Powder in Whistler7.05.15 | Oliver Broad
Last year was the first time I had been on a skiing holidays since the age of 18. It was just a quick Easter weekend trip to Val Thoren in the French Alps and acted as a perfect trip to ease myself back into skiing. For my next skiing trip however my brother suggested we venture a little further afield. Following some seriously extensive research it transpired Whistler in western Canada had one of the best reputations for ‘powder’ and as we had both been lucky enough to travel around a wide range of resorts as children we thought we would take up the challenge.
Whistler is well-placed to combine with a few nights in Vancouver, which is exactly what we did. A small, clean and very friendly city – there is plenty to keep you busy for three nights, with a day trip to the Capilano Suspension Bridge, or extend you stay and day trip over to the historic city of Victoria.
Whistler itself is just an-hour-and-a-half drive up into the mountains – a very scenic and easy drive. The resort is well laid out, with a pedestrianised winding street offering an abundance of good-quality restaurants, a handful of fun bars and a wide selection of shops. Accommodations in the resort range of three-star hotels and condominiums right up to world-class resorts such as the stunning Four Seasons. We stayed at the Westin which was located right next to the main gondolas and had the added benefit of one-bedroom suites with their own kitchen – very handy for families and groups.
The resort had suffered from a lack of snow during the weeks before our visit, however this didn’t phase us, and with a seriously large number of runs available to us it didn’t affect our trip at all. While they do offer classes and children’s clubs, I would suggest the resort of Whistler and Blackcomb are more suited to intermediate to advanced skiers.
The runs were generally quiet in the mornings, with very short queues for the lifts which were quick and efficient, and the local staff were friendly, as you would expect in North America – a far cry from some of the European resorts! Catering facilities tend to focus around specific locations however the choices were vast and very tasty.
Travelling from Whistler mountain to Blackcomb mountain is an experience in itself, via the Peak-to-Peak cable car. It holds two world records for the longest free span between ropeway towers — 3.03 kilometres (1.88 miles), and highest point above the ground—436 metres (1,430 feet). There is even a separate queue if you want to wait for a bottomless Gondola, though this is not for the faint-hearted!
Blackcomb was quieter than Whistler, with a range of runs including relaxing tree-lined narrow runs and wide, open mountainsides that were more steep and had amazing views. You can really put yourself to the test on the runs or simply enjoy the scenery and take your time. It was a great experience and one which I would definitely recommend. Take time to explore both mountains and take advice from locals about the time of day to avoid the crowds.
Whistler and Blackcomb offered some of the best skiing I have ever experienced. This is a great destination and excellent value for money.Explore Whitsler