Now settled back in the flatlands of Holland, it’s hard to believe that only a few weeks ago I was breathing the crisp mountain air in Canada.
Whistler and Blackcomb are two ski mountains side by side, which were recently connected by a 4.4km Peak 2 Peak gondola which is the world’s largest unsupported span in the world. Nearly 1,500ft above the valley floor the ride is perfect for sightseeing and saving valuable skiing time.
Before the gondola’s construction skiers had to ski or gondola all the way down either mountain and take a gondola back up the other side in order to experience both sides. Now, you can easily experience both with the short 10 minute gondola ride.
Inspecting the massive map, with it’s outstanding 200+ mapped runs and 39 lifts, it was obvious a season pass would be a necessity if in town long enough. Heck, the two longest runs are both 11km!
I love how everything is so straight forward and accessible in Whistler. That really makes it stand apart from the other ski resorts I have had the privilege of visiting. The rental store is RIGHT at the gondola, so you don’t need to struggle with all of the awkward equipment and carry it far. The service is a bonus, as the staff take your skies and load them on the gondola for you. All you need to worry about is getting your fat, long john layered butt on the gondola. When you get to the top you take ten steps outside, throw down your skies, snap them on and you’re off!
I cannot recall the last time I skied in Whistler so it was a real treat to be able to go up and spend a day on the slopes with Mom and sister Bree. As it was so early in the season and Whistler/Blackcomb had just opened, we were some of the few skiers on the mountains and the lifts had absolutely no queues. The downside to early skiing naturally means snow conditions are iffy and many of the lifts and runs are closed. BUT, don’t let this stop you from enjoying an early ski, even the “small” runs granted us a good 15 minutes of continual skiing, with wind in our hair and splendid views. I love the nature on the mountain and all of the big evergreens. The fantastic thing about Whistler is that, let’s be honest, the runs are so fabulous great snows isn’t even required to have a great time.
We really lucked out with a blissfully sunny day, clear views, no wind, blue sky and a temperature inversion (-2 in the village, +1 on the mountain).
We were privileged enough to stay in the Aava Whistler Hotel, my first time staying. The Aava Hotel is literally just around the corner from the Whistler Gondola, which is a super plus if you’re planning to ski.
The rooms are not huge but they are comfortable and have everything you need for an enjoyable stay. Getting in the hotel’s outdoor hot tub and sitting in the sauna afterwards was just what we needed after our good work out. The atmosphere in the lobby’s lounge by the big fireplace is cozy. It’s the place to be for young adults who are there to have fun and hang out after a day of winter sports.
I highly recommend Whistler. It’s a magical ski resort which will always have a special place in my heart. I will definitely ski more after my last experience and will make the effort to go whenever I’m in Vancouver during the winter.