Tips for finding your way on Whistler Blackcomb

The numbers speak for themselves: With more than 200 marked runs and 37 chairlifts spread across 8,171 acres of terrain, there is a lot of skiing and snowboarding to enjoy on Whistler Blackcomb. Deciding to visit is the easy part; figuring out where to begin is where it gets tricky. When it comes to navigating the mountains, there are a few key tools available to help steer you in the right direction — and toward the best ski runs.

If you’re a planner, you can get a head start by studying the detailed trail maps available on the Whistler Blackcomb website or through the free Whistler Blackcomb mobile app. The app offers a few bonus tidbits, such as letting you know which trails have recently been groomed and which lifts are open for the day. If you have left this until the last minute or your phone is running low on battery, you can always pick up a paper trail map at the base of the mountains.

For those who would rather cut straight to the chase, Whistler Blackcomb (WB) offers free orientation tours daily throughout the winter season. The guided tours are suitable for intermediate and expert skiers and snowboarders, and they are offered on both Whistler and Blackcomb mountains.
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Not sure if your skills are up to snuff to keep up on a mountain tour? A lesson may be more up your alley. Not only will you learn the tricks and techniques required to make it down the mountain in one piece, but also your instructor will take you to some of the best runs on the mountain. “From the never-ever to the expert, we have a wide range of lessons that will allow folks to interact with our mountains in a way that is comfortable for them,” says Marc Riddell, WB’s senior manager of communications.

Your instructor will reveal the best terrain suited to your preferences, whether you love to turn through trees, barrel down big bowls, or shred the steeps. “It is a good way to learn the terrain and maybe find some secret spots that unaccompanied guests may not discover,” Riddell says.

If you would like insider information but prefer to take things at your own pace, all you need to do is chat with a Mountain Host. “They are volunteers who know the mountain well and can direct skiers and riders to all levels of terrain,” says Riddell. You can find Mountain Hosts around the Rendezvous Lodge near the Solar Coaster Express chairlift on Blackcomb, and by the light board between the Peak 2 Peak Gondola and the Roundhouse on Whistler Mountain. Stuck in a lift line? Keep your eyes peeled — Mountain Hosts may be helping with line control and can offer recommendations while you wait. “When asking where to ski or ride, let them know your ability level so they can send you in the right direction,” Riddell advises.

Still feeling overwhelmed? When in doubt, just look up: There are plenty of signs all around the mountains to show you the way. “Our trail signs — green, blue, and black — are an accurate way to tailor your ski or snowboard day to your ability,” Riddell says. If you’re not sure where you stand, start with a green run, which offers the easiest terrain.

Here’s the good news: No matter where you end up on the mountains, the odds are high that you’re going to have the time of your life.

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