Skiing in Whistler
There are plenty of slow zones for those who are new to skiing and boarding. We recommend the various Olympic runs (ignore the name, they are actually green!) on Whistler Mountain, located in the dedicated beginner area with slopes that are gentle, wide and well groomed. They also have easy loading lifts (i.e easy to get on/off), which is great as we know how daunting those lifts can be to newbies.
Soooo much to choose from... the Seventh Heaven area on Blackcomb Mountain links numerous blue runs, so it has a good selection for those looking to progress. It’s mainly above the tree line so you’ll also get to see some spectacular views.
For all you pro skiers, check out the Grande Finale black diamond run on Whistler Mountain. It’s long, steep and will certainly help perfect your technique on the bumps.
Whistler is definitely a family resort and they will take care of your kids as if they were their own. If you want to go skiing but the kids are too young to follow, the ‘Whistler Kids’ programme takes children from 30 months and have fully qualified staff. They’ll keep them entertained all day long and the older kids will get to enjoy nature walks, sightseeing trips on the Peak to Peak Gondola, arts and crafts and a lot more.
If you want to get the children into skiing, Whistler ski school is brilliant and take kids from 3-18yrs. Lessons are fun, exciting and they provide the same instructor everyday to build a trusting relationship with each child.
Couples - Scandinave Spa
The Scandinave Spa is the best way to spend a relaxing time together. There are plunge pools, hot tubs, saunas and Nordic waterfalls all nestle away in woodland, around 5 minutes outside of Whistler. There’s also no talking so it’s complete bliss! Our top tip is to go at the weekend when the locals head up the hill so the slopes get a little busier.
Groups - apres ski
Apres ski in Whistler is known to be some of the best in Canada so if you’re looking to try somewhere other than Europe, we’d point you in the direction of Whistler. Try places like Merlins (at the base of Blackcomb Mountain) or the Dubh Linn Gate under the Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside hotel, for a more relaxed evening drink.
Thrill seekers - ziplining
Where to start? Heli-Skiing, snowmobiling, bobsleigh and skeleton! Any of these will get the adrenalin pumping but our personal favourite is the zip trekking. It’s not as hardcore as the skeleton but for those who like a little speed and excitement, try your hand at zip lining above the Fitzsimmons Creek that divides Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. The highest and newest zip line is 2400ft with a 30-storey descent so not for those with vertigo.
Our editor went out to Whistler and the ziplining was one of the highlights of his trip. Here's his take on why you should test it out:
Ziptreking in Whistler
Whooping like a kid again in Whistler
So why wouldn't you want to come to Whistler? It's the largest ski area in North America with over 8,000 acres of ski terrain split across two mountains linked by the spectacular Peak 2 Peak gondola. There are three distinct villages, so you can choose the atmosphere you want from pumping party to quiet retreat. And to top it off there's 11.7 metres of annual snowfall on average, that's 130 stacked up mugs of tea - one hell of a lot of tea and one hell of a lot of snow. But what happens if there's someone in your party who isn't the biggest ski fan? Or what should you do once the slopes close and you don't want to party or go for a fancy meal? There's only so much shopping one can do.
What are the non-ski alternatives?
Well, Whistler has plenty of choice, you can bring out the blades of glory in yourself on the Olympic plaza, pretend you're an astronaut on the bobsleigh with its g-force inducing bends or sit back and slip into Zen at the wonderful Scandinave Spa - these things are all great options. But forget them and anything else in Whistler - you must Ziptrek. Or maybe you shouldn't, it's up to you. But personally, I bloomin' loved it. But then I do love anything that makes you shriek like a child once again, a little shrill of pure excitement.
Why go ziplining?
It's a zip line, or many to be precise and you may have done this before on some activity beach in Cornwall on a PGL trip or a team building exercise to Go Ape! But honestly, this is better. I thought it would just be a little fun flying over the trees, but even the walking through the mountains is amazing. You take the gondola up the mountain and trek into the woods from the half-way station. Walking down paths with knee-deep snow either side, feeling a million miles from civilisation. The trees are immense and you can clearly hear the wildlife glimpsed in the corner of your eye. We went just before sunset so the sky was incredible. The walking was as enjoyable as the zip lining.
What does the ziptrek involve?
You get tandem runs and solo ventures with amusing guides and a lot of nervous laughter. The last run comes into the village itself with fantastic views through the trees that you can so nearly touch. Rushing streams below you and wonderful skies above. Take a look at the video above of me being a small child again if you don't believe me.
I don't want to spoil it all for you, just let you know what you may have otherwise overlooked. I hope you enjoy the experience, at least somewhere close to as much as I did.
There are loads more things we could tell you about, but this will probably keep you busy all week as it is!