Review of Whistler

31st December 2013 by

Peter Frinton


I admit bias- I skied Whistler the day it opened in 1966, and still consider it ‘my mountain’. But I stopped skiing there for a while because of crowds, expense, and loss of the earlier ambience. Meanwhile, I’ve skied the BC Interior (love Revelstoke!), Switzerland, France, USA.

Now I am back, and marvelling at how the place has improved since the Olympics. First, they’ve upgraded the lifts. There are still some stupid design errors unfixed, but the new Crystal quad is superb, the Harmony six-pack a 50% capacity upgrade.

Second, they have more snow making equipment than you’ve ever seen, which really helps offset the low elevation snow scarcity. In 2013, I was able to ski right down to the village in the third week of April, and Blackcomb was open at higher elevations for another month. This December holiday season has been very rough for coastal mountains, with cold dry, then warm dry weather. Yet Whistler has 6600 acres open and has done a great job of grooming under difficult conditions.

Finally, you just don’t get a better North American alpine resort area for cuisine, top hotels, events and festivals, amenities (including a bobsled/skeleton track, a fabulous X-country / ski jump area at Callaghan, 20 minutes away, and endless helicopter and Powder Mtn. snowcat operations at your fingertips.

All this a direct 9 hour BA, Air Canada, Virgin or charter flight from Heathrow. Buses leave YVR (Vancouver airport) and bee-line to Whistler in a little under two hours. You’ll meet people from all over the world, pay a lot less than some European resorts, and get the biggest acreage in North America. Learn to improve your Aussie accent- the place is Sydney North, but you’ll be amazed at how many Brits. there are…

Just don’t come at Xmas or end of February (American Presidents’ week holiday), and make sure to do your major stuff Mon.-Friday! Expect an easy 40,000 foot vertical in a day if you are at all serious about sliding downhill.

Return to Whistler