is going with the ski guiding it would be good if there were more resorts in North America that have Ski Club Leaders.
We had some good days with the club leaders, our week was spoiled by bizarre weather.
3 good days with fresh snow, then the temperature soared conditions changed to freeze thaw.
Great shame we did not see the best of whistler, as ever met some great club members.
We had a really enjoyable 10 days in Whistler
Nick Steel was an excellent Ski Club leader - he tailored the week so that all were included in the programme
The downside was that with the resort so close to The Pacific Coast and at a relatively low altitude, precipitation in the village was often of heavy rain and with priority on the lifts given to Ski School and other groups it could take a long time to get up the initial lifts if one was slightly late in the mornings
I stayed at the Coast Suites, Blackcomb, 24 Dec - 1 Jan. Fabulous rangey accommodation (rooms even have their own fire-place) with ski-hire on site and ski-in ski-out to the slopes of Blackcomb and Whistler. Tremendous snow this year over Christmas. Brought more people than usual, I think, but they seemed to dissipate over the many "bowls" and it was easy to find unpopulated areas on- and off-piste within the "patrolled" zone. The lifts were adequate and the peak-to-peak cable car/gondola amazing. Even though still an "aspirant" off-piste, the readily available heli-skiing accommodated "the tentative" and delivered a joyful, sunny day in the "back-country".
Whistler is an extended pretty village with something for everyone - recent Olympic themes from the 2010 winter games add to this.
The Ski Club service via Suzannah Vaill (Ski Leader) during my stay provided an excellent route to finding my way around the slopes, to meeting all sorts of people and to the après-ski scene in Whistler. This was an integral and important part of a fantastic holiday for me. Indeed, I chose Whistler rather than other North American resorts for the holiday, in part, for the very fact that the Ski Club stations a Ski Leader there. I have to thank Suzannah and the Ski Club for delivering so superbly well on the promise! I sincerely hope the Ski Club continues to cultivate Whistler.
Currently in whistler. Spent the last 3 days in nothing but powder. The best skiing I have ever seen anywhere. Deep snow right to the village. Another metre of snow expected in next 9 days. Luckily I have got another 6 weeks of this to go.......
Having heard that Whistler was having the worst season in 25 years I was anxious about what I would find when I arrived on 7 April. However, I was pleasantly surprised! Despite not being able to ski back to the village due to a lack of snow on the village slopes there was plenty of snow from the mid station and alpine areas. It snowed 40 + cm while we were there and we skied on deep fluffy powder on the groomed pistes. It was wonderful! Whistler is a fabulous resort for several reasons: the pistes are wide, the skiing area vast, the scenery spectacular, the Canadian people are very warm, friendly and helpful, the lift staff are charming, the 'sniffle stations' brilliant, the restaurants, bars and hotels superb etc! I highly recommend a ski trip to Whistler.......even the drive from the airport is amazing, passing by Howe Sound and the beautiful coastline. I will be back!
We love Whistler. Even when the snows not great
This was our second year skiing Whistler. We were so worried about the conditions before we arrived, but we one honestly had a really great holiday skiing everyday all day for twelve days, the first 10 days in brilliant sunshine and two days mixed visibility. The first day we met up with the Ski Club of Great Britain and skiied with Ryan, the leader, he was so friendly and extremely knowledgable, really making sure we had the best first day on the mountain and showing us terrain we hadn't visited the previous year. He really made it an adventure which was so much fun. I felt challlenged and quietly confident about my skiing by the end of the day (I am less experienced than the others in the group) , because Ryan was so encouraging during the whole day. the second week we had a new leader who looked after us and made sure everyone had a good time, which is tricky when you have a mix of intermmediates and advanced skiers all wanting a challenge on tricky conditions. I cannot recommend The Ski Club of abreast Britain highly enough,.
Whistler had such a varied choice of restaurants to sample in the evenings, we ate very reasonably. highlights were Sushi Village, Brandys, and The Mexican. i bought a new ski jacket in Peak Performance in the sale which I will be wearing on my ski holiday next year.
We stayed at the Coast Blackcomb suites which we found good value, homely and very convenient. It does need to be updated inside, but the staff are so helpful and kind and the standard of cleaning in our room was perfect.
Great to be able to ski in and out, that's the bonus, and the bus to the village is so reliable and easy.
Loved Whistler and superb terrain mainly inaccessible due to paucity of snow and freeze thaw conditions.
Eating out very good value and everybody very friendly.
Not enough snow. Lots of rocks coming through the base.
We usually visit Austria. Kitzsteinhorn / Kaprun has a 330cm base.
Sadly the worst snow conditions we have ever experienced in our 35 years of skiing . Never seen so much grass on the pistes. So given up skiing and now walking around the cross country ski areas , as no snow on these areas
If you have not booked for whistler I would not bother to come. No reduction on lift pass prices either which might help to soften the blow.
It will need massive dump to recover any of the lower pistes back to a lot of the ski in ski out accommodation
Still a beautiful place and very well served with accommodation eating etc
Back to Europe for us
Had a great week in Whistler mostly skiing on piste in blue skies and warm sunshine! Ryan, the leader was hugely knowledgable about the Whistler ski area and managed to find suitable slopes snd the best snow despite a relatively slow snow year. Temperatures were warm so pistes were often icy in the morning and slushy on the lower slopes especially late afternoon, but some good off piste was found, especially on the Blackcomg Glacier. The social hour was good fun and Ryan brought the group together very well - we sampled a few of Whister's restaurants as well which were excellent and good value especially with today's exchange rate. Whistler's shops are also very good and the the standard of hotel accommodation was very high. Overall, a fantastic week!
Yesterday I posted a review and images of blackcomb mountain. I have since been up whistler mountain and thought it would be more balanced to also post information about this mountain.
There is one run which has been maintained down to the resort. Mid slopes such as around garbanzo chair do not have enough snow. Emerald chair has been maintained and the snow park is open. The alpine has plenty of snow and skiable terrain (peak chair, harmony, symphony) but this is very hard packed and very icey at the moment due to the amount of rainfall. If the freezing level drops and more snow comes (if?!) then the alpine could be very good. But I don't know whether this will happen. I have posted photos of lower, mid and upper mountain.
Whistler is the best place in the world and I would recommend anyone visit in an average or good season when I would give the slopes 5 stars. Both whistler and black comb mountain have terrain for all abilities from learning and family zones through to double black diamonds, glades runs, an abundance of off piste, trees, bowls and snow parks for all abilities from small to extra large jumps plus half pipe and boarder cross.. This season is below average snow conditions. Normally they get lots of fresh snow, soft snow, powder and there is a wealth of off piste skiing but that's not been the Case so far this season. Canada is a great place to visit so if you have already booked you will be able to still have a great holiday but if you haven't booked yet I would advise you to book Europe this season and save whistler for another year.
I'm in whistler at the moment. I've been here many times since 2009 and it's the best place in the world. However it is not just having a bad season, it is having a terrible season. The lower slopes have no snow at all. There is one run down the village which has been done by the mountain team and equipment but it is no way 144cm deep. I've attached 4 photos of black comb. They show lower, mid and upper mountain.
Mid mountain is patchy with most piste closed. Upper mountain is currently Icey and there are rocks showing through so off piste options are limited. It was very warm yesterday and today. I recommend everyone visits whistler but not this season.
Clearly we didn't see Whistler at its best due to the conditions described in an earlier review, and weren't able to get everywhere. Never seen so much rain in a ski resort! But my main input is to record my feeling that this would be a very difficult resort for a first or second season intermediate looking to work on their turns on "cruisey blues" - virtually all the blues we skied had steep and/or narrow sections which would see them classed red in Europe, and most of the green "easiest routes" equally featured some unexpectedly tricky moments. Maybe if the conditions had been better the grooming would have reduced the challenge - hats off to the pisteurs for keeping the resort runs open for waterskiers, which must have drained their resources - but as things were, as a twentieth (!) season intermediate I was very fully stretched. Then again, perhaps I've been spoilt by spending my last two trips in Breck .......
Other issues - pleasantly surprised by the affordability of eating (and drinking (beer not wine)) out, including eating up the mountain, less so by the cost of provisioning for self-catering, loved the layout and buzz in the village and would strongly recommend the Coast Blackcomb Suites for anyone who likes skiing and breakfast, but doesn't need a posh restaurant and lounge bar in their accommodation.
The Peak 2 Peak Gondola is an amazing feat of engineering and certainly helped us stay high to enjoy the best of the snow.
Whistler has to be experiencing its worst-ever season. It is warm and raining, not just in the village, but high up on the alpine as well. You need goggle wipers. It has been suffering low valley and high alpine cloud (simultaneously) each day we have been here (we arrived on 7th Feb). From the mid-slopes down is like skiing in mashed potato. Most of the low slopes are brown with Blackcomb faring even worse than Whistler, but the resorts are putting serious effort into keeping a route down to each of the two villages. It is so sad to see Whistler in this awful state. If you are committed to going, I suggest on Whistler you head straight over to Harmony and Symphony once you get to the top of the Gondola. Here the snow is holding up fine, though visibility and wind is a bit of an issue right at the top of both lifts. On Blackcomb, probably best to head to the Crystal ridge. The Glacier Express and 7th Heaven have both been closed all day today - possibly in preparation for the hordes of visitors expected tomorrow for Presidents' weekend, but maybe there is wind Best to download from either the top or mid-station. And bring a sense of humour with you. I love Whistler - I have an apartment here and have been coming for 25 years and this is by a serious margin the worst conditions I have ever seen here. Too bad for such a great place. The official Whistler website will give you a brighter picture than my review but I am afraid I speak the truth. My rating reflects the 2015 season only; generally Whistler would score high marks in other years.
This is the sixth time I've visited Whistler and by the far the poorest snow conditions I've experienced. A large number of runs (even from mid-mountain) are closed or in an extremely poor condition. Nevertheless, there are still some good turns to be had, but this year the conditions are reminiscent of a low level European resort in Spring rather than the famed abundance of snow that Whistler is renowned for. Whistler is a "company town" so accurate information on the reality is difficult to access from their website or from employees of the resort. I hope the conditions are unusual and of course, the weather can't be controlled, but I'd suggest looking carefully at independent snow forecasts if thinking about going. And book late.
Well its not cheap, and its a long way to go.
But if you can afford it and make the effort and overcome jet lag (8 hour time difference, London to Vancouver) then its an amazing ski holiday.
Lift tickets are pricey.
But you are buying a different product:
1) Hardly any lift queues, and the queues that do form are orderly. Nobody will push past you and trample on your beloved skis - this takes a couple of days to believe if you have skied a lot in the alps
2) Helpful (yes helpful !) on mountain hosts, the whole area, not just the pistes is patrolled
3) The whole ski area is avalanche cleared, not just inbound to the pistes like in European resorts. So in terms of avalanche risk, skiing off paste in Whistler is similar risk to skiing down a blue run in Tignes (obviously off piste still has other intrinsic risks related to the terrain eg. hidden rocks, cliffs etc).
And because Whistler / Blackcomb is relatively low, there is a lot of tree skiing - which is good as light can often be flat.
Snow? The snow record and annual amount speaks for itself. You are probably twice as likely to get a powder day in Whistler as you are in most top European resorts... Something to think about!
Whistler and Blackcomb are basically two separate mountains, interlinked by one amazing gondola/cable car (peak to peak - which doesn't run from the top of the mountains, but about 2/3 of the way up them). Or you can ski down to the valley and then take a lift up the other side.
There is every kind of terrain on both mountains, from cruisey beginner slopes, to serious couloirs and chutes and bowls, cliffs which rival anything I have experienced in Europe. There is also some glacier skiing but that is limited, compared to what you can find in somewhere like Espace Killy or Val Thorens.
OK, accommodation in Whistler is pricey. But there are deals to be had if you can avoid peak season; some hotel deals include the lift pass which will save you quite a lot.
Overall amazing. Do it !
With such a huge skiable area, Whilstler is a fantastic place to ski for intermediates and above. There was a good fall of snow the day we arrived which kept the pistes in good condition all week. There were a few icy runs and bare patches but nothing to spoil a great week's skiing. We stayed in Creekside just a couple of minutes walk to the Creekside Gondola from where you can access both Whilstler Mountain and Blackcomb. There are some very pleasant mountain restaurants (busy on Saturday) but not during the week serving great soups, stews as well as normal ski fare. It's quite a short day with lifts closing at 3 so you have to get out in the morning at a reasonable time. We did Firs Tracks breakfast which is an early Gondola from Whilstler Village up to the Roundhouse for a buffet breakfast and then you can be first out on the pistes - a really nice way to start the day. If you are a beginner or low intermediate beware the green runs as some of them can be very steep. The locals say the snow is usually much better - we thought it was fine - we will definitely come back.
We had a great time , with 10 days on the slopes. The best thing is the open mountain rule, where you can virtually ski anywhere within the 'in bound' marked area, which allows anyone to try a bit of off piste skiing without breaking the rules! It snowed (with a bit of rain) for the first 7 days of our stay, which I am informed is not unusual, so don't go expecting blue skies and powder like they show on the videos that are constantly running in the bars and restaurants. The mountains are smaller than I expected, and we had skied it all in 4 days. It may be big in north American terms, but smaller than many places we have skied in Europe. You have to start early as the lifts close at 3 and 4pm, even after the clocks went forward, which was very frustrating. The food on offer is a bit samey, burgers and pulled pork with chips, but it was always well presented and a plate full!
It is the first time we have stayed in a condo rather than a hotel. We prefer a hotel with a lounge, bar and the other facilities, which you don't get in a condo, but I can see the advantage of a condo for a family with young children. The Tantalus Lodge is not in the pedestrianized area. It is too far away from the lifts to walk in ski boots, but there is a mini bus to take you to the slopes, which is essential.
Day 1, 11.00am. Dislocated shoulder at the top of 'Doom and Gloom' in Whistler Bowl. To paraphrase 'The Great Escape': "For you Jonny, the skiing is over". If you're going to find yourself in this position - Whistler is the place to do so. Ski Patrol has Doctors on the slope. Resort happy to refund whole of lift pass AND my wife's pass. Fantastic snow-shoing over at Olympic Park. Good walks. Try the 'Eagle Float' at Brakendale (raft down the river where Bald Eagles come for the salmon - probably saw in excess of 50-60 eagles). Nice resort - stuff to do (shops to spend money in, unfortunately). Great restaurants (Alta Bistro is superb). Squamish Cultural Centre (First Nations) well worth a visit. We had a great holiday (and as the snow was poor, if we had been skiing we'd have spent the whole week whinging). Definitely recommend it. Might even go back and try skiing next year...
No powder and no new snow over 8 days at Whistler. The snow cover is decent, but the place was sorely in need of new snow. For a place that usually gets some good snow, this year may be a disappointment overall if things don't improve soon.
Rob George, the ski Club leader did a fantastic job. Thanks to the Ski Club!
Just returned from another 3 weeks in Whistler. Apparently Whistler was having its worst year for decades, with a fraction of the snow they normally receive. The drive up was nerve wracking as there was no snow at all until just after Function Junction. Even the village was all grass and pavement. I had never seen grass in Whistler before. That evening we ventured to the bottom of Blackcomb and Whistler and people were still managing to ski out without downloading. A promising sign indeed.
Next day all fears were allayed. With a combination of awseome snow machines and excellent piste management 95% of runs were open and every lift was open. Certainly off-piste was very thin and reduced accessibility but on piste the snow was fabulous, especially about around 1,000 metres.
After the first week we had nearly a metre of snow in 5 days and conditions could not have been better on and off-piste. Then 8 days of clear skies. Even at the end of those 8 days there was fresh snow to be bashed in places like Symphony Bowl.
Interestingly the previous year we arrived after some of the best early season snow, and the on piste conditions were identical.
The only significant queues were the day after the major snow fall, which also happened to be a Saturday. That meant every other day we spent probably a total of 10 - 20 minutes in lift queues across the whole day. That leaves for an awful lot of skiing.
So my suggestion would be if you are concerned about the snow conditions here call someone local to find out the real situation. I have friends skiing in other resorts in Europe and the US at present and despite official snow records their conditions sound pretty desperate compared to Whistler.
As the last run we skied from the top of the Horstman Glacier to Merlins Bar in 16 minutes, and barely hit ice the whole way. Burning thighs and big smiles as we limped into the bar.
An outstanding resort which looks after its clients so well. They want you this year and next so service is always excellent. With 2 mountains to ski and the peak to peak to move you so dramatically between the two and all on your lift pass. Lift queues are non existent.
Just back from Christmas 2012 & New Year, and reading Dan's reports, wished I'd stayed out there. To be fair, even on an 'avge' week Whistler is still good - after 10 days of no snow, a few pistes were starting to get that icy edge that would be recognisable in Europe after a few days of no snow... but seriously, 10 days without snow! and now, they've just had 45cm in 24 hours. There's no justice.
You _can_ find fresh snow though, you just have to hike for it. Geoff organised 2 trips with local guides to go ski-touring (skins and Dynafit bindings), which we thoroughly enjoyed, although the 2nd guide took our claims of 'weve done this before' a bit too seriously - 30 mins hiking isn't too bad, but 70 minutes is a LOT tougher. Still, the more up, the more down.... just remember, if you already ski on 'all mountain' skis, you probably don't need to upgrade as if you're coming from piste ski's....
Prices in Whistler are eye-watering, mainly due to the exchange rate. Beers run to $6Cdn in the pubs, but basic wines can be $18 (4 and 12GBP respectively), plus taxes - we found it hard to spend less than £50 a head eating out, and frequently more. (NYE was a real blowout - BearFoot bistro is nice, but used to hosting wealthy locals..... cheapest wine on the night was over £100 a bottle!)
Listel hotel is in a great location, cheap, but noisy internally (no noise from outside). Buffet breakfast good value (i.e. included), saves time and dough.
Lift lines were only really busy on NYD and the middle weekend, and were tailing off when we left.
If you want a splurge, Powder Mountain Cat skiing is a good 'poor mans heliski', we got 8 runs in a day for our $550Cdn....
Apre ski is VERY quiet compared to Europe - odd, as lifts close by 3.30.
I'd go back, but for just 2 people, I'm inclined to try some of the smaller resorts, ones that are more 'fresh' snow sure - Wh. may have the depth, but the frequency is not as reliable as the adverts make out.
Great resort with numerous runs.
We had 10 days, variable conditions including fog and a bit of rain but hardly saw the sun!
Great variety of terrain but long queues even in mid-January which was a big disappointment. Harmony, Symphony and 7 Heaven bowls best places.
I would go again if Vail had no snow. At the top of Blackcomb there is a demo centre where new boards and skis can be tried. The Olympic bob-sleigh run is at the foot of the mountain and can be attempted by those willing to give up half a day on the mountain and quite a bit of cash (book first).
A month later I took the kids to Tignes for the third time, which I thought was better - shorter lift queues even at half term.
The north Americans just don't seem to get the idea of big fast kit to haul loads of folks to the top of the mountain. All the owners of trans-Atlantic resorts should be made to visit the Tomeuses 8 man express lift at Val d'Isere.
Although this review sounds a bit negative I would go again - we had a great laugh - stayed in a Skiworld chalet - comfortable but a long hike to the lifts (20 mins brisk, OK with snowboard boots, less fun with ski boots)
Over the course of five winter seasons in Whistler, only one of those seasons could be considered a 'bad' season - and even then the tail end of the season saw epic powder days, well after many people had switched into a summer mode. 06/07 and 10/11 saw record snowfalls, and while the dreaded Pineapple Express can occasionally bring rain to high elevations, overall the snowfall is extremely consistent.
If you like sunshine and deckchairs, Whistler might not be for you. Storm days are often the best of all, when the alpine lifts stay closed and you can ski lap after lap through the trees. When the storm finally lifts it's often a rush to get to most sought-after (and spectacular) runs, but despite the crowds there's not much that beats the buzz in Peak Chair line-up when the avy control is finished and there's 30+cm of fresh snow on the ground.
People often comment that the on-mountain restaurants are lacking the charm and atmosphere of their European counterparts. Lunch is really an in and out affair anyway, as the lifts do close earlier than in Europe.
One of best things about Whistler is that it's not a one-trick pony. Yes, it's known for it's record-breaking snowfall and powder days, but there's oodles of terrain for intermediates (particularly around Blackcomb's Crystal Zone), it's well set up for families with countless options for ski school programmes and guiding, the terrain parks are immense, and it's on the doorstep of Garibaldi Provincial Park which is full of amazing touring terrain.
Starting to sound like an advertorial - but there's a reason it took me half a decade to leave.
Just had 10 amazing days in Whistler (1st April - 10th). Was greatly enhanced by having Ski Club rep Mark Jennings take us round the mountains.
It didn't stop snowing for 6 days and the off piste conditions were the best I have ever experienced (over two metres fell while I was there) and was easily waist deep in some of the bowls and with Mark's knowledge we could find fresh lines days after a dump. Couldn't recommend Whistler more highly and don't know why we haven't been there sooner will deffo go again, beats Europe by far and the people are so welcoming. All in all a great ski holiday/resort not to be forgotten. Thanks again Mark.
Back from our Easter trip to Whistler luckily before the airspace shut down. Volcano did look interesting on the way past.
Superb snow all the way down to near the bottom. Loads of powder delivered daily until the weather changed and we got superb sunshine and cold enough to keep the snow great.
All the snow and Easter had the locals out for the Saturday so queues were not brilliant but the lifties do manage the queues and fill the lifts. Rest of the time it was fine, few if any queues.
Trip down Dave Murray run to Creekside showed us how big the bump was that Anja Paerson flew off for over 100M. I can see why at the speed they would have been doing. If you get down there you have to have a Pulled Pork Sarni at Dustys.
Usual good food in the village Hy's the best but silly money - Spaghetti Factory best value. We found a new restaurant this year just outside the main village which was so good we went back the next night too. White Spot which is a chain over there offering a selection of food from parts of the world allowing you to have a Steak, Curry, Pasta, Burger, Fish&Chips etc. No arguments, everyone happy. Still also like the Caramba for Italian at reasonable cost too.
Stayed at the Delta again and had trouble with noise every night as the Deer Lodge across the road now has an outside area with music. When we rang every night they did switch it off but a pain - if you are going there get a room either very high or at the back! First night with the time difference we Brits need to get to bed early.
If you go find the Ski Cross track over on Blackcomb as it is great fun. Not as extreme as the Olympic run but great fun if you are in a group. Had a day with Rep Mark doing off piste all day - great fun if very very tiring.
Now why is Easter so late next year! Watch out as Whistler Mountain is destined to shut 26th April as usual.
Just returned from a third trip to Whistler and enjoyed some glorious conditions over two weeks.
My 'Top Tip' for anyone going and thinking of making a return trip I only discovered on this visit. On our last day my son and I decided we wouldn't push ourselves to squeeze in a last couple of hours skiing for the sake of it before we had to be ready for the coach. In any case cloud had descended on the mountains. We decided instead on a final walkabout, coffee and a lunch out.
Our ski passes were still current and it seemed a shame to waste them. I wondered if there might be an alternative to touting them round the car park which really didn't appeal! (and isn't officially allowed I learned later).
Memories of trying to get a refund in France in simply un-skiable conditions were forward in my mind - "If the lifts are working: No Refunds"
Not so in Whistler. On the off chance, I dropped by one of the guest relations desks on our stroll and asked. There were two very positive options immediately offered! A refund to a credit card (less a small charge) or a full credit onto a Whistler Blackcomb gift card - valid for 10 years, and useful for shopping in the bigger shops, equipment rentals, Ski school, dining places and restaurants. So that's what we chose and that recovered about £90! I also had a pocket, laden with accumulated loose change, which is always a nuisance to bring home and with that deposited on the countertop the assistant cheerily counted it all out and credited it straight onto the gift card too! What a result.
We’ve just returned from Whistler where I can endorse that the skiing experience is unlike anything in the Alps. I expected variable weather and we got it, but I skied every day and had two fabulous sunny days. The terrain is vast and varied, the lift system efficient, queuing civilised and short with a special line for singles, and the people without exception welcoming and polite.
See all the previous comments below that say much the same. What a refreshing change. However, we encountered one or two downsides that I will mention that might assist those of more mature years considering a visit to Whistler. Whistler is a young, purpose built resort catering predominantly it seems for young people. The words ‘catering for young people’ needs to be in capital letters. We stayed at the Crystal Lodge. Nothing wrong with the welcoming staff, its interior or its restaurants and it’s well situated in the centre of the village on the Village Stroll. However, our bedroom overlooked the village stroll. Big mistake! Canadian youth is no different from European youth – they shout, sing etc with no concern for those trying to sleep on their way home from the late night bars as late as 3am. Every night of our stay was disturbed by them. We thought Whistler would be different. If you want peace and quiet then I suggest you study a map first and if your accommodation is anywhere near the main pedestrian walkways through the village, then think very carefully before booking. I would guess that the Upper Village would be much quieter than Whistler Village. The walk from the Upper Village is very short and easy and the free shuttle runs frequently if you don’t want even a short 5mins walk. Depending on what you read our hotel had ‘three restaurants, 2 lounges, 2 coffee bars’, or, ‘reception, lounge and bars, three restaurants and coffee shops’. I would have to say that neither of those two statements properly represented the amenities. There is no ‘lounge’ as those of us who have stayed in more traditional Alpine resorts would interpret the word. The only comfortable seating outside of bedrooms was a sparse number of easy chairs in the vast lobby atrium – mainly occupied by departing guests and not a welcoming area to sit. The bar is described as ‘a great place to meet up with friends’. We missed the message behind the wording!! This is a noisy bar populated by snowboarders who swamp it at lunchtime and from 3.30pm onwards for several hours, like they do most bars within the vicinity of the lifts. Crystal Lodge is by no means alone in deciding that a proper ‘Lounge’ is superfluous to the accoutrements it offers guests. We checked out a few other hotels with similar findings. The Fairmont in the Upper Village does have a lovely lounge - The Mallard Lounge - we used that when we wanted some peace and quiet in a comfortable environment. But drinks prices are marked up 50% on those in bars and restaurants.
So if you seek a quiet place to sit after skiing, in comfortable easy chairs, as you might in an Alpine resort, be very careful where you stay. Cafes in the village are virtually all small, and lacking in charm. This is not Zermatt! If you want a tea or coffee with a Danish pastry or similar at tea time then I would recommend the Hot Buns creperie, boulangerie and patisserie just off the Village Stroll. For lunch - Blacks and Chitta’s are quieter than the noisy Longhorns bar at the foot of the piste. Cuisine is very North American – meaning large portions and lacking variety. Main meals can be quite expensive – but then everywhere is expensive for the Brits this winter due to the slump in stirling’s value. One good point is that we had no problem sharing a meal when we asked.
On the plus side there is a cinema which when we were there was showing amongst other films, Slumdog Millionaire and Valkyrie. There are also several art galleries showing some fantastic work – particularly in the Hilton and in the Plaza Galleries on Main Street. Would I go again? Definitely yes as a keen skier – I can accept the problems now I know what they are and could work around them – but I would want my slice of Zermatt too. Would my wife, as a non skier and non winter sports enthusiast go again? Definitely not. She was bored and felt isolated for much of the time and access up the mountains for non-skiers is very limited.
this is simply the best kids ski resort in the world. if you have children under 12 the kids ski school is amazing, and if you are a little older, ask for John Pearson or Santiago Locanza who work from the blackcombe base. I've been 8 times !!!!!
We (2 adults and our 14 and 12 year old sons) spent two weeks at the beggining of April in Whistler. The skiing was awesome with a huge expanse of varied terrain allowing you to feel you were the only people on the mountain. Everyone working on the slopes were very helpful and friendly, and went out of their way to make sure your skiing experience was fantastic. The ski guides let you know where the best runs of the day are, where has been groomed etc. (not all the runs are groomed daily so the skiing can be bumpy but fun nonetheless).
What struck me was the length of the runs compared to those in Europe - these are seriously thigh quivering distances (or am I just unfit?). We did the Peak to Creek a few times (un-groomed) and I was grateful for the cold beer at 'Dusty's' at the bottom! There are quite a few runs with moguls, which I've never really enjoyed before, but as there were no other options in some area, I took a deep breath and followed my intrepid family. I got to the bottom in one piece having enjoyed the experience for the first time! There is really something for every sort of skier/boarder here and if you love your skiing this is the place for you.
The weather was mixed; we had one day when the sun was so strong the lower piste was ghastly by 2pm, but also days with perfect conditions. There were one or two days where visibility was really poor and you really could not see more that a few feet, but as the area is so vast there are usually different conditions on the other mountain. We had sunny weather most evenings and in fact not the amount of rain we were expecting for April. It snowed a fair amount and kept the slopes fresh (with good powder on many days).
The ski hire shops were good and helpful. We booked ours online before leaving and had a good discount (try the Whistler/Blackcomb website for more info). Whistler itself was a little Disney-fied but all very pleasant. The Telus Snow Music Festival was on during our stay so there was lots of North American rock and lots going on. I imagine this would have been too noisy if you were staying in the centre of the village, but we were in the upper village( try Holiday Whistler for great deals on condos) which was brilliant. There are free shuttle buses running every 6 minutes or so, making everything really effortless, so you don't need a car once there. We hired a car for 24 hours from Vancouver to Whistler but went back on a Greyhound Bus – fantastic! Incidentally we flew with Zoom Airlines and they were excellent – no delays, and for a budget airline brilliant value.
Eating on the slopes is not a gastronomic experience, the restaurants are big and functional and rather impersonal, apart from the hut on Blackcomb. There are a few excellent ones in the village (try Araxi). It may be useful to know that we experienced problems with Mastercard – let them know in advance that you are going to Canada and will be spending some money! A few expensive calls later we were OK . Visa was fine however.
Overall we had a fantastic time – the skiing was the best ever and if the village lacked an Alpine charm it made up for it with great shops. We would definitely recommend Whistler.
As someone who was in two minds whether it was worth the long flight to travel to Whistler or to stay and ski in Europe, I must stay I made the right choice this time. We (my wife and I and our 12 and 8 year olds) arrived in Whistler on 30 March and left on 12 April. Every day was a joy with fantastic skiing. Although there was snow and cloud there was only one day when the visibility was poor enough to make drinking hot chocolate preferable to skiing. The kids were in ski school the second week and loved it. The oldest skied in ride tribe and despite being 12 this was possible with parents’ permission.
We stayed in the holiday inn, which was great. It was very central and after reading some reports about it being noisy on trip advisor I was a little worried; we did hear some people in the street below when in bed, however if there had to be a compromise between location and some late night voices I would settle for the location every time.
Returned from a 9 day trip to Whistler on 26 January. Our first time there, normally we ski in the higher Alpine resorts particularly Zermatt so that's probably our benchmark for comparisons. Overall, we had a great time.
The first thing to say is that the range and extent of skiing is fantastic, particularly this year as even by their high standards they're having loads of snow so everything was open and in great condition. There really is something for everyone, from beginners to powder hounds to bump bashers and it's all so easily accessible. You can be skiing down one of the many pistes (mostly within the tree line and very pretty) and if you fancy a change can drop into a gladed run through the trees (a great idea that more Alpine resorts should copy) or head for a mogul field or if you fancy an off-piste bowl then that isn't normally more than a couple of lifts away. And there won't be any queues during the week. At the w/end there may be short ones (when the locals from Vancouver arrive) but they're politely monitored by friendly marshals (mainly young Antipodeans!) who ensure that each chair goes up full with the result that any queue moves smoothly and quickly.
Everything on the slopes is very slick and well organised, and everyone operating the lifts and in restaurants etc. are friendly and helpful. Also, you sense that, unlike the US, it's genuine!
On our first couple of days we took advantage of the free Mountain Tours that are available every day starting at 11.30 and last a couple of hours. They're run by volunteer Ski Hosts, mainly semi-retired people from Vancouver who know Whistler like the back of their hands. The two we had were delightful company and we learnt a lot about the best runs and routes etc. as well as the surrounding mountain range and history of Whistler/Blackcomb. It's a fast track way of getting to know where to find the best skiing for your standard/desires and something that the Alpine resorts should consider.
We had a couple of days group lessons and they were excellent. Small groups with really friendly and knowledgeable instructors who were able to impart some great tips very effectively. We covered a lot of ground and discovered some interesting off-piste runs including one with a hidden snow hole some 8 feet deep that my girlfriend fell down; the snow simply gave way under her as she skied through the powder and she suddenly found herself down a well like hole up to her chest in freezing water! Luckily she was unhurt and we managed to pull her out and get her back to the hotel before she froze too badly. Apparently the resort normally fill them in with logs but this was one they'd missed and, rather disappointingly, nothing was done about it over the next five days even though our instructor had reported it.
Whilst most of our lunches were all in 'motorway' style self-service restaurants the range and quality of the food was very good, probably better than in comparable Alpine restaurants. Check out the Asian broth and stir fry at Glacier Creek, made to order and delicious! We were also pleasantly surprised by the cost, an average of about $25 for a good lunch for two people. For a table service restaurant try Christine's at the Rendevous Lodge on Blackcomb although it's necessary to book.
The only minor grumble about the skiing was that they close the lifts very early in January. Some of the top lifts were closing at 2, others at 2.30 and the lower ones at 3 with the result that we were back at the bottom by 3.30 at the latest even though it was light until 5. They do, however, extend that by 30 minutes at the end of January.
The town itself is well laid out and built in an attractive timber frame style. However, as with any town conceived on a drawing board it lacks real charm and there's just a hint of Disneyland about it. But then maybe we're spoilt by going to Zermatt a lot! There's certainly loads of shops, bars, restaurants etc. and even a cinema. There's also an excellent, and free, shuttle bus service to/from the skiing so no need to walk around in ski boots too much if you don't want to.
The one big caveat is that, in common, with all North American resorts, the good folk of Whistler/Blackcomb simply don't get the concept of apres-ski. Anything like the Krazy Kanaguruh or Moosevert in St Anton would completely freak them out! So, if you like a beer, or something stronger, and some music just before you take your skis off for the day then it may not be the place for you. Although there are bars in the town the atmosphere is a bit sterile and it simply isn't the same as the Alps.
In summary, purely for skiing it's probably hard to beat and I think I'd return. But I did sorely miss the charm, atmosphere, mountain lunches and apres-ski of Zermatt and I think I'd need to counter-balance any trip to Whistler with one to Zermatt which, in a good snow season like this, still, for me, has the edge on Whistler as an all-round experience and re-charger of battteries.
Another fantastic spring trip to Whistler - guess we are hooked!. Seriously, call it luck but tons of snow and loads of the fresh stuff in 2nd week April - amazing. So OK , it rains in village sometimes, but go up the mountain and that wet stuff turns to snow. There is a huge vertical range to play in so in variable weather, there are always zones to ski in. As always, Intrawest "own" most things and so there is no competition for ski school and it adds up. We find its good in most cases but if you are not happy then make a case and they will tend to move you/children to different instructors. Anyone like us going to near end of season, be aware especially with Childrens Ski/Ski Boot rentals that you should double check what they give you. Its been used many times so boots may be worn, ski binding may be suspect. Again, check and replace if you are not happy, most times they are happy to help. Storage of Ski gear, just remember to give enough time to get your ski's etc if you are at Ski school or your critters are there, as it can be very slow. Eating, try going to places off the main trail e.g edge of market place or down in Creek - these smaller places can give great food at less prices and with Children they are quicker to serve. Overall we cannot fault this place - it has amazing ski area and Telus week just adds to the experience. If we could move & live there, we would tomorrow.
We just returned from our first ever 2 week trip. First things first: little more one can say about whistler/blackcomb, it caters for any type of skier, more runs (listed and unlisted!) than you can ski probably in 10 years of going there. Ski school, well it’s very comprehensive, its expensive and its really a monopoly. That being said, here are some tips. The best instructors we found are ones with time under their belt. If you’re not happy with anything see the supervisor and get changed into another group. We did this with our children after first day and they really made progress and were happier. On children’s lessons, start and end times can vary in week so be aware as they don't always sync with adults. If you are looking to have more than 6 days of lessons then ask about a lesson season pass. They come in many variations and can save money! Ski passes, these can cost a mini fortune but with planning you can save. Check well in advance of holiday for any special offers e.g if you are going in spring check when spring pass becomes available, its valid until June and cost us less than 2 weeks pass and all it meant was we could not ski the 1st day we arrived but hey we were jet lagged so it was perfect. Ski club membership & rep. I regret not being a member of ski club earlier. This was my first year, and i joined up with the ski rep several times. Luke was great; he took us skiing to places that were treasures and traffic free. I met a great bunch of people and this really made the skiing better than I'd ever had. Each day was different and catered for different level of skiers. For this service alone skiclub GB is worth every penny of its membership. Food, there are plenty of choices and we went to some recommended and some were great, some were ok, some were poor, but we also found days varied in the same place. We had SC and we did find that food shopping was expensive in resort and so much so that when we added up what we spent for a meal cooking it, we'd have spent just as much eating out. However, we did not find many places open until 8am onwards for breakfast, so that can cause problems if you are at ski school from 8.30am! Break from skiing, if you are looking to have a break for a few days, we went to Vancouver and to be honest with children we wished we stayed closer to the resort and done other activities, we thought we'd planned a good itinerary but they just got bored within half a day. One thing we'd recommend it to rent a car in advance though if you do decide to explore. Overall, whislter/blackcomb is worth it if just for the expanse of superb skiing terain. We have never had so much fun in and out of the tree's, on and off piste and meeting up with the members of ski club at the end of the day trading stories.
(9th April 2006) Have just returned from 10 days in Whistler arranged through the Ski Club. It was our first visit. I considered myself a lapsed intermediate, not having skied for 15 years. My wife isn’t a skier and didn’t attempt to, it was my son’s first time on skis. So did Whistler disappoint? Not at all, we had a great time. I pre-booked ski school for two of us and ski and boot hire through the Intrawest Central Reservations on the Whistler Blackcomb website. The telephone number was a free 0800 number and the service was very friendly and helpful. I phoned them several times in fact and encountered the same helpful service on each occasion. All the hotels seem to have hire shops so it needn’t have been a concern before leaving (Our hotel/apartment block was even a bit cheaper for rentals). For myself I wanted to jump start my skiing again and improve my technique if possible. I signed up for a Dave Murray 3 day Ski Camp. It looked challenging which I hoped would do me good. The quality of the instructors is the highest calibre; you’re being coached by some of the best instructors with backgrounds in racing. Video analysis on the mountain was well organised and very helpful. In my class we all felt we had learned a lot. It was my first camp. There were plenty who were well known to the coaches and one on his 53rd camp so that has to be an endorsement! I hope to do another. My 10 year old son, the absolute beginner, had the shakiest start as I tried to teach him the snow plough the day before ski school. I thought I’d ruined his experience, but five days at the Whistler Kids Ski School crafted a remarkable transformation and he thoroughly enjoyed it. We skied together on the last two days down green/blue runs on Whistler Mountain and the ‘7th Heaven Zone’ on Blackcomb - our favourite. He even got down ‘Bear Paw’ and ‘Sunburn’- Black runs - I couldn’t believe how much he’d picked up in five days. The Blackcomb glacier is “awesome” - seven mile run with a one vertical mile drop according to our guide. My Wife enjoyed plenty of walking on well marked and scenic routes most reverting to walkers rather than cross country skiers at the beginning of April. There was still patchy snow on may routes. Whistler is excellent for shopping or browsing. There are lots of shops and refreshment stops and the sales have started. Reductions of 30 - 50% are common on clothing and the hire shops have started selling skis off. (A good year to pick up ex-rental skis due to the abundance of snow this year). Ex rental skis/bindings are going for $299.99 a set as we left). If you are considering buying new boots try McCoo’s. The boot fitter there is highly experienced - he won’t sell you boots but look at your bare foot and tell you what boot would best suit your foot shape before you buy. Any fine tuning needed for a custom fit is where he could finish the job off. Avoids major adjustments. You will be spoilt for choice eating out. The Val D’Isere was very good. The Keg does an excellent steak with variations - try it with lobster. Caramba produce excellent wood fired Pizza’s while you watch. Merlin’s bar at the base of Blackcomb we thought is a better bet if you want a bar rather than an eatery. (Ref comment 12 March 06). I tried the Magic Burger – perhaps it was a different Chef! My son and I joined a group led by the Ski Hosts that take visitors all over Whistler Blackcomb ski area for free. You get lots of useful info from a local. We were recommended Glacier Creek Lodge on Blackcomb Mountain as a personal preference of our host. I’d agree, we had a great lunch stop. Crystal Hut (top of Crystal Chair) was highly recommended for their waffles; sadly we didn’t manage to try them. Ski down to Dusty’s at Creekside; it’s got a great deck for a sunny lunch break in a nice spot. (A pleasant hour/hour and half if you walk from Whistler according to my Wife). Last week (1-7th Apr) the snow below 1000ft is getting heavy going by mid-afternoon as the sun lifts temperatures. There is no shame in taking the lift home from the lower stations. If you are going to tumble it’ll be on this stuff when you are tired. We did have light rain on and off in the resort for a few days, and low cloud or snow up on the mountain. When it cleared there was just more snow and fabulous views. There are acres of space and the snow was still squeaky perfect at 6000ft even if it was soft close to the village. Stay on the Horstman Glacier or pop over the top into the Glacier Zone and there’s a vast playground! - though it’s a one way trip as there are no lifts on the Blackcomb glacier. Service is certainly something you notice. Soft Paper handkerchiefs to wipe your glasses in the loos in the mountain Café’s and sniffle posts(soft paper hankie’s again) for that runny nose in the lift queue. Where else would you find such attention to detail? Would have found a proper Piste and Resort map really useful before we left just to mark with recommendations or compare hotel locations easily. I’ve brought some unused spares if anyone wants one. I’ll drop them on eBay with just postage and zero reserve if interested. I can mark any of the places commented on if requested.
Blackcomb whistler are not green power users.(Unless you count solar panels for radio repeaters to be significant}
My Wife and I stayed in Whistler during the first two weeks of February. We were very fortunate with the snow and had large dumps during the first week and then sunny skies the second. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Sunspree, in a self catering room that sleeps two. If there is just the two of you going, there are very few two person self catering rooms available in hotels in the resort. The others all attract an under occupancy supplement which can dramatically increase the price. It was only five minutes walk from the lifts and ideally located in the village. The skiing area is excellent, with challenges for all and very few poorly laid out areas where queues form. These can be avoided by going to other, less popular areas on the mountain. If you are going for two weeks, we would recommend travelling on the weekend and if you are going to take a day out, then also do that on the weekend to avoid the queues, which are usually at that time, and on a Friday. The wide open bowls are fantastic and all runs are well signposted on the main pistes. The double diamond black skiing difficulty is very dependant on conditions, but in contrast to Europe, most of them take no prisoners, with rocks and a very steep and narrow entry into most of them. Be warned : on Whistler Mountain it is possible to ski into the Secret Bowl and look to take the easier route down, only to find this closed. The only other route is the Couloir Extreme, which is vicious. It is best to check if you do not feel too confident on the harder stuff and don't want a long climb. Eating on the mountain is best done before 11.30 or after 13.30, as it gets very busy. We went to Merlins at the base of Blackcomb a number of times and found it quiet and well priced. The Magic Burger is very good! It does not take too long to get back up, and the run down is normally a nice fast cruise as not many other people are doing the same thing. When eating out in the evening, it is best to book, as most places get very busy. The Spaghetti Factory does well priced, good food and is popular. We both did the Ski Esprit programme and in my group, I was the only person not to have done it before. All the others (from Australia, UK, Hong Kong, USA) had returned for more as it was so good. The combination of guiding and instruction, especially for more advanced skiers is fantastic and you are taken places you would not otherwise find. This year it was half price at the time we went, which meant we had 4 full days instruction for around £65. Excellent value. The day continues into Apres Ski, at a local bar, with food brought round for you. It does rain at resort level sometimes, and this effects the quality of snow right at the very bottom. As you invariably only ski this at the very end of day, it normall survives ok, and there is snowmaking to restore it every night. The care of the slopes is generally good, with a daily update on which runs have been groomed. The only disappointing run for us was the Peak to Creek run down to Creekside. This is the longest run on the mountain and Intrawest claim it is too long to groom all of it in one night. This means that the bottom half is not done and becomes a 2 mile long mogul field. Hard work, especially if you do not like moguls down to lunch. My wife and I would certainly return and like most were struck with the contrast in customer service between North America and Europe. It really is as different as everyone says.
I love this resort, it's simply the best place I've ever been to. The standard of instruction is fantastic, I really enjoy the Rideguides (board equivalent of ski esprit) There are loads of great places to eat out (Canadian steaks put Britain to shame) Apres is fantastic here and the customer service is amazing compared to Europe, everyone is so friendly and willing to help. I've been on holiday here 3 years running and I'll be back next year for sure and the year after.
Whistler and Blackcombe... Wow! 10 times better than the Alps!
Well, is all the hype worth it? Just got back from a New Year visit to Whistler Blackcomb with my family, and I would say "Just about". Resort - made up of 3 villages (Creekside, Whistler and Blackcomb) each with its unique character. Creekside, about 3 miles from Whistler, is the smallest and perhaps most attractive, slightly unspoiled but currently going through major redevelopment. A few shops and bars but not a lot else. Blackcomb (or the Upper Village, as it is called) is more upmarket, with a range of 5* hotels and above average appartments. A few shops & restaurants and a lively bar adjacent to the main lift. Whistler is another matter, full of shops, restaurants and bars to fulfil everybody's needs. Eating Out - we stayed in an apartment (see later) so we were keen to get out fairly regularly. Restaurants we went to were good quality on the whole but certainly not cheap. Umberto's in Whistler was good fare but very expensive (£45 per head with one bottle of wine). Best we came across was a little place in Blackcomb called Ciao Thyme - looks like a biker's cafe but is anything but. Great food at sensible prices. Don't tell all your friends! Mountain restaurants reasonable value, but typical North Amewrican fare I'm afraid. You can avoid the fries if you try hard enough. However, Round House on Whistler sits 2000 - not like we're used to in Europe. Drinking - be aware that Canadian law restricts drinking under 19, and after 8pm under 19s cannot even enter bars. They are obliged by law to check your age every time if they have reason to believe you are under 25! Our daughter is 17 - we had a quiet New Year's Eve! Merlins in Blackcomb was our chosen haunt on the whole, reasonable value and great apres ski atmosphere. Check out the Nachos plate at £6 - enough for a family of five. Accommodation - we stayed at the Aspens in Blackcomb. Highly recommended. Puts European apartments to shame. Ski in - ski out and fabulous hot tubs! Treacherous walk down the ski slope to get anywhere in the evening so not really suitable for younger kids. Also a fair treck to Whistler (15-20 mins) but enjoyable enough walk. Skiing - left the best to last. Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous!! Two mountains, a vast number of quality runs and powder to die for. Beginners be aware that the resort only pistes green runs and leaves blues and blacks to the powder monkeys. Great place for intermediates to learn to mogul ski! Be warned – Canadian blues are like French reds or even blacks. And the blacks are like serious blacks. As for the double blacks. I’ll get me coat. Tried parts of the two downhill runs set aside for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Bliss! No real favourite runs, too many to mention. Only two minuses - we went on 28 December and our first few days were ruined by massive crowds. 22,000 skiers on the mountains on 30 December. Long long queues (up to 45 mins), not what we expected. Finally, dig deep in your wallets to pay for your skiing. £900 for nine days for two adults and a junior. Spoke to a few Canadians and they thought Europe was more expensive. I put them right! Would I go back - yes. Would I recommend you go there at least once - yes.
Having been to Whistler 4 times in the last four years I must disagree with Nick's comments. Whistler is renowned for rain in the resort and we have only experienced it once regularly during a stay and that was this year in late January/early February. The skiing has something for everybody, although it is undoubtedly getting busier as the all the main 'super' resorts have over the years, a mixed party of ability can go and enjoy evrything the two superb mountains have to offer and still get to see something of one another on the hill during the day. The 'Pineapple Express' as the locals call the freakishly wet and mild conditions that ruined last season, was the worst on record. Our instructor from the Dave Murray Ski Camp had been skiing Whistler since before it officially opened in the late 1960's and it was the poorest year he could remember. The effect of global warming has to be to blame, but if the resort didn't have such a huge vertical and massive skiable terrain our two week holiday would have been a total non event - rather than still having 4,000 acres to ski rather than usual 8,000 because half the runs were closed. Only one day did we get 'rained off' at the top and we still had two fantastic powder days after a 30cm dump one evening. Most other resorts would have been totally closed! As for the pasta...if it's the mounatin restaurants that were to blame it's probably a fair comment. They're massive, very busy and geared up to letting people re-fuel and go. That said we have never had difficulty in finding somwehere to sit and they serve their purpose, if the conditions are good...who wants to stay indoors? If it's an abundance of charming mountain restaurants you're looking for stay in Europe. We like to ski on both sides of The Pond but the overall experience in Canada and the US wins hands down with their service orientated approach. Europe has much to learn from the North American way of increasing lift capacity. How? Through intsilling some organisation, discipline and all-round manners to those that choose to buy a lift ticket, even a long lift queue can be pleasant you know?! As for Whistler all-round skiing. This is the place where my skiing started to extend the envelope. The fact you can ski advacned/expert terrain inbounds is the way forward. Knowing the area is partolled provides a certain amount of piece of mind and the tuition available is excellent...not to mention in 'real' english if language barriers have been a frustration/problem for you in Europe. The nightlife is just as varied as the skiing, the typical 'national' charm you may find in Italy for exmple may not be there, but you don't get bored too esily when there are good reaturanst serving evrything fro Thai, Indian, Chinese, N American Grub, Italian, Sushi, haute cuisine etc. All in all we love the place, the skiing the mountains and the people. Last season was highly unusual in terms of the serverity of the warm weather. Although it's not uncommon to get wet in the resort sometimes, there's so much to go at up top (where normally it'll be snowing when it's raining down below) that it's worth the inconvenience of getting a bit wet - just go with an open mind and I think you'll be pleasnatly suprised both off and on the hill.
Jan 2005 Whistler's rain is a far more serious problem than many reviewers suggest. In the January I spent there it destroyed most of the lower slopes and decimated all the slopes right upto the peak. The hot summers over the last few years have also removed much of the snowbase. Unless they can move Whistler inland and up a 1,000 metres I won't be going back - oh and they overcook their pasta!
I have been to Whistler for the past four winters and been with Cold Comforts a small specialist chalet company, the owners are English and are great at tailormaking holidays for the UK market!
Can't wait to be back in Whistler for the 4th year running. It should probably come with a warning - highly addictive! We're big foodies and can't beleive you missed out Crab Shack, Mongolie, Teppan Village, Dusty's for lunch / apres ski and Spaghetti Factory for reloading those all of those well spent carbs.
What can I say, in five years of visiting Whistler neither my family nor me have ever been disappointed. The skiing is fab, the restaurants in the village are great and the tuition first class. With a combination of private tuition, Dave Murray clinics and last year my first foray into the extreme with the Extremely Canadian guys and girls. I have gone from a blue run hacker to Couloir Extreme initiate. Where else can you do this? Kids are skiing great too. The places that I have been in Europe are not in the same league, Val D’isere; not even close.
I am e-mailing from Whistler where we have had a week's rain in the village but perfect conditions up top. I am writing just to say that there are 4 main reasons why this is our fourth year here and we will return for at least another four. First, the children's ski school on Blackcomb is first class. The teachers are mostly 20-30 years old and have a real enthusiasm for the job. Most importantly their first language is English (they are Canadians, English, Aussies or Kiwis). Our 4 children (ages 6-11)look forward to ski school every day, and have done ever since we started coming here - not what we had at Mark Warner or any other package dependent on Frenhc Instructors etc. Second, the accommodation is large and comfortable. Third, the ambience of the place is young and friendly. Fourth, a two week ski holiday put together after research on the web costs us less than two weeks in Europe.
What can I say - the weather was fantastic, the food was fantastic, but most importantly, the people were fantastic. The ski school was well organised and the instructors brilliant. The only negative I can think of was lift queues at the weekend. We had thought the prices would be expensive, but due to the strength of the pound, it actually turned out to be quite reasonable! We will definitely be going again!
Hello! A little feedback about the whistler restaurants. I quite agree with all you said, although Uli's Flipside is standard quality, not more (the food is good but not extremely tasty). The 'fine' restaurants you outlined I
agree with. There is a burger place that I think is absolutely worth mentionning. It's in the upper village, and it's called "Splitz burger". It's next to the Alpen Glow. I discovered it only the second week of my stay in whistler, and to this day my stomach still growls at the thought of those burgers. It's not refined food, but it's fast food at its best. There famous splitz sauce is also incredibly good, whether with fries or the burgers themselves. And they will dress the burgers with whatever you want. I now live in switzerland (I am canadian) where the food is fine, but I miss Splitz burgers dearly... So I hope you can give them a mention. Oh the price. If I recall, it's near 10$ CAN which is really nothing. Cheers, Alban.
Find out what it's like to ski or snowboard in 24 countries. The pros and cons, costs, the mountains, the resorts and a whole lot more
tour operators in Whistler
- 10% discount for Ski Club members
- The largest independent ski operator in the UK. Featuring over 140 catered chalets in superb...
- Erna Low
- 6% discount for Ski Club members
- Erna Low is an independent ski specialist offering the widest range of self-catered and hotel...
- Ski Independence
- 5% discount for Ski Club members
- Ski Independence is one of the UK's leading tailor-made ski specialists offering the best hotels...
- 5% discount for Ski Club members
- Igluski.com is an award-winning ski travel agency, working with over 70 tour operators to offer ski...
- The Oxford Ski Company
- 5% discount for Ski Club members
- With over eighteen years of experience, some 450+ personally inspected luxury ski chalets and 90...
- Ski Solutions
- 5% discount for Ski Club members
- Ski Solutions is Britain's original and largest specialist ski travel agency and tailor-made...
- Elegant Resorts
- 5% discount for Ski Club members
- Elegant Resorts, the UK's leading luxury tour operator, provides exceptional client service and...
- Nonstop Ski & Snowboard
- 5% discount for Ski Club members
- Ski Club members can get: 5% off 1-2 week holidays and camps £100 off 3-6 week holidays and...
- Frontier Ski
- 5% discount for Ski Club members
- Frontier Ski has 25 years worth of experience in creating luxury tailor-made ski holidays to Canada...
- 5% discount for Ski Club members
- With over 80 years' experience in ski, offering holidays in 91 resorts in 10 countries, Inghams...
- 5% discount for Ski Club members
- Ski Line is an independent ABTA travel agent specialising in ski holidays and in particular catered...
ski accommodation in Whistler
- Holiday Whistler
- 10% discount for Ski Club members
- We are a specialist family-run holiday boutique where you can have your holiday tailor-made to your...
- 6% discount for Ski Club members
- Providing the largest selection of ski accommodation in Canada. Come & play in our Great...
- Erna Low
- 6% discount for Ski Club members
- Erna Low is an independent ski specialist offering the widest range of self-catered and hotel...
- 5% discount for Ski Club members
- PowderBeds is an online Ski Accommodation Retailer, offering a huge range of hotels, apartments and...
member discounts in Whistler
- 60% discount for Ski Club members
- N.B. Online bookings will vary depending on resort and seasonal time. However Ski Club members will...
- ALLTRACKS Academy
- £200 discount for Ski Club members
- ALLTRACKS are the Whistler Specialists offering the ultimate ski & snowboard courses. We offer...
Where to Ski and Snowboard 2016
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