As North America’s Big Kahuna, Whistler Blackcomb has no shortage of satisfyingly steep terrain for advanced and expert skiers and riders to sink their edges into. To be more exact, seasoned schussers have about 2,200-plus acres of challenging terrain to explore at Whistler Blackcomb, out of 8,171 total acres. That’s more black and double-black terrain than the entirety of many large ski resorts.
The options for steep-seekers on Whistler Blackcomb seem endless, but there are several legendary runs you don’t want to miss. Additionally, the amount of precipitous terrain available on a Whistler ski vacation increases 50 fold when you consider the 432,000 acres in Whistler Heli-skiing’s tenure.
To help you experience Whistler Blackcomb’s standout steeps, we comprised a list of the best of the best with the help of our local contacts in Whistler and our Mountain Travel Experts.
Spanky’s Ladder | Blackcomb Mountain
“Spanky’s is the epitome of steep skiing at Whistler Blackcomb” says Steve Donohoe, the National Sales Manager at Whistler Blackcomb.
Accessing this legendary terrain requires a 50-foot (15-meter) book pack from the top of Blackcomb’s Glacier Chair. Situated on a hidden face between Crystal Traverse and the Blackcomb Glacier valley, Spanky’s is expansive and consists of three bowls: Ruby Bowl, Diamond Bowl and Sapphire Bowl. According to Steve, these “bowls” are really more like technical mazes.
Ruby is the easiest, with a low shoulder “roll- in” entry, says Steve. Diamond and Sapphire Bowls are more difficult to navigate with some mandatory straight-line entrances and airs. The terrain feels more like the classic steeps of the European Alps than a North American resort.
Watch this video for a first-person perspective on what it’s like to ski Spanky’s.
Couloir Extreme | Blackcomb Mountain
Originally known as the Saudan Couloir, Couloir Extreme is a truly extreme 2,500-vertical-foot chute, accessible from the top of the 7th Heaven Express chair. In fact, this run has been rated among the Top 10 Steepest Ski Runs by Skiing Magazine. If the main descent is all bumped up, slide skier’s right over to Big Bang, which is just as steep, but less traveled.
You can get an idea of the pucker-worthy steepness on Couloir Extreme by watching this video about the ski races that used to be held back in the 80s.
Whistler Bowl | Whistler Mountain
This wide, open bowl is accessible from the top of the Peak Express chair, which puts skiers and riders at one of the highest points on the resort. Depending on snow conditions, Whistler Bowl offers the opportunity to arch some creamy, wide turns or bop down the steep bumps.
“On a powder day, as you ride up the Peak Express, enjoy watching the athletes hitting this zone hard and fast,” says Debbie Cook at Whistler Tourism. On extra deep days, Whistler’s adrenaline junkies jump over a frozen waterfall known as Air Jordan. This is a chairlift spectacle you don’t want to miss.
West Bowl | Whistler Mountain
Also accessible from the top of the Peak Express, West Bowl is renowned for its numerous double-black diamonds, like Monday’s, Cockalorum and Stefan’s Chute. In fact, these runs are considered to be some of the most challenging on Whistler Mountain.
This area can be a little tricky to find from Upper Peak-to-Creek trail, according to Debbie, but it’s often a good place to find untouched powder, since everyone goes for the Hollywood run on Whistler Bowl.
Whistler Heli-Skiing’s Ultimate Excursion
If you think Whistler Blackcomb’s steeps are something to write home about, you’ll want to pen a novel about Whistler Heli-Skiing’s 173 glaciers and 475 runs. Heli skiing is a bucket-list experience for every steep-seeker, and tacking a day in the heli on to your Whistler ski vacation will expand your access to pucker-worthy slopes exponentially. Just let our Mountain Travel Experts know that you’re looking to ski steeps and they’ll match you with the Ultimate Excursion trip with Whistler Heli-Skiing. This 6-run package features 9,000 to 15,000 vertical feet of skiing and an on-mountain picnic catered by Bearfoot Bistro.
If you have friends or family who are less inclined to enjoy sheer slopes, they too can experience a day in the bird with one of Whistler Heli-Skiing’s intermediate groups.
Extremely Canadian Steep Camps
Before you set out to conquer Whistler’s top steep experiences, consider a two-day camp with Extremely Canadian. Not only will they provide a guided tour of the resort’s top expert areas, but they’ll bestow tips and tricks to help you ski or ride these challenging zones with ease and ski-movie style. Plus, U.S. skiers save 20% on these camps thanks to favorable exchange rates.
Toast a day on the edge at where else but Steeps Grill & Wine Bar, located in the Roundhouse Lodge on Whistler Mountain. Here, you can enjoy your favorite libation or locally sourced nosh. Throughout the winter, Steeps will be hosting the Winemaker Après Series, which includes a five-course meal paired with five wines selected by the featured winemaker. After this indulgent on-mountain session, you’re going to want to call it quits for anymore steep skiing for the rest of the day.
Satiate your need for steep skiing at Whistler Blackcomb this winter, and book your trip today! Our Mountain Travel Experts can help you customize and book your flights, rental cars, lodging and more. They’re standing by at 800-610-8911. You can also get started by filling out a form for a free custom quote.
Director of SEO + Content
Originally from the icy trails of New Jersey, I moved West to pursue powder and a career in writing and editing. Now living in Aspen, Colo. and working for Ski.com as Director of SEO + Content, I've been able to combine a litany of skills, passions and interests. You'll find me skiing at Aspen Mountain or Aspen Highlands in the winter and mountain biking at Snowmass in the summer.