Whistler Blackcomb is one of the most well-known ski resorts in the world. This is partly because they’re the biggest resort in North America, and have got a lot of things right. But mostly it’s the snow. The snow record of the Pacific Northwest outstrips Europe, and Whistler has glorious high, open bowls in which to enjoy it. Then there’s a fully developed, car-free resort town that has all the services and activities you could ever dream of, while somehow also retaining some charm, plus a very Canadian service attitude that it’s easy for even cynical Brits to relax into. Whistler does it well.
The ski season is long – typically from mid-November all the way through until the end of May. Then in the summer Blackcomb re-opens for a month or so of summer riding on the Horstman Glacier. Expert skiers will love the extent of the terrain on offer, novices will be equally impressed with the high standard of instruction, and freestylers will be right at home in the extensive Blackcomb terrain parks. The downsides? Clouds and crowds. All that Pacific coast precipitation can sometimes come down rain rather than snow, and whiteouts in the clouds are common. Crowds can be a problem at the village lifts, in the mountain restaurants and on the home runs – Whistler is very popular, and slightly too close to Vancouver.