Skiing in Whistler: November
Typically Whistler Blackcomb opens for early season skiing some time between 14th and 30th November. There is usually only one mountain open during this period and it is very much early season skiing. Watch out for hazards on slope, and don’t use your brand new skis – they will get beaten up! Having said this, we have seen some amazing powder days in November, but expect early season conditions and limited runs to be open. Typically any snow on the mountain will translate to rain in the village and won’t begin to settle in the village just yet.
Pros: Quiet, cheaper
Cons: Unreliable snow, limited terrain
Skiing in Whistler: December
The snow starts filling in some of those holes by December, and the second mountain opens up by the end of the month. Whistler Blackcomb typically sees a lot of snow in December, and it begins to settle in the village when the temperatures are low enough. The alpine lifts (those above the tree-line) usually start running in mid to late December, depending on snowfall. The Christmas lights come on in the village at the beginning of the month and look truly spectacular! Peak holiday season kicks off on 20th December and ends around 9th January – expect prices to be at an all-time high as well as longer line-ups. If you’re looking to book any restaurants during your stay, I would recommend making a reservation at least a few weeks in advance. Skiing in mid to late December can be excellent, and you should be able to ski down to the village by the 20th on a typical year.
Pros: Great village vibes, good snow
Cons: Busier, more expensive
Best ski adventure for December:
Skiing in Whistler: January
New Year’s Eve is a great time in Whistler, but be prepared for larger-than-usual crowds. They tend to die down around 9th January, and with that the room rates typically drop a little too. Snowfall is usually excellent and both mountains should be completely open by mid January, including all alpine lifts and backcountry access gates (one on each mountain). High snowfall does of course mean that visibility can be lower, so don’t forget to pack your low-light lense goggles and make sure you have a good waterproof outer shell.
Pros: Good snow, lots of terrain open
Cons: Stormy weather
Best ski adventure for January:
Skiing in Whistler: February
On the whole, February is one of the best powder skiing months of the year – the resort is fairly busy; however, with all the lifts open crowds tend to disperse and the lift lines aren’t as long. Whistler Blackcomb has done a great job in upgrading chairlifts in both capacity and speed over the past few years, so even the more intimidating-looking lift lines actually move pretty quickly. The date to watch out for in February is Presidents’ Day (a US public holiday) – it lasts for a week in the middle of February and can mean higher rates, bigger crowds and large groups of younger college students from the US. It makes for some great people-watching at the après-ski bars in the village!
Pros: Reliable snow, all terrain open, rates lower than December/January
Cons: Busier periods, stormy weather
Best ski adventure for February:
Skiing in Whistler: March
Probably the team’s favourite month to ski in Whistler – the crowds tend to disappear, and historically March has some of the heaviest snowfalls of the year and therefore the biggest powder days, hence the local adage “March Madness.” Temperatures are still low enough to ensure good snow from top-to-bottom and the backcountry snowpack starts to settle down enough to ski some of the larger and steeper runs (make sure you have taken an avalanche course before heading into the backcountry and remember to check the avalanche forecast before you go). Rates are typically lower throughout March.
Pros: Large snowfalls, more sunshine, quieter, lower rates
Cons: Temperatures can be warmer
Best ski adventure for March:
Skiing in Whistler: April
The sun generally starts to poke its head out in April. With slightly warmer temperatures, views for miles around, fewer crowds and great skiing conditions, April is an amazing time to ski in Whistler. Expect the odd powder day; however, early starts are a must as the snow often deteriorates with higher temperatures later in the month. In mid-late April the ski-out to the village becomes a little bit patchy – time to break out those rock skis again! Backcountry skiing is usually at its prime in April – longer days, a more stabilized snowpack and blue skies make for some incredible days out there. If you’ve never skied the backcountry before, April is a great time to take a guide out for the day! Rates are at their lowest in April.
Pros: Amazing backcountry skiing, good snowpack, good weather, quieter, lower rates
Cons: Less fresh snowfall, some snow starting to melt lower down
Best ski adventure for April:
Skiing in Whistler: May
Usually the final month of skiing in Whistler (although we did once ski until 7th June one year!). Expect to be skiing in a shirt or t-shirt with long sunny days and extended opening hours. The snow is often a little icy in the early morning after an overnight freeze, though it doesn’t take long to soften up, and turns to deep slush by the late afternoon. You’ll generally find prime ski conditions between 10am and 1pm at this time of year – especially in resort and in the parks. The backcountry starts to turn from powder into spring “corn snow” which is an amazing experience in itself – don’t forget your wide brim hat and sunscreen though.
Pros: Amazing weather, dual sports days (ski in the morning, mountain bike in the afternoon), work on your goggle tan, quieter, lower rates
Cons: Very slushy by the late afternoon
Best ski adventure for May:
At Mabey Ski, we say that the adventure shouldn’t end when the slope does. So, if you’re looking for more than just a hotel and a lift pass on your next Whistler ski trip, then you’re in the right place.