New To Ski

Is Whistler Good for Beginner Skiers? (Honest Truth)

by Anthony Schwabe | Updated: October 27th, 2022
Whistler Blackcomb

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Whistler is an incredibly popular resort in Canada, so it makes sense to ask – is Whistler really that good for beginners? 

Whistler Blackcomb is a great resort for beginners. There are plenty of green runs spread across both mountains. There are also beginner areas and slow zones that foster a great environment for learning without pressure from other skiers.

Whistler Blackcomb is a good choice for new and developing skiers, as it offers a full range of trail difficulties from baby slopes to challenging terrain.

A Little Bit About Whistler Blackcomb

Whistler Blackcomb is the largest of all the ski resorts in North America. Located north of Vancouver, it offers world-class winter activities and is considered one of the best ski resorts in the world. The reputation of the owners, Vail Resorts, has been fundamental in the development of Whistler.

Whistler Blackcomb Vancouver

The resort is comprised of two mountains, Whistler and Blackcomb, creating over 8,100 acres of skiable terrain. There are about 200 marked trails, all accessed by modern lift infrastructure. 

Many skiers and snowboarders rate the resort as some of the best skiing in the world. While the epic scale of Whistler Blackcomb, ensures there is something for every skill level.  

It’s a good thing the lift system runs so smoothly as Whistler Blackcomb can get very busy, with peak season attracting large crowds.  In addition to the great lift infrastructure, there is also the unique Whistler Peak 2 Peak Gondola that enables skiers to traverse from one mountain to the other.

The plentiful off-slope activities are another reason that Whistler is so popular with visitors. Down in Whistler Village there are food and drink styles to suit all appetites. If you have any non skiers in your group the shopping is also excellent, along with numerous other activities off the slopes.

Is Whistler Good for Beginners?

Whistler is a great choice for beginners for several reasons. Mostly these are as a result of the sheer size and popularity of the resort. The ski school is well organized, so it’s easy to find suitable classes, while there is a good range of beginner terrain, when you consider how large the resort is. 

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Whistler Trip
Photo by Scott Hughes at licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Beginner Areas

The beginner areas at Whistler Blackcomb are often wide-open runs that are usually well-groomed.  There are beginner areas on both Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain, and the best rated is found at the Olympic Mid-Station on Whistler Mountain.

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On the Blackcomb side, there is the Yellow Brick Road area, which is perfect for those just starting out.  Whistler Creekside also offers great skiing for beginners and novices. Especially if you find your feet and you’re looking for more challenging runs. 

There are plenty of longer green runs that trail down both mountains. The size of the resort means these runs offer miles of enjoyable terrain, but they can take a while for slow cruisers, but what’s the rush? For beginners, starting out small is a good idea at Whistler.  

The majority of the green runs are found on the Whistler side, but there are more on Blackcomb as well. On the Whistler side quite a few runs are high up on the mountain, giving beginners a chance to get enjoy skiing closer to the summit, rather than being stuck down at the bottom of the slopes. Everyone gets a chance to see the gorgeous views found with high-altitude skiing.

Whistler Blackcomb

Family Zone on Whistler

The family zone is a specially marked area for families to explore and practice their skills. This is also where the School Yard is located.  This provides families with a great environment for anyone still finding their confidence on the slopes, with very approachable terrain for novices, beginners, and even children.  

Dedicated Slow Zones

The infrastructure at Whistler is well thought out and designed, especially for beginners. The resort is so busy that the infrastructure has to be good!

Dedicated slow zones help to control the large crowds, by putting a limit on the speed of skiers and snowboarders. This makes the slow zone is ideal for beginners and novices, so they can relax and learn rather than worry about who’s coming up behind.

The slow zones run along most of the green trails from the Peak 2 Peak gondolas all the way to the bases of both mountains. 

Intermediate Runs

For fast learners who want to transition to intermediate skiing, there are plenty of choices. In fact, the majority of the runs at Whistler Blackcomb are for intermediate skiers.  The runs on Whistler are definitely the better choice for less confident skiers, as Blackcomb is notorious for some steeper runs. 

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It’s also important for beginners wanting a challenge to check out the grooming report beforehand. Some of the blue runs can be tricky if they haven’t been groomed recently, so beginners should steer clear. That said, Whistler Blackcomb does usually stay on top of its grooming.

Which is Better for Beginners, Whistler or Blackcomb?

While both mountains offer excellent skiing for beginners and those just starting out, Whistler does have the higher proportion green runs.  Although both mountains feature dedicated beginner areas, and slow zones that are quiet enough for practicing skills. 

Another perk on the Whistler side is that there are more green runs higher up the mountain. This gives beginners a great opportunity to take in the scenery and get a true alpine skiing experience without venturing onto difficult terrain. 

Whistler Garbanzo chair
Photo by Ruth Hartnup at licensed under CC BY 2.0

However, undoubtedly the best part of skiing at Whistler Blackcomb is that you don’t have to choose! You have access to both mountains with one lift pass. 

What is the Best Month to Ski Whistler?

Whistler Blackcomb has a reputation for being an excellent ski resort, and so naturally lots of people visit. So it can be difficult to find the best time to visit the resort when the snow is good and the crowds aren’t t

To avoid the huge crowds that visit Whistler, mid-December is probably the best bet. The snow is good, and there are fewer people, as many are planning for Christmas.  

In terms of snow, the best time to visit Whistler is usually January, although the snow is usually good throughout the winter months. This does mean skiers flock to whistler flock in large numbers during this time though. 

For a more in-depth breakdown of when to visit, head over here. 

Blackcomb 7th Heaven
Photo by Ian Irving licensed under CC BY 2.0

In Summary

It should come as no surprise that Whistler Blackcomb has some great areas for beginner skiers. The sheer size of the resort pretty much means you will have a good choice and the resort goes out of its way to help newcomers out.

Dedicated slow zones, beginner areas like Olympic Mid-Station and Yellow Brick Road, and plenty of green runs give beginners the opportunity to stretch their legs without getting bored or feeling pressured by more advanced skiers flying past them. 

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Whistler Blackcomb

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