Whistler and Blackcomb are two mountains located in British Columbia, Canada which are hugely popular during the ski season, but which is the best? I’ll be comparing everything you need to know about these two mountains in the iconic Whistler Blackcomb ski resort so you can decide which to go to!
Whistler vs Blackcomb Overview
Whistler mountain has more skiable terrain however Blackcomb has a larger vertical drop. Both mountains offer terrain for all abilities but Whistler is slightly better for beginners and Blackcomb is better for expert skiers/ snowboarders.
|Total Skiable Terrain||Whistler|
|Advanced/ Expert Terrain||Blackcomb|
|Ski Lifts/ Gondolas||Whistler|
|Ski Season Length||Blackcomb|
|Parking and Accessibility||Whistler|
Skiing/ Snowboarding Experience
In this section we’ll be looking at the following:
- Mountain Stats
- Beginner Terrain
- Intermediate Terrain
- Advanced/ Expert Terrain
- Lifts/ Gondolas
Whistler is a larger mountain with 4757 acres of skiable terrain compared to Blackcomb’s 3414 acres of skiable terrain. However, Blackcomb does have slightly more skiable vertical with 5280 ft compared to Whistler’s 5020 ft.
|Skiable Area||4757 acres||3414 acres|
|Vertical Drop||5020 ft/ 1530 m||5280 ft/ 1609 m|
|Top Elevation||7160 ft/ 2182 m||7494 ft/ 2284 m|
|Longest Run||11 km/ 7 miles||11 km/ 7 miles|
|Number of Lifts||19||12|
|Number of Trails||100+||100+|
|Number of Parks||2||3|
|Number of Pipes||0||1|
|Total Capacity/ Hour||36,148||33,791|
Which is the Best Mountain for Beginners?
Whistler offers more green runs compared to Blackcomb so is a better option for beginners. The beginner slopes are also further up the mountain at Whistler which means the snow quality is better and the views are nicer too. Blackcomb is still a great place to ski if you’re a beginner, it’s just slightly more limited than Whistler.
- Best Areas for Beginners on Whistler: Olympic Chair Lift and Emerald 6 Express
- Best Areas for Beginners on Blackcomb: The Magic Chairlift, Expressway/ Greenline (7th Heaven)
Which is the Best Mountain for Intermediates?
Of the total skiable terrain available, 55% of it is aimed at intermediates on Whistler, whereas 50% of the terrain is aimed at intermediates on Blackcomb.
- Best Areas for Intermediates on Whistler: Garbanzo Chair and Harmony Ridge
- Best Areas for Intermediates on Blackcomb: 7th Heaven and Crystal Zone
Which is the Best Mountain for Experts?
Whistler is a little easier if you’re transitioning from intermediate to black terrain compared to Blackcomb as there are usually less trees and more open bowls. However, Blackcomb is the best mountain if you’re an expert skier looking for a bigger challenge.
Blackcomb mountain has more of a focus skiable terrain for advanced/ expert skiers compared to Whistler and a higher vertical drop. The runs also have more obstacles and drops making it a very challenging and thrilling mountain to ski.
Ski Lifts and Gondolas
Whistler and Blackcomb have 32 lifts all together. There is a peak to peak Gondola connecting the two mountains so you can easily visit them both in a single day. Whistler has more ski lifts compared to Blackcomb (19 compared to 12).
Snow Quality and Ski Seasons
Whistler Blackcomb’s ski season typically starts in mid November and runs until late May. Whistler mountain is usually open a few days earlier compared to Blackcomb, however Blackcomb closes later in the season. Whistler mountain usually closes in mid-late April, whereas Blackcomb mountain usually closes in late May.
2021/22 Ski Season Dates:
- Whistler: 17th November 2021 – 22nd April 2022
- Blackcomb: 23rd November 2021 – 21st May 2022
Both mountains offer excellent snow quality and are some of the most reliable places to ski in North America. However, Blackcomb does have better snow quality towards the end of the season and hence is open longer compared to Whistler. Blackcomb also tends to get more sun compared to Whistler.
Food/ Après Ski
Both Whistler and Blackcomb have 9 on-mountain restaurants each so you won’t be short of lunch spots at either location.
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
Unfortunately the food is very expensive in the resort so keep that in mind when you are planning your trip and consider packing some lunch to save some money!
In terms of the nightlife, restaurants and other activities you’ll get the same experience since these mountains share the same base, Whistler Village.
However, 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.
If you are just planning on skiing Whistler then the Creekside Village parking area is a good option. It’s free, underground and closer to Vancouver so saves some time if you’re travelling locally.
If you plan on skiing both Whistler and Blackcomb then parking at Whistler Village is the best option due to its central location. This costs $5 per day.
You can also park at Blackcomb Base II if you want to ski Blackcomb only. This is an outdoor free carpark. The disadvantage here is that traffic is usually worse getting in and out.
Which Mountain is Best?
Both Whistler and Blackcomb are amazing mountains for skiing and snowboarding and I’d highly encourage you to visit both during your trip especially since they are so easy to go between due to the Peak 2 Peak gondola.
In terms of intermediate and beginner terrain, Whistler has the edge compared to Blackcomb. However, if you’re looking for a real challenge or are more into park/freestyle then Blackcomb is the better choice.
Whistler also has livelier village options and is a bit easier to get to from Vancouver compared to Blackcomb. So, if you can only visit one, Whistler gets my vote.
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