Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort Review
Skiing North of the Border can be an incredible experience, and no Canadian resort embodies Canada’s ski scene like Whistler. It is a world-class ski area, with a touch of class and culture to boot.
The resort boasts the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola that broke the world record in the Guinness Book of Records. Peak 2 Peak combines to major resorts — Whistler and Backcomb — and will lead to the discovery of more than 31 miles (50km) of breathtaking alpine trails.
Then, when you get off there is mountaintop dining to look forward to including sunset barbecues. You can also view the area’s bears and, down the valley, you and your family have a choice of adrenaline buzzes. You could opt for white-water rafting, or you could take a zip-line over the raging river’s waters.
The Family Adventure Zone has plenty of scope for fun and games, and the resort village offers a plethora of options for family dining and shopping.
Getting to Whistler Blackcomb
Whistler Blackcomb is a ski resort in British Columbia near the west coast of Canada. It is 75 miles (121km) north of Vancouver on the Sea to Sky Highway (BC Highway 99). If coming from a different part of North America, we recommend flying into Vancouver and driving or taking a shuttle. Seattle is also an option, but will add at least a couple hours on to your drive.
Originally planned as part of Canada’s bid to host the 1968 Winter Olympics, the Whistler resort was built even though the bid was lost. Now a mega resort and a very famous name in the world of skiing and snowboarding Whistler was awarded the site of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics’ alpine events.
But this is not really what attracts the crowds. It is North America’s largest ski resort and boasts the biggest ski area in the world outside Europe.
The Whistler and Blackcomb mountains are interconnected and offer 8,171 acres (3,307 hectares) of terrain. There is a massive 5,279 ft (1,609m) vertical drop and more than 200 marked trails, as well as many off-piste opportunities. The resort is so vast that instead of a map, visitors are offered an atlas instead!
The trail map shows you the various terrains to be found, which range from the gentlest of slopes, through wide cruisers to steep alpine bowls, tree skiing, terrain parks and couloirs. With such variety Whistler attracts all levels of skiers and snowboarders, from the first-time beginners to the most experienced, extreme snowboarders. Very generally speaking, Blackcomb has the better advanced skiing, and Whistler (especially the Creekside area) has the best beginner skiing.
To get high up into the mountains you also have the opportunity to use heli-skiing services, where the skiers and snowboarders are taken up by helicopter. The resort also offers cat skiing. This was originally a British Columbian invention and is a type of guided backcountry skiing. Instead of hiking, using a chair-lift, or being flown in a helicopter, skiers and snowboarders get taken up in a snowcat.
Other Attractions at Whistler
On the mountain, there’s the Whistler Kids Snow School, along with purpose built family zones, a Tree Fort and Magic Castle as well as the Coca-Cola Tube Park. This basically puts people in inflatable tubes and sets them off sliding down their choice of track. It takes good-old-fashioned fun to a new level.
Off mountain there’s the Fire & Ice Show, or families can their skates on for fun on the Olympic Plaza’s outdoor skating rink.
When the day is over, the whole family is invited to après in the resort village. Many bars and restaurants welcome kids up to 10pm.
There are also many other Whistler activities. They include snowmobiling, dog sledding, fondue dinners and day spas.
The accommodation in and around Whistler will suit all requirements and budgets. The diverse selection of hotels and other accommodations range from the standard up to the 5-star. There are also many lodges, condo apartments, and a few hostels for the most budget conscious.
Only a small proportion of the accommodation is built for ski-in and ski-out access, but there is plenty of accommodation that is are just a short walk from the ski lifts. Looking at VRBO will give you plenty of great choices.
One choice, boasting a location right at the base of Whistler Blackcomb is the Marriott-owned Delta Hotels Whistler Village Suites. Each suite offers a fully stocked kitchen, free Wi-Fi, a washer and dryer, and a fireplace.
If you are looking to assemble something that could rival an all-inclusive ski resort and you have a healthy budget to work with, the Four Seasons Whistler is worth checking out. Slope slide lodging, combined with the possibility of breakfast, apres-ski appetizers, and dinner all within the walls of the property, as well as onsite child care and fitness options make it a potential one-stop shop for families who have some vacation bucks to spend.
The resort is made up of a number of areas: Whistler Village; Village North; Upper Village ; Creekside; Blueberry Hill; Nicklaus North; Alpine Meadows.
Whistler Village is the main center with many restaurants, shops and bars. Adjacent is North Village, which requires a longer walk or shuttle bus to get to the lifts. The Upper Village is at the foot of Blackcomb Mountain.
Creekside is probably the most popular with families. This is possibly due to the proximity of Legends at Whistler Creekside. Creekside is actually the original, old-town Whistler village, and is about a 5-10 minute bus ride from the newer Whistler village. It’s only a few steps away from the snow school, which offers programs for all levels and ages. Parents are welcome to either stay with their kids or leave them with qualified instructors, who are hired for both their teaching skills and their genuine love of kids.
The “Upper” mountain which is also an option for lodging is actually the Blackcomb area. All areas offer excellent VRBO options, and have lift service to/from them.
The great news for families is that the ski school operates from all three areas — Village, Creekside, and Upper — so you are able to have your kids do their lessons regardless of where you decide to stay.