Resort Profile: Whistler Blackcomb

By adamrowden, 6 Dec '12 at 12:11

Whistler is North America’s largest ski area and it is bloody huge. It is over twice the size of the second largest resort and it has plenty to offer. In fact, hundreds of pro winter athletes have honed their skills in this, quite possibly the world’s best, resort.

It is hard to do Whistler Blackcomb justice, however, we will try and fill you in with as much info as we can...

Being in Whistler you will most probably notice that it has a certain Alpine feel to it, which sets it apart from other North American resorts. For example its mix of high bowls and glaciers combined with its cracking scenery and the crowds it attracts.

The main village, Whistler Village, is located at the foot of its two mountains - Whistler and Blackcomb and it has plenty to offer with some cracking cafes, international stores and over 100 restaurants that offer a variety of cuisines from around the world.

On the Slopes

Like most other resorts on the western side of North America, Whistler Blackcomb offers the advantages of excellent snow and a lot of woodland runs as well. In fact, it has pretty much everything you can want. It is that huge.

As you get lower and closer to the village the slopes can become extremely crowded, which is an issue, but not one that is enough to put you off heading out to do a season.

Once you get the gondola out of the village there are plenty of ace tree runs that fan out and are all great fun to cruise down. You can also access Blackcomb from Whistler Village on an eight-seater gondola which is followed by a fast moving quad. The main Rendezvous restaurant up the mountain is a great place to meet and is also the departure point of the Peak 2 Peak gondola. When here, you can head left down some great cruising and the Glacier Express, which takes you - you guessed it - to the Horstman Glacier. Or, you can always turn right for some ace steep slopes or the terrain park, or the 7th Heaven Chairlift that takes you up 1610m the largest vertical in North America.


There is really no such thing as off piste in North America, instead there is a boundary which encompasess all the runs, everything inside the boundary is avalanche tested, and there are groomed and un-groomed runs which means fresh powder for all! Going outside the boundary is frowned upon and breaks all the rules. But here are some of our favourite back country runs...

Chyber Pass - Follow Highway 86 until it swings right back to town, go straight into the trees, you end up at Creekside.

Chimney - Traverse right above Crystal Road, after Spankeys, climb the 'chimney'. Drops back to crystal hut.

Fraggle rock - Hike the obvious hill just below the Crystal Hut.

CBC Trees - From Crystal Hut, go hard right, very steep trees to glacier road.

Living in Resort

There are a number of places to live in Whistler Blackcomb:

Glacier Park, located near Base II on Blackcomb Mountain, is perfectly situated for mountain access via the Blackcomb Gondola. We offer 5 buildings consisting of 3 different types of units. Each apartment holds 3 to 4 people. Single rooms are available in Glacier Park, subject to availability.

Brio is located just on the outskirts of the Village, approximately a 5 minute walk into town via the Valley Trail. We offer 1 and 2 bedroom units holding 2 or 4 people respectively. There are no single rooms in Brio. All accommodation is shared.

Located a couple of kilometres south of Whistler Creekside, Westside is our newest building. Westside apartments contain spacious living rooms, dining areas and balconies. The closest bus stop is steps from the front door. Whistler Creekside offers a grocery store, various retail and rental stores, restaurants and 2 pubs. Uploading at Whistler Mountain is just 5 minutes away from Westside. This building is a mix of 1 and 2 bedroom units, similar to Brio, holding 2 and 4 people respectively. All accommodation is shared.

Only our employees on the Foreign Recruit program are eligible for Valley Housing. Foreign Recruits are employees who have been sponsored to work as ski instructors by Whistler Blackcomb.

Bars and Clubs
The social scene is excellent with a variety of bars and the infamous 'Moosehead' beer to avoid. Here is a brief rundown of some of our favourites...

Merlins at Blackcomb - After work hangout for lifties and instructors
GLC- Slopeside and amazing nachos!
The Longhorn - Brash and loud
Murphys - Overpriced Irish theme
Crystal Lounge - Quiet, cheaper prices
Cinnamon Bear - Pool, Moosehead
Citta's - Busy and cramped
Crabshack - Lifties hangout
Buffalo Bill's - Night club for thirtysomethings
Savage Beagle - Quieter club
MAXX Fish - Loudest club, also shows movies
Tommy Africa's - Hiphop club
Garfinkels - Posh club
The Brewhouse - Own beer

Snowmobiles, Big Ice Rink, Ice Hockey in Vancouver.
Apres is a not-to-be-missed tradition in Whistler. Venues are open for lunch and dinner, and offer both child-friendly apres, and adult-only nightlife.

Dusty's Bar & Barbeque in the Creekside - Whistler's original apres-ski bar is the local's first choice for patio days, award winning BBQ, and evening entertainment.

The Garibaldi Lift Company at the base of Whistler - Known to locals as the GLC, it is conveniently located at the base of Whistler Mountain. Warm up in front of the GLC's roaring fire and order up an icy Kokanee beer and some of the signature appies like Sex Cheese, Chicken T&A or a heaping nacho platter.

Merlin's Bar & Grill at the base of Blackcomb - Blackcomb Mountain's apres-ski headquarters - Merlin's boasts the largest outdoor patio in Whistler. The party begins all afternoon and goes well into the night.

Eating Out
If you work for Whistler Blackcomb it's a 50% discount at their venues, and if you work in Food and Beverage, you get one $12 meal per 8-hour shift. Again you're spoilt for choice, 7 Japanese, 1 Chinese and many many more. In case you don't want to leave the room Dominos delivers (they have the best bumper sticker in town 'Bad Cop - No Donut'

Mountain Restos
Unfortunately all run by the same company so they get a bit repetitive. Rendezvous, Roundhouse and Glacier Creek are all huge and 50% off if you work for the resort. Crystal Hut and Hortsman Hut have some character

Away Days
Vancouver, very cosmopolitan city. Gastown, Granville Island and Chinatown are some of the more interesting parts of town. Downtown for posh shops, West Broadway (about halfway to the airport off Granville St) for outlet/warehouse stores. Try MEC for outdoor stuff.

Grouse Mountain, Cypress Bowl and Mt Semouyr are three small resorts overlooking Vancouver, worth about a day each. Grouse has the best views and all are open at night.

Seattle (USA), the Emerald City. A bit futher afield but worth the trek, Pike place market and Pacific Center worth a look. Don't forget the fish market at Pike Place if you've seen the Intrawest customer service video.

Transfer Days
Only Vancouver - some Billys hire cars and try to drive, not realizing how much snow there is. The 'Sea to Sky' highway is a two hour spectacular in good weather, a 4 hour nightmare in bad. The airport is well organized with a good Starbucks. The train; the Whistler Mountaineer is a more scenic trip to Vancouver, designed less for back-and-forth travel and more for tourist day/overnight trips to and from Vancouver.

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