Anatomy of a World-Class Ski Resort

It's not just the powder that makes Whistler Blackcomb outstanding 


 

The medal ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics may be long over, but the awards for Whistler Blackcomb are still rolling in.

*Freeskier Magazine* named Whistler Blackcomb its top ski resort in North America for 2014. British readers of the *Telegraph* named it the top ski resort in the 2014 Ultratravel 100 Awards. Australia’s *Luxury Travel* magazine chose it as this year’s Best Overseas Ski Resort. The list goes on….

What makes Whistler Blackcomb so awesome? The entire experience, from arrival to après. Here are some of the key ingredients that give it its magic.

Let it snow

It’s a rainforest in the Coast Mountain Range—and that means snow on high. Moderate temperatures create powder and help it stick to steep terrain. Whistler Blackcomb has one of the longest ski seasons in North America: it kicks off around American Thanksgiving in late November and continues on Whistler until late April and on Blackcomb until late May.

Spread out

If you don’t see another soul on your run, don’t worry—you’re not out of bounds. Sprawling across two mountains, this is North America’s largest ski area with 8,171 acres of terrain and more than 200 marked trails. Whistler’s wide, gentle slopes satisfy novices, while Blackcomb’s steep technical lines challenge the experts.

Going, going, gondola

Speedy chairlifts—and lots of them—translate to more downhill *swoosh*. Blackcomb’s new Crystal Ridge Express and Whistler’s new Harmony 6 Express increased uphill capacity by 50 per cent last year. This season, the Whistler Village Gondola launches new, more comfy cabins. The PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola—the longest and highest lift in the world at more than three kilometres long and 436 metres above the valley floor—makes both mountains accessible in the same day.

Flip, slide, spa

The terrain parks here provide the training grounds for Olympic ski and snowboard cross, halfpipe and slopestyle athletes, as well as for novices who want to up their jumping game. Meanwhile, the Whistler Sliding Centre is the only track in North America where a regular Joe can experience not just bobsleigh, but skeleton—head-first down the track. To counteract all the adrenaline, soak in Scandinave Spa’s outdoor baths.

Après the night away

Nightlife abounds, no matter what you’re up for. Garfinkel’s attracts the party crowd, while Garibaldi Lift Bar & Grill is off the hook with DJs and live music. For an elegant evening, sabre a bottle of Champagne at Bearfoot Bistro. On a budget? Grab a fresh lasagne from Pasta Lupino and dig in with the kids at the condo.

Play the Flute

Whistler’s Flute Bowl holds powder all day long, and, while it’s still part of the resort, you’ll feel like you’ve entered the backcountry. Choose your own adventure with black diamond and double-black diamond runs for experts.

Getting There: WestJet flies to Vancouver 59 times a day from 10 Canadian, nine U.S. and four international cities. 

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