Whistler/Blackcomb is the largest ski resort in North America with the 2nd largest vertical drop. Its size and vertical alone propel it into the top 5 of just about any list of ski resorts in North America.
Stats and Rating
|Annual Snowfall||462 Claimed / 365 Actual: Rank 23|
|Review Date||April 2009|
|Number of visits||3|
Whistler/Blackcomb is one of those places that we know is great given good conditions, but we were not able to hit good conditions either time we went. We’ve actually been there 3 times, but the first time was in the summer when we skied the glacier only, so that doesn’t factor into this review.
The second time was in early March when it should have been the best time of the year to go, but after about 1-hour of skiing in heavy snow and powder, it turned to rain and stayed that way for 3 days.
The third time was in April and the weather was cooperative, but it had iced up after getting cold after a warm spell so the conditions varied between slush and hard pack most of the time. Still we got a pretty good feel for the place from that 3rd trip.
When skiing Whistler/Blackcomb, the first decision you will need to make is which mountain to ski. Before the Peak to Peak lift, it was mostly impractical to change mountains mid-day. Now it is much easier and we enjoyed taking the Peak to Peak lift, but we still preferred to mostly stick to one mountain on any particular day. On either mountain we tend to ski mostly the top half of the mountain where the snow is better, but taking a really long run from top to bottom is one of the unique experiences that these mountains offer and which is probably the most memorable thing we took home with us.
Our favorite side is Blackcomb. Whistler would be an awesome mountain all on it’s own, but with Blackcomb right there it got less attention from us. Blackcomb has the glaciers at the top, 7th Heaven, and the most consistent groomers.
- With over 8,000 acres, there is so much variety it should keep anyone happy exploring for days.
- The lift system is super efficient and modern.
- The on-mountain lodges are plentiful and the restaurants were decent.
- The grooming was excellent.
- The crowds were there, but we never waited in line for long.
- One of the biggest draws for Whistler/Blackcomb is the village, and we loved it. It is modeled after the ski villages you might find in Europe, with a large walking-only section with endless shops and restaurants. There is always a lot going on in the village and it’s a great place to hang out after skiing.
Being close to the coast, the weather is hit or miss, so planning a trip in advance is risky. We thought we were safe in March, but as mentioned earlier it rained all the way to the summit basically making the trip a complete wash-out. That is really the only bad thing you can say about the place, because it has so much of everything.
The peak-to-peak lift is a super memorable experience that everyone skiing there should have. The lift is an engineering marvel that has to be experienced to be believed.
Would we go back?
We will be cautious about planning a trip to Whistler/Blackcomb to make sure we hit cold temps, but we definitely want to go back some day. We’d really like to ski North America’s largest resort when the snow is great.