Fully deserves its long-standing reputation as one of North America’s top resort
North America’s biggest ski area and host to the 2010 Winter Olympics, Ski Safari started out here in 1996 and we’ve been organising ski holidays in Whistler ever since.
More than 8,000-acres and 200 ski runs span the two mountains of Whistler and Blackcomb – linked by the world’s longest free-span lift, you can experience them both in the same day. And if you’re into the backcountry, expect steep chutes, alpine-style bowls and legendary heli-skiing terrain.
Forested slopes lead to the traffic-free resort centres of Upper Village, Creekside and the main hub of Whistler Village. Here, the atmosphere is vibrant yet down-to-earth, with more than 90 restaurants, over 200 shops and some of the best après bars in North America – GLC and Longhorn Bar & Saloon are among our staff favourites.
Beyond the bars and boutiques, there’s so much going on, from the weekly Fire & Ice show and the forest zipwire, to the bobsleigh track at the 2010 Olympic park.
Two-hours’ drive from Vancouver via the Sea-to-Sky Highway, even the transfer journey is breath-taking, and spending a day in Canada’s ‘most liveable city’ is our favourite way to round-off a Whistler trip.
New Lifts for Whistler Blackcomb
Vail Resorts, Inc. has invested $66 million in three new lifts for Whistler Blackcomb for the 2018/19 season. Most upgrades will be complete for official opening day on November 22 and include:
A new 10-passenger Blackcomb gondola to replace the Wizard and Solar chairlifts on Blackcomb Mountain (scheduled to open December 14)
A new six-passenger high-speed lift to replace the current Emerald Chair in the Family Ski Zone on Whistler Mountain
Replacement of the triple-passenger Catskinner chair with a four-passenger, high-speed lift on Blackcomb Mountain
The changes will create the first three-gondola connection in the world, allowing guests to upload, connect between the mountains via the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola and download in a gondola for a weather protected experience. The new Blackcomb Gondola will also be adjacent to the Rendezvous Lodge, allowing skiers and non-skiers to enjoy a fully-enclosed ride up or down the mountain year-round, with direct access to Christine’s Restaurant.
New Blackcomb Gondola: Opening December 14, 2018
Running from the Upper Village to the Rendezvous Lodge on Blackcomb Mountain, the new Blackcomb Gondola will rise 3.86 kilometres from bottom to top when it opens for the 2018/19 ski season. This 10-person Doppelmayr lift carries 184 cabins and transports 4,000 people per hour. Primarily manufactured in Saint-Jérôme, Quebec, its mid-station will load 200 metres below the mid-point of the Wizard and Solar Chairs it replaces. When combined with a ride on the PEAK 2 PEAK and Village gondolas, it completes a continuous lift system of a 13.5-kilometre loop from the bottom of Whistler Mountain, across the valley between both mountains, and down Blackcomb Mountain – a true feat of engineering.
If you’re looking for a ski vacation this winter, here are some highlights from Whistler Breaks (perfect for family vacations or a couples retreat)
#9 The Woods, Our Cozy Retreat – 1 Bedroom
This cozy little condo is the perfect retreat. Tucked away in a woodland setting, it’s the perfect choice for a couple or small family wishing to enjoy a great ski vacation. With a wood burning fireplace, bright and airy rooms and some gorgeous artwork in the bedroom you will feel like you have skied straight into a winter cabin! Whether you are an avid cross country skier or it’s your first time, Lost Lake is right on the doorstep and there’s nothing nicer than heading out at night when the snow is falling. Lost Lake is lit up all around the lake, making it one of the most scenic x-country ski areas around. Head back to the Passiv Haus for a hot chocolate or just head straight back to your cozy cabin for a dip and warm up in the hot tub. The free shuttle bus means you are minutes away from the Village/Ski lifts or just a short walk will find you at the base of Blackcomb, where you can sample great cocktails at the Mallard Lounge in the Fairmont for Apres or head into Portobello after your ski day where you will find a selection of hot chocolates to warm you through. This cozy one bedroom is a great choice for affordable accommodation yet minutes from the Village.
#28 Creek Ridge, Our escape from it all – 3 Bedrooms
If you really want to experience Whistler then look not further than Creekside where it all started. Not only is this 3 bedroom modern, bright and spacious, the views from the upper levels are truly spectacular! If you’re planning on cooking big meals for a larger group, you will love the wonderfully stocked kitchen where nothing has been overlooked. Little touches like the JTB speaker where you can hook up your personal device and listen to your own selection of music and the private garage where you can store all your gear makes this place a dream. This side of Whistler has so many hidden gems that most ‘tourist’ don’t get to see – Dusty’s is on your doorstep – just ski down to the base and sample some of the best ‘Caesars’ in town or indulge in the evening entertainment. For morning coffee or a quick café treat, head down to ‘The Fix’ at Nita Lake. Nita Lake itself has it’s own restaurant with views of Nita Lake as well as a Spa if you are here for some pampering. If you really want to see where the locals go, Rowlands is a real ‘locals’ bar with the latest sports showing on TV and friendly atmosphere. Next door you will find ‘Red Door Bistro’ offering a culinary delight – but make sure you book a table first it does get busy! The ski in and out from this property makes it a true ski home and Creekside itself is the place to be if you are looking for more of an authentic ski experience!
#23 Treeline, Our hidden gem! – 4 Bedrooms
The light blue/grey properties exude a sense of peace and calm in the winter and the landscaping in the summer months is truly magnificent. Hidden out of sight from the road and nestled in the forest, it really feels like you are miles away from the hustle and bustle of the village, however you are only a few minutes ride on the free shuttle bus (which runs every 10 minutes in the winter). The ski run home at the end of the day is a real pleasure as it takes you right to your front door! The owners of this 4 bedroom gem have really thought of everything. The kitchen has been fully stocked so that if you want to dine in, you can cook to your hearts delight. Just a few minutes walk to Lost Lake, which is truly magical during the winter months, especially if you want to sample some x country skiing or snow shoeing. With the Lake lit up at night it’s a true Canadian experience to be venturing out in the winter forest. Head to the Passiv Haus for Hot Chocolate or head back home to your gorgeous 4 bedroom property and ramp up the gas fireplace which has some funky light options to give the room a warm and cozy feel. Dining out is also easy from this place – just a few minutes along the road and you arrive at the Fairmont Hotel where you can sample the Mallard Lounge offering a roaring fireplace and some wonderful cocktails – perfect for Apres! There are some small cozy bars at the base of Blackcomb (HandleBar or Fitzsimmons pub) as well as some of the more traditional ones such as Merlins! Portobello is a must for hot chocolates or local pastries! Book early as there are not too many 4 bedrooms that offer all that this one does.