Whistler Blackcomb vs Sun Peaks: Which Ski Resort is Best?


Whistler Blackcomb is highly regarded as one of the best ski resorts in North America. It consists of two mountains, and is located in Vancouver, British Columbia. Sun Peaks is a smaller ski resort also located in British Columbia and is another firm favourite of many skiers and snowboarders.

In this article I’ll be directly comparing Whistler Blackcomb and Sun Peaks in terms of their skiing terrain, snow quality, villages, accessibility, value for money and much more so you can decide which is the best resort to visit this season.

Whistler Blackcomb vs Sun Peaks

Whistler Blackcomb is a much larger ski resort compared to Sun Peaks with more than twice the amount of skiable terrain and a larger village. Whistler also has better snow reliability, parking and accommodation options. However, Sun Peaks is quieter and offers cheaper tickets and lessons.

Aspect of the ResortBest Location
Largest Skiable AreaWhistler Blackcomb
Quietest ResortSun Peaks
Ski Season LengthWhistler Blackcomb
Night SkiingSun Peaks
Snow ReliabilityWhistler Blackcomb
VillageWhistler Blackcomb
On-Mountain DiningWhistler Blackcomb
Accommodation Options and PricesWhistler Blackcomb
ParkingWhistler Blackcomb
Ski School PricesSun Peaks
Ticket PricesSun Peaks
Whistler Blackcomb vs Sun Peaks Ski Resorts
Whistler mountain

Ski Map and Pistes

Whistler Blackcomb is the largest ski resort in North American and consists of two huge mountains. Whistler offers 4757 acres of skiable terrain, whilst Blackcomb offers 3414 acres giving the resort and total of 8171 acres of skiable terrain. Sun Peaks has the second largest ski area in Canada with 4270 acres of skiable terrain.

One big advantage of Sun Peaks is that it isn’t as busy as Whistler Blackcomb. That means you’ll get to spend more time on the slopes and less in the queues so you’ll get to experience the mountain more in the holidays or on weekends.

Both Whistler Blackcomb and Sun Peaks have terrain for all abilities however, for beginners, Sun Peaks is typically the best option and it is quieter with plenty of areas dedicated for beginners. For groups of mixed abilities, Whistler Blackcomb is a good choice as the terrain is pretty varied.

Whistler and Blackcomb mountain both have a steeper vertical drop compared to Sun Peaks so are often preferred by advanced and expert skiers/ snowboarders looking for more difficult terrain.

Whistler Blackcomb has more terrain parks making it the best option for freestyle skiing and snowboarding. Only Sun Peaks offers night skiing out of the two resorts.

Here is a table comparing the mountain statistics of the resorts.

StatisticsSun PeaksWhistler Blackcomb
Skiable Terrain4270 acresWhistler – 4757 acres
Blackcomb – 3414 acres
Total – 8171 acres
Vertical Drop2894 ftWhistler – 5020 ft
Blackcomb – 5280 ft
Base Elevation4117 ftWhistler – 2140 ft
Blackcomb – 2214 ft
Summit Elevation7060 ftWhistler – 7160 ft
Blackcomb – 7494 ft
Total Runs138Whistler – 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 Run5 milesWhistler – 7 miles
Blackcomb – 7 miles
Terrain Parks1Whistler – 2
Blackcomb – 3
Total – 5
Lifts12Whistler – 19
Blackcomb – 21
Total – 40
Lift Operating Hours8:30 – 4:008:30 – 3:30
Night Skiing AvailableYesNo
Sun Peaks 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.

Whistler mountain

Ski Season Length

Whistler Blackcomb has the longest ski season compared to Sun Peaks.

  • Whistler has the longest ski season in Canada which usually lasts around 26 weeks and starts in mid-late November and ends in mid-late May.
  • Sun Peaks has an average length ski season for a Canadian resort which usually lasts 22 weeks and starts in mid-late November and ends in mid-April.
Ski SeasonSun Peaks Resort DatesWhistler Blackcomb Dates
2022/23*19th Nov – 10th Apr24th Nov – 22nd May
2021/2220th Nov – 10th Apr17th Nov – 21st May
2020/2121st Nov – 5th Apr26th Nov – 29th Mar*
2019/2023rd Nov – 18th Mar*28th Nov – 14th Mar*
2018/1917th Nov – 14th Apr22nd Nov – 27th May
*22/23 dates are predicated. *early closure in 21/22 season due to world events

Climate and Snow Quality

Sun Peaks doesn’t get as much snowfall as Whistler or Blackcomb mountain. The snow in Sun Peaks is drier and fluffier in comparison to Whistler Blackcomb, making it a great choice for powder skiing. Whistler Blackcomb gets tonnes of snow and is a more reliable resort, particularly at the start and end of the season.

MonthTemperature in Sun PeaksTemperature in Whistler BlackcombSnowfall in Sun PeaksSnowfall in Whistler Blackcomb
November-2.8°C/ 27°F-3°C/ 26.5°F10″40″
December-9.5°C/ 15°F-4°C/ 25°F41″77″
January-6.7°C/ 20°F-6°C/ 21°F34″83″
February-6.1°C/ 21°F-3°C/ 26.5°F36″46″
March-3.9°C/ 25°F0°C/ 32°F36″62″
April-1.1°C/ 30°F3°C/ 37°F15″28″
Average temperature and snowfall per month in Whistler Blackcomb and Sun Peaks. Data from onthesnow.com
Sun Peaks resort

Village, Restaurants and Other Activities

Whistler Blackcomb’s main base is Whistler Village which is a fully fledged ski resort with a lively atmosphere, great nightlife, restaurants, shops and other activities to keep you entertained. Since it is all enclosed, everything is close together and you can walk to the slopes from most of the accommodation.

Whistler mountain is also very close to another smaller base called Creekside, giving you slightly more options to keep you entertained. Blackcomb does also have it’s own base called Blackcomb Base II however this is a bit smaller and more limited in comparison to Creekside.

Sun Peaks has a smaller ski village and is more reminiscent of a quaint European village with a relaxed atmosphere. There’s still plenty of restaurants, spas and winter activities on offer but the village is nowhere near as large and bustling as Whistler.

ActivityAvailable at Sun PeaksWhistler Blackcomb
Dining24 locations170 locations 
Spas/ Massages8 locations 12 locations
MuseumNoYes
Dog Sled ToursYesYes 
Fat BikingYesYes 
Ice Fishing (Guided)YesYes 
Horse Drawn Sleigh RidesYes Yes
Ice SkatingYesYes 
Helicopter SkiingYesYes 
Snowmobile ToursYesYes 
Snowshoe ToursYes Yes
Escape RoomNoYes
ZiplineYesYes
Axe ThrowingYes Yes
TubingYesYes 
Winter activities in Whistler Blackcomb and Sun Peaks villages

So you can get a feel for the resorts, here are some YouTube video tours.

Sun Peaks Village

Whistler Village

On Mountain Dining

Whistler Blackcomb is definitely the winner when it comes to on-mountain dining. Sun Peaks only has one on-mountain restaurant, Sunburst Lodge which is located mid-mountain. Whistler and Blackcomb each have 9 on-mountain dining venues:

On-Mountain Restaurants Whistler:

  • Garibaldi Lift Company
  • Chic Pea
  • The Roundhouse Lodge
  • Raven’s Nest
  • Steeps Grill
  • Ollie’s Grilled Cheese Shack
  • Harmony Hut
  • Dusty’s Backside
  • Dusty’s Bar and Grill

On-Mountain Restaurants Blackcomb:

  • The Wizard Grill
  • Garbanzo Bike and Bean
  • Merlin’s
  • Horstman Hut
  • Christine’s
  • Rendezvous
  • Glacier Byte
  • Crystal Hut
  • Glacier Creek Lodge

Getting to the Resorts

Here is some information regarding travelling to Whistler and Sun Peaks by car and by plane.

By Plane

  • To get to Whistler-Blackcomb, the nearest airport is Vancouver International Airport. The transfer time is approximately 2 hour 30 minute from the airport to Whistler-Blackcomb.
  • To get to Sun Peaks, the nearest major airport is Kelowna International Airport which is a 2 hour 45 minute drive away. The closest airport is Kamloops regional airport which is a 50 minute drive away.

Both Whistler and Sun Peaks are a similar transfer time away from the nearest major airports. However, Whistler is usually slightly more accessible as there are more frequent flights from most locations to Vancouver compared to Kamloops.

Driving and Parking

Sun Peaks is closer to most major locations and ski resorts in British Columbia compared to Whistler. Please see the table below for details.

LocationDrive Time to Sun PeaksDrive Time to Whistler
 Kamloops45 mins  4 hours
Vancouver 4 hours 15 mins 1 hour 30 mins
Kelowna 2 hours 45 mins5 hours 30 mins
Banff 6 hours 9 hours 30 mins 
Calgary8 hours11 hours 
Seattle5 hours 30 mins 4 hours 15 mins 
Big White Resort3 hours 30 mins6 hours 30 mins
Revelstoke Resort3 hours6 hours 30 mins
SilverStar Resort2 hours 30 mins5 hours 45 mins
Drive time from key locations to Sun Peaks and Whistler Blackcomb ski resorts

There are several carparks available at Whistler Blackcomb. 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. Sun Peaks charges $15/ day for parking and there is no free parking available.

For overnight parking, Sun Peaks charges $15-$25 whereas Whistler Blackcomb charges $10.

Whistler Village

Accommodation Options and Prices

Sun Peaks has 6 hotels, 15 town house complexes and an extensive range of chalets and suites. On average, accommodation for 2 adults in January for 6 nights will also cost roughly $2500-$4000.

There are more accommodation options in Whistler with the option of being based in Whistler Village, Creekside Village or Blackcomb Base II. On average, accommodation for 2 adults in January for 6 nights will also cost roughly $1800-$4000.

Since Whistler is a larger resort, there are more options for all budgets including economy options.

Ski School

The ski school is cheaper in Sun Peaks compared to Whistler Blackcomb. Both resorts offer group and private sessions for all ages but the lessons in Whistler Blackcomb are typically slightly longer and more expensive.

The drawback of the ski school in Sun Peaks is that many of the group lessons are gated, meaning you can only book the intermediate-level lesson if you have previously completed a beginner lesson.

LessonPrice in Sun PeaksPrice in Whistler-Blackcomb
Half Day Private (All Ages)$509-$569 (1-3 people)
$144 for each extra person
$799 (1-5 people)
Full Day Private (All Ages)$699 (1-3 people)
$189 for each extra person
$999 (1-5 people)
Half Day Group (Adult)$127$179
Full Day Group (Adult)$243$299
Half Day Group (Child)$129-$195N/A
Full Day Group (Child)$225$279
Ski school price comparison between Sun Peaks and Whistler Blackcomb

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 US dollars.

Ticket and Rental Costs

Lift tickets are significantly cheaper at Sun Peaks compared to Whistler Blackcomb. It’s also worth noting that tickets can be easily purchased on the day when visiting Sun Peaks but Whistler Blackcomb is limited lift tickets in the 2022/23 season so you need to book in advance online.

Ticket Price Day Lift (Peak Season)Sun PeaksWhistler-Blackcomb
Adult$149$167
Teenager (13-17)$119$142
Child (6-12)$75$84
Senior (65+)$119$150
Day lift ticket prices in Sun Peaks vs Whistler Blackcomb

Equipment rental prices at Sun Peaks and Whistler-Blackcomb are pretty comparable and there are several vendors at each resort. See the table below for average prices.

Equipment Rental (Daily)Sun PeaksWhistler-Blackcomb
Basic Ski Package$51$55
Top Tier Package$54$80
Boots$31$20
Helmet$15 ($8 as ad-on)$10
Adult ski equipment average rental prices in Sun Peaks vs Whistler Blackcomb

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 for money offers are available when booking for multiple days). Please check the resort websites for up to date prices. Prices are in US dollars.

Which Location is Best?

If you’re looking for the biggest mountain, village and most things to do then Whistler Blackcomb will be the best resort for you. However, if you are worried about queues and don’t like it when the resort is very busy, then Sun Peaks is the best choice.

Other things to keep in mind are:

  • Only Sun Peaks offers night skiing
  • Whistler Blackcomb has the most reliable snow in the early and late season
  • Cheaper accommodation can be found in Whistler Blackcomb
  • Lift tickets are cheaper in Sun Peaks

Check out the following articles for more information:

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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