One of the most well-known and award-winning ski resorts in North America, specifically in Canada, Whistler Blackcomb is a very popular ski destination among Australians of all ages. Best reached by flying into Vancouver International Airport, a leisurely 2 hour drive will then take you to this wonderful snow- covered, magical place. Whistler Connections has a number of scheduled transfers daily from downtown Vancouver as well as from the airport. There are also other companies such as Benz Tours and Epicrides that provide transport between the two destinations, with an average cost of around CAD$40-$60 depending on season and time of day.
There are many young Australians working in Whistler Blackcomb, in fact, 70% of the workforce is made up of young Australians on a 1- or 2-year visa. Staff all wear badges with their names and places where they come from so conversations are easy to start up. Many of the skiers also travel from Australia, for a number of different reason - a relatively short flight(direct flights between Sydney and Brisbane and Vancouver), favourable exchange rate, friendly Canadians and a vast terrain of ski possibilities as well as other snow-based activities.
So what's the skiing like, I can hear you asking. No matter what level skier you are, you will find slopes that are not only appropriate for your expertise but can also be challenging. There are even Olympic runs as Whistler Blackcomb hosted part of the 2010 Winter Olympics. As the mountains consist of two separate but interconnecting ski areas, you can start off in Whistler and finish up in Blackcomb very easily. The introduction of the record-breaking Peak to Peak gondola has not only made this interconnection easier (also for non-skiers) but has also added elements of fantastic views and awe-inspiring technology. If you take one of the two silver gondolas, as opposed to the red ones, you can even look through a glass floor at the 600 metres below you, travelling 4.4 kilometres between the top of Whistler to the top of Blackcomb. The 11-minute journey provides truly breathtaking views and a once in a lifetime experience.
Whistler Blackcomb provides a massive area to ski on, in fact, there are 4,757 acres (1,925 ha) of skiable terrain. All levels of skiers are catered for, from beginners to hardened, experienced skiers looking for a challenge. The green runs are the easiest and the double black diamonds are for expert skiers. Ski lessons, free ski tours by locals that let you know about the best places to ski and the Fresh Tracks experience ensure that all family members find their place on the mountains.
Mountain restaurants of all sizes and price points make certain that you never need to go hungry or thirsty. For the best waffles on the mountain, Crystal Hut, a small log-cabin restaurant, will entice you after a hard day's skiing. If eating outside, be careful of the Whisky Jacks, local birds that like to nibble on your waffle when not watching.