A-Z of resorts: Whistler

At the front of the
Good Skiing & Snowboarding Guide is a section entitled "Simply the Best". Under 21 headings, it lists the resorts the editors consider to be the best – for families, off-piste skiing, eating out and so on. The Canadian resort of Whistler, 120km (75 miles) north of Vancouver, appears under no fewer than nine of the headings, including the three mentioned above. And in the Fairmont Chateau Whistler the resort has, the guide reckons, "one of the truly great ski hotels of the world".

At the front of the Good Skiing & Snowboarding Guide is a section entitled "Simply the Best". Under 21 headings, it lists the resorts the editors consider to be the best – for families, off-piste skiing, eating out and so on. The Canadian resort of Whistler, 120km (75 miles) north of Vancouver, appears under no fewer than nine of the headings, including the three mentioned above. And in the Fairmont Chateau Whistler the resort has, the guide reckons, "one of the truly great ski hotels of the world".

Its enthusiasm for Whistler is widely shared. American travel and winter sports magazines consistently rate what is the biggest resort in North America as also among the best. And for British skiers it is the most popular single resort on the continent, despite being a 17-hour journey from London.

It became a single resort in 1997, when the giant Canadian ski company Intrawest linked the areas of Whistler and Blackcomb with a pedestrian village between the two lift bases. Together, the 55 lifts service more than 7,000 acres of skiing, planned so that skiers of all abilities can access most areas apart from the bowls on the 7,160ft Whistler Mountain.

Despite its relatively low altitude, the ski area gets plenty of snow (an average of more than 300in per year) thanks to its proximity to the Pacific Ocean. And the skiing is awesome, with pistes ranging from a double-black corkscrew of bumps and rocks called Blow Hole to an 11km blue run around the ski-area perimeter on Blackcomb Mountain, plus endless off-piste adventures available in the bowls on Whistler.

Adventurous diners are well served, too. Blackcomb Mountain's Glacier Creek restaurant offers sushi and udon noodles, and down in the village itself there is – even more unusually for a ski resort – an excellent Greek café, Zeuski's Taverna.

See www.whistler-blackcomb.com

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