As Vancouverites, saying we’re lucky to have Whistler on our doorstep is an understatement. One of the biggest and best ski resorts in North America, less than two hours from downtown. How could it get any better?
But making the most of your time in Whistler isn’t always so straightforward once you factor in getting around — to the actual village, the run, and your après-ski destination.
Since you’re paying for top-quality snow, you want to make sure you’re spending as much time as possible on the hill. Here are our tips to make the most of your day on the slopes, so you can stress less and shred more.
Check the conditions
First things first, check the conditions — a week before, a day before, and on the morning you leave. Sure, you can take on the slopes in low visibility if you want to, but everyone knows there’s a big difference between not being able to see a metre ahead of you and skiing on a bluebird day. A huge dump of snow the night before and waking up to blue skies makes a world of difference to your day on the slopes, especially if you’re making a one-off visit.
Not only will checking the conditions before you leave set you up for no surprises on the hill (sunshine in Vancouver doesn’t mean sunshine in Whistler), but you can check which specific lifts are open too.
Let’s admit it, Blackcomb isn’t the cheapest hill to ski in BC (however, once you hit the slopes, it’s easy to see why). Booking ahead means you can take advantage of early-bird pricing and grab a season pass.
If you’re thinking of staying the night, make sure you look into accommodation as early as possible to save yourself peak season prices. There are often ski and stay packages available at local hotels, too, so you can research, bundle, and save.
Tune it up
Before you head up the hill, make sure you check your gear is good to go. Check that your bindings are tight and that there aren’t any loose screws. Waxing your board or skis is also a great idea.
Pro tip: for skis, you should apply wax to them every time you can feel grooves in the base of your skis, and for snowboards, you should every time your fingernail doesn’t collect wax when you run it over the board.
Leave the car at home
While you might think having a car gives you the flexibility to arrive and leave whenever you like, but there are also a lot of downsides to driving up the Sea to Sky.
Firstly, although a stunning route to take, the highway is windy, snowy, and notorious for accidents. What better way to keep your safety in check (and be able to relax and snap pics of those beautiful sights below) than by taking the bus instead?
Secondly, driving to Whistler seems like a good idea, except that everyone else has had that idea too. Ever tried finding a park at peak season? Good luck.
And lastly, how are you going to be able to sit back and après-ski after a long day on the hill if you’re supposed to drive home afterwards?
The BC Connector offers trips from Burrard SkyTrain station and Horseshoe Bay (and even the Island) and will take you all the way to Whistler Village for only $25 one-way or $35 roundtrip. That’s less than the cost of a tank of gas!
First things first, lifts start running at 8:30 am so make sure you get up there early to beat the crowds.
Second, although the gondola is the warmest and quickest (once you’re actually on it) way to get up to your ski runs, it’s also the most popular.
There are other ways to get up there that don’t involve such long lines. Try the Fitzsimmons and Garbanzo chairs next time. They might take slightly longer, but you’ll skip the queues. Alternatively, try the Wizard or Solar Coaster chairs.
Take it easy
We all know that feeling when you’ve already done eight runs, but you feel like you have to make the most of your day on the hill, so you try to keep going.
But is it really worth pushing yourself past your limit after a long day on the hill? Heading down the run one last time with jelly legs and burning thighs might not be as fun IRL as it sounds in your head.
And if you only realize you can’t make it down once you’re already at the top, why not opt to take the chairlift back down to the village? Don’t be embarrassed. Your safety is more important.
Make the most of your next snowy adventure at Whistler by leaving all your stress back in Vancouver. The first step? Booking your ticket with the BC Connector.
Not only does the service have loads of space for your gear and luggage (if you’re staying overnight), but it’s equipped with WiFi on board so you can work, stream, or surf your way up the highway. We know how we’ll be getting up there next time!