Whistler or Big White: Which Ski Resort Is for You?

Big White's Village | © Hamish / Flickr
Big White's Village | © Hamish / Flickr
Photo of Hayley Simpson
Writer31 January 2017

Trying to decide between two renowned British Columbia ski resorts is a hard task. Whistler Blackcomb and Big White both have a lot to offer for everyone, including families, beginners and people just looking to party. Here’s a breakdown to make it easy to choose the right ski resort for you.

For Beginners

Big White and Whistler actually have the same percentage of beginner runs: eighteen. However, Whistler is a much larger ski resort, which is why Big White is better for beginner skiers. Big White also has the largest amount of ski in/out accommodation in Canada. The main street is even a designated ski run, so start small on the street and progress to the slopes.

Big White's Village | © Hamish / Flickr

For Food

Whistler’s village has a lot more restaurant and bar options than Big White, which is why it wins this category. There’s El Furniture Warehouse, where every food item on the menu is under $6. On the other end of the spectrum is Bearfoot Bistro, a French-inspired champagne bar that’s definitely Whistler’s most sophisticated eatery. No matter what you desire — Irish fare, Southern-style barbecue or Italian — Whistler has a restaurant for you.

For Non-Skiers

On the mountain, Big White has a lot of different activities on offer for non-skiers. These include tubing, dog sledding, ice climbing, spa treatments, ice skating, snowshoeing, horse drawn sleigh rides, snowmobile tours (even kid-sized snowmobiles) and fat biking. People can do all of this without leaving the mountain, which is an excellent advantage. There’s also Okanagan Valley wine tours that Big White organises, which depart directly from the ski resort.

Black's Pub's Patio | © Hayley Simpson

For Après-Ski

It won the food category, so it’s no surprise that Whistler is also the best for après-ski. In fact, Whistler is probably as well-known for its village and après-ski life as it is for its skiing. A few of the more infamous spots include Longhorn Saloon, which has been number one for over 25 years and does excellent weekday drink deals. Merlin’s is ‘home to the endless après’ and is the place to visit to dance the night away and have a ski of shots with friends. Finally, BrewHouse has the best beer in Whistler and brews a variety of craft beers onsite.

For Budget-Conscious

It’s actually quite a draw between these two resorts and being budget-conscious. It comes down to finding the best deal. Whistler has good last-minute and packaged deals on its website, which include lift passes and accommodation in the village. Big White offers packages on the mountain or you can ‘Stay in Kelowna & Ski Big White’ through these hotel partners. It’s definitely best to book far in advance to get a good deal at either of these ski resorts.

Big White | © Christine Rondeau / Flickr

For Families

Ski Canada magazine actually named Big White the Best Family Resort last year and it’s easy to see why. Big White has excellent ski in/out convenience, a tube park for family adventures and excellent daycare facilities. Big White is known for having the largest night skiing area in Western Canada. Fortunately, parents can enjoy this activity while the children are at a nighttime daycare option.

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