Whistler-Blackcomb

activities / Winter sports

Lonely Planet review

Comprising 38 lifts and almost 82 sq km of skiable terrain crisscrossed with over 200 runs (more than half aimed at intermediate-level skiers), the sister mountains of Whistler Blackcomb were physically linked for the first time in 2009. The mammoth new 4.4km Peak 2 Peak Gondola includes the world's longest unsupported span and takes 11 minutes to shuttle wide-eyed powder hogs between the two high alpine areas, enabling you to hit the slopes on both mountains on the same day.

The resort's winter season usually starts in late November and runs to April on Whistler and June on Blackcomb – December to February is the peak – but there's also glacier skiing available into July. Be aware that skiing off piste is strongly discouraged here and avalanches are a major risk in these unmarked areas. If you want to emulate your fave Olympic ski heroes – or prepare for the next Games – Whistler Creekside was the setting for all the 2010 downhill skiing events.

You can beat the crowds with an early-morning Fresh Tracks ticket , which must be bought in advance at Whistler Village Gondola Guest Relations. Be at the gondola for a 7:30am start the next day. The price includes a buffet breakfast at the Roundhouse Lodge up top. Weekdays are recommended for this, since tickets sell out quickly on weekends. Night owls might prefer the evening Night Moves program operated via Blackcomb's Magic Chair lift after 5pm.

Snowboard fans should also check out the freestyle terrain parks mostly located on Blackcomb, including the Snow Cross and the Big Easy Terrain Garden. There's also the Habitat Terrain Park on Whistler.