Overview of Whistler Ski Resort
You can ski Whistler, as the main village is known; or you can ski Whistler Blackcomb, as owners Intrawest prefer to call the resort they’ve made world famous, after its adjoining mountains. However you name it, it is regarded by many as the world's best ski resort. Together, Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains, with their respective base villages, house North America’s largest ski area and, until recently, its biggest vertical (now second to upstart BC neighbour Revelstoke).
Whistler ski resort was created in the early 1960s with the aim of hosting a Winter Olympics, and 50 years later it finally got its wish. This means it now not only has world class skiing on a scale unseen elsewhere in North America (the ski area stats measure up to one of the larger resorts in the French Alps), but it also has world class Nordic facilities at the newly created Olympic Park south of the resort, and sliding facilities with bobsleigh run at the sliding centre.
The ski area spreads across the twin mountains which meet at the base and now at altitude too, thanks to the remarkable new PEAK2PEAK gondola (see Resort Attractions). Both areas are crowned with glaciers which along with the resort’s huge annual snowfalls of Pacific powder, allows it to have one of Canada’s longest ski seasons, as well as its only summer ski and board season.
Off the slopes Whistler’s amazing growth from next to nothing 50 years ago to one of the world’s five most visited ski resorts today, has led to an incredible variety of facilities being available to guests. The range of shops, bars, accommodation and restaurants, centred on the trademark Intrawest pedestrian village, is almost unmatched anywhere and, despite having North America’s biggest ski area, the choice of activities off the slopes is exceptional. In fact Whistler actually attracts even more visitors in summer than winter, allowing all these businesses to thrive and grow without the huge operational difficulties caused by the seasonal nature of many resorts.
The Olympics have brought other benefits to Whistler too including big improvements to the sea-to-sky highway which links the resort to Vancouver, cutting the journey time to about 90 minutes on what is now a very good access road.