It’s no exaggeration to say that Whistler-Blackcomb is one of THE best resorts in the world.
And it’s no exaggeration to say that it is huge!
In fact I was unable to show just one Whistler Trail Map below – as Whistler-Blackcomb needs to split into several trail maps if you want to see any detail.
Consistently rated one of the top resorts in the world and home to the 2010 Winter Olympics, Whistler is indeed a force to be reckoned with.
And the size? Whistler’s website has this cool little tool to get a gauge of the actual size of it – it compares it to some other major resorts in North America – it’s pretty impressive.
|Whistler-Blackcomb Mountain Stats
|Resort Elevation: 2,284m (7,494ft)
|Vertical Drop: 1530m (5,020ft)
|Vertical Drop: 1609m (5,280ft)
|Ride-able area: 8171 acres!
|No. of Lifts: 37
|No. of trails: 200+
|35 (17.5%) Beginner (Green)
|110 (55%) Intermediate (Blue)
|35 (17.5%) Advanced (Black Diamond)
|20 (10%) Expert (Dbl Black Diamond)
|No. of parks: 5 plus 1 superpipe and 1 snowcross track
|Night Riding: No
The Trail Maps
Here’s how it looks as one pic. Can’t see a thing!
So let’s take a closer look at this sucker.
Blackcomb top third
Blackcomb middle third
Blackcomb bottom third
Whistler top third
Whistler middle third
Whistler bottom third
The Best way to explore the Whistler-Blackcomb Trail Maps
And you still can’t see that much in those shots! O.k. so that was an elaborate way to prove the point that whistler-blackcomb is huge. The best way to explore the trail maps for Whistler-Blackcomb is by checking out the PDF.
Whistler’s Terrain Parks
Whistler is not only stocked full of awesome trails – it is also world renowned for it’s awesome parks. In fact the parks take up a whopping 99 acres at whistler and consist of over 150 features and more than 40 jumps!
The Big Easy park is made up of small features and jumps and is for the freestyler who is just finding his/her feet in the park.
The Habitat park is actually made up of three different lanes. The first (Cougar) has small features and jumps. The second, Chipmunk, has some small and some medium features for a graduated step up and the Bobcat has medium features for another step up.
The Choker park has medium to large features. Choker also has the Snowcross course running along side it and you can access the Superpipe from it.
The Highest Level (who came up with that name!) is, as the name suggests, the park with the largest most technical features. Only Large and XL reside here – so for the real expert riders only.
By my count that’s 4 parks not 5. But with the Habitat containing 3 separate sections it’s really 6 parks. However you want to count it, Whistler mountain is packed full of park action!
Opening & Closing
Whistler opened on November 22nd (5 days early) for the 2014/15 season. It is expected to close on April 19, 2015. Blackcomb is opening November 27th 2014 (tomorrow!) and has an expected closing date of May 18 2015.
Does Whistler have Night Riding?
Unfortunately there are no night riding facilities at Whistler-Blackcomb. It has everything else plus the kitchen sink so I think we can forgive it this one discretion.
Where to Stay?
Checkout the link below to learn more about accommodation at whistler
Given that this is the ultimate in snowboarding indulgence, and the sheer size you have access to, you expect the season passes to be pricey – and they are!
An adult unlimited season pass will set you back $1,999! There are other options such as the midweek pass ($1,519) and the 15 day pass ($1,219) but these aren’t cheap either. Student, Senior, Youth, Child and Super Senior passes are of course cheaper. Check out the other prices here.
Single & multi day lift passes vary in price depending on the time of the season and if you pre-buy them or not. Check out this page for details.
Whistler-Blackcomb presents itself as the veritable Mecca of snowboarding and Skiing. Would you back this up? What’s your experience of Whistler-Blackcomb? Any mountain you can think of that will challenge it for best mountain?
My Personal Whistler Experience
Date: February 21, 2015
Transport: Hire Car (VW Jetter)
Conditions: Better than expected – low snowfall season.
This was my first trip to Whistler – having moved to Vancouver in late 2014. I had been told not to expect too much snow-wise as the season has been a rather dry one in Western Canada.
However, I was pleasantly surprised by the softness of the snow – all be it that it wasn’t amazing but certainly not as bad as I had been lead to believe. Most of it – certainly the top layer was produced by their extensive snowmaking.
We left Vancouver in our hire car just after 8am (planned to leave at 7:30am but you know how these things go!) and arrived in Whistler around 10. We hired a car which wasn’t too costly but since I currently don’t own a car and don’t have car insurance I had to fork out for that (which was more than the rental cost!).
We had already ordered our edge card and were to pick it up from guest services – we went to a ticket window (which wasn’t guest services apparently) and the very friendly Australian girl in the ticket booth very kindly came out, walked us to guest services and took us straight to the front of the line – now that’s what I call services.
On the Mountain
We headed straight up the Whistler Gondola from there and got onto the slopes around 11am – and went hard (bar a quick lunch break around 2pm) until after 4:30pm (of course taking the last possible lift we could at 3:55pm and making our way to the bottom.
The mountain was busy but the lift queues were small to non existent – I guess that’s the bonus of having such a massive amount of terrain where everyone can spread out and have plenty of space – so we got in plenty of runs. Whilst not everything was open that would be (had they had the normal amount of snow) there was still a huge amount of terrain to explore and we barely touched the surface.
Massive amounts of terrain
The hardest (hard in an awesome way!) thing was getting used to just how much terrain there is. I’d look at the trail map and decide on the next run and then expect it to take about a third of the time. What looked like small runs (and would be on any normal sized mountain!) seemed to keep going forever. Definitely not complaining! But now when I go back to a normal sized resort I may be somewhat underwhelmed.
We were lucky enough to have a stunner of a day – barely a cloud in the sky – and even had to bring out the sun block.
After lunch we crossed over to Blackcomb via the Peak to Peak Gondola, with some spectacular views, to see what Blackcomb had to offer in the afternoon. There were some icy patches on the Blackcomb side – not sure if that was just that side or if it was due to being later in the day.
We stayed at the HI Whistler hostel (around 7-8km outside of Whistler Village, 4kms from Whistler Creekside) as it was by far the cheapest option available for such late booking (we didn’t book until a couple of weekends prior).
But as it turned out it was an awesome place to stay – we had a private room with ensuite and it was better than a lot of hotel rooms I’ve stayed in – so if you don’t mind being a short drive from the Village I definitely recommend this as a great place to stay.
No action in the area to speak of – you have to go to the Village or Creekside but quality accommodation at a good price. Friends of ours were also staying there and they were in the dorms and also praised the quality of the place.
They have a massive drying room to dry your gear in overnight and plenty of free parking.
We went into the village for dinner and a couple of beers. We went to Black’s Pub. The food was decent without being anything special – but reasonably priced. The entertainment was great with a solo guitarist/singer playing some blues.
If you are staying at HI Whistler the buses are pretty good and go until to 3am from the village – at least on a Saturday night anyway (not that we were out that late but the friends who were also at the hostel took advantage of it!).
The next morning we had breakfast at the La Brasserie des Artistes Café (known locally as The Brass). The breakfast was good and reasonably priced too.
It was another beautiful day in Whistler and we hung out in the village soaking up the rays but sadly had to say goodbye – until next we meet again!