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A legendary ski and snowboard destination, and one of the biggest ski resorts in North America, Whistler-Blackcomb is the mecca of snowsports for many enthusiasts. Located in British Columbia, Canada, some 75 miles north of Vancouver, it’s a beautiful spot with a laid-back, friendly atmosphere. The weather is warm and dry in summer, and plenty snowy in winter - the resort regularly receives up to 37ft of snow per season.
The easiest way to reach Whistler is via Vancouver International Airport - and although the drive is some 90 minutes or more, you won’t mind; the scenery is absolutely breathtaking.
As you leave Vancouver behind on Route 99, known as the Sea to Sky highway, the Pacific Ocean stretches away to the west, dotted with islands that resemble humpback whales. Gradually you’ll pull away from the water as the hills turn to mountains and before you know it you’ll be driving up to your chalet. Naturaly, Luxury Retreats can arrange car rental or transfers for you to make your journey a breeze.
Home to the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, Whistler-Blackcomb spans an incredible 8,000 acres across the two mountains - it’s so big that first-time visitors can be overwhelmed with options. Our advice is choose one mountain per day and stick to your choice, so you don’t lose precious slope time commuting between the hills.
The resort was one of the first in the world to welcome snowboarders with open arms, and boarding has always been in fashion here. If you’re an experienced rider, head for the Harmony area, where you’ll get some great tree-lined runs and open bowls, or try the Peak to Creek run. Both are on Whistler mountain. Over on Blackcomb, you’ll find three great terrain parks, each suited to different abilities, and all are fantastic for freestylers looking to practice their skills. Novices can head to the Big Easy Terrain Garden for small rails and rollers, while the Terrain Park is suited to intermediate and advanced boarders. The Highest Level Park is for true experts, so only venture in if you’re very comfortable with your skills, and remember a helmet is mandatory.
Whistler-Blackcomb may be a major snowboard destination, but skiers are extremely well catered for too. If you’re just starting out with the sport, there’s a whole section of Whistler mountain devoted to beginners - you’ll find it at Olympic Station, near the Fitzsimmons Express lift. Intermediates will love spending time around the Big Red Express lift - there are lots of great blue runs here - while advanced skiers looking for a serious challenge should check the the Couloir, a super-steep double black chute.
If you’re visiting the resort in the summer months but can’t get snow out of your head, you’re in luck. You can hit the slopes year-round at the Horstman glacier. With soft snow and hot sun, summer skiing is a lot of fun; just remember to pack your sunscreen! No matter what time of year you visit, your concierge can organize equipment rental and lessons.
Of course, during the summer months there are a lot of ‘traditional’ warm weather activities to enjoy here, and not all of them involve sending your adrenaline through the roof.
If you’re into all things wellness, you’ll feel right at home. Whistler village has a number of great outdoor spas where you can enjoy a classic Scandinavian-style spa circuit. The idea is to treat your body to a series of hot and cold environments in succession to bring about a sense of total relaxation. You start off with a session in the steam room or sauna, followed by a cold water plunge, then relaxation in the normal-temperature solarium. Rinse and repeat 3 or 4 times until you’re in a state of pure blissed-out contentment. One of our favorites in Whistler is Spa Scandinave, which you’ll find just outside the village.
Whistler village also regularly hosts wellness festivals such as the well-known Wanderlust festival, which mixes guided yoga sessions with lectures, meditation, music and more.
Mountain biking, rock climbing, hiking and more… summer is a great time to explore the wilderness around Whistler. Start your day with a ride on the Peak 2 Peak gondola - the world’s longest unsupported lift - for amazing views of the surrounding scenery. Next, grab your bike and make tracks for the hills. You can zip down the mountain through the trees, ride across open fields, or even just take a leisurely ride along the river, stopping for coffee along the way.
Avid hikers can lace up their boots, hit the ski lift and head to Harmony Meadows for a tough two-hour hike with views of glacier lakes, beautiful mountains, and in early summer, fields of wildflowers.
With hot tubs, real fires, mountain views and comfortable beds, if you’re planning an epic ski trip with an extra dose of luxury, look no further than our Whistler vacation rentals . If you’re the type of person who’s up at dawn for the first tracks of the day, our chalets with ski-in, ski-out access will be ideal. If you prefer to mix your slope time with afternoons browsing boutiques or relaxing over coffee, then our homes with easy village access will be perfect for you. Sleeping up to 18 people, there’s room for all your extended friends and family in our cozy, well equipped chalets.
Did you know there’s more to great skiing in Canada than just Whistler? Once you’ve tried the Best of the West, why not make a trip to Ski the East? Just north of Montreal, Quebec, the resort town of Mont Tremblant combines a European-style ski village with excellent conditions, served with an extra helping of French flair. Our Mont Tremblant rentals are a great choice if you’re thinking of a trip to one of the best ski hills in the the Northeast.