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Whistler Blackcomb has over 8,100 acres of ski terrain, 16 alpine bowls, 3 glaciers, terrain parks and half pipes, over 200 marked trails and one mile of vertical rise. They have ski runs for every abilities, with 20% for beginners, 55% for intermediates, and 25% for experts. Whistler Blackcomb is a world-class resort and consistently ranked No. 1.
The average snowfall is 12 metres (39 feet) per year. Altitude sickness is not a problem here because Whistler Village is only at 675 metres (2,214 feet) and the highest lift accessed elevation is 2,284 metres (7,494 feet). There are 37 lifts, which can handle over 65,000 skiers per hour. The longest run is over 11km (7 miles) long and there is over 570 acres of terrain with snowmaking.
Whistler has hosted many world class ski and snowboard competitions and now with the new Peak-to-Peak Gondola, it is easier than ever to go from one mountain to the other.
© SteveRosset | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos
During the winter ski season, the mountains are open as follows:
Heli-skiing is the best way to access the surrounding mountains for endless powder. Heli-skiing is off-trail, downhill skiing that is accessed by a helicopter, not a ski lift. It is about skiing in a natural environment without the effort and gear required to hike or snowmobile into the same areas. The ski conditions that are found heli-skiing are hard to replicate in the ski resorts, such as long descents, untouched powder snow, steep slopes, and the solitude.
The presence of the guide and machine offer some protection against the risks and discomforts unavoidably associated with entering this mountainous environment, allowing skiers with little or no mountain sense to enjoy a wild environment.
There are several companies offering heli-skiing or heli-snowboarding. Each company has different tenure to variety of terrain from wide open terrain or tree runs depending on the avalanche conditions. There are zero lift lines so the only thing holding you back from unlimited powder is your legs!
You will have experienced guides to keep you safe and they usually recommend that you are at least an intermediate level skiier or have the ability to ski or ride blue runs confidently. It is better if the abilities of you and your friends are closely match so that the expert in your group doesn’t have to wait for the beginner in your group. Your guide and the helicopter will allow you to enjoy the wild mountainous environment with little or no mountain experience.
There are different packages available ranging from 3 runs for $600 to a private excursion with 10 runs and your own private guide for $9000. You will access to hundreds of thousands of acres and it will be up to you where you want to go.
Over 90% of the world’s heli-skiing takes place in British Columbia, Canada. The climate, terrain, and abundance of powder snow, make Whistler the ideal resort to start your heli-skiing adventure from. Spend a few days on the resort to get your legs warmed up and wait for the perfect sunny bluebird day to head out heli-skiing.
Heli-skiing companies that operate out of Whistler will usually provide transportation from your hotel in Whistler to the where the helicopter will leave from but if you require transportation from Whistler to other places in British Columbia or to Vancouver International Airport (YVR) to catch a plane to a heli-ski lodge in the interior or northern regions of British Columbia, be sure to call Alpine North Limousine at 1-866-784-4020.
Cat-skiing is very similar to heli-skiing. The main difference is that instead of using a helicopter, they use a snowcat. Snowcats (or “cats”) are the machines you see grooming ski hills. They are specially modified versions with a heated passenger cabin containing seats to transport twelve guests, two guides and a photographer into the backcountry safely and comfortably.
Usually the cat ride to the top after each run is between 15 – 30 minutes long, just enough time to grab a snack and get ready for the next ride. A full day of cat-skiing will cost about $500 per person, where you will get about 7,000 to 10,000 vertical feet of skiing in 6-10 runs. There is usually no limit on the number of runs, it just depends on how fast your group is as a whole but the minimum is never less than 7,000 vertical feet of skiing or snowboarding.
© WarrenGibb | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos
Normally, the cat-skiing company will provide transportation from Whistler to their staging area. If you require transportation from Whistler to other areas of British Columbia, be sure to call your number one Whistler Limousine service at 1-866-784-4020.
Alpine North Limousine provides private transportation between Vancouver Airport and Whistler, as well as private sightseeing tours.