For a resort to land at the top of SKI magazine’s Reader’s Poll it has to be doing lots of things, well, perfectly. Whistler Blackcomb is nothing if not the world’s most well-rounded resort. But it goes beyond that. Sure, there’s a lot of options for every type of skier, diner, shopper, outdoor enthusiast, party-goer, family and lodging guest, but what makes Whistler Blackcomb truly No. 1 is its world-class quality in these various categories. Here’s the breakdown of what makes this British Columbia ski resort so special.
Update: Whistler Blackcomb named No. 1 ski resort for 2016-17!
Whistler Blackcomb has been voted back into the top spot of SKI magazine’s Reader’s Poll for the third year in a row and still holds the prestigious position of the best “overall ski resort” for the 2016-17 ski season. In celebration, the resort released this teaser video that’s sure to get you pumped up for ski season!
Whistler’s terrain isn’t just an immense 8,000 acres, it stretches across 16 snow-blessed bowls on two peaks and descends for more than one vertical mile through lush forests and dramatic clouds. With 15 percent of Whistler’s terrain designated as green, 55 percent of as blue and 27 percent black, there’s truly something for every level of skier or snowboarder. What makes Whistler Blackcomb stand out is the nature of the terrain: it’s interesting. Every run is different. There’s everything from exposed, high-alpine lines off the summits of Whistler and Blackcomb Mountain to intermediate-friendly powder bowls and unique glades to wide-open cruisers.
Whistler Blackcomb handles a staggering two million visitors annually like a well-oiled machine. The resort’s impressive interconnected, continuous 37-lift system boasts an uphill capacity of 67,307 skiers per hour , so even though you might be skiing with a serious crowd, it won’t feel like it. The massive amount of terrain allows everyone to spread out and discover their own little slice of heaven. Whistler’s record-breaking PEAK 2 PEAK gondola transports skiers from Whistler Mountain to Blackcomb Mountain via the world’s longest unsupported span.
Between it’s impressive lift system, 15 on-mountain restaurants, more than 100 lodging options and three base areas to choose from, each offering unique experiences and convenient access to the resort, Whistler Blackcomb has facilities and staff that cater to its abundant visitors.
Accomplished skiers have their pick of challenging terrain at Whistler Blackcomb. The upper half of Blackcomb Mountain, in particular, is a popular expert skier’s hangout. The area features glacial skiing, bowl skiing, chutes, cliffs and challenging, exposed lines, as well as steep and deep powder fields. Whistler Mountain’s Whistler Bowl, Shale Slope and West Cirque offers some short hike-to’s with incredibly long powder-filled descents.
Wide-open spaces, rugged snow-capped peaks, lush spruce forests and skiing above the clouds make the views atop Whistler Blackcomb bar none. There’s really nothing like it.
Whistler Blackcomb enjoys a close locale to fresh Pacific seafood and Vancouver, which has a lot of Asian influences especially in its culinary options. Boasting more than 150 eateries, Whistler Blackcomb‘s dining scene provides everything from big city fusion restaurants, Japanese steakhouses and uber fresh sushi to affordable pubs and tasty pizza joints.
The Whistler nightlife ranks among after-hours heavyweights like Aspen and Vail. There are a lot of options for party-goers looking for a rowdy dance party, as well as sophisticated lounges and bars for the upwardly mobile looking to sip a quiet cocktail. Other late-night exploits include the gravity-defying Fire and Ice Show, which features fire hoops and daredevils on skis and snowboards.
From zooming across Fitzsimmons Creek (the valley between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains) via a zipline to enjoying the mountain views via the world’s longest unsupported span in the PEAK 2 PEAK gondola to experiencing a piece of history on the Olympic Park’s world-class cross-country trails, Whistler Blackcomb is undeniably one of the most entertaining on- and off-mountain resorts. These examples don’t even begin to scratch the surface of all that’s possible. Other extracurricular exploits include snowshoeing, shopping, learning about aboriginal tribes to the area at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, gliding down the Coca Cola Tube Park, dog sledding, sleigh rides, snowmobile dinner tours and a bobsled or skeleton session at the Olympic track.
You name it, Whistler has it: world-renowned luxury hotels with floor-to-ceiling fireplaces, unique boutique hotel experiences and affordable lodges and condos ideal for families, large groups or those on a budget, to name a few. Whether you’re looking to be in the midst of Whistler’s lively base village or something a little off the beaten path for quiet and relaxation, there’s a Whistler lodging option for every preference. The sheer size of Whistler ensures that there are options to fit every budget and predilection.
Located just 75 miles from Vancouver International Airport, Whistler Blackcomb is among the world’s most accessible ski resorts. The nearby hub accommodates 100 international destinations, including 23 U.S. cities, eight Mexico cities and 10 Europe cities. Once you’re in Vancouver you’re just a beautiful two-hour drive from Whistler Blackcomb via the Sea-to-Sky Highway.
We tapped Mountain Travel Expert Hap Bruce to share some of his favorite things about Whistler Blackcomb.
Mountain Travel Expert Since 1994
Whistler Blackcomb is great for families with skiers of all abilities, as 55% of the terrain is intermediate. Its two mountains are connected by the PEAK 2 PEAK gondola (which is an experience in itself), and the villages are vibrant with international flavor.
Originally from the icy trails of New Jersey, I moved West to pursue powder and a career in writing and editing. Now in Aspen, Colo. and working for Ski.com managing the website and blog content, I couldn't be happier. You'll find me skiing at Aspen Mountain or Aspen Highlands in the winter and mountain biking at Snowmass in the summer.