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Visitor reviews for Whistler Ski Resort
March 27, 2013
Graeme from Australia
It's big but only by North American standards. There are lots of areas in Europe that make Whistler Blackcomb look tiny. The terrain is wonderful but again there are a lot of places with fantastic terrain both in Europe and North America with much better lift systems and far better snow. Even in mid winter the snow just doesn't compare with the better European resorts, much less the sublime fluff you get in North America away from the coastal ranges. Add to all this a completely soulless village and high prices, and dreadful food; we won't be back. There are far better skiing experiences to be had in plenty of other places.
Based on 79 votes. 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: 3.2
(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: 4.4
(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: 4.2
(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: 2.6
(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: 4.6
(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: 4.6
(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: 4.3
(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: 4.2
(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: 3.8
(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): 3.9
(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): 3.9
(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.
Based on 79 votes. Vote
February 17, 2013
Charles Kosina from Australia
I first skied Whistler in 1991. Then after a long gap I was here in mid Feb 2011. The snow that month was fantastic, and we had mostly sunshine during the day and temperatures in the valley never got above 0C, mostly -5C whilst on the peak we had down to -27C. But don't expect this all the time. I am writing this on 16 Feb 2013 and this is the first of my 12 days here. After a great Nov/Dec there have been only light falls for the last 6 weeks. The base is around 180 cms. So what are conditions like? Being an Australian skier, by our standards it is still excellent skiing. You can ski top to bottom, with some powder near the summit, but still quite nice skiing right down the bottom.
This is President's week so lift lines can be long. The wait at the base gondola today was 13 minutes, and up to 7 minutes at some others. But some lifts I skied straight on. The Symphony bowl was superb and no lift lines in the afternoon. Picking the right lifts at the right times, and using the Singles line helps a lot.
There are pluses and minuses at all resorts. I have skied at Vail, Aspen, Park City/Deer Valley, Snowbird, Copper Mountain, Mammoth Mountain and in New Zealand: Cardrona and Treble Cone and in Australia: Hotham, Falls Creek, Buller and Thredbo. But for me Whistler is by far the best in terrain, facilites and the scenery at the top is stunning.
I will update this towards the end of my stay here and see if my opinion has changed.
January 23, 2013
Rafal from Canada
I've skied everything and Whistler is the best. Hello..8500 acres of terrain! The next biggest resort of Sunshine has 4500 acres. You got everything! Bowls, trees, madnesssss. Even in bad weather I'd rather ski Whistler than all other nipples:/
January 06, 2013
John Stacey from Canada
Hahahaha, sounds like that guy's vacation landed on a bad week. For the last 3 years we got double our yearly snowfall. Last year I got 80 days and 60 of them were when I got the day off work (20 cm rule) - fresh pow. But I also understand the mountains are so big, my first 2 seasons I was riding all the tourist stuff with all the gordons but now I ride the shiz! Hard if you're not shown, I'll give you that, but through the week lifts are basically ride on no line.
December 26, 2012
Paul from Canada
I have only been skiing Whistler for 7 years and I agree with the person's comments below about the awesome terrain. If you cannot find awesome lines you have no business complaining. It is one thing to be a fool but another to open your mouth and remove all doubt. Party on!
December 16, 2012
Power Grinch from Canada
Whistler sucks. $111 lift ticket ! So many cloudy or wet snow or rain days. If the snow is good the visibility is usually bad. When the sun comes out the fresh snow is tracked out fast because there are some many people.
December 13, 2012
Perri from Canada
Today was my 14th day skiing Whistler Blackcomb this year. It is my 21st season. The snow has been incredible - deep and dry - and there is no one here most days until after Christmas. Most resorts in North America are not even open yet. Today we skied knee deep untracked powder under the chairlift all morning. It is paradise. I can not believe anyone would criticise this place. I have skied all over the world and lets face it - this is a really amazing place. Unless someone invests some time here they really do not understand what this place offers. There are some challenging days but if you want to have the best chance of having a remarkable ski experience come to Whistler. You'll come back often and you will have a difficult time tolerating other resorts because once you ski Whistler Blackcomb there is little else to compare it to.
December 04, 2012
William from United States
I have visited many resorts in both the Americas and Europe and I found Whistler to be a good resort. However, not as good as many people say. There was good snow but nothing to be amazed by and the lift system can get overcrowded. However, the new peak2peak gondola was a very nice addition to the resort.
All in all, I believe many of the extremely protective and precious reveiws saying how amazing Whistler is are a bit misleading as, although being a good resort, in my opinion it may not be the best in North America as resorts such as Breckenridge and Aspen are probably better and less crowded. Compared to resorts in Europe, in my opinion, Whistler, I'm afraid, cannot keep up with the ever changing landscape of the sheer amount of resorts the Alps has to offer.
Bearing all of this in mind though Whistler is a very good world class resort but perhaps is not the best in North America and not as good as everyone says.
November 11, 2012
Stu from Canada
Whistler/ Blackcomb has it all. Nobody can match their acreage. As far as the line-ups go, what we do is ski the lifts closest to the roundhouse first like Emerald & Big Red, then as the hordes show up, we go further away to lifts like Harmony & Symphony. The powder there can be pretty heavy & once it's tracked out, it's pretty tiring to ski. There are some buses that are free, like the one up to Blackcomb village.
July 25, 2012
Rob from United Kingdom
I've spent two seasons in The Three Valleys in France and a few months in Whistler, BC; both designated as the largest and most versatile on their hemispheres, so this review covers the seasonal worker's review of Whistler.
Everything that has been put into legend regarding Whistler is effectively true, but has also been mentioned without the negatives.
It is mostrously large and takes a huge ammount of time to cover a hill; those on vacation will not get bored of this monolith. After five, or six weeks, however, a local can start to feel that, for all the mountain there aren't really many lifts and connectivity is scarce. One lift for one mountain area or bowl, but little choice in how to get around or get back out. This creates a bottleneck at almost every lift. With such large, wide mountains, a huge amount of people can fit on the runs, but they'll always come back to the bottleneck, where, on a standard day, you'll wait for twenty minutes minimum at any common lift.
A small note, for Europeans to heed, is that many of the black and all of the double black runs are not actually trails; they are the 'off piste' that you go searching for. Every possible chute or drop has been sign posted and drawn onto the maps, so you'll have a nightmare trying to find a decent drop that hasn't been sessioned within 20 minutes of lift opening time by anyone old enough to read a trailmap. Back country is still back country, but without a guide you'd be insane to go wondering off into the unknown and dropping off the back side of the mountains.
The Blackcomb glacier is a giant bowl which everyone talks about, but, unless you're up there early on a snow day (and it'll take you 50 minutes to get up there!) you will find nothing but crust and a twenty - thirty minute (depending on speed) flat road of ice around the entire base of the mountain before getting to the next available lift (also at a bottle neck, only one lift up from the resort). So, for a 60-90 minute round trip; I avoided Blackcomb glacier and went to the beautiful glades around the other side on "7th Heaven" every time, which have their own chair, but on a clear day, which is rare, you really do get the best runs, glades, bowls, conditions.
The problem with Whistler Blackcomb, you see, is it's size. In an attempt to reduce lift costs (or evnvironmental impact) the owners have put in only very large, long lifts, to service a designated area. This creates the bottlenecks and also means that you cannot find a short cut across the mountain. You have to use the main chairs, and the, sometimes futile, places that they've been planted.
The Whistler Bowls (there are three areas of these) are spectacular riding, but again, all signposted and tracked out by 9.30am (lift opens at 8.30 and fast-track passes allow people to go up early and eat breakfast on the mountain, where they get the 30 minutes headstart). On a snowday, you'll grab your gear and march out there, ready for the tough-guy time, however, much of the time you will be riding in a cloud. And although fun to challenge yourself, riding a tracked-out double-black bowl in a thick white cloud gets tricky. When you can see, you will find an amphetheatre of epic mountain potential, but you have to ride further and better than the rest to get to the untracked places.
- And the old Warning, unless going through a cold snap; if it's snowing on the mountain, it's likely raining in the town.... It's very, very low and very coastal down there... It will snow, but then, with the front passes, the rain will wash that away to the base. It is hard to get the riding conditions you want in this town and when it does snow, it is thick and heavy. Either it's tracked, or it's snowing (and you're in a cloud and it's tracked) or it's raining towards the bottom. It was warm last year, but not uncommonly warm...
Enough about the mountain though... If you're in Canada this is the largest scene and one of the only mountains designed with the town at the actual base of the mountain and not a 15 minute drive away... Seasonaires don't have cars!
- The town has all the tools, shops, bars, restaurants, clubs, hotels, groceries, carparks, tourist centres and etc that you would ever want. Getting around is not easy if you don't have a car, however. - There is no free shuttle bus! - You pay for the bus just like any normal town and that gets seriously expensive when you're loosing $5-$10 every day. There are only three lift stations, Blackcomb-upper, Whistler central and the original Whistler village. However, over half the town is a thirty minute (minimum) walk away from these areas. Whistler is a string of hamlets and micro-villages built along a 7 mile main road, with the village near the bottom and Whistler-main two thirds of the way up. If you're going for accommodation, look at your maps and seriously think about the cost of that bus-pass and the amount of walking you'll be doing, just to get around. Yeah, it's a "five minute bus ride", but you walk for ten to get to the bus, wait for ten, ride for five and walk for ten. Then you can begin your day. If you work in town, which you probably will, location could suck up or save you 2 needless hours every single day.
If you want Canadian friendliness and North American snow, try and find a smaller town and sacrifice the acreage for the real town people. (Whistler in it's popularity is half Australian, Irish and British, and the Canadians are more frequently just the locals, who've been there for years.)
If you want a huge resort/valley with all the connectivity, infrastructure, technology and amenities, go to Europe!
Whistler is a combination of the two, but in being so, it looses sight and fails on both accounts. It can be argued that this makes it truely unique and that 8000 acres of unique experience can't be bad. But life and money is short and if you have only one choice for a Canadian resort, I guess this could be your one. But in a world where even the Lonely planet guide now tells you all the five star restaurants in town, you have to wonder if it's cultural saturation and tourism that made you want to come here.
Whistler's popularity is routed in it's size; both town and mountain. But in this it creates a problem of saturation and eventually dilution of what you went there for in the first place. A true tourist-town, it has little real spirit left.
May 09, 2012
doc fingers from Canada
Rains all the time at Whistler-don't go!!
You must try to come for a month or at least 2 weeks mid Feb to mid March. You will have 50% chance equally of sun and snow in a normal season.
The price we tend to pay for powder is bad, is small price to pay for most.
April 24, 2012
NoisyParkser from United Kingdom
My how I wish I lived in Canada and had Whistler on my doorstep! And March was such a good month for snow. We went over for the tenth year at the end of January and we love it every time. Aren't a lot of another reviewer's complaints just common sense?? For instance, we saw the night before that there was a good dump overnight and guessed it would mean an early line for fresh tracks the next morning - so got there early; and surely the ticket can be used another day if the limit passes before you get on? Yes, it can be crunchy below Olympic but this year we had new powder every day and rated it as our best year. And of course it can take 40 minutes on the gondola - the mountain is that big. Anyone reading this should make sure they put Whistler down as their next skiing trip.
[note from the editor : text edited to avoid blog type threads]
April 18, 2012
IslandDoc from Canada
Whistler is awesome. As someone who has work and family commitments, not to mention living on the island it is so worth the 5hrs travel I spend to ride mountain. If you think the lift lines are bad here for it's size you should ride some places where the mountain is 1/8th the size with lines just as bad. Don't trash the mountain because you're brilliant vacation idea was ruined because 10 thousand other Americans also had the same brilliant idea... "fools seldom differ!"
If you have the skill level for it head over to the Amphitheatre first thing in the morning. If it's not open due to a fresh dump ride Harmony until it does. Once it starts to get busy head over to Blackcomb and ride the Glacier or 7th Heaven expresses. Lakeside bowl is fabulous and the glades on lower panorama never get boring.
If you're starting late don't start on Whistler, every vacationing family always go to Whistler but Blackcomb is just as good, if not better! If you have kids who can only run greens take them up to 7th Heaven anyway, run the Green line to 7th Ave or the Expressway and down Sunset Blvd, it'll take you 30-45 mins for sure and it's a great experience for the little ones. Some of the blues up top are not even that bad.
My son (7) and niece (10) were riding the panorama run without even realizing it was a blue until I told them afterwards. Gave them a lot of confidence when they realized some blues are really just slightly harder greens!
April 17, 2012
Ron from United States
Good advice below from many reviewers on avoiding lift lines at Whistler. Unfortunately, many of us with school-aged children can't avoid the busy vacation weeks and getting to the lifts when they first open isn't so easy either with kids. So, I offer an alternative. Vacation at far less crowded areas like Big Sky or Jackson hole. I can recall skiing Presidents Week at Big Sky where every other chair was empty and no one was in sight on many of my runs. Neither JH nor BS is quite as big as Whistler, but both are huge mountains with great variety. Snow quality is better (top to bottom light powder rather than Whistler's good on top and frozen crud on bottom). No rain either. A supposed downside is that both are difficult to get to because they require a airline connection from most US cities. However, total travel time from the East Coast is actually comparable to Whistler. OK, the night life is weak at Jackson Hole and non-existent at Big Sky, but that's a minor consideration for most families.
April 17, 2012
RB from United States
Just returned from a vacation to Whistler, my first since a brief visit a dozen years ago. This latest visit has changed my opinion to the better. My concern with Whistler has always been the lack of dependability of the weather due to a low village altitude and proximity to the coast. Rain is always a risk. (Recall the 2010 Olympics?). Even if the weather is nice when you are there, the snow on the lower slopes can be crud due to previous rain events.
That said, Whistler is such a huge area with such varied altitudes and terrain that you can ski the upper two-thirds of the mountain and still have plenty to keep you satisfied for a week. Whistler has everything from open bowls, to tree skiing, to bumps, to groomed runs - all in great quantities.
The village is really quite nice. Too new to be as quaint or authentic as some European ski towns, but up-scale, varied and lively nonetheless.
Don't expect to have the mountain to yourself. Lift lines can be an issue during busy periods. However, by afternoon the crowds thin out noticeably.
All in all, Whistler is an area that deserves serious consideration for a ski week. However, given the vagueries of the Pacific Northwest weather, it's worth waiting a little to book your reservations (at least long enough to determine if the overall winter pattern is setting up favorably).
April 11, 2012
Scott from Canada
To the gentleman complaining about the size of Whistler, lift times & everything in between:
Thanks for NOT coming back to what you made sound like a hellish vacation. Whistler has some of the best terrain in the world, you just have to be smart about how you ski it. I'll thank you not to deter people with comments like this. We need the tourism (as do most areas right now!) and the resort on a whole is doing the best it can to come up with new innovative ways to attract guests to the town and don't need false reviews like this.
April 11, 2012
canali from Canada
To the complainers on lift wait lines, simple: get there early to enjoy the fresh runs and lack of lines....and to those doing 'first tracks' easy on the buffet: 'tis easy to overeat with all the great food; and instead of feeling recharged you feel bloated and as if a 5lb block of cement is in your gut....been there done that (as have many others).
April 03, 2012
Kim from South Africa
To another reviewer:
Try staying at the abundant accommodation on Blackcomb mountain, aspens, grey stone lodge etc as they are ski in-ski out. No WAITing for the bus. I have been here all season and don't like skiing on a Saturday but ski Sundays which are usually quieter and during the week I have never had to wait long at all. Most days I ski right onto the lift. I have, on occasion, woken up at 6 am to be on the first chair up Blackcomb on a pow day. What is the point of coming on a ski vacation and not waking up early for the first lines down the mountain?
Also, try the singles queue, it means splitting up but is often faster, sometimes not though. Skiing back down the mountain on certain days can be challenging but I have never found that it has taken me longer than 20 minutes top to bottom. Try skiing less frequented runs like Lower Gear Jammer on blackcomb and Crab Apple on Whistler to get back down. I have been down Lower Gear Jammer on a weekday at 11 am and still skied corduroy. Don't come during American holidays or Christmas new year etc.
The earlier you ski the less people there are. Also, during lunch hours it is less busy too so it is about skiing smart. I have been down 7th Heaven and found too many people but fifteen minutes later down a different run on 7th had the run to myself the whole way.
If you stopped focusing on how long you had to wait you might have come up with a solution instead of whining about how all the pow had been shredded.
March 23, 2012
Peter from Canada
To a previous poster commenting on wait times:
Yes, Fresh Tracks breakfast is limited to 150 or so people, so you have to arrive early because lots of people just like you (yes you yourself) want to go! so don't complain just because people are willing to get there earlier than you!
You can't really complain about having to wait for the alpine to open. Patrol has a job to do and they're going to take the time to do it right. No sense in saying that other mountains do a better job of opening the alpine because conditions are different everywhere, and they change every day! And if there's always high winds when you come here, why do keep coming back?!
Plenty of mid-mountain trails to choose from that don't lead to a long cat track. Have you looked at the trail map? Choose accordingly! Accommodation is not spread out - it's just everywhere, even far away. If you don't want to take a bus to the lift in the morning, there are plenty of options within walking distance for you to choose from.
You mention the long blue runs on the lower mountain. Not sure what the problem is here. Yes they're busy at the end of the day because everyone wants to come down to the village, just like you! Luckily they're nice and wide open. People come here for the size, the variety of terrain, the options. There are line-ups (longest will be initial upload), best time to come is during the week (avoid presidents week and March break). Upload early, eat lunch early, apres early!
March 21, 2012
Ralphy from Canada
Re another reviewers comments:
Hey, sounds like you were skiing the wrong areas at the wrong times. Learn to get in line early, learn to be patient with Alpine lift openings, and you will enjoy yourself. Whistler/Blackcomb is HUGE and even on weekends if you know how to ski/ride, you'll have a blast waiting minimal times. If you have that much of an issue with waiting for awesome terrain then please don't come here! It's people probably like you that go off skiing out of your comfort zone and ruin all the powder for skiers usually enjoy. If you don't like the mountains...stay home!!
March 21, 2012
Soju Warrior from Korea, Republic of
Friendly helpful service.
What can I say, this place is lot run and fun to be had. Pow, pillows, bowls, cliffs, groomers, glaciers, bumps, trees, park and more! Week days are busy it is possible to avoid crowds till about 11am. More lifted please!
ATM work! Food prices are ok!
Canadians are great people and a surprising pleasure to meet the true non agro loud mouth Aussies enjoying this country's. I will be back next year as I have for the last 12 years snowboarding Japan.
March 18, 2012
Alison from New Zealand
Having just returned from our 2nd trip to Whistler in 2 years we can't speak highly enough of it.
It offers something for everyone and yes there are some queues but no longer than what we'd wait at our local ski area and there's always a lift somewhere that isn't so busy, I couldn't even complain on Presidents weekend when it was heaps busier than what we'd experienced the week prior. The only time we had to wait for around 30 mins or so was on the Harmony Chair once over the whole 2 weeks other than that it was pretty much straight on the whole time.
The people are super friendly and the snow was great.
Even though it's pretty expensive for us to get there and a heck of a long way, we'll be back.
March 16, 2012
Michael from Canada
My son and I just returned from Whistler. It was my 6th time there, although I hadn't been in the last 4 years. We have decided to nick name it WAITsler.
1) We spent more time WAITing in lift lines than skiing. The size of the line ups at the base and at the mid mountain were sickening (e.g. waiting 40 minutes to get on Wizard, then another 40 minutes to get on Solar Coaster). Add to that the actual time spent on the lift, and it took us close to two hours before we started skiing! Strange that so much money was spent on the Peak-to-Peak, and these line ups still exist - perhaps the money should have been spent differently.
2) We bought Fresh Tracks tickets, and after having paid for them we were told that access to the gondola at 7:30 was first come first serve and that since there was lots of snow, it would be a good idea to show up at 6:30 and WAIT in line to ensure we got a spot.
3) We were constantly WAITing for the alpine area to open, and even after waiting and waiting, only parts of it opened. And don't go on about avalanche control. I have skied at other resorts that do a much better job of opening up their terrain. And in any case it was the high winds which kept things closed -- every time I go to Whistler there are high winds in the alpine.
4) Because we were confined to the mid-mountain for our entire 4 days we had to ski runs that were great (once we finally got to them) but ended at long cat track ski outs that meant 5 to 10 minutes of cat track skiing - again WAITing to get to the lift so that we could wait to get on.
5) In the morning we WAITed for a bus to take us to the mountain (pretty good frequency to be fair) and in the afternoon we waited for a bus to get back to the hotel. The accommodation is too spread out.
6) In the morning you have to ride a lift over a massive amount of terrain which you will not ski until *maybe* the end of the day. At the end of the day we had to spend an hour to ski down this terrain which is a series of mediocre long, tiring, and crowded blue runs or sit on a gondola for 20 minutes to download - again WAITing!
Whistler's greatest asset is also what makes it awful: its size. It is simply too big and spread out. If you want better skiing, find a more compact mountain with terrain that is easily accessed and more reliably open. Don't get duped into Whistler's marketing message that goes on and on about its size. In this case bigger is not better.
Additionally, there are just simply way too many people there. It's Disney Land for skiing, and it's true that if you don't know exactly where to go, and if you are not at the front of the line when the lifts open on a powder day you will be eating tracked powder that is mogully under foot to boot.
Whistler is a fantastic mountain for locals that have the luxury of finding that rare sweet spot where no crowds, lots of snow, and knowing exactly where to go can make epic ski experiences; for the rest of us, it is way way over rated and way too expensive for what you get. There are better places to ski. I know it's hard to believe, but it's true.
March 15, 2012
Dave from Canada
Whistler can be a difficult place to become established. Depends on your resources. To truly get to know the mountain and understand where to ski when takes time. The patient are rewarded. I have lived here for 30+ years. I have been fortunate to have skied many resorts and ski toured on most continents. For length of season, variety of terrain, quality of snow conditions, off-piste access, snow pack stability and hundreds of other non ski related recreational opportunities, Whistler rules. What else do you want?
March 14, 2012
Jamie from United Kingdom
I've lived in Whistler and worked for the mountain, and I've also been a weekend warrior - traveling up from Vancouver at the weekend.
Here is my take on things:
The terrain available is breathtaking.
Whistler is not as steep as some of the big resorts in Europe, eg Chamonix, and it certainly isn't as steep as the likes of Kicking Horse and Revelstoke.
It snows an eye watering amount through the season. It is not uncommon for the alpine areas of the mountain to open with +50cm.
It gets INCREDIBLY busy at weekends. I've waited 30min for a chair while it is operating.
If you want fresh tracks you can't take any prisoners. If you don't know the mountain, you will literally watch the entire Alpine get tracked out while you wait in a lift line.
Another reviewer describes Whistler very well. Born and bread Canadians are rare.
Accommodation is generally expensive and hard to come by. It is not uncommon to hear of people +4 people literally living in one room.
The night life is a big attraction and it doesn't disappoint.
My personal conclusion: Whistler is a massive mountain which has great potential. Unfortunately, it is highly commercialized. If you're serious about skiing and night life isn't a factor chosen a mountain along the powder highway.
February 13, 2012
Richard McLaren from United Kingdom
Third year to Whistler. Yes, it takes a bit of effort to get here but worth every penny.
So much choice......
February 07, 2012
glen from Canada
$1300 for a season pass, bargain, considering most Australian resorts charge $1500 for 350m vert, 1/10th the snowfall, 4/5th the actual season length. Whistler is epic, do your research and know what to expect and you will love it.
January 29, 2012
Donkey from Australia
Am disappointed in some other Aussies here - why have a rip, u knew you were coming to a ski hill come with more then a bad attitude.
28 - Jan 12.
What can I say, this place is huge, you imagine skiing it it's here, pow, pillows, bowls, cliffs, groomers, glaciers, bumps, trees, park - wow - and there more then 1 of everything!
Weekends are super busy but ride smart and ask the locals and you can avoid the crowds till about 12 if you are sitting on a chair at 0820 in the morning. Tracked fresh (although it was in the order of 7-10cm yesterday) on one of the runs under the chair until 1030 - a Sat!
Yes, it's under lifted but Monday to Friday it's better then ideal, the snow ATM is in great shape, however, some lower elevation rain always make it tricky - but how can anyone whine - go to another resort with 1km of vert that's high elevated, however, there is nothing like dropping the glacier and skiing the 1.8km vert (11km) back to the village after a good day's riding!
Steep here is steeeep and the expert stuff is off the handle!
Food prices are fine in town and shopping is survivable - I'm here for 2 months on extended holiday and am by no means well off but I'm getting by comfortably - the Canadians are amazing, the true spirited Aussies here are great - look out for the weekend and holiday yanks and the ass Aussies - five stars - will be back!
January 29, 2012
John Young from New Zealand
Just returned from Whistler yesterday after skiing thirteen days straight in the best snow conditions we have encountered, bar Cat skiing at Mustang, in over forty years of skiing in New Zealand, Canada and Japan. Skiing is all about luck, being in the right place at the right time, certainly the right time in Whistler this year. It was relatively cold one day at minus 30 in the wind, with fresh snow most days coating the trees in the village. Snow quality was excellent right to the bottom of the lifts, at these temperatures even the snow makers down the bottom were producing powder.
All the staff we encountered on the ski field and in the village made you really welcome, whoever is running the program for repeat business needs commending.
The variety of runs was fantastic, still making heaps of new discoveries at the end of thirteen days, the runs off the trail to Seventh Heaven through the trees was almost as good as cat skiing when we were there.
The only bitch, nothing to do with Whistler, install a program to train the young dudes how to cut a decent line and not waste all the good snow with wide sliding turns on their fat skis and snowboards. Plenty of powder for everyone then.
We will be back.
January 27, 2012
Adam from Canada
The high alpine areas opens late on days after fresh snow has fallen because of the need to perform avalanche control. This is hardly unique to Whistler, it's the case at any mountain with high alpine terrain. There's no way around it, unless you particularly want regular news stories about hundreds of skiers being buried in avalanches.