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Which Is The Best Month To Ski In Whistler?

With Whistler’s long winter season running from November to May, and sometimes even early June, first-time visitors are often left wondering which month to book. Whilst each year is different and conditions are up to the mercy of the snow gods, the team at Mabey Ski concluded that the best month to ski in Whistler is March – you can expect heavy snowfall, sunny days, smaller lift lines and a more stable snowpack.

Mabey Ski’s Head of Adventures and local Whistler skier, Ben Cooke, sat down with the team to discuss the pros and cons of each month.

With over 750 days of skiing at Whistler Blackcomb under his belt Ben has broken down each month, based on historical snow and a ‘typical’ Whistler season to give you a little more insight.

Table of contents

  1. November: Early season fun
  2. December: Holiday festivities
  3. January: Extended terrain
  4. February: Heavy snowfall
  5. March: Bluebird powder days
  6. April: Quieter slopes
  7. May: Ski and bike
Mabey Ski Ben Cooke Powder Turn at Duffey Lake, British Columbia, Canada
- Ben Cooke skiing powder on Whistler Blackcomb

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

Check out some of our Whistler adventures here

Ben Cooke Powder Turn Action Shot on Mabey Ski Adventure

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: A Bespoke Whistler Ski Trip

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: Steep and Deep Week

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: Whistler Powder Tour

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: Whistler and The Wilderness

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: Intro to Backcountry Ski Touring

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: Overnight Backcountry Basecamp

As a Whistler-based adventure ski specialist, we are very much the experts of Whistler skiing, so if you have any questions about the terrain, want advice on local guiding, heli-skiing or just want some insider tips on the overall resort please do reach out to our Whistler experts and we’d be happy to help.