Working in Whistler for a season is a fantastic idea. I worked for the Westin Hotel on the front desk and I got paid a lot more than my friends who worked on the mountain. I also got tips, all meals while I was working, commission, and a severely discounted season pass. I would recommend it for anyone who wants a new experience.
During school holidays, the lift queues can be enormous. How to beat them? Take the Fitzsimmons and Garbanzo chairlifts instead of the gondola on Whistler mountain.
Head up the mountain at 8.30am instead of 10. Join the singles lines. These move quickly and you meet locals who might share a tip on a hidden powder stash. (Or you can sneakily follow them!).
Try Crystal Chair on Blackcomb. It's older and slower, so queues are shorter and there's some fantastic terrain and sweet tree riding.
Most of Whistler/Blackcomb is covered with trees so it’s a pretty good place to be on days when the weather closes in, but Crystal chairlift on Blackcomb is particularly entertaining. It’s a good long run and there’s plenty to keep you amused whether you’re into skiing nicely groomed pistes or jibbing on a snowboard. Avoid the higher up chairlifts – as soon as you get above the treeline then you won’t be able to see a thing.
The Wizard chair is a great place to take to the hill for the first time. The slopes are the ideal gradient for learner skiers and snowboarders, and the pistes are well groomed so there are no nasty surprises in store!
Right at the bottom of Blackcomb.
If the sun is shining and there are no clouds in the sky (and it does occasionally happen in Canada) 7th Heaven is the only place to go. High up above the treeline at the top of Blackcomb mountain, this mix of blue and black runs is some of the best skiing there is.
If you haven't had your fix of snow come May, book yourself a late-season trip. Although Blackcomb closes on April 23rd, Whistler mountain remains open until June 4th.
The snow may be on the slushy side, but skiing or boarding in a T-shirt and finishing the day off with a few beers on the Roundhouse patio is pretty awesome.
Powder in May is certainly not unheard of and, the way things are going so far (a record 469cm in January alone!), is looking increasingly likely this season.
One-day spring season tickets are just CAN$46, a bargain compared with the whopping CAN$75 charged over Christmas. And if you still want more, Blackcomb reopens in the summer for glacier skiing and riding, usually until late July or early August.
When there's plenty of fresh snow (quite often considering Whistler has just had the snowiest January on record- 461cm!), take the peak chair and ride the peak-to-creek run taking the 'Khiber's Pass' line down to creek side, this run is unpisted and is pretty much the most fun you can have on a board!
Whistler mountain on fresh powder days
Though the steep slopes may look forbidding from the Roundhouse Lodge, once on top there are incredible views and hardly anybody else. There are lots of options and the runs are long, usually with better snow than other areas.
When the snow is good, the Flute and Whistler bowls are both epic. They’re avalanche controlled, but it pays to take avalanche safety equipment with you and know how to use it. Also, go with someone who knows where they’re going, or failing that hire a guide. Getting lost in there doesn’t come highly recommended.
This is possibly the best fun you’ll have in Whistler. Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night from 5-9pm you can ride under floodlights on the Magic Carpet chair at Blackcomb – an area that includes the park and pipe. The snow gets pretty hard but they look after the pistes so well that this isn’t really a problem.
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