An Instructor’s Guide To Skiing Whistler Blackcomb

It may sound like a dream, but I get paid to ski all day. As a ski instructor for Whistler Blackcomb, the mountains are my office and my dress code is more snowsuit than suit. One of the many perks of spending all day on the slopes is getting to know the mountain like the back of my hand, so something I get asked all time is “where should I ski?”.

With 8,171 acres of terrain to explore you are certainly spoiled for choice, but knowing where to go can be the difference between it being all smiles or waterworks on the slopes. To help you explore with confidence I’ve curated a list of my go-to spots to ensure you have the best time skiing, whatever your ability.

Local Tip

Skiing is hungry work so there’s no better way to start the day than a breakfast of champions. The place to go is Portobello. Fill up quickly with an impressive selection of hearty classics. Once you’ve indulged, your energy levels are high, the snow gear is on and it’s time to get out on the slopes!

Peak 2 Peak | Ellie Williams


No matter how long you’ve been skiing, it’s always important to warm up on easier terrain to get back in the groove. If you are new to skiing entirely, booking a lesson is ideal for giving you all the skills to master skiing in no time! If you need any assistance in booking a lesson our concierge will be glad to help.

Easing Into Whistler

For the simplest terrain on Whistler, take yourself up the Village Gondola to the mid-station point. Here, there are a couple of magic carpets and the Olympic chair, allowing you plenty of space in the beginner’s area to find your feet without too many people whizzing past you. 

If you’re feeling ready to level up, take the gondola to the top and clip in on the left-hand side of Roundhouse Lodge. Follow the signs down Upper Whiskey Jack which is a couple of pitches down towards Chic Pea – a great spot for cinnamon rolls. Next, take Pig Alley towards Ego Bowl. You need a bit of speed initially as the run flattens out, but you soon join into the bowl which widens out, giving you plenty of room to practice your best turns. The run leads down towards Emerald chair. Once you’ve made the ascent, either repeat yourself on green terrain or take the gondola down if that was enough of a thrill. 

Beginners On Blackcomb

If you fancy exploring the beginner’s terrain on Blackcomb, head to the Magic Chair for a fun alternative. The run gets a little busy in the afternoon but is a great spot for practising your speed control between the flatter and steeper pitches of the terrain. 

When you’re ready to head further up the mountain, take Blackcomb Gondola to mid-station and ski Green Line all the way to the bottom. This track crosses a couple of other runs, so keep an eye out for merges and always remember to look up the hill before you cross! 

Once you’ve nailed that, take the gondola all the way to the tippy top, and ski Easy Out for the easiest route down the mountain. Halfway down, you join Green Line. As you’ve already mastered this route, it’ll be easy peasy all the way down. 

Clouds in the valley, bluebird on the peaks. PHOTO: ELLIE WILLIAMS
Whistler peak on a snowy day.


If you’re cruising on greens, riding blues with ease and dabbling with the odd black run, there’s plenty of intermediate terrain on Whistler Blackcomb to challenge yourself. 

Stepping It Up On Whistler

From the top of Whistler Gondola, head down Upper Whiskey Jack initially, to then stay left at Chic Pea towards Orange Peel for a wide blue and stunning view! From here, follow Pony Trail down towards Red Chair. Be careful as this sometimes has variable terrain so watch out for patches of ice. 

If you continue down to the Garbanzo chairlift, take an immediate left after your ascent to ride Raven down towards Emerald chair. This a great black run to try if you’re looking to challenge yourself. Although it’s steep, it’s super wide and not too long. Plus, it’s often not too busy, so take your time trying out your short-turn skills to get you down. 

For more exploration, ride towards Harmony and Symphony chairs for open bowls with pockets of powder, simple tree runs and plenty of routes of endless fun! 

Blue Runs On Blackcomb

For blue-run lovers, Blackcomb is your best friend. From the top of Blackcomb Gondola, you’ve got plenty of possibilities. Take Cruiser, Ross’s Gold, Springboard or Stoker to lap the gondola from mid-station. Or ride Wishbone and Jersey Cream off the Jersey Cream Express. When you’re ready to call it a day, simply continue down Zig Zag and follow the sign towards Blackcomb Gondola. Once you’re at Blackcomb base, simply waltz into The Fairmont’s safe haven.

Another great option is to take the Glacier chairlift and ride the Crystal Traverse towards the Crystal chair. Here, take any of the blues such as Ridge Runner, Trapline or Rock & Roll to continue lapping the Crystal chair to your heart’s content. 

There are also plenty of wide blue runs over by 7th Heaven, such as Cloud 9, Panorama and Hugh’s Heaven. The scenery is stunning everywhere you go in Whistler, so why not plan your exploration around finding the best picnic spot? For the best picnic lunch, head to Portobello in the morning and stock up on their made-to-order sandwiches and delicious pastries to keep your energy up all day! 

Your 'peak' Whistler experience is only a chairlift away. PHOTO ELLIE WILLIAMS

Thrill After Trill on Blackcomb

For tree lovers, there are plenty of pockets of fun to be found. A personal favourite is Bark Sandwich if anything just for the great name! It’s just off Easy Out and will test your decision-making skills as you manoeuvre through the trees. Remember – look for the gaps, not the trees and always ski with a friend!

For a true playground experience, take the Showcase T-Bar after getting off the Glacier chair. Next, unclip and boot pack a short distance to the entrance of the Blackcomb Glacier. This area isn’t always open as it needs the go-ahead from Ski Patrol. But if you get the chance, there are endless routes of pure joy! 

Heading left from the Glacier chair, climb the short height of Spanky’s Ladder. Hold on tight to your gear as now is not the time to drop anything! From the top, choose from a variety of routes such as Ruby, Garnet, Sapphire and Diamond Bowl for varying degrees of challenge. Once you’ve made it down, you join the Glacier Road from which the Blackcomb Glacier exit begins. This guides you all the way to the Excelerator chair. 

For the ultimate thrill and for only the bravest (most advanced skier), try the Sudan Couloir. From the top of the 7th Heaven chair, this double black diamond is aimed at testing your nerves. There are a couple of entrances to choose from depending on your confidence level. If you’re looking to complete Whistler, this is it. 

Once you’ve safely made it down to the base well and truly knackered, our ski concierge will take the ease out of your final traverse by collecting your equipment for you. To warm up after your hard day of skiing, opt for a Glühwein from The Chalet or visit the Fairmont Snow Host for a cup of hot chocolate and head towards the fire pit for a truly indulgent end to the day. But, if you’re still full of energy and want to put your dancing feet on, head to Mallard Lounge for a vibrant après atmosphere! 

Make friends in the forest. PHOTO: ELLIE WILLIAMS

With all that skiing, it’s time to rest up so you can do it all again tomorrow. The best way to soothe those aching legs is to head to one of the four rejuvenating whirlpools. Or why not go a step further and truly treat yourself with a trip to the Vida Spa? With all these choices…which run is first on your list to try?

Ellie Williams blogger skiing

Ellie Williams

Ellie is a major foodie, avid skier and travel lover.

Having worked at an opera house for six summers, as cabin crew for a major airline, given university a try, chalet hosted for two ski seasons, dabbled in a career in marketing in London, spent two summers at a surf schools in Cornwall, UK and Tofino, and now ski instructs for Whistler, it’s been a busy 27 years. 

Ellie enjoys sharing her baking knowledge and travel tips from around the globe. “If I can help one person perfect their batch of brownies, contribute to someone’s holiday plans or encourage an ardent adventure then I’ll count myself a little bit successful.” You can read more about her adventures on her blog here.

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