Epic Family Ski Vacation, Whistler Blackcomb

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Whistler Blackcomb was just named the #1 Ski Resort in North America (again) by Ski Magazine, and I can attest to this award because it’s definitely an epic destination for a family ski or snowboard vacation! Last winter we chose to go to Whistler Blackcomb for our family ski vacation because we had not been to Whistler for 10 years! The last time we were in Whistler we only had McKenna and she was just one years old and well, let’s just say, Hudson was a souvenir from that trip;) So Whistler has a very special place in our hearts.

Getting to Whistler Blackcomb

From Costa Rica we flew to Los Angeles and stayed for a few days to see some friends then flew direct from Los Angeles to Vancouver. We rented a SUV and drove from Vancouver to Whistler Blackcomb. This drive will take you about an hour and a half, depending on traffic and any road delays. I would allow 2 hours in your trip planning. This drive is very scenic as you make your way up the BC-99 “Sea to Sky” highway passing the Vancouver Islands, so make sure you are looking out the window!

There is a Vancouver to Whistler shuttle service if you do not want to rent a car. There is also a round trip bus service for only $35 through EpicRides.com.



Where to Stay

10 years ago we stayed at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, it was fabulous from what I can remember and I am sure it is still fabulous. However, this time we chose to stay at The Coast Blackcomb Suites at Whistler, which is an all suite ski-in/ski-out vacation rental property in the upper village. We rented a two bedroom suite, one bedroom had a king bed for us and another bedroom two twin beds for the kids. Our kids are getting old enough that renting a condo is nice so everyone can have their own space.

Our suite included a full kitchen, another added bonus when traveling with kids and you’re staying for more then just a couple nights. Breakfast was included in our stay and every afternoon there was hot chocolate, marshmallows and cookies put out for the kids (and adults). We LOVED staying here for the ski-in/ski-out access. We were literally only a short walk to being on the mountain, strapping on our boards and flying down to the base of Blackcomb, and coming in at the end of a long day was so easy!

Another highlight of this property was the pool and jacuzzis. We took advantage of these almost every afternoon and the kids really looked forward to running down in their robes and jumping in the cold pool and then soaking in the jacuzzi. We were so close to the slopes that you could see the chair lift right from the jacuzzi. I highly recommend this property if you are traveling with or without kids.



Ski Rentals & Ski School

Another big bonus to staying at the Coast Blackcomb Suites was that the ski & snowboard rental shop was right downstairs. Our entire family got fitted for our boots and boards, and when they didn’t have the right size board for Hudson, they had delivered it from the other rental shop in the main village. I also loved being able to store our boards in the shop over night.

Family Travel Note: We were in the upper village and while they do have ski school in the upper village, they do not specifically have snowboarding school for kids there. Kids that are snowboarding do have to meet at the main village for ski school. So we did have to take them over to the main village the two days they went to ski school.

Getting to the main village from the Coast Blackcomb Suites is very easy and convenient. Right outside is a bus stop that picks up about every 8 minutes, it makes a few stops along the way but will drop you right at the main village and the base of Whistler mountain.


Moms Who Snowboard {aka Snow Hoes}

My very good friend, fellow travel writer and snowboarder Claudia Laroye from The Travelling Mom, is Canadian and lives in Vancouver. She drove up with her two teenage sons for the day to snowboard with me and this was definitely a special treat for me!  Forget the family, Claudia and I set off on our own for a girls snowboard day and boarded all day together, and by all day I mean ALL DAY. My legs were on fire by the end of the day, but nothing a Caeser (the Canadian version of a Bloody Mary) at Garibaldi Lift Company couldn’t fix 🙂

We started out at the base of Whistler mountain, I had not taken the Peak 2 Peak Gondola yet so we grabbed it and headed over to Blackcomb later in the day. We grabbed a yummy chili bread bowl and a beer for lunch – because that’s what snow hoes eat for lunch. When we got outside after our lunch break it had really started to snow and it was the most beautiful winter wonderland.


The Peak 2 Peak Gondola is the longest and highest in the world. It is an incredible ride between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains giving skiers/snowboarders and sightseers some pretty epic views. The gondola ride is 2.7 miles and takes about 10 minutes ride. You do not have to be a skier or snowboarder to go on the gondola, but you will need to buy tickets if you do not have a lift pass.


Where to Eat

Probably one of the most important things besides actually skiing or snowboarding is eating! I am always looking for healthy options while on vacation, but I have no problem indulging either. We really didn’t get into any fine dining on this trip, we went for family friendly and convenient and we stayed in, made a light dinner and curled up by the fire a few nights.

On the Slopes, in the upper village at the base of Blackcomb is Merlin’s Bar & Grill and is right near ski school and the learning area, which makes it very convenient for families to grab a bite to eat. We ate here more than once, because of some of the healthy options (fish tacos & hummus with veggies) and the food was good.

In the main village we went to Village Sushi, Gone Eatery and a classic favorite The Old Spaghetti Factory, for some good old fashioned spaghetti! Carb load people. And of course pizza! My husband went and picked up Creekbread to bring back to the room for dinner one night and it was fanstastic! I believe they also deliver but check the website for details. And you can’t walk through the village without stopping at the local favorite, Pure Bread. Get your coffee fix and all things bread, pastries, cakes and more!



The Olympic Village

When you need a day off from the slopes head to the Olympic Village. As you walk along the main street in the village there are huge snowbanks that the kids love to climb and slide down, this alone will keep them entertained and if your husband watches them you can do some shopping.  The Olympic Village also has an ice skating rink and a nice park for kids to run around, climb, swing, and slide.


Last year at the Whistler Convention Center they had an indoor play area with lots of activities, jump houses, games and even cookie decorating for the kids. Be sure to inquire about this any other special kid- friendly programs or activities happening when you visit!


Ziplining with Ziptrek

You can take the girl out of Costa Rica but you can’t take the Costa Rica out of the girl…

Since I was coming from Costa Rica, I thought it only appropriate to zip line in the snow! My kids are not wild about zip lining so my husband stayed back with them and they let me go at this one solo. However, I think this would be an epic activity for families to do together!  ZipTrek offers zip lining tours year round, but doing it in a winter wonderland was really unique. Not only do you fly through a valley of snow covered trees and over a gorgeous rushing river, but you’ll also walk across a few hanging bridges too. Definitely a fun way to see Whistler from another vantage point.

*Children must be 6 years old or 65 lbs to go alone, but kids under 65 lbs have the option of going tandem with a guide. Check the website for more age specifications and requirements.



Even though I had not been to Whistler in 10 years, it all came back to me and it was very easy to navigate. I can see why Whistler Blackcomb has been voted #1 in North America for 3 years in a row. I really like having the option to ski both mountains and it’s so easy to get form one to the other. I also find the blue trails are perfect for my skill set and there are plenty of trails to have fun on as a family too.

The only thing I regret is not getting to the spa, how did I let that happen? Ah well…I guess that just means I have to go back.

Disclosure: This was not a media stay we booked our accommodations on our own.
We were given media lift tickets, two days of ski school for my kids and my Ziptrek experience was comped.

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