We finally broke through low-hanging clouds into blue sky, revealing snow covered peaks in every direction. I felt a rush of excitement gazing out at Whistler’s steep terrain.
Over 13 inches of snow had fallen in the last 2 days. Rising early for first tracks, I could hear muffled blasts of avalanche explosives on the lift ride up.
I was visiting Whistler for the first time with Kiersten from The Blonde Abroad to check activities off our LifeProof Winter Bucket List, and snowboarding was my number one priority.
The Whistler-Blackcomb mountains have been teasing me in my dreams for years. It had been a few years since my last big snowboarding adventure — and there’s nothing quite like the anticipation of a solid powder day after a long stretch of no action.
Whistler-Blackcomb Ski Resort
Whistler-Blackcomb is the largest ski resort in North America, ranked #1 overall in SKI Magazine’s annual reader poll for 2015. With 2 separate mountains, 200+ runs, 39 lifts and 8,000 acres of terrain, it’s a skiing & snowboarding paradise.
Especially when you take into account the 38 feet of annual snowfall it receives due to its proximity to the Pacific. Combine that with 3 glaciers, incredible backcountry, and a world-class mountain village — it becomes obvious why readers continue to vote for it year after year.
Would the mountain live up to its famous reputation? I was about to find out.
Riding Above The Clouds
Weather conditions at Whistler can be deceiving. While it may appear dark & gloomy in the valley, once you rise above the clouds it might be a perfect blue-bird day. You never really know until you see for yourself.
I spent 7 days on the mountain over the course of 2 weeks up in Whistler. Most of that time was riding the high ridges, bowls, and glades on Blackcomb Mountain. Places with names like Hortsman Glacier, Secret Bowl, and the 7th Heaven Everglades.
The sheer amount of terrain to explore is difficult to grasp.
A few days is not enough time to experience everything, hell I rode for a week and didn’t see it all. I fully understand why so many people from around the world decide to become ski bums here… I almost got sucked in too!
The thought of spending all winter on these mountains was tempting.
I grew up skiing and snowboarding in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, eventually moving to Montana’s Rocky Mountains in college. So it has been a long-time passion of mine — floating through trees in deep powder, speeding down fast groomers, dropping into open bowls, or launching over small cliffs.
Whistler has everything you could possibly want. I couldn’t believe the type of runs you have lift access to! Steep chutes and heavenly bowls all around. In Montana you’d be forced to hike for this stuff.
Here it was only a short stroll away from the lift…
Another marvel is Whistler-Blackcomb’s Peak 2 Peak gondola, which takes you between the mountains on a 3 mile journey over dizzying heights of 1400 feet.
This remarkable lift holds multiple records — a scenic adventure all by itself.
A good ski town vibe is the heart of a great mountain. Whistler Village is modern and fun, with plenty of activities to keep you busy off the slopes.
Where To Eat
For a quick and unhealthy (yet delicious!) lunch, stuff yourself with a hearty plate of Canadian poutine made of cheese curds, gravy, and fries at Zogs Dogs. Head to Merlins Bar & Grill at the base of Blackcomb for the best Après-ski experience in town. For a proper dinner, you can’t go wrong with the Bearfoot Bistro. Make sure to chug vodka in their ice room!
Hotels in Whistler can be expensive, but you might get lucky renting a condo with FlipKey like we did. High rollers tend to stay at the beautifulFairmont Hotel, and you’ll find ski bums on a budget at the HI Hostel a few minutes down the road.
Along with snowboarding in Whistler, we also went snowmobiling with The Adventure Group, dogsledding with Blackcomb Dog Sled, and took a scenic helicopter tour with Blackcomb Aviation.