Ski Lifts in Whistler
Whistler’s high-speed ski lift system is North America’s largest, rising from four different base stations; Whistler, Blackcomb, Creekside (Whistler Creek) and Base II (Blackcomb).
Whistler Ski Lifts
Whistler has North America’s largest high-speed ski lift system, rising from four different base stations. The capacity of over 64,000 riders per hour keeps lift lines to a minimum; however during peak season, weekends and powder days all chairs will be inevitably get crowded. Skier numbers are usually higher on Whistler Mountain, so on busy days Blackcomb will more often have shorter lift lines.
In total there are 39 lifts, nearly half of them high speed – only Vail comes close to this. Ski lifts on each Mountain are also accessible for skiers with disabilities. The lifts run from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm during the peak season, and the last lift closes between 3:30 pm and 4:00 pm (although this hour is subject to change). Keen skiers and boarders can buy a “Fresh Tracks” ticket giving them access to Whistler Mountain from 7:15 am, a cooked breakfast feast at the Roundhouse Lodge, and then first choice of the freshly groomed trails or, after a dump of new snow, fresh powder!
Each mountain has both high speed quad chair and gondola access. The chairs can often be a faster way to get up the mountain as the queues are usually shorter and both connect to another chair taking you directly into alpine elevation.
One of the latest additiosn to the ski resort’s lift system is the Symphony Express. Commissioned in December 2006, this high speed quad chair takes skiers and boarders up to the newly named Symphony Amphitheatre on Whistler Mountain. This area gives access to 1,000 acres of intermediate and advanced skiing Locals have long known the backcountry here as part of the ‘Musical Bumps’ with the Piccolo and Flute bowls – new pisted descents include Rhapsody Bowl, Adagio, Staccato Glades, Glissando Glades and Encore Ridge. The Symphony Express has made the Flute Bowl hike more accessible and has also taken pressure off the notoriously long queue for the Harmony Express quad.
The Peak to Peak Gondola opened in December 2008 and is the largest lift of its kind in the world. Linking Whistler’s Roundhouse with Blackcomb’s Rendezvous, this state of the art machinery attracts visitors from all over the world. The new lift has allowed traffic to flow freely between the two mountains and skiers no longer need to decide which mountain to ski that day. The 11 minute journey spans 4.4 km and the highest point (over the Fitzsimmons Creek) will be 1427feet/436m.
Whistler Ski Lift Passes
Whistler offers lift passes to suit most people and circumstances, depending on age and on how long and when you plan to ski. Reduced prices apply to veterans in the 65-74 and 75 age groups and to younger skiers where lift passes are progressively cheaper for those aged 13-18, 7-12, and six or under. There are also parent passes (for those accompanying young children), a midweek pass, and a single mountain pass which is unlimited on the mountain of your choice. Children aged six years and under ski free.
Lift passes can be bought at all mountain base stations, via the www.whistler-blackcomb.com website and at 7/11 stores (which is usually a bargain if bought in Vancouver). Early season and spring specials are available every year and are always advertised.