A bucket list item for me has always been to snowboard Whistler Blackcomb, Canada’s largest and most famous ski resort. Located in the coastal mountains about 125 kilometers from Vancouver, Whistler was the official ski venue for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. The resort area covers two entire mountains, top to bottom, with over 8,000 acres of terrain, a peak-to-peak gondola, 14 alpine bowls and some of the best ski conditions I have ever experienced. It definitely lives up to its fame. I was fortunate to spend almost two weeks in the area, exploring the town, resort snowmobiling and hiking in the surrounding area.
Knowing Whistler’s popularity, I planned to snowboard on a weekday to avoid the crowds. I was able to snowboard two days – one day on each mountain, but not back-to-back (a few rest days were needed!). Luck was on my side the first day out, and there was a huge dump of snow overnight before I boarded the Blackcomb side. After experiencing a powder day here, I will never look at another ski resort the same way. Epic doesn’t even cover it. The powder was so deep that if you fell in, you risk never getting out again.
The skiable area on Blackcomb is rumored to have more difficult runs than the Whistler side, but I found both mountains to be really diverse with rolling groomers, steep pitches, and treed pockets. In my years as a snowboarder, I have never had so many untouched, silky smooth lines in fresh powder. The snow was a lot wetter and heavier than the champaign powder you get in the Alberta Rockies, but it was beautiful none the less. Similar to how I think of spring skiing, soft and buttery that easily cut with every turn.
It was absolutely the best day of snowboarding I have ever had. I could barely walk by the time I finished for the day on Blackcomb. My day on the Whistler side in comparison didn’t have as much fresh snow, but it was soft, smooth and fast. I spent the whole day shredding groomers which were fantastic too. Nice varied terrain and not a lot of flat areas to get stuck on. The lift ticket prices were painfully expensive, but by pre-purchasing the resorts Edge card, visitors can cut down the cost. If you aren’t certain the number of days you will be riding, it’s possible to buy a 1-day Edge card, link it to a credit card and use the RFID system to purchase additional days as needed (still at the reduced price).
The Whistler Blackcomb experience lived up to all my expectations, and I am so glad I got to partake in some of Canada’s best snowboarding. Good company and a cold drink at the end of the day with a bonfire made it absolutely perfect. So glad to check off one more item on my bucket list.
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