Every year, Whistler Blackcomb seems to be on everyone’s list as one of the best ski resorts for families. Whistler ski trips are popular with families all over the world and we couldn’t agree more.

Whistler family vacation

Planning a ski trip to Whistler with kids was much easier than I thought, and this ski trip was one of our best yet. The ski-in ski-out accommodations, nearly unlimited food choices, and endless terrain are all great reasons to ski here. Keep reading to find out why Whistler Blackcomb is one of the best ski resorts for families.Whistler ski trip with kids

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Keys to planning a trip to Whistler With Kids

I typically start thinking about planning our next ski trip about as soon as we get home from the last one. It’s not because I’m in any sort of hurry. It’s just that I want to go back immediately. We have so much fun! Seriously though, don’t wait too long to start planning. Like most things travel related, you have to book early to get the best deals.

Whistler family vacations - Whistler Blackcomb
Harmony Bowl and Whistler Mountain viewed from Blackcomb Mountain PC: Paul Morrison

Book early for the best deals on Whistler with kids

As a family who has to vacation within the confines of school breaks, it’s imperative that we get the dates locked down early. As soon as we know when the spring break dates are, I’m on the computer looking at accommodation options. Start early to find the best Whistler ski vacation deals.

Obviously, spring break is prime ski season, so finding accommodation is key. Booking as early as possible is always recommended to lock in the best deal. We try to leverage points in hotel loyalty programs for this.

Be sure to check out our guide on the best Whistler lodging for families. We'll help you narrow down your options and find you a great hotel for your family ski vacation to Whistler.

Finding a hotel close to the slopes

Convenience is always key for us, so hotels close to the slopes are high on our priority list. According to their website, Whistler has 16 properties that offer this kind of access to the slopes. When convenience is a priority, this makes it very easy for families to narrow down the options. Fortunately, many of the Whistler family ski packages include a stay at many of these hotels and resorts.

For those wanting proximity AND a great value using points like we did, you have several options. We stayed in the Westin Resort and Spa Whistler Village (it was fantastic), but there are hotels by Hilton, Marriott, and Holiday Inn as well. There are lots of great choices when it comes to Whistler hotels, so keep an eye out for deals. If one comes along, don’t hesitate to book, because it will likely be short-lived.

Westin Resort and Spa Whistler - where to stay in Whistler with kids
Westin Resort and Spa Whistler Credit: Westin Whistler

Consider Your Rental Situation

Several hotels (including the Westin) offer an on-site ski concierge to handle your Whistler ski rentals. We LOVE this feature, and we know you will to. Essentially, the rental shop is at the hotel, and you get fitted and rent your equipment right there. When you’re done skiing for the day, they have an easy drop off area where you check in your equipment, and they hang it up to dry. The next day, just go get your stuff, strap it on, and away you go. There’s no substitute for warm, dry ski boots!

This service is obviously great for families with young kids who aren’t able to carry their own equipment. If you don’t want to get stuck carrying your kids’ skis everywhere, this is a lifesaver. Consider looking for hotels that offer this service.

vacation to Whistler with kids
The gondola is only steps from the Westin.
  • Looking for all the best ski resorts for kids?

    We’ve got ’em right here! We asked other bloggers and ski families where their favorite ski resorts are and put them all in one mega-post. Check it out! North America’s best ski resorts for kids.

    North America's best ski resorts for kids

Kids ski free on your Whistler ski vacation!

One of the best reasons for families to consider skiing Whistler is their Whistler family packages. Kids under 12 get to ski, stay, and rent for free with each adult, which is a great deal! Skiing is an expensive endeavor, so I love it when ski resorts give families incentives to visit! You can read more about that offer here.

Even though we booked our hotel on points, the hotel concierge reached out to us via e-mail and asked us if we were going to be participating. I didn’t think we could because we booked the hotel separately, but that was not the case. I was relieved and excited that the Westin took the time to extend this offer to us, and I appreciate the excellent service!

Simply call the hotel that you are staying with, get in touch with the activities desk or the concierge, and they can get you fixed up. This offer will expire on August 31st, so don’t wait. Our family saved several hundred dollars on our trip in lift tickets and rentals over four days because of this deal, so don’t miss out!

Skiing 4 days or more?

If you plan on skiing for four days or longer, consider purchasing an Epic Pass. Passes are sold in 4-day, 7-day, or unlimited varieties and could save your family some money, especially if you plan on skiing over Christmas and can't use the 'kids ski free' tickets. Epic passes don't have blackout dates, and can be split between any of Vail's resorts including Whistler Blackcomb! They are also a great deal for families who ski more than once per season and want to ski at different resorts.

Check here for the latest prices on an Epic Ski Pass.

Great terrain at Whistler for kids

Whistler resort is actually made up of two areas – Whistler mountain and Blackcomb mountain. It is immense. In fact, it is North America’s largest ski resort. It has been rated by SKI magazine as the #1 overall resort many times over, and I can’t really argue. It’s amazing.

Whistler ski vacations with kids
These Whistler kids ski free

Many resorts are pretty, or have good craft beer, or boast about fresh powder all the time, but that’s not what I’m looking for on a family ski trip with young kids. I want to know if they have lots of easy-to-ski, family-friendly terrain.

Whistler delivers.

Your Whistler lift tickets will give you access to both Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, and both offer nice easy groomers. Everyone will be happy.

Whistler family holiday - Olympic rings
On top of Whistler mountain.

At many resorts, the green runs are quarantined off around the ski school areas, or there are not many greens at all. Sometimes resorts have a green run that just zig-zags all over the mountain and it’s flat – terrible for cruising. Whistler doesn’t have this problem. Due to the sheer size of the place, there is a lot of easy terrain for beginners sprinkled throughout the resort. This makes for a great change in scenery and keeps everyone from getting bored doing the same 3-4 runs all day long.

Whistler trip with kids
How not to ski at Whistler.

Other Great Features for Families

Peak 2 Peak Gondola

This remarkable feat of engineering is the best way for families to get from one mountain to the other.

ski trips to Whistler include a ride on the Peak 2 Peak Gondola
Peak 2 Peak Gondola PC: Paul Morrison

Just look at these stats from Whistler:

World’s longest unsupported span for a lift of this kind at 3.024km/1.88miles
*Guinness World Record

World’s highest lift of its kind at 436m/1,427ft above the valley floor.
*Guinness World Record

I can assure you that you will want to ride this more than once. If you decided that you were done skiing for the day and just wanted to ride the gondola back and forth, you would be well within your rights.Riding the Peak 2 Peak Gondola at Whistler with kids

  • Cool Tip!

    There is a separate line for the glass-bottom gondolas. You’ll have to wait a bit longer, but you’ll be glad you did. The views are tremendous!

Peak 2 Peak gondola views from Whistler with kids
Incredible views from the Peak 2 Peak Gondola

The World Class Whistler ski school

Whistler offers an amazing array of programs ranging from beginners to experts. They offer kids camps, family lessons, group lessons, and MAX4 group lessons. It doesn’t matter what your age or skill level, Whistler has you covered. Rather than try to discuss all the options here, I’ll point you to their site. Although we did not take any lessons this time around, I was impressed with the instruction that I saw, and from what I’ve read and heard from others.

Great Family ‘Extras’

Whistler has done a great job of catering to families, and their enchanted Tree Fort and Magic Castle are two great features. These cool parks are great places to kick off your skis for a bit and explore. Located on the mountain, they offer a cool retreat to get away from the crowds and have some fun family time in the snow.

Towards the bottom of the mountain is the tube park where families can race inner tubes down the mountain.

Tube Park at Whistler. PC: David McColm
Tube Park at Whistler. PC: David McColm

For a bit of a break during meal times, Nintendo has sponsored gaming lounges where kids can pull up a stool and play games for free. They have three lounges located on-mountain at Rendezvous Lodge on Blackcomb, Roundhouse Lodge on Whistler, and off mountain at the Wizard Grill at the Base of Blackcomb.

Whistler with kids Inukshuk - symbol of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games
Whistler Mountain Inukshuk – symbol of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games

On Sunday nights, guests can attend the free Fire and Ice Show which features Whistler’s best skiers and snowboarders flying through a flaming hoop doing tricks and aerial stunts. It was a lot of fun, and solicited lots of ‘ooohs’ and ‘ahhhhs’ from the kiddos. Bundle up, get some hot cocoa, and enjoy the show!

Whistler Village

Part of what makes Whistler a great place to stay is certainly the village. With its cobblestone pavers, unique shops, great food, playgrounds, and ice skating rink, you really couldn’t ask for more. Every evening there was something new to see or taste, and we loved browsing around the shops after dinner.

Whistler Village with kids
Goofing off on the playground in Whistler Village

The kids had fun ice skating at the rink, and taking pictures with the Olympic rings.

In addition to shops and restaurants, Whistler has grocery stores which allowed us to stock up on a few essentials. It was nice to be able to fix breakfast and lunch in the room to save some money (Whistler can be pricey).

The apres scene here is really great, and most things are kid-friendly. We were excited to sample our first Canadian poutine while we were here – yum! If you don’t have kids, things will get rowdy later at night, but our hotel was at the opposite end of most of that, and we weren’t bothered at all.

Cows at Whistler with kids
Don’t miss a visit to Cows Ice Cream!

Travel to Whistler with kids

The nearest airport to Whistler Blackcomb is Vancouver. If you’re arriving by air, fly into Vancouver International Airport (YVR) and from there, rent a car (like we did) or take a shuttle up the Sea to Sky highway to Whistler resort.

Driving to Whistler with kids
Heading out of Vancouver

There are plenty of options, and if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can even transfer by helicopter! Check here for the best prices on a good list of airport transfer options.

When we were first putting this trip together the previous summer, I happened to find award space on American Airlines and so we jumped on it. I used 200,000 AA miles and $58.40 per ticket to fly the four of us round trip in business class.

For lodging, we stayed 5 nights at the Westin Resort and Spa Whistler Village. This is a Category 7 Marriott Bonvoy property. When booking on points for five nights, Marriott only charges you for four (which is a very generous benefit). This is a great deal at a hotel that (as of this writing) goes for ~$400 USD per night during peak ski season. I’ll take that deal all day long!

One of the best ski vacations we’ve had!

Skiing Whistler with kidsFor families wanting to ski Whistler, go for it! We had such a great time and were blown away by the size and grandeur of the entire experience. Whistler lodging is some of the best I’ve seen at a ski resort, and the village was like no other. Even with dwindling snow, Whistler’s elevation ensured that the skiing up top was still great, and the size if the mountains gave us endless ways to enjoy the snow. Whistler for kids is awesome, so start planning!

Pin this to your favorite board and check out our ‘Skiing with Kids‘ board while you’re there.A great ski trip to Whistler with kids starts with great planning. Here are some things to consider to help you plan your best ski trip yet!

Does your family love to ski? Tell us where your favorite mountain is!

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