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 Resort||Best Location|
|Largest Skiable Area||Whistler Blackcomb|
|Quietest Resort||Sun Peaks|
|Ski Season Length||Whistler Blackcomb|
|Night Skiing||Sun Peaks|
|Snow Reliability||Whistler Blackcomb|
|On-Mountain Dining||Whistler Blackcomb|
|Accommodation Options and Prices||Whistler Blackcomb|
|Ski School Prices||Sun Peaks|
|Ticket Prices||Sun Peaks|
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.
|Statistics||Sun Peaks||Whistler Blackcomb|
|Skiable Terrain||4270 acres||Whistler – 4757 acres|
Blackcomb – 3414 acres
Total – 8171 acres
|Vertical Drop||2894 ft||Whistler – 5020 ft|
Blackcomb – 5280 ft
|Base Elevation||4117 ft||Whistler – 2140 ft|
Blackcomb – 2214 ft
|Summit Elevation||7060 ft||Whistler – 7160 ft|
Blackcomb – 7494 ft
|Total Runs||138||Whistler – 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 Run||5 miles||Whistler – 7 miles|
Blackcomb – 7 miles
|Terrain Parks||1||Whistler – 2|
Blackcomb – 3
Total – 5
|Lifts||12||Whistler – 19|
Blackcomb – 21
Total – 40
|Lift Operating Hours||8:30 – 4:00||8:30 – 3:30|
|Night Skiing Available||Yes||No|
Check out my in-depth comparison between Whistler and Blackcomb if you’re looking for more information on these two mountains.
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 Season||Sun Peaks Resort Dates||Whistler Blackcomb Dates|
|2022/23*||19th Nov – 10th Apr||24th Nov – 22nd May|
|2021/22||20th Nov – 10th Apr||17th Nov – 21st May|
|2020/21||21st Nov – 5th Apr||26th Nov – 29th Mar*|
|2019/20||23rd Nov – 18th Mar*||28th Nov – 14th Mar*|
|2018/19||17th Nov – 14th Apr||22nd Nov – 27th May|
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.
|Month||Temperature in Sun Peaks||Temperature in Whistler Blackcomb||Snowfall in Sun Peaks||Snowfall in Whistler Blackcomb|
|November||-2.8°C/ 27°F||-3°C/ 26.5°F||10″||40″|
|December||-9.5°C/ 15°F||-4°C/ 25°F||41″||77″|
|January||-6.7°C/ 20°F||-6°C/ 21°F||34″||83″|
|February||-6.1°C/ 21°F||-3°C/ 26.5°F||36″||46″|
|March||-3.9°C/ 25°F||0°C/ 32°F||36″||62″|
|April||-1.1°C/ 30°F||3°C/ 37°F||15″||28″|
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.
|Activity||Available at Sun Peaks||Whistler Blackcomb|
|Dining||24 locations||170 locations|
|Spas/ Massages||8 locations||12 locations|
|Dog Sled Tours||Yes||Yes|
|Ice Fishing (Guided)||Yes||Yes|
|Horse Drawn Sleigh Rides||Yes||Yes|
So you can get a feel for the resorts, here are some YouTube video tours.
Sun Peaks 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
- Horstman Hut
- 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.
- 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.
|Location||Drive Time to Sun Peaks||Drive Time to Whistler|
|Kamloops||45 mins||4 hours|
|Vancouver||4 hours 15 mins||1 hour 30 mins|
|Kelowna||2 hours 45 mins||5 hours 30 mins|
|Banff||6 hours||9 hours 30 mins|
|Calgary||8 hours||11 hours|
|Seattle||5 hours 30 mins||4 hours 15 mins|
|Big White Resort||3 hours 30 mins||6 hours 30 mins|
|Revelstoke Resort||3 hours||6 hours 30 mins|
|SilverStar Resort||2 hours 30 mins||5 hours 45 mins|
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.
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.
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.
|Lesson||Price in Sun Peaks||Price 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-$195||N/A|
|Full Day Group (Child)||$225||$279|
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 Peaks||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 Peaks||Whistler-Blackcomb|
|Basic Ski Package||$51||$55|
|Top Tier Package||$54||$80|
|Helmet||$15 ($8 as ad-on)||$10|
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: