As Christmas looms and the longer winter nights draw in, the thoughts of many will be turning to the ski slopes, and the thrill of hurtling down a snowy mountain slope at ever-increasing speeds. Skiing, and its popular cousin snowboarding, is a fantastic way of brushing off the cobwebs of winter; there’s nothing quite like hitting the slopes with family and friends, enjoying a spot of lunch on the mountainside, and then getting back just in time for après-ski.
Surrounded by the dramatic Coast Mountains in British Columbia, Canada, Whistler Blackcomb is one of the world’s premier ski and snowboard resorts, offering fantastic facilities, spectacular views, and unrivalled slopes; it is little wonder that more than two million snow sports fanatics choose to hit the slopes every season. Comprising two mountains – Whistler, and Blackcomb – the slopes of this superb resort are a great place for beginners to tackle their first green and blue runs, as well as offering fresh challenges for the more advanced skiers and boarders that visit the mountainsides each year.
When booking a skiing holiday, it is important to know your limits. Whisking off to Whistler is up there as being some of the best fun you can have, but it is essential that you don’t push yourself too hard, or you risk injuring yourself or someone else. Choose a slope that best reflects your skillset; green and blue for beginners, red for intermediate, and black for those diehard skiers who aren’t afraid of the odd mogul field. It is also beneficial to fit in some exercise and gentle practice before hitting the slopes; it will help you to limber up, and prevent your body going into shock on that first day!
Being able to stop and turn are essential skills that all skiers and boarders MUST learn before heading out on their own; master the basics and the trickier moves will follow. It’s also important not to head out into the unknown without a ski-buddy, or without prior preparation. Ensure that you have a return-route mapped out, as well as a contingency plan in case it begins to snow heavily and you lose your way; does someone know where you are? Have you got a compass, satellite GPS, or mobile phone to help you find your way home? Do you know where the nearest ski lifts or local town are? It won’t take long to answer each of these questions, and it may just save you a whole heap of trouble.
Finally… Don’t skimp on quality, but instead choose mid-range clothing and equipment to keep you warm and safe. Also remember to take our ski insurance before heading off on your winter break; you never know when you’ll need it! One last thing – sunscreen! You’d be surprised how strong the sun can be when you’re whizzing down the slopes, and burnt, ‘red lobster’ is not a good look at après-ski!
More to Whistler than meets the eye…
For those who wish to take a break from the slopes, or for members of the group who want to keep their feet firmly on solid ground, Whistler Blackcomb is a fantastic resort for a whole host of activities; a true family destination, with something for everyone. For some truly magnificent views, many visitors to the resort choose to ride the Peak 2 Peak Gondola, which wends its way between the mountains of Whistler and Blackcomb. The gondola is the highest and longest unsupported cable car span in the world, while the landscape below isn’t half bad either! Being a ski resort, there are abundant restaurants, coffee shops, and bars, perfect for grabbing a hot chocolate in front of the fire, or indulging in a little après-ski. Other activities on offer throughout the year include ice-skating, mountain biking, hiking, golf, sightseeing, and swimming. There is even a museum and library for younger guests to enjoy, and a host of shops for the savvy tourist.
Rest your head
There are abundant hotels near the Whistler ski area, from inexpensive hostels and self-catering apartments, to holiday cottages, big chain resorts and luxury 5* hotels – perfect, whatever your budget. Enjoy a week with friends, sharing the chores and a whole heap of fun, or relax and unwind in one of the resort’s many extravagant hotels; the choice is yours.