By Jean-Luc Brassard, special contributor and Olympic champion
Vail Resorts, the station’s new owner, has earned a strong reputation for quality customer service and mountain grooming, much like Whistler. Rumours suggest that a new area might be created in an effort to better manage skiers coming in from Vancouver and more efficiently spread visitors out over what is already, by far, the biggest lift-operated ski area in North America. As a result, early morning customers would benefit from shorter line-ups at the lifts in town.
Over the last few years, some notable changes have been made to the ever-evolving Whistler, including a new trajectory as well as the newly expanded Crystal Ridge Express lift on the Blackcomb side. The runs in this sector are some of my all-time favourites. Long, uncrowded and perfectly undulated, these slopes are always an utter delight.
A complete overhaul
Another noteworthy change is the complete overhaul of the Whistler Village Gondola, which was long overdue. Given the length of the ride, the main thing that was missing from this lift was heightened comfort… until now, that is!
The Rendezvous mountain restaurant was also in desperate need of a facelift. Now, not only has the restaurant added seating and improved its layout, it’s also gotten a new and inviting look.
Peak 2 Peak
Of course, you can’t visit North America’s biggest ski resort without trying the famous Peak 2 Peak gondola. On a cable running between the two giant mountains, the gondola’s 28 cabins seem like tiny dots as they hang 400 metres over the Fitzsimmons Valley below. Adventurous types will want to wait in line for their chance to climb aboard one of the two cabins with glass floors!
If you love wide, open spaces and have no issues with using climbing skins, you can’t miss the opportunity to explore the hidden gem behind the lift-accessed area of Whistler Blackcomb. Among the giant glaciers, deserted slopes and inclines, couloirs and other mammoth spaces, you’ll feel like you’re all alone in the world… while still being only steps away from a steaming cup of hot chocolate! Make sure you have the skills and knowledge to venture out alone at high altitudes though. Even if you can still see the village in the distance, exploring these areas is not for everyone!