Whistler/Blackcomb Ski & Snowboard School
WHY IT'S GREAT What's most impressive about this school is the enormity of the learning environment and owner Intrawest's commitment to excellence in all amenities and operations, including instruction. Whistler/Blackcomb offers big-mountain skiing similar enough to the Alps that it's a favorite destination for Europeans looking to improve their skills and still enjoy creature comforts. Instructors are exceptionally strong skiers who often function as much as alpine guides as technique boosters. Like all fine ski teachers, they respect the mountain's ability to instruct. They find the right terrain, put students there, step back and let them learn from it.
SCHOOL PHILOSOPHY "To create memories inspired through encouragement, accomplishment and friendship." Note that, again, the emphasis is not on exactly how to turn, but on the larger whys and wherefores of skiing. Distinguishing Qualities Instructor recruiting programs and dedicated training attract a world-class staff, not unlike Vail's. A variety of weather and snow, combined with a "holistic" teaching approach, creates an experience that transcends pure technique and encourages students to progress rapidly.
LEADER Rob McSkimming, Managing Director
WHAT'S TAUGHT Canadian Ski Instructors Alliance (CSIA) Curricula. Completely compatible with ATS, Canadian methods tend to be slightly more formal though every bit as efficient.
A GOOD DEAL Visits to high-mountain yurts atop Blackcomb Mountain. These backcountry programs are available November through April. Cost: Price varies from $15 for a quick lunch to $356 for a private lesson, overnight stay, gourmet dinner and breakfast.