Whistler is the largest ski resort in North America with over 8,000 acres and over 200 named trails to explore. Add an enviable snow record and superb skiing to suit everyone in your group and it’s easy to see why Whistler is consistently voted the best ski resort in North America. The resort is vast and there are two mountains to ski! With so much skiing on offer, you’ll be finding new runs to ski all week.
We recommend the quickest way of getting to know each mountain is to take one of the free mountain orientation tours. These complimentary tours are run by the ski resort and are for intermediate or expert skiers and boarders. They run daily – just meet up at the Guest Satisfaction Centre located at the light board at the top of the Whistler Gondola on Whistler mountain or the Guest Satisfaction Centre at the top of the new Blackcomb Gondola on Blackcomb mountain.
To help you get the most out of your time on snow, here’s our insider’s guide on the skiing at Whistler Blackcomb.
When you are standing at the top of Whistler Village you’ll have the choice of jumping on the Whistler Village Gondola or the Fitzsimmons Express Chair to go and explore Whistler Mountain or the Excalibur Gondola to go and explore Blackcomb Mountain.
There are several key areas to ski on Whistler mountain. Here’s our quick run down:
Olympic Mid Station and Olympic chair. This is a designated beginners area and home to the Children’s Learning Centre. You can find gentle terrain here with wide, easy runs leading back into the Village.
Garbanzo. Located at the Olympic Mid station you will find the Garbanzo Express Chair. This lift provides access to some great intermediate and advanced runs which are below the tree line. These are great runs when the snow is falling and visibility is less than perfect. Try out Bear Paw if you’re looking for a black run or Orange Peel into Tokum if you’re looking for a blue run.
Emerald. Head into the family zone from the top of the Whistler Village Gondola and enjoy some fabulous beginner/intermediate runs here. Intermediates will enjoy Jolly Green Giant – which takes you through thinly spaced trees. This area is a designated slow zone so is an ideal area for the kids to enjoy as well.
Harmony. From the top of the Emerald Express you can ski down GS or Rabbit Tracks which takes you down into the Harmony Express Chair. This chairlift takes you up high above the tree line to a ski anywhere open bowl. First time up here we would recommend using the blue run Harmony Ridge to head back down which allows you to scope out a number of chutes with steep entrances at Harmony Horseshoes. Great fun for advanced skiers on a clear day – but not for the timid, especially in poor visibility.
Symphony. This is another vast bowl well worth exploring – easy skiing at the top and some great skiing though the trees at the bottom. You have to take a long green run out of this bowl called Burnt Stew Trail which you access from half way down the bowl. Don’t get caught out at the bottom of the bowl at the Symphony Express Chair late in the day. You have to ride the lift back to the top and ski out of the bowl and it can take a while to make your way back across into the Harmony area.
Big Red Area. The area served by the Big Red Express Chair provides access to long, fast intermediate runs, some with steep off-shoots through the trees. This is great top to bottom skiing taking you down into Creekside Village. You’ll find the 2010 Olympic Downhill run in this area – Dave Murray Downhill.
Peak Express. Ride the Peak Express Chair and look for the blue run called Peak to Creek which is a superb 3 and ½ mile long run which drops 5,000 vertical feet from Peak Lookout back down into Creekside Village. A great run to rack up vertical to impress your friends/group if you’re tracking your ski day on the resort app!
The Peak Express chair also gives you access to the high alpine bowls above the treeline – Glacier Bowl, Whistler Bowl, West Bowl and Bagel Bowl. This is expert terrain and Whistler bowl will get bumped up quickly as it’s the main route down. There are some great off-shoots lower down this bowl – look for Shale Slope or Left Hook.
Intermediates will have a great ski day on some of our favourite runs on Whistler Mountain. Be sure and try:
Peak To Creek – longest run on Whistler Mountain from the top of the Peak Express Chair back down to Creekside.
Harmony Ridge – from the top of the Harmony Express chair back down into the bowl – a great place to do laps and try your hand at some of the easier black off-shoots at the lower part of this run like Boomer Bowl.
Fisheye – from the top of Whistler Village Gondola take Fisheye into Franz’s into Lower Franz’s. This is a great run that takes you into Creekside Village – a great idea to hit up some of the Creekside village spots for lunch. Why not have lunch at Dusty’s or stop off for a coffee at Starbucks.
Advanced skiers will enjoy the Olympic Downhill Run at Dave Murray Downhill – cut through the trees so it’s ideal for when it’s snowing. You can also cut off this run and take Bear Paw which takes you back over to the Olympic Mid Station.
If your day starts in Whistler Village jump on the Excaliber Gondola to access the skiing on Blackcomb Mountain. If your day starts in Blackcomb Village, jump on the new Blackcomb Gondola.
Gondola / Excelerator. This provides access to the mid part of the front side of the mountain where you will find lots of well-groomed runs with gentle pitches to cruise around on. The main runs under the Gondola like Roses’ Gold and Springboard can get a bit busy, so try out some of the quieter runs over at the top of the Excelerator Express, like Buzz Cut.
Jersey Cream. Slide down Jersey Cream Road from the top of Excelerator to take you to the Jersey Cream Chair. This is a nice area with good access to tree lined cruisers. The main blue cruiser here is a designated slow zone – perfect for getting your ski legs back on day one. You can also stop into the Race Centre and have a go at a timed run through the gates!
Crystal Ridge. There are some great cruisers here like Ridge Runner and Rock N Roll as well as gladed trails through the trees like Arthurs Choice. This is also the best area on Blackcomb Mountain to seek out some powder stashes the day after the snow rolls in.
7th Heaven. From the top of the Blackcomb Gondola you can make your way across into the 7th Heaven area. This is a huge sunny bowl full of intermediate cruisers that looks across into Whistler. You will find some great skiing here, especially on runs like Upper Panorama.
Glacier Express. This is your gateway to the high alpine bowls at the top of Blackcomb mountain. The Horstman Glacier always has good snow to test out your technique on. There is also a blue road which takes you back down to the top of Crystal Ridge Express, but it can get busy.
Blackcomb Glacier. This is a fantastic route for advanced intermediates and experts. Take the short hike up to the Showcase T Bar to get there. Avoid the steep section at Blow Hole and go wide into the bowl where the skiing is easier. Take the Glacier Road out back to Crystal Ridge. If you’re not sure about heading into this section on your own, the resort runs a guided tour. The Blackcomb Glacier Tour meets daily at 11:15 at the Guest Satisfaction Centre at the top of Blackcomb Gondola.
Intermediates will have a great ski day on some of our favourite runs on Blackcomb Mountain. Be sure and try:
Springboard – a fantastic cruiser with great views of the Upper Village at the base of Blackcomb Mountain.
Panorama or Cloud Nine under the 7th Heaven Express chair.
Ridge Runner at the Crystal Ridge Express.
Advanced skiers will love skiing through the glades at Arthurs Choice and skiing over the back into Blackcomb Glacier.
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