Whistler is unlike any other resort in North America. In some respects - the scale, the high bowls and glaciers, the scenery, the crowds - it is more like an Alpine resort. But like most resorts on the western side of North America, it offers the advantages of usually excellent snow and a lot of woodland runs too. All things considered, the mountain is about the best that North America has to offer, and for us a visit here is always a highlight of the season. But we'll admit that we are generally lucky with the weather, and haven't had to put up with much rain at resort level - a real hazard (as 2015 visitors found; last season was warm and wet, with frequent heavy rain). And we try to time our visits to avoid peak periods and weekends, and therefore the worst of the crowds. Whistler Village sits at the foot of its two mountains, Whistler and Blackcomb, a scenic 135km drive from Vancouver on Canada's west coast. Whistler started as a locals' ski area in 1966 at Creekside and is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2016. Whistler Village, a 10-minute bus ride away, was developed in the late 1970s; Upper Village - around the base of Blackcomb Mountain and a 10-minute walk from Whistler Village - was started in the 1980s.
Pros

North America's biggest ski area

Excellent combination of high open bowls and woodland trails

Good snow record

Almost Alpine scenery

Cons

Proximity to Pacific Ocean means a lot of cloudy weather, and rain at resort level is not unusual

Inadequate lift system; queues can be a big problem at peak times

Overcrowded runs also a problem

Mountain restaurants are overcrowded and mostly no more than functional

Getting there

  • Vancouver airport: 2 hours

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