Whistler Blackcomb vs Big White: Ultimate Ski Resort Comparison


Whistler Blackcomb and Big White are two of the most popular ski resorts in Canada, but which is the best option? I’ll be comparing the skiable terrain, snow quality, villages, value for money, accommodation and more in this article to help you decide.

Whistler vs Big White Summary

Whistler Blackcomb is roughly three times larger than Big White and offers better terrain for advanced and intermediate skiers and snowboarders. Big White is better for beginners and families, is cheaper and also usually has better snow. Whistler has the best village and après ski.

Aspect of the ResortBest Resort
Largest Skiable AreaWhistler Blackcomb
Best for Beginner SkiersBig White
Best for Intermediate SkiersWhistler Blackcomb
Best for Advanced SkiersWhistler Blackcomb
Least CrowdedBig White
Best for FamiliesBig White
Best Snow QualityBig White
Best Ski Village and ResortWhistler Blackcomb
Best On-Mountain DiningWhistler Blackcomb
Easiest to Travel To InternationallyWhistler Blackcomb
Easiest to Travel To LocallyBig White
Best Accommodation Big White
Lift Ticket PricesBig White
Big White vs Whistler Blackcomb for skiing
Whistler Blackcomb

Ski Areas and Terrain

Whistler Blackcomb mountain resort consists of two huge mountains, whereas Big White has a single mountain.

Both Whistler mountain and Blackcomb mountain are far bigger than Big White’s mountain. Whistler has 4757 acres of skiable terrain, Blackcomb has 3414 acres and Big White has 2765 acres. Whistler and Blackcomb mountain both have 100 trails each, whereas Big White has 119 trails.

In terms of the terrain, all three mountains have a very similar split of beginner, intermediate and advanced terrain, with the majority being blue square runs.

  • For beginners: Big White is the best option as it isn’t as steep and most of the trails are relatively tame. It is also smaller so easier to get around and find suitable areas.
  • For experts: Whistler Blackcomb is typically a better choice compared to Big White because it is much steeper and has more very challenging runs.

Whistler is also a lot more crowded than Big White. Although both will be busy around the holidays, Whistler suffers a lot more from crowds and long lift lines.

StatisticsBig WhiteWhistler Blackcomb
Skiable Terrain2765 acresWhistler – 4757 acres
Blackcomb – 3414 acres
Total – 8171 acres
Vertical Drop2550 feetWhistler – 5020 ft
Blackcomb – 5280 ft
Base Elevation5971 ftWhistler – 2140 ft
Blackcomb – 2214 ft
Summit Elevation7606 ftWhistler – 7160 ft
Blackcomb – 7494 ft
Total Trails119 trailsWhistler – 100
Blackcomb – 100
Total – 200
Green Circle Trails (Beginner)18%Whistler – 20%
Blackcomb – 20%
Blue Square Trails (Intermediate)54%Whistler – 55%
Blackcomb – 50%
Black/ Double Black Diamond Trails (Expert)28%Whistler – 25%
Blackcomb – 30%
Longest Run7.2 kmWhistler – 11.3 km
Blackcomb – 11.3 km
Terrain Parks1Whistler – 2
Blackcomb – 3
Total – 5
Lift Operating Hours9:00 – 15:308:30 – 15:30
Number of Lifts16Whistler – 19
Blackcomb – 21
Total – 40
Night SkiingYesNo
Big White vs Whistler Blackcomb mountain statistics

Check out my in-depth comparison between Whistler and Blackcomb if you’re looking for more information on these two mountains.

Snow and Weather

Whistler receives more snow than Big White, however the snow is drier and usually better quality at Big White. The snow in Whistler can get quite wet and heavy, and can become icy in some areas.

Big White is higher up compared to Whistler so you can also expect it to be a few degrees colder.

MonthTemperature in Big WhiteTemperature in WhistlerSnowfall in Big White Snowfall in Whistler
November-3.8°C (26.2°F)-3.1°C/ 26.4°F11″40″
December-8.0°C (17.6°F)-6.6°C/ 20.1°F66″77″
January-6.9°C (19.6°F)-5.6°C/ 22.0°F57″83″
February-9.0°C (15.8°F)-5.1°C/ 22.9°F59″46″
March-4.7°C (23.5°F)-2.5°C/ 27.5°F57″62″
April-0.3°C (31.5°F)0.7°C/ 33.2°F21″28″
Data from climate-data.org and onthesnow.com
Big White

Ski Season Dates

Whistler Blackcomb has the longest ski season in North American which starts in mid-late November and ends in late May. Big White has a fairly average ski season which starts in late November and ends in mid-April. Check out the table below for the previous ski season dates

Ski SeasonBig White DatesWhistler Blackcomb Dates
2022/2324th Nov – 10th Apr24th Nov – 22nd May
2021/2226th Nov – 10th Apr17th Nov – 21st May
2020/2123rd Nov – 5th Apr26th Nov – 29th Mar*
2019/2028th Nov – 16th Mar*28th Nov – 14th Mar*
2018/1922nd Nov – 22nd Apr22nd Nov – 27th May
Big White and Whistler ski season dates. 2022/23 dates are predicted. *closed early due to world events

Village and Resort Experience

There’s definitely more going on in Whistler compared to Big White. Whistler is well known for its bustling atmosphere and great nightlife, whereas Whistler has a more family-friendly atmosphere.

Whistler Blackcomb has three main areas: Whistler Village, Creekside and Blackcomb Base II. Combined, you’ll have access to 170 dining locations, 12 spa/ massage facilities and tonnes of shops.

Big White is smaller and feels more like a resort rather than a village. You’ll still have loads of activities to choose from though, as well as 20 restaurants and 2 spas so it’s unlikely you’ll get bored unless you’ve been loads of times before or are staying for a very extended period of time.

ActivityAvailable at Big WhiteAvailable at Whistler
Resort Dining20 locations170 locations
Spas/ Massages2 locations12 locations
Dog Sled ToursYesYes
Fat BikingYesYes
Ice Fishing (Guided)NoYes
Horse Drawn Sleigh RidesYesYes
Ice SkatingYesYes
Helicopter SkiingNoYes
Snowmobile ToursYesYes
Snowshoe ToursYesYes
TubingYesYes
Cat SkiingYesYes
Big White vs Whistler activities and ski villages

Here are video tours of each village so you can get a feel for the atmosphere.

Whistler Village

Big White Village

On-Mountain Dining

Big White has plenty of restaurants in the village and at the base stations, but unfortunately there are no dining locations on the mountain itself. Whistler and Blackcomb mountain both have a range of on-mountain dining locations to suit different budgets and requirements.

On-Mountain Restaurants Whistler:

  • Garibaldi Lift Company
  • Chic Pea
  • The Roundhouse Lodge
  • Raven’s Nest
  • Steeps Grill
  • Harmony Hut

On-Mountain Restaurants Blackcomb:

  • Horstman Hut
  • Christine’s
  • Rendezvous Lodge
  • Crystal Hut
  • Glacier Creek Lodge

Location and Traveling

By Plane

  • Kelowna’s International is the closest major airport to Big White and is a 55 minute drive away.
  • Vancouver International is the closest major airport to Whistler and is a 2.5 hour drive away.

Although the transfer time from the nearest major airport is shorter for Big White it is usually a bit easier to get to Whistler Blackcomb because Vancouver International Airport is larger compared to Kelowna International Airport so offers more direct flights.

By Car

If you are driving to either resort you’ll be pleased to know that they both offer free parking.

The most popular free parking is in Creekside Village and Blackcomb Base II. Alternatively, you can pay $5 per day to park at Whistler Village which has the most central location. For overnight parking, Whistler Blackcomb charges $10.

Free parking is available across most of the resort in Big White. Overnight parking costs $20/ vehicle and you can also pay to reserve day spaces.

Here are the average drive times from key locations to each resort.

LocationDrive to Big WhiteDrive to Whistler
 Vancouver5 hours 15 minutes1 hour 30 mins
 Kelowna55 minutes5 hours 30 mins
Kamloops2 hours 45 minutes4 hours
Seattle6 hours 30 minutes4 hours 15 mins
Driving time and distance to Big White and Whistler ski resorts

Proximity to Other Ski Resorts

Both Big White and Whistler are pretty isolated resorts and to travel to any of the other major Canadian ski resorts will typically require a flight or a long drive. Big White tends to be the most accessible from other ski resorts as the drive is usually shorter, and it is closer to the airport.

Here is a list of other major Canadian ski resorts and the average travel time from Big White and Whistler.

LocationDrive Time to Big WhiteDrive Time to Whistler
Lake Louise/ Sunshine Village5 hours 45 mins9 hours 30 mins 
Revelstoke3 hours 15 mins6 hours 30 mins
Sun Peaks3 hours 30 mins6 hours 30 mins
SilverStar 2 hours5 hours 45 mins
Red Mountain3 hours 15 mins8 hours 30 mins
Big White

Accommodation

Big White has a range of accommodation options including 3 hotels, 25 town house complexes, 244 cabins/ holiday houses and a youth hostel. On average, accommodation for 2 adults in January for one week will cost roughly $1800-$3000.

There are three places to stay in Whistler: Creekside Village, Blackcomb Base II and Whistler Village. They all offer hotels, lodges and condos however its usually more expensive compared to Big White.  On average, accommodation for 2 adults in January for 6 nights will also cost roughly $2000-$4000.

Big White mostly specialises in ski-in-ski-out accommodation and typically offers better value options in this category compared to Whistler.

Prices are in CAD.

Ski School

Big White and Whistler ski schools both offer group and private skiing and snowboarding lessons for all ages and abilities. Both the group and private sessions are significantly cheaper at Big White compared to Whistler Blackcomb. However, some of the Big White lessons are shorter.

Please see the table below for more information.

LessonBig White PriceWhistler Blackcomb Price
Half Day Private (All Ages)$370-$440 (up to 3 people + $100 per extra person)$799 (1-5 people)
Full Day Private (All Ages)$750 (up to 3 people + $100 per extra person)$999 (1-5 people)
Half Day Group (Adult)$100$179
Full Day Group (Adult)N/A$299
Half Day Group (Child)$100N/A
Full Day Group (Child)$150$279
Big White vs Whistler Blackcomb ski school prices

Costs are based on the most recent ski season at the time of writing and are subject to change. Please check the resort websites for up to date prices. Prices are in CAD.

Whistler Blackcomb

Ticket and Equipment Rental Prices

Ski lift tickets are significantly cheaper at Big White compared to Whistler Blackcomb.

Example cost for 2 x adults and 2 x children (weekend):
Big White = $384
Whistler Blackcomb = $478

Equipment rental is slightly cheaper at Whistler compared to Big White.

Please see the tables below for more information.

Ticket Price Day LiftBig WhiteWhistler
Adult Weekday$93$151
Adult Weekend$111$159
Teen Weekday$81$128
Teen Weekend$100$135
Child Weekday$63$76
Child Weekend$81$80
Senior Weekday$92$136
Senior Weekend$113$143
Big White vs Whistler day lift ticket prices
Equipment Rental (Daily)Big WhiteWhistler
Boots$27$20
Helmet$10$10
Skis, Poles/ Snowboard and Boots$54$55
Big White vs Whistler ski and snowboard equipment rental prices

Costs are based on the most recent ski season at the time of writing and are subject to change. Based on daily rates when buying in-advance online (better value offers are available when booking for multiple days). Please check the resort websites for up to date prices. Prices are in Canadian dollars.

Which Resort is Best?

Whistler Blackcomb is the best option if you want access to loads of skiable terrain and have more experience on the slopes. It also has the best village and nightlife so typically attracts young adults as opposed to families.

Big White is the best option if you’re planning a family ski trip, as it has better beginner-friendly terrain, is less crowded, and has a more family-orientated village and activities on offer.

Here are some key points to keep in mind to help you plan your trip:

  • Big White is best for beginner skiers and snowboarders as well as families
  • Big White is less crowded
  • Big White usually has better snow quality
  • Big White has the cheapest accommodation and ticket prices
  • Whistler Blackcomb is best for experienced skiers and snowboarders
  • Whistler Blackcomb is typically easier to travel to internationally
  • Whistler Blackcomb has the best on-mountain dining
  • Whistler Blackcomb has the best nightlife and village

Here are some more articles you might find useful:

Rosie

I have been a keen skier for a number of years, skiing in different locations around the world, and have a real passion for snow sports. My favourite ski resorts are Lake Louise in Canada and Obergurgl-Hochgurgl in Austria.

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