Hands down, Whistler Blackcomb is one of the very best ski resorts for families. It has a great mix of terrain and kid-friendly features on the mountains, along with a great ski school and village that everyone will love. To sweeten the deal, they frequently run a "kids ski free" program that's a great bargain for skiing families. With a huge après ski scene and nonstop activities in and around Whistler Village, it's no wonder families keep coming back, and they keep getting voted as North America's #1 resort. It is an incredible winter vacation destination that families will love. Here are the best reasons to head to Canada and take your family skiing in Whistler Blackcomb this winter.
Whistler is made up of two separate mountains which makes for an amazing amount of skiable terrain. It's not all advanced stuff either. They have a great mix of beginner runs spread across both mountains, making Whistler a great choice for young families who may be just learning. It also means families won’t get bored skiing the same 3 bunny slopes over and over. They've also got some fun family areas on the mountain like the enchanted Tree Fort and Magic Castle which are great places to kick off your skis for a bit and explore. They offer a neat diversion to get away from the crowds and have some fun family time in the snow.
If you're looking to take some lessons, Whistler offers an amazing array of programs for all skill levels. They offer kids’ camps, family lessons, group lessons, and MAX4 group lessons. It doesn’t matter what your age or skill level, Whistler has you covered. There were an awful lot of little ones shredding the hill during our visit, so they must be doing something right!
Whether you're skiing or not, an absolute must for families is a ride across the valley on the Peak to Peak Gondola. This feat of modern engineering boasts two Guinness World Records - one for covering the largest unsupported span, and the other for being the highest lift of its kind. As you might expect, the views are tremendous! Kids will love the ride on the glass-bottom cabins, so be sure to wait the extra few minutes for one of those to come by. It’s worth it! This is easily the best way to get from one mountain to the other at the resort.
For a bit of a break during meal times, Nintendo has sponsored gaming lounges where kids can pull up a stool and play games for free. They have three lounges located on-mountain at Rendezvous Lodge on Blackcomb, Roundhouse Lodge on Whistler, and off mountain at the Wizard Grill at the Base of Blackcomb. Let's face it, a bit of Mario Kart over lunch never hurt anyone.
Whistler Village is enormous and is full of shops and restaurants, a playground, an ice skating rink – you name it, and they have it. You'd be hard pressed to get bored or go hungry here. Make a point to find some hot poutine, Canada's national dish, and for dessert, swing by Cow's for a scoop of ice cream. It's delicious! Snap a few photos of the kids climbing around in the Olympic rings, and if you're visiting on a Sunday, grab some hot cocoa and stick around for the free Fire and Ice show which features Whistler’s best skiers and snowboarders doing tricks and aerial stunts as they fly through a flaming hoop. It's pretty awesome!
Everything about Whistler seems larger than life, and that includes the chalets, lodges, and hotels around the resort, including the Fairmont pictured above). They have a good mix of budget accommodation all the way up to 5-star luxury chalets. Regardless of where you stay, many of the hotels offer a ski valet that will help you with your ski and boot fittings when you arrive, and then collect your gear each day after you're done skiing. This is an amazing perk for families, because you don't have to lug your gear (and your kids' gear) all over the hotel. Let the valet handle it and you can get onto more important things, like dinner and a soak in the hot tub. The next morning, visit the valet before you head out to pick up your skis and nice, warm boots that have been dried out for you overnight. Perfect!
The skiing is epic, sure, but Whistler is full of other fun things to do for families as well. At the base, grab a tube and race each other down the tubing hill. Book a snowshoe hike or even a ride on the zip line through the snow-covered canopy. You can even take a dog sledding tour. Maybe one of the best (and free) things to do is simply take a stroll through the village. There is so much to see and do (and eat) that you'll always find something interesting. Before you leave, go shopping for the perfect souvenir to take home and throw a few snowballs at the Olympic park just for good measure.
There may be other ski resorts that boast of deeper powder, or a cozier atmosphere, or some other unique take on the family ski vacation, but none of them deliver the experience like Whistler delivers. It's a total package of amazing skiing, incredible scenery (the drive up from Vancouver in particular is stunning), food, nightlife, and all-around fun. It really has to be experienced to be appreciated. There's a reason why Whistler Blackcomb is consistently ranked as the best all-around ski resort. Come see for yourself, and you'll come away impressed.