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Visitor reviews for Whistler Ski Resort
November 09, 2017
Chris Call from Canada
The best quality about Whistler is the size of terrain available. The resort lists 8000+ acres, but including all u marked runs that are in bounds or 'spiritually' in bounds, that number easily exceeds 10,000. There is no North American option that comes close.
The terrain itself is varied and generally well covered even in a poor season, but many of the out of the way places still require at least an average snow pack to 'fill in'. Snow texture is usually a bit heavy as the resort is very rarely cold, but it is almost never icy.
Tree skiing at Whistler is poor, if not confounding. A few are marked on the map, while most are not. If you spend enough time at the resort to learn where everything is (which can take years if not decades), then you will find more trees. Still, it is not a feature of the resort and there is no dedicated tree zone to rely on during poor weather. Trying to organize a day around tree skiing is not easy as you will inevitably get caught up in congestion.
That said, if you know your way around, then avoiding crowds is pretty easy, even on busy days. You will still hit congestion occasionally, but it is possible to be very much alone even on the busiest of days, if you know where to go.
Grooming is pretty average. If you want for strictly groomed runs, then Whistler will disappoint. The highly over-congested Emerald zone, which badly needs a new lift, is half groomed and gets skied out by lunchtime. A smattering of other runs see attention each night, such as the ski out and usually one of two runs in each other zone. Generally, however, coverage is about 50% of what it should be, especially for a 'world class' resort. If the snow is not soft or your skills cannot compensate for rugged texture, then you will find your options depressingly limited due to this short coming.
Finally, the cost is outrageous. If you are wealthy enough to not care, then by all means, do as you please. Otherwise, the resort prices itself out of any comprehensible recommendation for anyone not buying a season pass. The season rate is extremely well valued. The day passes are simply confounding.
Overall, Whistler really is a seasons pass kind of resort. If you'll only be spending a few days somewhere, then the size of the terrain doesn't matter so much, so go somewhere else. If you need that perfect combination of vertical drop, quality of terrain, and price in BC, then go to Revelstoke as it is by far the best. If you will be skiing many days, then the cost of a seasons pass and wealth of terrain put Whistler over the top.
Overall: 4.2. Based on 157 votes and 137 reviews. Vote
(1) At least one overnight stop, (2) requires a whole day, (3) requires more than half a day – you may have time for a few turns (4) arrive by lunchtime and ski all afternoon, (5) there is a main airport within an hour of Whistler.
Public Transport: 4.1
(1) There are no buses or taxis to Whistler, (3) there are slow or infrequent buses / trains available, (5) getting to the resort is easy with frequent bus / train connections.
(1) An ugly resort in a bland setting, (3) average mountain views and resort, (5) a spectacular setting and a beautiful / historic resort town.
(1) No places to stay in/near Whistler, (3) a few places to stay in the resort, (5) a wide variety of accommodation suitable to suit all budgets.
Cheap Rooms: 3.3
(1) No budget accommodation available, (3) just one or two hostels so book ahead, (5) several cheap hostels and pensions available.
Luxury Hotels: 4.8
(1) No luxury accommodation available, (3) just one or two luxury hotels so book ahead, (5) several up-market hotels in Whistler.
Ski in/Ski out: 4.5
(1) The ski area is located far from any accommodation, (3) a free ski bus takes you to the ski area in a short trip, (5) Ski-in ski-out accommodation is available.
(1) There are no child care facilities at Whistler, (5) the resort has excellent child-care facilities including at least one reasonably priced creche.
(1) Occasionally gets enough snow for skiing, (2) is often closed due to a lack of snow, (3) occasionally suffers from a lack of snow, (4) rarely suffers from a lack of snow, (5) Whistler is snowsure even in the poorest seasons.
(1) Whistler relies entirely on natural snow, (3) there are just a few snow cannons, (5) there are snowmaking facilities on all pistes.
Snow Grooming: 4.1
(1) There are no snow groomers at Whistler, (3) occasionally some pistes are left ungroomed and in a poor state, (5) all the runs at Whistler are groomed daily.
(1) there is nowhere to ski when it is windy or visibility is bad and lifts often shut, (3) there are some trees for poor visibility but main lifts sometimes close, (5) Whistler is mostly in forest where you can ski in flat-light and windy days, lifts rarely close.
Nearby options: 2.5
(1) If snow conditions are poor at Whistler, it will be poor everywhere nearby, (3) there are good alternatives within an hours drive, (5) other locations on the same lift pass provide a rich variety of snowsure ski conditions.
Regional rating: 4.3
(1) Whistler usually has poor snow conditions compared to other resorts in region, (3) has average conditions for the region, (5) usually has the best snow conditions in the region.
Lift Staff: 4.4
(1) The staff at Whistler are rude or unhelpful, (5) lift staff at Whistler are pleasant, cheerful and eager to help.
(1) the resort is always busy and there are usually long lift queues, (3) it is quiet apart from occasional weekends and school holidays, (5) it is uncrowded and lift queues are very rare.
Ski Schools: 4.5
(1) No ski schools available, (2) one or two ski schools but local language only, (3) a few ski schools but book early for multi-lingual instructors, (4) plenty of ski schools and multi-lingual instructors available, (5) excellent ski schools with friendly multi-lingual ski instructors.
Hire and Repairs: 4.7
(1) Nothing can be sourced, not even ski-wax or ptex. (3) there are some ski shops but rentals need to be booked in advance, (5) good quality ski equipment can be purchased or hired and overnight repairs are possible.
Variety of pistes: 4.7
(1) The ski runs are featureless and unvaried, (3) the ski runs are varied but not extensive enough for a week, (5) Whistler has diverse and interesting pistes including forests and high alpine terrain.
(1) Beginners can only watch others ski and snowboard, (3) a few gentle slopes but beginners will get bored in less than a week, (3) Vast areas of gentle terrain.
(1) No intermediate terrain at Whistler, (3) intermediate skiers will get bored after a few days, (5) vast areas of cruising runs.
(1) Nothing for advanced skiers and snowboarders, (3) enough steep terrain for a few days with some good offpiste, (5) Enough steep terrain and offpiste areas to entertain advanced skiers for at least a week.
Snow Park: 4.5
(1) Not even a kicker at Whistler, (3) average sized park quite well looked after, (5) huge park area and expertly crafted pipes, jumps and boardercross trails.
(1) No off-piste worth mentioning, (2) off piste is out-of-bounds, (3) some varied offpiste that stays fresh for one or two days, (5) a vast array of off-piste routes that can stay untracked for several days.
(1) There is nowhere to go for cross-country skiing around Whistler, (3) there are some cross country trails available, (5) the area features many spectacular and well maintained cross-country trails.
(1) No designated luge or toboggan runs, (3) there are toboggan runs that open quite often, (5) Whistler has long and well maintained luge / toboggan facilities suitable for all ages.
Mountain Dining: 4.3
(1) Nowhere to buy food by the pistes, (3) some places to eat up on the mountain but they are often busy and expensive, (5) there is a variety of excellent mountain eateries right next to the slopes to suit all budgets.
(1) Bring your own food, there isn't even a shop. (5) A wide variety of places to eat and drink in the resort, from fast food to fancy restaurants.
(1) Nothing to do, not even a bar, (3) there are a few bars in the resort but nothing special, (5) clubs and bars stay open until very late and have a friendly atmosphere.
Other Sports: 4.4
(1) No sports facilities at all apart from ski lifts, (3) resort has just a small public swimming pool, (5) resort has all kinds of sports facilities, including a full-size swimming pool.
(1) Besides the snow and walking there is nothing to do here, (3) the non-skier will find things to do for few days but may become bored after a week, (5) the resort area is a fascinating place to visit, regardless of winter sports.
Winter Walks: 4.3
(1) Very limited walking and no snowshoe trails, (3) a couple of designated scenic walking/snowshoe trails, (5) extensive and diverse winter walking trails for all abilities.
Ski Pass Value: 3.6
(1) A 1 week ski pass is overpriced compared to the number of lifts available, (3) the ski pass is averagely priced and covers a reasonable number of lifts, (5) ski passes are excellent value for money and cover a lot of lifts spanning a big area.
Value (National): 3.7
(1) Overall, Whistler is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the country and not worth the money, (3) overall represents average value for money, (5) overall offers the best value resort in the country.
Value (Global): 3.7
(1) Overall, Whistler is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the world, (3) overall it offers pretty average value for money compared to resorts from other countries, (5) internationally the resort offers excellent value for money.
March 03, 2017
Velile from Canada
These fictitious snow reports are ridiculous. You do damage to Whistler with your deliberate mendacity.
[note from the editor: reports are generated by staff at the resort.]
November 26, 2016
mike from Canada
Well, 3 days in to the 2016/17 season and we have been blessed with a ton of snow for opening week! Day 1: 25cm, Day 2: 40cm, Day 3: 35cm (and the sun even came out!) Temps are cool and the snow is great! Typical Whistler dumps measured in feet not inches.
This is my 16th season living in the Sea to Sky region and it's up there with one of the best starts we have had in my memory. We have a solid base; most of the upper mountain is totally skiable and filled in (low down needs more to open but that's only the run to the bar at the end of the day so who cares!) We are in very good shape for a long snowy season!
Rock skis and boards not required. It's on in Whistler and the place is a buzz :)
March 10, 2016
Paul from Canada
Whistler is flippin' going off. Ultra mega pow. By the time this review actually gets posted, who knows, but right now it's nipple deep pow and only going to get better with colder air on the way. Thankfully, this year has been kind to us and we have a fairly typical snowpack and many great powder days.
I gotta say, I feel bad for all the visitors who plan expensive trips from afar months in advance, expecting to get the epic face shots they see in the pictures, only to be sorely disappointed when the weather deals them a crummy hand. But the weather is a fickle mistress, and that's just the way it goes. Whistler is no different than any other mountain in that regard. You can get skunked anywhere.
It's weird how many people think they are entitled to light dry powder and face shots and then bitch and complain when they don't get it. Don't blame the mountain. My advice would be to leave your expectations at home and come with an open mind. Take what the mountain offers you with humility and gratitude and you'll have a great time and bitch less. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade right? And really, is there ever really a bad day in the mountains? Maybe that depends who you ask, but I would say there is no place I'd rather be. Just being there is a gift. If you can recognize that, you'll have a fine time indeed. And if you're lucky enough to score epic snow, it'll be that much sweeter. Cheers!
February 13, 2016
Steve from Australia
I've been skiing for 37 years & have skied in France, Austria & 10 different resorts in the USA. I finally made it to Whistler 6 days ago for 10 days skiing. I must say that from my experience, so far, Whistler is far & away the worst place to ski that I have seen. The mountains are, of course, huge, the staff are great & service is fantastic. The village seems to be a great place with lots of action (sadly, I'm a bit past that stuff). What sucks is the skiing. I have never in my life been anywhere where the snow quality is more miserable here than anything I have ever experienced, including in Australia. First, we had two days of sunshine & early morning boilerplate ice, which melted to sludge. Two days before I arrived they claim to have had 50cm of fresh snow. Two days later on my first day on the mountain there was no snow on any trees anywhere. How is that possible? Heat is how. By 10am the snow turns to slush as deep as anything I've seen. Day 3 saw it trying to snow at the very top but mostly it just rained, heavily. Yesterday it started snowing lightly up top with the word going out that there would be continued snow overnight. Today we woke up with news of 8cm of new snow. I was on the Wizard chair at 8.15 to get this good stuff. Fortunately the Wizard chair has a rain hood because it was essential. No such luck on Solar Coaster. By the time we got to Rendezvous we were utterly soaked. We put on a brave face & tried a few different runs on the few chairs that were opened (patrol was letting off bombs all over the place, and that's reasonable). The "fresh" snow could better be called glue. By 10am we'd had enough & came down off the mountain. It rained all day long in the village & everyone walked around looking miserable. The forecast for the rest of our trip is for more of the same, but heavier. The Whistler website is saying we might get up to 30cm a day. The problem is that by the time we get up to this level we'll be so drenched by the warm temperatures low down that it will be pretty hard to get excited by what is likely to be glue 30cm deep.
Now it sounds like I'm looking for someone to blame but of course there is no one except the climate change naysayers. But I warn anyone thinking of coming here, bring heavy duty raincoats; you will need them. Don't listen to the Whistler marketing people who will tell you it's been voted no 1 resort in North America. It seems to me that all the voters were brought here at company expense on the rare great days that undoubtedly occur here. In the meantime, spend your hard earned on resorts where you get what you paid for. I'm going back to Sun Valley, Idaho: greatest mountain anyone could hope for.
January 22, 2016
Matt from United Kingdom
We have been to Whistler 7 times in the last 13 years and it truly is an amazing place; if I had the money to move there I would. It’s true that you can experience all types of weather there, from blue bird face shot powder days to rainy ‘pineapple express’ days up to mid mountain and even above. We may have been lucky when we have been, but the brilliant days have far, far outweighed the not so powder warmer days, but I suppose that is the same with everywhere at this altitude. The mountains are so vast that you can ski/ride all day and never ride the same piste, or line twice. I’m a fan of off-piste tree runs and 7th Heaven and Crystal Ride even on a half good day are amazing. The parks (and there are a lot of them!) are stunning, I'm too long in the tooth now to make good use of them but just riding through and hitting the odd kicker and watching the pros do their stuff brings a smile to my face every time. Maybe global warming is having an effect (I have my doubts based on my limited experience) but I’ll be honest, I've had dodgy conditions in all types of resorts at all altitudes so don’t be swayed, if you have the chance to go to Whistler, you will not regret it.
January 20, 2016
Sal from Canada
Great skiing today ! Still some pow around and broken clouds with more snow expected tonight! Mountains have good snow all the way from top to bottom!
January 19, 2016
greg from Canada
I fear that climate change has brought the golden days of Whistler, as a powder destination, to an end. As anyone who has spent their lives in the mountains and actually lives in Whistler (not Aussies who have been here eight weeks and claim to be locals) can tell you, the climate has changed, the glaciers have receded, and the average season here is now much warmer and drier than the past. A few degrees makes an enormous difference, especially in an area as warm and wet, compared to the rest of Canada, as Whistler. The freezing level has barely dropped below mid mountain the last three winters, and it is currently raining to the peak for the *nth time, with more than 2 inches forecast for the next three days (again). The high freezing levels have even compromised the heli-skiing terrain.
This place will still be a haven for families with six digit incomes, who barely ski two runs a day and come for the apres, food, and massages more than the snow, but the true ski bums are fleeing this place like rats from a sinking ship for places of higher altitude and colder temperatures.
December 10, 2015
cryophile from Canada
Another tough year, and no discounts.
When it is colder, the lower runs with artificial snow are ok. Last few warmer days, the upper runs are better. Ridge run off Harmony, when groomed, is probably the best. Not a lot of terrain open, and the uphill capacity is enough to make most open runs too crowded.
There is really not much snow yet. Snow reports are absurdly optimistic. Crystal Ridge is a rock-pile. Has been raining above Roundhouse on the warm days. If you have a free (or prepaid) ticket, it is nice to get up high, but the snow is the pits.
December 07, 2015
sal from Canada
Great skiing now with lots of snow falling this week! More lifts starting to open up now that people are starting to come for vacations!