Review of Whistler

12th February 2009 by Jon Widdows 

Was in Whistler with my wife in January for 10 days and it was a fantastic skiing experience. We class ourselves as intermediates and 99% of our time has been spent on piste. We found some of the runs quite challenging as they are not always groomed. You can check what has been groomed on the electronic boards at the top of most of the lifts.

It was off peak so the issue of queuing wasn’t a major problem although it did get considerably busier at the weekend.

The 7th Heaven on Blackcomb was brilliant, probably our favourite area on both mountains although we did spend a fair bit of time skiing the runs on Whistler that led to Creekside. Lots of tree lined skiing and most of the runs and lifts are long so you don’t feel like you are constantly hopping on and off them. Skiing in at the end of the day wasn’t the greatest, always busy and quite slushy but you could take the gondola down if you wanted.

Our favourite runs were everything in 7th Heaven, Ridge Runner, Blue Line, Zig Zag, Springboard on Blackcomb and the Dave Murray and Franz’s on Whistler.

As with all resorts there are always the runs that buck the trend when it comes to rating i.e. a blue (red in Europe) that you feel is as tough as a black and a black that doesn’t seem that difficult but overall we felt the rating system was accurate. We did find some of the non-groomed runs a bit challenging as they tended to become a bit mogully but it’s nice to have some variety!

All gondolas and lifts were ok. Emerald Express on Whistler and 7th Heaven Express on Blackcomb tended to be the busiest. It would be quicker to walk up the mountain than take Franz’s Chair (W) or same with Catskinner (B).
Lifts open at 8.30 and while we were there they closed around 3pm - still gave us plenty of good skiing time.

It’s not Austria but actually found the mountain restaurants very pleasant and good value. Yes there are huge places - Rendezvous and Roundhouse - but there are a few diamonds in the rough such as the Chic Pea (W) and the Crystal Hut (B). Crowding wasn’t an issue for us but I imagine it could be in the Peak Season.

It rained in the village during our stay but this wasn’t a problem as there was plenty of skiing terrain above the cloud/mist.

Did a 1 day Supergroup for Intermediates. Ended up just my wife and me with an instructor. Quite intense and spent the day focussing on technique, trying to get rid of the bad habits we had picked up. Overall very pleased.

Took the Peak to Peak a couple of times but more to take photos than for any other reason. Didn’t manage to get on the glass bottom gondolas (there were 2 while we were there) but still a good experience and yes you are very high!

We stayed in the Pinnacle in Whistler which was a 5 to 10 minute stroll from the base of Whistler. Our apartment came with kitchenette, plasma TV, fireplace and Jacuzzi bath. It was great. The walk to and from the gondolas was always nice at the beginning and end of the day as we left our boots and skis at the base (at a cost). There are lots of bars and restaurants to stop in for a few après beers so it never felt monotonous. Tried all the main haunts - GLC and Longhorns were always quite busy, the upstairs at Blacks tended to be quieter. Wandered over to Blackcomb for a few beers in Merlin’s one evening but most of the action appeared to be in Whistler. A pint of local beer cost about C$6.

Visited the Rim Rock Café as a treat. Quite expensive but interesting menu. Also had a very nice meal in Hy’s Steakhouse.

Spent one afternoon on the Zip Trek Eagle Tour which was fun and on our departure day we did the Vancouver City tour (rather than checkout at 10am and hang about till the BA flight later that evening). It was excellent and I would recommend it.

All in all a fantastic holiday and given the euro exchange rate may be back there quicker than we originally thought!

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