Resort Guide: Whistler Blackcomb

It's been voted the No. 1 Resort in North America three years running, so it's only fair you do it justice with these insider tips.
Author:
Publish date:

After a year on the ground at the largest and best-rated resort in North America, we present to you our top picks for everything necessary to successfully navigate the chief of Pacific North West skiing - Whistler Blackcomb.

Best Overall Off-Piste Line

Any of the options over the other side of Spankey's Ladder. It's easily the best in-bound skiing across the entire 200 runs and 33 km² of terrain you'll have access to at 'Whis.'

Best Groomer

There are many contenders for this title, Twist & Shout under Crystal Ridge Express is a common denominator, yet the quiet runs to the far left of 7th Heaven can also offer some fast and furious action - albeit a little short lived - as before you know it you'll be back at the often busy lift line.

Best Bluebird Bowl

A short hike up Flute Bowl will never disappoint if you're there early enough.

Best Party Line

It depends on your crew, but in an ideal party line you're looking for maximum speed with as little traffic as possible and zero lift lines so you can just go again and again. Anything under Crystal Ridge Express - such as Ridge Runner - is a safe bet, the crowds tend not to come until later during the day and the groomers roll and bend enough to adequately host some ballsy games of follow-the-leader.

Best Glades

Everglades to the right of 7th Heaven has some nicely spaced trees you can rip through as fast as you please. You'll also always have the option of ducking back out onto the black off to your left, or into some tighter bits on your right.

Best Natural Hit

The wind lip to the right of 7th Heaven chair lift when looking down from Horstman's Hut is absolute class with a decent landing, you've got to keep that speed up though. If it's too hard packed, hook far left past Lakeside Bowl to the ski boundary for some lovely rolling pillows.

Best Chair To Lap On A Pow Day

Peak Express is almost a no brainer here, but you'll need to boost there really early to make it worth your while. The line on a pow day will build up quick, although once going it's a quick turn around. While waiting, enjoy the jeering and cheering at those going head over heels down Air Jordan, and let the screams from those snaking fresh tracks under the lift get you gee'd up for the day.

Sketchiest Traverse

Lakeside Bowl. Early on in the season you'll either scrape your skis to the core or fall over the cliff, whichever comes first. Later on though, and on a good pow day, the reward is a sweeping utopia of snowcaine and happy faces.

When Conditions Are Poor

The mountain bike tracks to the right of Big Red on Whistler are the best fun you can have while being incredibly scared of wrapping yourself around a tree. The little hikes and pow stashes found in these trees are also a good bet if the visibility isn't great.

Best Insta Shot

On a clear day the Peak lookout is a given, but as you dismount the chair at the top of Symphony, if you go left towards the far side of the mountain you'll have unparalleled views of Cheakamus Lake and the striking pinnacle of Black Tusk.

Most Convenient Rest-Stop

First up, if you're privileged enough to ski WB, there shouldn't be any time allocated for resting. The only logical option is the 11 minute Peak 2 Peak Gondola that connects Whistler and Blackcomb mountain. If you're lucky you might get the glass bottom cabin, watch for the count down in the lift station to figure out when the next one of these is expected to arrive.

Best Park

Nintendo on Blackcomb. It's only suited to those who are up for the big game, as it has hosted numerous World Championships and sponsored events over the years. If you're not too keen on breaking your neck, Whistler's park is changing every few days to keep you entertained on those average snow days.

Best Gear

If you head to one of the workshops on-mountain at Roundhouse or Rendezvous you can rent a pair of demo skis for the day. If you've always wanted to try a certain set of planks or you screwed up big time and brought carving skis to a 30cm pow day, then you won't regret dropping by these guys. It's considerably cheaper than renting from the village.

Best On-Mountain Brekkie

Crystal Hut on Blackcomb for some ridiculously good waffles.

Best Pre-Shred Coffee

Mount Curry Coffee Co. although if you're pushed for time and looking for a much needed gondy cuppa, Mogul's in the village square is quick and quality.

Cheapest Eat In Town

El Furniture Warehouse, $4.95 meals, all day every day. Don't make the same mistake we did and order two or three mains just because they are 5 bucks, the servings will easily put you in your place.

Best Nightlife

To be honest it's all pretty tacky and nothing is really that cheap. Your best bet is to make the most of the numerous après happy hours so by the time you end up at Mojoe's or Brandy's you've already had a ripper of a night.

Best Post-Night Out Feed

Fat Tony's Pizza, hands down. $2 slices before 8pm (when coming off the mountain), or $3 after (¿porque no los dos?).

Best Five-Star Digs

Four Seasons Whistler, oh should you be so lucky.

Best Budget Digs

Whistler Lodge Hostel. If you have a car then this is easily the top value for money accommodation option in Whistler. Situated between Whistler Village and Creekside, it's around $40 a night, has an outdoor hot tub and is one of the most immaculate hostels we've ever stayed in. Things to keep in mind is that it's by no means a party hostel, an early night for the serious shredders is expected all around, and if you don't have a car it's a short bus and walk from the village.

Best Transfer Option

Epic Rides if you want the cheapest confirmed bus ticket available, or check the multiple Facebook rideshare groups. Find a lift and you'll only pay a tenner for 'gas' while mixing with some insightful locals.

If You're Driving

Park in Creekside, the small village before Whistler's main centre. Parking is free and on a busy bluebird or holiday weekend you've got almost zero hope of getting a spot unless you pull up here.

Related: 72 Hours in Vancouver