Two side-by-side ski giants rise from a lush and lake-dotted valley, climbing high past tree line into a sprawling alpine arena of glaciers, crags, and awe. This is where 8,100-plus seamlessly connected acres offer weeks of intermediate cruising, expansive kid zones, the continent’s largest serving of true expert terrain, and a whole separate universe of tree skiing.
Expect big snowfall—over 450 inches annually—easy-to-manage altitude, and variable temperatures that deliver mixed blessings. At the base, the little ski city of Whistler and its car-free center buzz and hum with internationalism, vitality, and a nonstop spirit of fun. Both mountain and town are booming, with 2018 bringing a combined $90 million in upgrades from Whistler Blackcomb’s new parent Vail Resorts, the town’s big hotels, independent businesses, and the municipality itself.
The not so good? Prices have risen dramatically, particularly for lodging and lift tickets—although the favorable exchange rate and an Epic Pass dulls the sting. But with more than three million annual visitors from around the globe plus the weekend surge from Vancouver and Seattle, nothing is slowing this meteor down. - Susan Reifer Ryan
Lift upgrades: A 10-seat gondola on Blackcomb replaces the Wizard and Solar quads. On Whistler, the Emerald Express quad becomes a six-pack.
COME FOR THE...
CHALLENGE Test your limits in Saudan Couloir on Blackcomb; Harmony Horseshoes on Whistler.
BRAGGING RIGHTS 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.
BREAKFAST NOOK The Dirty Bowl or a bacon-maple doughnut at Portobello.
DON'T MISS 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.