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It’s easy to play the numbers game with Whistler. It’s the biggest resort in North America and has the stats to back it up. But that’s not what makes this place special—and so deserving of its new No. 1 rank. Surprisingly for a place so immense, this Canadian resort’s real brilliance lies in its ability to get personal, to offer every skier a day that feels intimate, customized, and perfect for him or her alone. This place has personality and a level of diversity that lets it offer such vivid ski experiences. Sure, unpredictable Pacific Northwest weather is a detraction (it ranks a dismal No. 50), but it’s also a strength, delivering loads of snow and skiable ultra-steeps. So go ahead and have a Whistler experience: Après with an Irish jig or a jug of sake margaritas. Stay out late hopping between clubs and cigar bars. Get up early and rip the Olympic race runs while they’re still perfectly groomed. Carve through magnificent bowls, straightline steep chutes, play hide-and-seek with your kids in the Magic Castle, plunder powder in mossy woods. This is certain: All great Whistler experiences somehow feel like the best Whistler experiences to be having at that moment—and that’s the key to this resort’s success.
What’s new >>Three village restaurants (Royal Taste of India, Thai in the Village, the Mexican Corner), two hotel remodels (Fairmont Chateau Whistler, Summit Lodge), and upgraded kids adventure zones.
On-hill lunch >> Christine’s at the Rendezvous Lodge serves up regionally sourced, chef-crafted courses paired with B.C. wines and big views.
Off-the-map trail >> Hike Blackcomb’s Chimney for top-of-the-world vistas before skiing Fraggle Rock and the Grey Zone.