Every great resort trades in versatility, and Whistler more than proves the point, with the same high-speed chair-lifts delivering families and beginners to wide, speed-controlled pistes and pro skiers and powder hounds to some of the planet’s scariest and most accessible back-country terrain. That each diverse group heads down the mountain happy each day is a testament to how slickly this place is run.
Given the enormous size of the mountain and the limitless amounts of snow that fall each year, it is unlikely that you’ll exhaust the opportunities available during your week or fortnight in town, which perhaps explains why some of the world’s biggest pro skiers call this place home.
Top 5 runs.
Peak to Creek.
As the name suggests, Peak to Creek is a top-to-bottom run from the summit of Whistler Mountain (2,182m) to Creekside Base (653m). Equivalent to a European red, expect sore knees by the end of it.
The Olympic area is the dedicated beginners’ area, with speed controls and simple lifts. Take the Fitzsimmons Express to reach it.
Located underneath the Peak chair, this is the resort’s most accessible off-piste area but it gets tracked quickly.
There are good tree runs down towards Creekside but the glades of Symphony are the best in resort – suitable for intermediates and experts.
Crystal is over on the far side of Blackcomb, and as a result feels removed from the usual madding Whistler crowd. It is a good area for beginners and intermediates. Look out for the fantastic slope-side waffles as well.
Whistler Mountain has 7 powder filled black diamond bowls, steep double black chutes in the upper areas, mogul fields, tree lined trails as well as linked groomed intermediate and beginner trails.
The Olympic Station above the Village is the place for beginners.
Every Chair and Lift going up Whistler Mountain has a minimum of 2 long intermediate pisted trails coming back down. The Harmony Express Chair leading to Little Whistler Peak services the long Harmony Ridge Trail as well as the small bowls leading down from the ridge.
Whistler Mountain is an excellent off piste mountain, the steep and deep West Bowls are fantastic after good powder falls as is the terrain around the Garbonzo Chair. The Symphony Express chair lift now gives high speed access to an additional 1000 acres of intermediate and advanced terrain. With names that reflect the area’s natural theatre like setting; Rhapsody Bowl, Encore Ridge, Adagio and Flute Bowl!
Blackcomb Mountain is a steeper mountain than Whistler Mountain with 4 steep challenging back bowls, open powder fields, fast chutes, heavily treed areas and long linked trails.
The Blackcomb back bowls leading onto the Blackcomb Glacier, the Garnet, Diamond, Ruby and Sapphire Bowls are steep and the place to find fresh powder. The famous Double Black ‘Couloir Extreme’ off the Hortsman Glacier is a test of nerve and skill as is the equally famous ‘Wind Lip’ one of the world’s most photographed natural hits providing enormous air opportunities. After fresh powder the open terrain around the 7th Heaven Express is just right for full throttle carving turns.
Intermediates will find Blackcomb Mountain’s long cruising runs thrilling, while some are easy others provide a bit of a steeper challenge. The trails to the right of the 7th Heaven Express Lift, Upper Could Nine and Upper Southern Comfort are long and wide while the trails leading down to the Gondola from the Jersey Cream Express Chairlift are steep and fast. The 5 trails to the left of the Crystal Chair are impressively long eventually linking to the Blackcomb Glacier Road leading to the bottom of the Excelerator Chair.
The best thing about Blackcomb Mountain are the beginner ‘green line’ trails enabling less confident skiers and snowboarders access to the upper mountain terrain. A lot of other resorts restrict beginners to the lower slopes, not Blackcomb. From the top of the 7th Heaven Chair there is a ‘green line’ trail leading all the way down to the base area.