Resort Guide 2018: West #3
Sixteen big bowls scallop across snow-kissed alpine heights. Vistas are majestic, punctuated by glaciers, crags and spires. The skiing seems to go forever—two hulking mountains, 8,150-plus inbound acres, and one mile of rise. “It’s big! No, it is huge! No, it is massive!” While North America’s largest and most visited ski resort offers heaps of attributes and entertainments, this signature pairing of exceptional natural beauty with expansive and diverse skiing remains the heart of its appeal. “A skier’s dream!” Whistler’s other amenities—from fresh waffles in a mountaintop hut to Basque tapas in a cosmopolitan bar, and from indoor axe throwing to a Scandinavian
spa in the woods—are all bonus. “Whistler has it all.” “Even if you don’t ski, there is too much to do.” “Great apres!” “Great nightlife and events.” “Great kids programs.” “Great vibe.” “Great service.” The eternal downside is the mercurial weather, which brings 38 annual feet of snow but can yo-yo from perfect powder to glop to serious hardpack. “Your timing has to be good for the best conditions.” “When the clouds roll in, visibility can get dodgy.” “It can rain.” Newer downsides come from the resort’s year-round buzzing popularity. “Parking is difficult.” “Hotels show wear.” “Traffic backed up for miles.” The impact of Whistler Blackcomb’s new corporate owners, Vail Re- sorts, remains to be seen, but some things here will never change: “A sunny day here is pure heaven.” And “no resort makes you a better skier.”
In case you’ve been living under a rock, Vail Resorts now owns Whistler Blackcomb, which means the Mountain Collective pass is out, but the Epic Pass, with all its reciprocal resorts, is in.
Hike up and over Blackcomb’s Spanky’s Ladder to the serious expert terrain of the Gemstone Bowls. Go with a guide if it’s your first time.
The Dirty Bowl or a bacon-maple doughnut at Portobello.
Whistler Mountain’s new year-round Peak Suspension Bridge hovers in thin air over the heights of Whistler Bowl, spanning 1/10th of a mile and proffering 360-degree views.