Long before Whistler hosted the 2010 Winter Olympic Games—drawing eyes from across the world—a group of athletes, outdoor enthusiasts, and snow-seekers had already discovered its appeal.
Today, with circa 38 feet of snow a year (a number that gives it one of the longest snowy seasons in North America), a record-breaking gondola, and a terrain packed with brag-worthy stats (16 alpine bowls, three glaciers, 200+ runs, 8,171 acres of skiable area), Whistler’s charm has only grown.
In 2016, Whistler Blackcomb became part of the Epic Pass, piquing even more interest from skiers in nearby American states. Why go? The destination practically speaks for itself, but allow us to steer your decision.
1) It has thrilling skiing and snowboarding, obviously.
Massive mountains, an expansive backcountry landscape, and an accessible location that’s just two hours north of Vancouver—it’s the ultimate trifecta for skiers and part of what makes the experience at Whistler Blackcomb world-class.
Whether you’re after pow, groomers (Zig Zag does just that with views for miles), moguls, or uninterrupted views (from Peak Chair to Couloir Extreme), there’s something for every type of skier at Whistler.
Be among the first to hit the slopes with a Fresh Tracks ticket. An early wakeup (7:15 a.m.) is worth it: Your trip comes with an all-you-can-eat breakfast and the serenity of an almost empty mountain.
2) It has an amazing restaurant and bar scene.
Long ski days, high-adrenaline runs, brisk mountain air–you’re bound to work up quite the appetite after a day shredding the slopes. Luckily, Whistler has a fantastic food and beverage scene that’ll keep you satisfied.
Mingle with fellow skiers at Dubh Linn Gate a mountainside Irish pub, and then enjoy a more elevated dinner experience at Araxi, a decorated restaurant and oyster bar with an esteemed chef at the helm. Want a champagne pick-me-up and an impressive meal? Bearfoot Bistro has you covered with a broad selection of fine bubbly and a gourmet menu.
Toast with sake margaritas at Sushi Village (where key players in Whistler’s history have worked), sip craft beers and enjoy smoked meats at Hunter Gather, or pick up Australian pie at Peaked Pies. Later, sip locally produced spirits at Montis Distilling, Whistler’s first distillery.
The locals? You’ll find them in all of these spots, too. Chat them up. They’re athletes, artists, photographers, filmmakers, and writers who are always down to celebrate the beauty of their town and the arrival of those who share their affinity for it.
3) It keeps you active all day long.
In Whistler, recreation, relaxation, and rejuvenation are action words. No matter how you spend your time—whether you’re hucking off of cliffs or wandering Village Stroll—you’ll be actively participating, rather than just watching idly.
Some ideas: Thrill-seekers and serious skiers can book a range of ski tour outings in wild backcountry zones, bobsled the Olympic track, or snowmobile. Sore bodies can enjoy a day of water therapy at the (silent) Scandinave Spa baths. New this winter, the Vallea Lumina—a mile-ish magical night walk of lights through the forest—is a fun outing for friends, families, and couples alike.
4) It makes for a great arts and culture visit.
Don’t want to ski? Not a problem. In Whistler, connection to the land and its people goes beyond the mountain. Learn about the area’s First Nations at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre or visit the Audain Art Museum to see permanent collections and a high caliber of evolving exhibitions.
5) It has an après ski scene worth traveling for.
Maybe you’ve experienced the art of après ski before, or perhaps you’ve only heard tales of parties in ski boots with bottles of booze and brilliant sunshine. Regardless, among mountain towns, Whistler’s après scene is legendary. There’s something for everyone: Peep the slopes from a patio at the GLC , warm up by outdoor fireplaces at Longhorn, or share charcuterie and sip hand-crafted cocktails at Bar Oso.
Make sure you check out the views of white-capped mountains from Umbrella Bar, 6,000 feet atop Whistler Mountain, which are enough to make you stay for another round—or three.