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Snowboarding Above The Clouds At Whistler

Snowboarding Whistler BC

Whistler, BC, Canada

We finally broke through low-hanging clouds into blue sky, revealing snow covered peaks in every direction. I felt a rush of excitement gazing out at Whistler’s steep terrain.

Over 13 inches of snow had fallen in the last 2 days. Rising early for first tracks, I could hear muffled blasts of avalanche explosives on the lift ride up.

I was visiting Whistler for the first time with Kiersten from The Blonde Abroad to check activities off our LifeProof Winter Bucket List, and snowboarding was my number one priority.

The Whistler-Blackcomb mountains have been teasing me in my dreams for years. It had been a few years since my last big snowboarding adventure — and there’s nothing quite like the anticipation of a solid powder day after a long stretch of no action.

Crazy Whistler Terrain

Snowing Whistler Blackcomb

Whistler-Blackcomb Ski Resort

Whistler-Blackcomb is the largest ski resort in North America, ranked #1 overall in SKI Magazine’s annual reader poll for 2015. With 2 separate mountains, 200+ runs, 39 lifts and 8,000 acres of terrain, it’s a skiing & snowboarding paradise.

Especially when you take into account the 38 feet of annual snowfall it receives due to its proximity to the Pacific. Combine that with 3 glaciers, incredible backcountry, and a world-class mountain village — it becomes obvious why readers continue to vote for it year after year.

Would the mountain live up to its famous reputation? I was about to find out.

Blackcomb Mountain in Whistler

Snowboarding Whistler

Riding Above The Clouds

Weather conditions at Whistler can be deceiving. While it may appear dark & gloomy in the valley, once you rise above the clouds it might be a perfect blue-bird day. You never really know until you see for yourself.

I spent 7 days on the mountain over the course of 2 weeks up in Whistler. Most of that time was riding the high ridges, bowls, and glades on Blackcomb Mountain. Places with names like Hortsman Glacier, Secret Bowl, and the 7th Heaven Everglades.

The sheer amount of terrain to explore is difficult to grasp.

A few days is not enough time to experience everything, hell I rode for a week and didn’t see it all. I fully understand why so many people from around the world decide to become ski bums here… I almost got sucked in too!

The thought of spending all winter on these mountains was tempting.

Peak 2 Peak Whistler Blackcomb

Tree Runs Whistler

Outstanding Terrain

I grew up skiing and snowboarding in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, eventually moving to Montana’s Rocky Mountains in college. So it has been a long-time passion of mine — floating through trees in deep powder, speeding down fast groomers, dropping into open bowls, or launching over small cliffs.

Whistler has everything you could possibly want. I couldn’t believe the type of runs you have lift access to! Steep chutes and heavenly bowls all around. In Montana you’d be forced to hike for this stuff.

Here it was only a short stroll away from the lift…

Another marvel is Whistler-Blackcomb’s Peak 2 Peak gondola, which takes you between the mountains on a 3 mile journey over dizzying heights of 1400 feet.

This remarkable lift holds multiple records — a scenic adventure all by itself.

Whistler Accommodation

Canadian Poutine

Whistler Village

A good ski town vibe is the heart of a great mountain. Whistler Village is modern and fun, with plenty of activities to keep you busy off the slopes.

Where To Eat

For a quick and unhealthy (yet delicious!) lunch, stuff yourself with a hearty plate of Canadian poutine made of cheese curds, gravy, and fries at Zogs Dogs. Head to Merlins Bar & Grill at the base of Blackcomb for the best Après-ski experience in town. For a proper dinner, you can’t go wrong with the Bearfoot Bistro. Make sure to chug vodka in their ice room!


Hotels in Whistler can be expensive, but you might get lucky renting a condo with FlipKey like we did. High rollers tend to stay at the beautiful Fairmont Hotel, and you’ll find ski bums on a budget at the HI Hostel a few minutes down the road.

Other Activities

Along with snowboarding in Whistler, we also went snowmobiling with The Adventure Group, dogsledding with Blackcomb Dog Sled, and took a scenic helicopter tour with Blackcomb Aviation. Check out clips from these adventures in my video below.

Covered Bridge Whistler

Inukshuk Statue Whistler

Snowboarding Whistler

It’s always been a dream of mine to go snowboarding at Whistler-Blackcomb in BC, and it certainly lived up to the hype. With an almost unlimited choice of terrain for all skill levels, generous gifts from the powder gods, and a vibrant ski-town, Canada’s most famous ski resort is famous for a reason. ★

Watch Video: LifeProof Winter Bucket List

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(Click to watch LifeProof Winter Bucket List – Whistler on YouTube)

[su_box title=”Travel Planning Resources For Canada” style=”noise” box_color=”#333333″ title_color=”#FFFFFF” radius=”3″ class=”resource-box”]
Location: Whistler, BC, Canada
Accommodation: FlipKey Vacation Rentals

Packing Guide

Check out my travel gear guide to help you start packing for your trip. Pick up a travel backpack, camera gear, and other useful travel accessories.

Book Your Flight

Find cheap flights on Skyscanner. This is my favorite search engine to find deals on airlines. Also make sure to read how I find the cheapest flights.

Rent A Car

Discover Cars is a great site for comparing car prices to find the best deal. They search both local & international rental companies.

Book Accommodation is my favorite hotel search engine. Or rent apartments from locals on Airbnb. Read more about how I book cheap hotels online.

Protect Your Trip

Don’t forget travel insurance! I’m a big fan of World Nomads for short-term trips. Protect yourself from possible injury & theft abroad. Read more about why you should always carry travel insurance.

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I hope you enjoyed my guide on Vancouver Island! Hopefully you found it useful. Here are a few more wanderlust-inducing articles that I recommend you read next:

Do you ski or snowboard? Ever been to Whistler?



Friday 24th of November 2017

Hi Matthew!

I will be going to Whistler this January with a group of students from my university. I am in a big dilemma trying to decide whether I should bring my skis or my snowboard out with me. I've tried googling images, videos, and stories to decide which is best but I can't so I figured I might as well just go ahead and ask you. Here's a little bit about me:

I grew up skiing on the East Coast as well but in the Berkshire Mountains on a small mountain in western Massachusetts. Though the mountain is small, there is a great variety of terrain and condition that are considerably challenging at some points. I have been skiing since I was 2 years old and would consider myself at an expert level. I have been snowboarding since I was 9 and would probably consider myself at an advanced level. I can go down blacks, double blacks, and glades on both my skis and my board. However, I would say that I am more confident on my skis since I have been doing it longer. Every time I have gone out West I have brought my skis because of this.

The issue I have is that I enjoy snowboarding a lot more than I enjoy skiing. I feel that I may rather bring my snowboard on this trip just simply because I like to do it more but I worry that I will not be able to go on as many trails as I would with my skis. So, I was wondering your opinion on this since you seemed to have enjoyed your time so much. Do you think that an advanced level snowboarder with a little bit of caution would be able to have as good of a time as an expert level skier? Or do you think that I should utilize the extra skill I have on skis to get a better experience on this mountain?

Sorry for the long comment but thank you so much for your time!


Wednesday 15th of April 2015

Whistler was on my bucket list and 2 years ago I finally had the chance to check it off. Whistler Village and some of your other photos brought back some really great memories. Being an avid snowboarder myself, I would highly recommend this trip to anyone! Keep spreading the stoke!

Matthew Karsten

Saturday 6th of February 2016

Yes! There's nothing like a long weekend snowboarding in Whistler, especially with good snow. I can't wait to go back.

James hugeses

Friday 6th of March 2015

Did you get any backcountry skiing in as that is where the real skiing is...although inbounds is good too. Next time your there, backflip air Jordan, cork1080 demanskies, and quadruble frontflip coffin. Don't go around Christmas/new year it is like newyork city at these times. Hitchhiking is a great way to get around whistler and hitching to and from vancouver that I did quite often was pretty easy too...just stand on on-ramp to h99 from north van.

Matthew Karsten

Monday 16th of March 2015

Thanks for the tips James. I hiked up and over the backside of Blackcomb, but that's about it. No hardcore backcountry stuff this trip. Next time!


Wednesday 4th of March 2015

Hey Matt!

I am reading this from South Korea, where the winter has been cold, but no snow has fallen! I have been finding myself seeking out snowy adventure reads to make up for the lack of snow in my life!

Whistler is one of those ski resorts that has been at the top of my bucket list for a long time. I have always had big plans to get there, but still have yet to make it! I remember my senior year of college, I was planning on graduating and moving west where I would be a ski bum and hop from resort to resort living the sweet life of powder skiing. Then my dad informed me he would not be providing me the funds to do that, so the plan was halted! Instead, I stayed in Vermont (where the skiing isn't terrible but it isn't a Whistler), and my dreams of getting out to BC have grown distant. Grr!

Looks like you seriously had an epic time skiing at Whistler. That shot of you with your Go Pro about to make some fresh tracks through the woods is amazing! And the photos of your bluebird powder day is one for the books.

Thanks for sharing and allowing us all to experience Whistler through your eyes! Fingers crossed it won't be very much longer until I too make it out to BC!

Cheers, Katie

Matthew Karsten

Monday 16th of March 2015

Hey Katie, that's kind of what I did in college. Drove West to the mountains of Montana to be a ski-bum for a year before starting school. One of the best years ever! Hopefully one of these days you'll make it up to BC, you'll love it.

Ketki Shah

Tuesday 24th of February 2015

Amazing post Matthew. What an awesome experience you had. I wish I could snowboard, Snowboarding is so cool. I had a great time reading about your experience. Keep sharing.

Matthew Karsten

Monday 16th of March 2015

Glad you enjoyed it Ketki! Snowboarding is one of my favorite sports.

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