Whistler, British Columbia, is the ultimate winter destination for skiing enthusiasts. The size of this resort can be overwhelming, so here are some tips for making the most of your ski holiday.
To travel from this resort, you’ll want to have a strategy. The resort is spread across two adjacent mountains that are connected at their peaks with a gondola. Whistler has a total of 8,100 acres of terrain with an impressive annual average of 914 centimeters of snow. There are more than 200 trails, so some advance planning will help you.
When to Go
From late January to mid-February, Whistler snow conditions are at their best, and the resort is the least crowded.
Avoid visiting during March, when the slopes are flooded with Spring Break revelers. It can be a good time if you want to party, but the ski runs are crowded and the amount of people can get in the way of an enjoyable experience.
How to Get Around
There’s no need to rent a car in Whistler, as it is designed to be pedestrian-friendly. You can take the Perimeter bus from the Vancouver Airport or from downtown. It will reach the mountain in approximately two or three hours depending on the weather.
When it comes to getting around the mountain, you might want to sign up for the free 90-minute tour of the ski slopes. Because Whistler can be overwhelming, the orientation tour is an excellent way to get your bearings quickly. The tour meets at the guest centre located at the top of the gondola. There is a similar tour for the Blackcomb Ski Hill that starts at the peak of the Solar Coaster Express lift.
What Ski Runs Are the Best?
Whistler has a great mix of ski runs that are suited to all experience levels. You’ll want to learn about the different options so you can spend your time on a run that is appropriate for your ski level.
If this is your first time skiing, Ego Bowl and Whiskey Jack are beginner runs where you can learn the basics. There are great ski instructors at Whistler who will teach you everything you need to know. If you have a little bit of skiing experience and are more confident, you can try Burnt Stew. This is a long and winding ski track that will take you around the mountain’s perimeter. Once you master Burnt Stew, the next step is challenging yourself with the blue trails of the dramatically beautiful Blackcomb Mountain. The most advanced skiers can do some serious big mountain bowl-skiing or even tackle the Blackcomb Glacier.
What Is the Best Apres Ski?
After hitting the slopes all day, you’ll be ready to enjoy a hearty meal and a few beers with other skiing enthusiasts from all over the world. There are several great watering holes in Whistler where you can relax after a day on the hill.
Merlin’s is a popular spot on the Blackcomb side, offering great nachos, live music and cheap drink specials. The The Longhorn Saloon is the kind of place where you might end up dancing on the bar by the end of the night. You can also listen to some live Celtic bands at the Dubh Linn Gate.
So what are you waiting for? Strap on your ski boots and enjoy all that this superb Canadian ski resort has to offer.
Image from Flickr’s Creative Commons
About the Author: Scott Marston is a travel writer specializing in winter travel. He has stayed in several of the top Whistler hotels for ski trips. It is one of his favourite winter playgrounds in North America.