As with full-time ski resort residents the world over, Whistler locals are none too keen to share the insights of their beloved mountains. But hey… it won’t be the first time we’ve broken the rules, so here we share some of our top tips for skiing Whistler Blackcomb. Consider it another gift to you, just like our convention-breaking rates.
WHERE AND WHEN TO SHRED.
- Glorious powder – that’s what we’re all here for, right? Symphony, Harmony and The Peak on Whistler, and Seventh Heaven, Crystal and Glacier Express on Blackcomb are the chairlifts to look for to access the best terrain.
- If you’re looking for sunny runs, your best bet is to head up Whistler mountain in the morning and Blackcomb in the afternoon/evening. Or just ride the Seventh Heaven chairlift (on Blackcomb) all day long – it’s called that for a reason… Of course, that’s if the big ball of fire is around at all.
- Advanced skiers/boarders should head to the alpine area accessible by the Glacier Express and Seventh Heaven chairlifts on Blackcomb and The Peak and Harmony chairlifts on Whistler. This is where you’ll find the most challenging terrain.
- Not a lot of people are aware of this, but if you’re a complete newbie (or, in Whistler lingo, “never nevers”), there’s a significantly cheaper pass that gives you access just to the initiation terrain. It’s totally worth saving dollars if you’re not going to making full use of the slopes anyway. There’s not much information about it online (for good reason – they don’t want you to know about it) – just visit the lift ticket window for details.
- Plan your adventures on weekdays if you have the chance. Fewer crowds means more riding, fresh powder and even better rates at Pangea.
AVOID THE CROWDS.
- If you’re thinking of taking a lunch break at The Roundhouse on Whistler or Rendezvous on Blackcomb, avoid doing so between 11:30 AM and 1:30 PM. Waiting around for a table is the best way to waste precious time. Heading back down to the village for lunch, on the other hand, will save you both time and dollars. Remember, the best pizzas (and sandwiches and salads) in town are just a few steps from the gondola (that’s Pangea’s The Living Room, of course!).
- Lifts busier than you’re willing to accept? Check out Garbanzo chairlift on Whistler and Excelerator on Blackcomb – both tend to be ignored by the crowds and give you access to great skiing terrain.
- Many people like to go out of bounds in pursuit of fresh powder. If you’re a high level skier/rider and that’s what you want to do, make sure you’re accompanied by someone who knows the area. Better yet check if one of Pangea’s shredhead managers are heading up for a morning of riding and ask to join them! Following random tracks can be very dangerous.
DEALING WITH THE WEATHER.
- Don’t let rain in the village dampen your spirits. Rain down low generally means snow up high…
- If you don’t love the snow conditions where you are on the mountain, try going higher or lower. With the amount of vertical Whistler Blackcomb has, the snow can change dramatically.
- This is Canada. It’s f@$king cold. Whistler locals know that a couple of hand/toe warmers can really fix your day, especially if you plan to be up on the mountain for a long time. These can be purchased from The Shop at reception in Pangea (and they’re about half the price here as they are on the mountain).
MAXIMIZING YOUR SKI TIME.
- Keep in mind that getting to Symphony Bowl takes some time, so don’t leave it for the end of the day. By the time you get there you might find it closed.
- Get up early, eat breakfast at Pangea, and be at the lift line 15 minutes before the official opening time. The lifts open practically every day at least 15 minutes before the published opening time – that’s something only the locals know (and like to keep to themselves). Consider yourself a local now.
- Take the lift after it’s officially closed. Confused?… Again, nearly every day all the chair lifts will run a 15-minute “grace period” after the official closing time. So when the liftie tells you “last chair”, well, try your luck. You can nearly always get another run in. And again, it’ll be just you and the locals out, desperately trying to keep that secret. Shhh… (Note: the gondolas only run a 5-minute “grace period”, so plan accordingly.)
Stay tuned to our blog and social media channels for more insight and more tips and tricks to experiencing the best of the unique mountain town of Whistler on a budget.