Even though Whistler Blackcomb is ranked among the best ski resorts in North America, you’ll still want to know the best time to ski in Whistler when you’re planning a trip. I’ve lived in Whistler village for the better part of the last 16 years. Below are my recommendations for the best time to ski in Whistler, based on my experience.
The Best Time to Ski in Whistler
How Much Snow Does Whistler Blackcomb Get?
In the last decade, Whistler Blackcomb has received an average snowfall of 10.8 metres (35.5 feet) annually. This is just one of the reasons it’s rated in the top ski resorts. If powder days are how you define the best month to ski, these are the snowiest months (based on the last 10 years):
1) January: 2.3 meters (7.7 feet)
2) March: 2.2 meters (7.2 feet)
3) December: 2.1 meters (6.9 feet)
However, there’s much more to having a great time at Whistler Blackcomb than a pow day. As a local, I want to share details about each month so you can plan your ski trip with as much information as possible, especially if this is your first time to Whistler.
What Date Does Whistler Blackcomb Open?
Whistler Blackcomb always opens for the season on US Thanksgiving. Prior to being acquired by Vail Resorts, the mountain would open early if there was heavy snowfall but that has not happened recently.
What Are the Busiest Days in Whistler?
Saturday and Sunday are the busiest days in Whistler. Thousands of people drive to Whistler for a weekend of skiing or come from the surrounding area for ski school. I’d suggest avoiding weekends if you can. At very least, avoid leaving Whistler Sunday night as it could take you several hours longer than necessary with heavy traffic volumes.
Other Busy Times in Whistler to Avoid:
While December records good snow fall, early season is always a bit risky when the best conditions are unpredictable. Also, Whistler Film Festival takes place in early December making Whistler ski resort busy.
Late December and early January is the busiest time in Whistler due to the festive season. It is also the most expensive. January and February continue to be very busy due to US holidays and Canadian holidays. Prices for lift tickets are at a premium, as are hotel rooms.
March can be busy depending on the time of year Spring Break and Easter fall. There is a lot of snow plus sunny days and warmer temperatures making spring skiing a great time to be in Whistler. There are longer days and it’s more likely you’ll enjoy smaller lift lines.
So, What is the Best Time to Ski in Whistler?
My opinion is that March is the best month to ski Whistler Blackcomb. You will experience the best snow, sunny days and blue skies, smaller crowds, and more affordable prices.
Whistler Blackcomb Mountain Details
Whistler Blackcomb has 8,171 acres of skiable terrain. It has over 200 trails, 5 terrain parks, and 35 ski lifts. It is the largest ski resort in North America. Whistler also hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Whistler Mountain Stats:
- Vertical: 1,530 metres (5,020 feet)
- Top Elevation: 2,182 metres (7,160 feet)
- Skiable Terrain: 4,757 acres (1,925 hectares)
Blackcomb Mountains Stats:
- Vertical: 1,609 metres (5,280 feet)
- Top Elevation: 2,284 metres (7,494 feet)
- Skiable Terrain: 3,414 acres (1,382 hectares)
Can a Beginner Ski in Whistler?
Yes, they can. Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain both have a lot of terrain accessible to all skill levels from beginner to advanced skiers. There are green runs accessible from the top of both mountains. This is the breakdown of terrain type:
Whistler Mountain: Beginner 20%, Intermediate 55%, Advanced 25%
Blackcomb Mountain: Beginner 20%, Intermediate 50%, Advanced 30%
How Many Days Should You Ski at Whistler?
Because Whistler Blackcomb has over 8,000 acres of terrain, you should plan to ski at least 3-4 days. The Peak 2 Peak Gondola, which connects the top of Blackcomb and Whistler mountains, will make your time on the mountain extremely efficient. Essentially you can start at the base of Blackcomb mountain or take the Creekside gondola up and still get around to all areas of Whistler Blackcomb.
What Time Can You Ski at Whistler?
The ski season at Whistler Blackcomb starts on American Thanksgiving at the end of November. Whistler and Blackcomb mountains are open every day for skiing, snowboarding, and sightseeing until late April. Then one of the two mountains is usually closed for maintenance while the other stays open until late May or early June. The mountain that closes first typically alternates each year.
The hours of operation of the Whistler Blackcomb lifts are usually from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the early season then 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. from late February until mid April. For spring skiing (April until close), the hours are 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. *Please Note: Hours of operation are subject to change.
Where is Whistler?
Whistler Mountain is in the coast mountains of British Columbia. The closest city is Vancouver, BC on the west coast of Canada. Visitors fly into Vancouver International Airport and either rent a car or take an airport shuttle to Whistler. The distance from Vancouver airport to Whistler is 135 km (85 miles) along the beautiful Sea to Sky Highway and takes approximately two hours. Read my detailed blog about How to Get to Whistler.
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