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Canada: Whistler-Blackcomb

There is more to Whistler-Blackcomb than just the party!

Whistler is on every snowboarders bucket list. Perfect groomers, world-class parks, incredible backcountry, and a village that has practically evolved into one giant apres-ski venue. The pros love it, the locals don’t want to share it, and international ski-bums flock here every season for that elusive ’Whistler’ experience. Ripe with bars, cafes, lounges, nightclubs, patios and pubs, it is known as being random and spontaneous, and often, a debaucherous way to celebrate a day on the slopes. There is no wonder it is often considered the best apres-ski scene in North America. But there is more to Whistler than just the party…you just need to see it (or ride it) to believe it.

Need a few more reasons to shred this part of the world?

Whistler-Blackcomb makes it to the top of ‘best of’ lists all over the world, and reading the figures, it’s hard to dispute. The largest skiable area in North America, Whistler-Blackcomb boasts 8000 acres over two mountains, and more than 200 runs. Not to mention an average annual snowfall of over 12 metres. Hosting the largest high-speed ski lift system and Peak to Peak gondola means the resort has the capacity of transporting over 64,000 riders per hour…say goodbye to those long lift lines!

One of the best aspects about this resort is it’s appeal to all skiing and snowboarding levels. Well-groomed green trails run from from high altitudes down to the resort base, which means novice skiiers and snowboarders are no longer restricted to just the lower slopes, and are able to get that ‘big mountain’ experience without straying to far outside their comfort zones. Half of the terrain is graded for intermediates, with super long runs and challenging off-piste slopes in the high alpine terrain. The Whistler side of the resort is also the perfect place to take the next step into powder and tree skiing. The wide open bowls, steep chutes, and narrow gullies create limitless opportunities for advanced riders, especially on epic powder days. It’s often challenging to find a resort that is suited to everyone on a ski-trip, but Whistler-Blackcomb’s versatile terrain means that no man is left behind!

The hallmark of Whistler-Backcomb is its incredible variety of runs to suit whatever style and mood you’re feeling on the day. With terrain like this, you can ride almost every condition possible: bowls and chutes, piste and groomers. For powder-filled mornings, you can’t beat the wide open bowls of the Glacier and Seventh Heaven on the Blackcomb side of the resort. These are a favourite among locals, and are sure to have you whooping and hollering in no time. If you’re looking for an adrenaline pumping time, check out the double diamond runs off Spanky’s Ladder, or test your nerves (and skills) and ride the infamous ’Couloir Extreme’; one of the top ten steep in-bounds runs in the world. The long and windy ‘Peak to Creek’ run is perfect for a good ol’ cruise, or tighten those bindings and shred hard and fast on the Dave Murray Downhill (used as course in the 2010 Winter Olympics).

Riding the incredible Peak 2 Peak is worth the road trip to Whistler-Blackcomb alone. Spanning from Whistler peak to Blackcomb Glacier, the highest and longest unsupported cable car is both epic and nerve-wreaking. Within 11 minutes, you can go from powder-licious bowls and chutes, to challenging tree runs and long windy groomers. The P2P also allows equal access to all three Whistler bases (Whistler Village, Upper Village and Creekside), so you can ride easily from first-chair to dusk.

Whistler-Blackcomb is home to six terrain parks. Count em’. Six! You could easily put a whole day aside to simply attempt every rail, box and feature on the hill, perfecting your style. The best part about these parks is that they’re incredibly user-friendly. The parks themselves are rated from S to XL according to their difficulty, appealing to every riding level. Each feature and jump is also rated so you know what to expect before you take off. The immaculately sculpted Olympic Superpipe and boardercross track are also crowd favourites at Whistler, and well worth the lines.

The resort also offers an opportunity for powder hounds to beat the gondola queues and make some memorable first tracks at Whistler-Blackcomb. Get your hands on a “Fresh Tracks” ticket and access freshly groomed trails and untouched powder whilst the rest of the village is waiting in lift-lines. It will be one of the best decisions you make on your visit (plus first tracks always guarantees a few high fives!).

Locals tip: master one mountain before switching to the next to make the most of the secret stashes and spend less time checking the trail map, and more time shredding. The biggest decision you will have to make is which mountain to ride first!

Is Whistler-Backcomb at the top of your list for places to shred? Mint Tours is offering some epic tours and packages for this upcoming Winter season. Ride with some of the best guides in the industry and experience for yourself why Whistler-Blackcomb lives up to its reputation.

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