Canada

Whistler Blackcomb

Whistler Blackcomb, two big mountains, deep snow, breath-taking scenery, exciting village, a magical place to visit! Whistler is one of our favourite skiing destinations.

'Upper Olympic', on Whistler mountain.
Beautiful Blackcomb!
'Wishbone', on Blackcomb mountain.

We have been lucky enough to have been to Whistler twice with our girls. Our first trip was a six month stay before our eldest daughter started school and the second a two month stay during Christmas, our first white Christmas! Whistler has so much to offer, the mountains and forests, the lakes, the villages, and too many activities to mention; we have come to know and love Whistler Blackcomb.

Getting to Whistler

The town of Whistler is located north of Vancouver in the province of British Columbia. To get to Whistler, after flying in to Vancouver, we have taken different modes of transport each time. The first time with our girls we took a private transfer, as our youngest daughter gets a little car sick and we wanted the flexibility to stop if needed. It was a little expensive but worked out perfectly. On other occasions we have used a shuttle service and also a larger bus service. All methods have worked really well for us so we would tend towards the more economical mode of transport when we go back.

The Mountains!

Whistler mountain and Blackcomb mountain are two massive mountains with so much skiable terrain; the largest in North America as a matter of fact. Both mountains have some great, wide and gentle, beginners areas; 'Yellow Brick Road' run using the 'Magic Chair' on Blackcomb mountain, and 'Upper Fantastic' and 'Upper Olympic' via the 'Olympic Chair' on Whistler mountain, with magic carpets in both areas, are great places to start.

Blue-bird day on Blackcomb mountain.
'Upper Fantastic', Whistler mountain.
Skiing with Mum!

There are two magical places to visit on the mountains; 'The Magic Castle' on Blackcomb mountain and 'The Tree Fort' on Whistler mountain. You have to ski in to both of them, but this added a sense of achievement for our girls when they were learning to ski. 'The Magic Castle' and 'The Tree Fort' are great outdoor play areas surrounded by trees, where you can take your skis off and, explore and play. There are slides, and stairs, and bridges, and if you stand still and hold out your arm a 'Whiskey Jack' may fly down for a visit!

Magic Castle
'The Magic Castle' on Blackcomb mountain.
Tree Fort
One entrance to 'The Tree Fort' on Whistler mountain.
Tree Fort
'The Tree Fort' on Whistler mountain.

There are some great long green runs that take you all the way back down to the bottom of both mountains. On Blackcomb, 'Green Line' is a long snaking run that takes you all over the mountain right down to the Blackcomb Day Lodge at the base. On Whistler, from the Roundhouse Lodge, you can take 'Upper Whiskey Jack' to 'Pony Trail', then on to the 'Express Way' to the Olympic Mid Station, and then on to 'Lower Olympic' which will take you to the village.

One of our favourite spots for intermediate (blue) runs is on Blackcomb over at '7th Heaven'! 7th has some long, fast, wide runs that always get the heart pumping! 'Upper Cloud Nine' to 'Lower Cloud Nine' was a favourite. From the top of the '7th Heaven Express' chair you get a great view of Whistler mountain. The Blackcomb Glacier is well worth the little trek you have to do from the top of the 'Showcase T-bar'; a massive bowl with mostly steep intermediate (blue) grade runs, and a long trail out.

There are so many great advanced (black) runs on both mountains, including some exciting gladed runs! Our girls are not quite at this level yet, but we have explored a lot of these runs ourselves. For the expert (double black diamond), 'Spanky's Ladder' is the place to head, with some wild runs down on to the Blackcomb Glacier Road. I was very thankful to have someone show me the way the first time I attempted Spanky's! On Whistler, the 'Upper Dave Murray Downhill' and 'Lower Dave Murray Downhill', an advanced (black) run which is very fast just after it has been groomed; was the site for the 2010 Olympic Games downhill. A fast, heart-in-your-mouth type run! The 'Whistler Bowl' has both advanced and expert runs, and is well worth checking out. Take the 'Peak Express' chair to the peak, for an extraordinary view of both mountains and the village below, and the entrance to the 'Whistler Bowl'.

7th Heaven
'Lower Cloud Nine', 7th Heaven, Blackcomb, with a view of Whistler.
Tree Fort
'Watch Out', a gladed run on Blackcomb.
Tree Fort
'White Gold' on Blackcomb, with Whistler in the background.

We haven't introduced our girls to cross country skiing yet, sometimes it is a mission to get them to just walk in the snow! On our last visit to Whistler we tried out some of the cross country trails in the 'Lost Lake' and 'Whistler Olympic Park' areas ourselves, without the girls (babysitter!), and had such a great time that we look forward to making it a family activity down the track. Whistler's cross country skiing areas have an extensive network of groomed and back-country trails for all ability levels, including trails used in the 2010 Winter Olympic Games!

Whistler Village

There is so much to do in Whistler Village, you could spend days just exploring! It is a pedestrian-only village which makes exploring a breeze! Whistler village has a cinema, cafes, a great library, indoor rock climbing, ice skating, art galleries, a play centre set up in the conference centre during the winter, with bouncing castles and many other activities. All of which we have tried and can highly recommend!

The village has so many great cafes and restaurants. We loved warming up by the fire at the 'BrewHouse', and watching the model train as it circled the restaurant. It is a family-friendly restaurant with a great children's menu and a cosy atmosphere.

There are many fun activities that we have tried out down at the 'Whistler Olympic Plaza'; ice skating, tobogganing, Family Apres, and playing in the playground.

Ice skating at the 'Whistler Olympic Plaza'.
Tobogganing at the 'Whistler Olympic Plaza'.
Playground, 'Whistler Olympic Plaza'.

Upper Village, Blackcomb

The 'Upper Village', at the base of Blackcomb mountain, is a great little spot to explore. It has cafes, restaurants, ski gear and hire, clothes and groceries. You can get great burgers at 'Merlins Bar and Grill', sitting inside or outside with a great view of Blackcomb mountain. Our family favourite in the Upper Village was 'Portobello' at the Fairmont, with great coffee and hot chocolate, and donuts they bake themselves, including the spectacular bacon maple creme donut!

Onion rings, blue cheese, bacon, beef burger and a side of poutine, at 'Merlins' in the Upper Village.
Espresso and Bacon Maple Creme Donut, at 'Portobello' in the Upper Village.

Whistler After Dark

After the sun has gone down, Whistler is an exciting place to explore! The village is lit up with thousands of lights on the trees, the smell of food cooking in the restaurants, the sound of Apres in full swing, the iciness in the air, all gives the village a magical feel.

Every Sunday there is the Fire and Ice show at the 'Skier's Plaza', Whistler village. It involves skiers and riders performing some great jumps, through a flaming hoop, finishing with some fireworks. Make sure to rug-up, it can get a little cold standing around watching the show. We booked ourselves on to the patio of the 'GLC', for the christmas eve Fire and Ice show, which was a great experience. The patio is right next to the jump, and with heaters and blankets provided, and some great food, it was the best place to watch the show.

Frozen creek in the village.
Inukshuk.
New Years Eve!

Treats!

We have a little ski-trip tradition that after a good couple of days skiing the girls get a treat. There are so many options in Whistler to fulfil this tradition!

'The Great Glass Elevator Candy Shop'.
'Cows' ice-cream shop.
The 'Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory'.