The Whistler Ski Season 2019: An In-Dept Guide
The Whistler ski season is a highly anticipated event that people from all over the world get worked up about. Canadian’s get stoked, Aussie’s start frothing, and everyone else get’s their skis waxed.
Every single one of us at Forged Axe Throwing starts to dream about the falling snow line, and the first day on the hill as soon as the mountain shuts down its mountain bike operations. Even people living in the Alps have a certain envy for our two big mountains that encompass the perfect little village of Whistler.
Anyone experienced in snow sports wants to take advantage of the significant snowfall at Whistler Blackcomb. But unless you live here year after year, you might not know exactly when to come. Because there are so many high points to the full Whistler Ski Season, we are going to discuss the best times to visit based on what you are looking for.
Not everyone wants perfect powder and sky high rates, some people want sunny skies, warm weather, and affordable pricing. This guide is here to help people choose the perfect time to book a whistler winter vacation.
Whistler Ski Season Stats
There is a reason people from all over the world flock to Whistler for skiing and snowboarding. These two mountains sit side-by-side, and the Peak to Peak Gondola makes it easy to bounce from one to the other. There are over 200 marked runs and a slew of other non-marked runs to explore.
There is a total of 8,171 acres of terrain, 16 alpine bowls, and three glaciers. The average snowfall is 461 inches or 1,170 cm annually. Lucky for us, the Whistler ski season is one of the longest in North America. It is a mecca for those who love challenging runs or for families that want to enjoy a fun, luxurious holiday in a winter wonderland.
When is High Ski Season?
Did you know that 55 percent of tourists come to Whistler in summer? Who would have thought! In our opinion, although the resort has become a world-class year-round resort, the best season in Whistler is the ski season. The season gets going around the 3rd weekend in November, depending on snowfall.
The hill always aims to open for the American Thanksgiving holiday. Both mountains are open for winter operations at this time. Conditions during the early season will vary significantly from year to year. The season gets going and so too do the crowds, with the height of the ski season lasting until the middle of March.
You might not be into the big crowds and the potential lineups for getting up the slopes. The low season, or shoulder season, for skiing is the few weeks is between the American Thanksgiving and Christmas. After that, the tail end shoulder season is from the beginning of March until the middle of May.
When is Low Ski Season?
Spring skiing on Blackcomb Mountain can be pretty epic, and the prices for hotels usually go down. You can also take advantage of other springtime activities Whistler offers that might not have anything to do with snow. At the bottom of the hill, people might be hitting the local mountain bike trails, while others are hitting the glacier for a last of the season run.
But how do you choose the best time to plan your trip to Whistler? Even if you understand the metrics of the high and low season, that is still seven months of snow and crowds to wade through. We can help you narrow down your decision with a few tips for specific kinds of people. Afterall, there are major differences between a family of young children looking for a magical Christmas and a snowboarder looking for knee-deep pow.
A Perfect Whistler Ski Season For Everyone – No Matter What Your Passion
1. January & February: A Ski Season for Avid Skiers and Snowboarders
The consistent snowfall and the sheer scale of rideable terrain Whistler and Blackcomb have to offer are what put this town on the map. Skiing, boarding, no matter your preference and skill set, there is a perfect run for everyone.
The Whistler ski season is at its best in February based on historical data from recent years. By February, there will be a decent base, and it tends to snow almost daily by the end of January. This is also the best time to book your heli or cat skiing trip into the alpine, as avalanche conditions are usually safer. If you like plowing through knee-deep snow, this is the time you’ll want to plan your trip.
2. March: A Ski Season for Families
Although you might want to target February for your next visit, if you’re bringing the whole family, mid-winter might not be the right option. If you come in March, the weather is warmer which might be more advantageous for young kids who get cold quickly. Plus peak season prices start to go down closer to the end of the season.
Not only are the lineups shorter, but you have more space on the mountain. Watching your child cannonball down the mountain at Mach speed is slightly less terrifying when there are fewer people in their way. Plus, families also find it easier to book accommodation nearer the end of the season as the crowds start to thin out.
3. December: A Holiday Ski-Season in Whistler
During Christmas time, many families will come up to take in the Whistler winter wonderland. While there is obviously skiing, there are also tons of other festive activities to indulge in including:
- Bobsleighing at the Olympic Luge Course.
- Snowshoeing at Lost Lake.
- Watching the eagles in Squamish
- Horse sleigh rides
There are also many indoor activities, if its a little too chilly outside. Walking around the village and shopping is a fun way to spend an afternoon, popping in and out of stores and stopping for a perfect cup of hot chocolate. Or why not take a trip down to Forged Axe Throwing to try your hand a truly Canadian activity.
During this time of year restaurants cater to the classic Canadian Christmas traditions, meaning you can leave your turkey at home. The village, shops, and hotels go all out with festive lighting, thanks in part to companies like Best Coast Christmas Lights who has been lighting up the hotels for five years running.
With the community-wide decor, it really does feel like a European village during Christmas with a warm and cozy atmosphere. And if your family just can’t do without, some hotels even offer the service of putting up a Christmas tree in your hotel room.
4. June & July: Whistler Ski Season for Glacier Skiing
After the regular Whistler ski season is over, diehards can still head up high into the mountains. For those that can’t stop-won’t stop, they hit the hill even after the season has officially ended. But this is why Whistler Blackcomb offers the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of the Horstman Glacier. A perfect place for the experts to hone their craft, it brings out as many pro athletes and fans members, especially around the terrain park.
The glacier experience brings advanced riders together in a warmer, spring climate. Not only are the crowds smaller, but you can work on your tan at the same time. Be sure to sunscreen up, and nothing is worse than a goggle tan!
If you are an experienced rider, check out the glacier riding in the middle of summer, typically a two week period around June and July.
5. March & April: A Spring Skiing Season
Spring skiing can be one of the best times to experience the Whistler ski season. It has warmed up enough to be pleasant even on the coldest days, and a solid snow base has built up through the colder months. Although we sound like a broken record, the crowds will again have dispersed, leaving you much more room to enjoy your Whistler experience. While you might not encounter any powder during the spring season, conditions aren’t awful. Expect to get a little wet, and if you are lucky, tons of sun.
During late March and April, you can expect to find discounts on hotels. The Village seems like a different environment altogether, with a much more chilled out atmosphere.
For us at Forged Axe Throwing, the Spring season is our favorite season for all the reasons listed above, plus there are some great festivals in town. For new-comers, the spring season offers a little bit of everything, including snow, sun and the best of the festival season.
Whistler Ski Season Recap
The main Whistler ski season lasts from December to March. During the height of January to February, powder hounds are hitting the slopes on the daily quest for new snow. During March, the temperatures start to warm up, but there is still consistent snow. Christmas offers a ton of extra special festive activities that are ideal for the entire family. Finally, Blackcomb offers diehard advanced skiers and riders the opportunity to take in the glaciers during June and July.
Not all winter months were created equal in Whistler, but each month has a unique personality. What do you want to get out of Whistler? Are you looking for snow? Do you want to celebrate the holidays with your family? Maybe you are looking for snow when everyone else is laying on the beach. Whistler it turns out, can accommodate everyone’s needs.
Find out exactly what you and your group are looking for before planning your next trip to Whistler. Your choices should also influence the time of year you plan. Rest assured, the peak months of January and February are a blast, but the shoulder seasons often have even more to offer, especially if you are looking beyond the hill.