Marc and I went back to Whistler Blackcomb last weekend, this time we were rewarded with perfect snow and amaaaazing views. Learning to ski was fun when we couldn’t see the surrounding mountains, but it was even more fun when we could see the world.
I’ve written a few Whistler related posts now, but this was the first time we ventured onto Blackcomb Mountain as well. If you’re interested, I have posts about the Whistler Turkey Sale (where you can buy cheap ski gear), about hiking to the lost lake in autumn, and about my first epic Whistler fails at Christmas.
Whistler Blackcomb – the basics
Whistler Blackcomb is an amaaaazing resort 120km North of Vancouver. The mountains are pretty high, Whistler is 2,182m and Blackcomb is even higher at 2,436m. Both mountains are covered in ski runs of all different levels. We are still pretty rubbish, so we stuck to the green (and a few blue) runs. But there are plenty of more advanced black runs for skiers and snowboarders that know what the are doing! You can see a map of the ski runs here.
How to get there
If you’d like to try skiing in Whistler Blackcomb, but you don’t have a car, it’s still pretty easy to get there from Vancouver. This time, we took a shuttle bus from down town Vancouver. There are quite a few options, but we went with Epic Rides. It cost $35 return and takes 2 hours. We took a bus at 6am, so we could get to Whistler as early as possible!
If you have (or hire) a car, just head to North Vancouver and take the Sea to Sky Highway the whole way to Whistler. It’s a truly beautiful route, so hopefully you’ll enjoy the drive as much as you enjoy the skiing.
Whistler Mountain Views
This was a perfect day for skiing. There was a fresh layer of powder and gorgeous blue skies. We started by going down the same green runs as our previous visit to Whistler. Our ALTS skiing lessons must have really helped. Whistler is soooo much more fun now we can control our skis a little better! Look at these amazing views!
I am still a bit nervous on the super steep sections, but we found we could both move faster down the mountain. Marc wasn’t waiting for me for quite so long so we can go further and explore more.
The really good thing about Whistler is that the ski runs are really long. We skied the whole way down the mountain back to the village, and then took the gondola back up to the top of the mountain again. The very top of Whistler was really busy, but once we started on our journey down the mountain it was actually not too busy at all!
Whistler Blackcomb Peak to Peak Gondola
On my first adventure in Whistler, I took the peak to peak gondola by mistake. On that occasion I couldn’t see anything as there was a bit of a blizzard. I’ve been wanting to take it again on a sunny day, and figured this was our chance! The Peak to peak Gondola starts at the top of either Whistler or Blackcomb, dips into the valley, and then heads back up to the opposite mountain. The distance is 4.4km and it takes just 11 minutes, full of epic views.
The photos above show you Blackcomb (on the left) and Whistler (on the right.) But there were pretty snow-topped mountains in all directions!
It’s soooo pretty!
We’d never skied on Blackcomb before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect when we reached that side of the resort. We liked the idea of seeing the views, so we skied along a pretty flat route called the expressway over to another chairlift so we could make it to the top of Blackcomb. There were some pretty decent views of Whistler on the way.
Once we’d made it to the top, there is an Inukshuk statue overlooking the views. This was the symbol of the 2010 Olympic games. It is an abstract sculpture of a human with outstretched arms. This one has a pretty amazing vista to look upon!
I was especially happy to see the view of the Black Tusk sticking out in the distance. I’d love to try the Black Tusk trail in Garibaldi Provincial Park next summer, so it is pretty cool to see it sticking up in the distance!
Skiing on Blackcomb was quite different to skiing on Whistler. The top of the mountain doesn’t have any trees so you are able to zig zag down the switchbacks while looking out to the mountains the whole time. I loved it!
Graduating from Pizza-stance
Marc was encouraging me to abandon the snow-pough/ pizza stance and keep parallel skiing down the mountain. I am finally good enough to overtake some of the other beginners. Woot! The only bad things about the green runs on Blackcomb is that they are quite narrow. You need to have a teeny bit of control before you ski on this mountain!
The mountains look gorgeous above the treeline. They were covered in fluffy-looking snow.
We spent the rest of the day zooming around the slopes. I even forgot to keep stopping to take photos as we were having so much fun! The skies were blue and the snow was perfect!
Falling on your arse
The problem with snow, is just when you think you are getting the hang of zooming around Whistler Blackcomb, you may fall on your arse.
My most spectacular fall was on one of the flattest runs! We were back on the expressway, which is a non-steep green run. You have to keep your speed and momentum up to make it easier to zoom up the occasional uphill sections. The ice was super hard and all shiny (sparkling in the sun) under a thin veneer of snow. I am not actually sure what happened, but one moment I was happily racing Marc down the slope, the next moment I was on the ground with one ski flying off in one direction and another off to the side of the run. I think I just hit a large chunk of ice that sent my skis ricocheting off. Blooming ouch.
But, as with everything in life, you have to get up and keep trying. I don’t like falling down, but I am proud to say I quickly got over it and have more fun zooming down the mountain. Now I’ve seen how beautiful Whistler Blackcomb can be, I am just keen to keep heading back to keep learning to ski.
We finished our day with some drinks and fries from Whistler village before taking the shuttle bus back to Vancouver. It was an amaaaazing day learning to ski in Whistler Blackcomb and I can’t wait until our next adventure on skis!
Maybe one day I’ll even get to the point when I don’t fall onto my arse. (^^)