Places to visit: Whistler

Whistler, BC Canada is the top destination for skiers from all over the world which offers 2 mountains and a whole range of heliskiing locations. Whistler itself is a small village with roughly 10,000 inhabitants situated halfway between Blackcomb Mountain and Whistler Mountain. In this article I hope to tell you the best ski runs, activities and eating places in and around the town and slopes.

Some strange words or spellings are probably due to the ski runs names.

Ski Runs

I have separated the good runs into beginners, intermediates, experts and Terrain Park Fanatics. Each mountain has its’ own section. There is a massive selection of runs in Whistler, the ones below are just a few I have chosen that I like. Do not skip other runs out because they are not mentioned here.

Blackcomb Mountain

Beginners

For beginners I recommend spending time coming down from the magic chair on the right hand side of the wizard express chairlift. It offers a gentle slope with some faster parts and plenty of places to slow down and stay to the side. It is used by the Ski school for first timers and by people who want to familiarise themselves with skiing again.

For those who want to venture higher up Blackcomb I recommend taking the wizard express and the solar coaster express chairlifts and take the expressway round to easy out which goes down to the bottom, or turn right once your off solar express and there is a family zone, followed by a slightly harder blue run. At the end of the blue run you could go back up on the Jersey cream express or you could take the green line to the bottom. 7nth heaven, near the top, offers some slightly more challenging runs but great views.

Intermediate

Intermediates will be looking to go down blue runs and limited black runs. The best skiing is almost certainly near the top, and 7nth heaven is great for intermediate skiers. Ridge runner is a fun run, with some more downhill runs branching of, some black and some blue. Blackcomb glacier road however, is very flat and irritates many skiers. Ridge runner is accessible by the crystal chair.

Rock ‘n’ roll is also a nice slope which can cross ridge runner if you take the backstage pass run.

Black runs which are on the solar coaster chairlift tend to be crisscrossed by other, easier runs and make great places to start on blacks.

Experts

Expert means you can ride every slope on the mountain, and you’re looking for the biggest thrill factor. Take the Horstman T-bar chairlift to the ridge then follow the blue line until you see big bang – a double black diamond. That whole mini bowl is littered with black diamond and double black diamond runs which all lead to runs such as blowdown and staircase and to the bottom of glacier express.

Spanky’s ladder leads to Blackcomb glacier zone – and to a lot of double diamonds.

The expressway (green run) leads to four black runs such as raptors ride and yard sale, however these all have green runs at the start and end and aren’t as enjoyable for as long.

Terrain Park Fanatics

If you love doing jumps, flips and grinds you need to head over to the Nintendo terrain park. Accessible from solar coaster express chairlift it is the largest terrain park on both mountains. There is also a mini downhill run which is great for races.

If you aren’t great at jumps and flips but love them nevertheless, head over to the big easy terrain garden just off easy out. If you don’t want to go there either, you will find millions of mini jumps and thrills in the tree lines beside major runs.

Whistler Mountain

Beginners

Although this mountain isn’t as beginner friendly, there is a nice run after Fitzsimmons express called lower Olympic at the bottom of the mountain.

Again, for beginners who would like to go to the top, take the Whistler village gondola to upper whiskey jack which takes you to lower whiskey jack and eventually the Olympic run.

To go to the symphony bowl take the harmony express to the burnt stew trail which takes a leisurely path around the bowl and back to the bottom (with the option to retake harmony express).

Intermediates

For a quick run, take Fitzsimmons express and then turn left once you’re off. This takes you to crabapple, a blue run. For longer runs, there is the harmony ridge and the saddle, both accessible from harmony express. If you don’t mind ending up on the wrong side of the mountain, Franz’s is the woman’s downhill and super G run, and is a blue run when not in use. Rhapsody bowl is free run to some degree and is in the symphony bowl along with many blue runs.

If you want to go to the peak, take the peak chairlift and then go down upper peak to creek, which leads to highway 86.

Experts

For some runs at the bottom of the mountain, take Fitzsimmons then garbanzo to get to the start of the Dave Murray downhill (black run all the way down the mountain to Creekside)

You could take it to Creekside or take bear paw or raven back to Whistler village.

For a long run, go to the peak and go down the Whistler bowl until grand finale which ends on highway 86.

Upper peak to creek, a blue run, has numerous double black diamonds running off it and the other way takes you to the couloir and the cirque.

Far on the other side of symphony bowl are the flute bowls, two bowls with double black and black diamond runs which lead down to encore ridge.

Terrain Park Fanatics

Nintendo half pipe can be found just at the top of emerald express. Down by the jolly green giant run, there is the habitat terrain park, slightly smaller than the Nintendo one on Blackcomb.

Activities

There is tons to do at Whistler apart from skiing. From zip wires to swimming! There are bars, shows and parties in the evenings, including the Fire and Ice show.

Zip wire

One of the longest zip lines in the world runs on Blackcomb Mountain. One is 1100ft long and is open all year round. The price is CN$99.

Peak2Peak

This gondola runs from Whistler to Blackcomb Mountain and breaks numerous records. It opens in December 2008 and costs extra. One gondola will have a glass floor. This gondola is said to be an activity in itself, and will take somewhere between 7 and 10 minutes.

Ice Skating and Swimming

That’s right; it’s a swimming pool in winter! (the pool is heated, of course). In the same complex as the pool is an ice rink for ice hockey or just mucking about. These can be found just outside Meadow Park on the sea to sky highway.

Restaurants

On the Mountains

On the mountains you can find lots to eat at the top of Solar coaster express (Blackcomb) and the top of Whistler village gondola (Whistler)

Town

There are many restaurants at the bottom of the slopes and in the main town. to name all of them would be stupid but at the bottom of Blackcomb there is a cafeteria which is great for keen skiers.

I hope this helps you plan your holiday or even interests you to visit Whistler. This winter the Peak2Peak opens, so I hope you head over and experience this world record breaking ride!