Best Time To Ski Whistler For Smaller Crowds: Whistler's size of more than 8,000 acres made it legendary in North America. So did its vertical drop, at more than 5,000 feet. With two separate peaks comprising all of this—Whistler and Blackcomb—there are seemingly endless places to stow stashes. How can a place so vast get crowded? It can.
Whistler's popularity is international; the place gets mobbed by Aussies, Brits, and now even Chinese skiers all looking for a piece of the action they've seen in a photo or a ski movie. Long story short: people like this place a lot—and so they show up, a lot. But Whistler's crowds can be tamed if you know where to go.
The early season, before Christmas, while very much a dice roll at many ski resorts, tends to be a fairly dependable time for snow at Whistler. The resort is still sleepy in mid-December, and the temperatures are lower, keeping rain off of the base area, a condition that can pop up in the spring.
Cheapest Time To Ski Whistler: Some of the big peak periods at U.S. ski resorts are much less of a big deal at Whistler—the biggest of which is President's Day. While this weekend in the United States is associated with high costs and crowded slopes, but it's just another weekend in Canada and for the international crowd that frequents Whistler. So this prime weekend is a great time to escape to Whistler when travel and lodging costs at U.S. ski resorts are all jacked up. The same effect holds true for Martin Luther King Day in January, which sees elevated crowds across much of U.S. ski resorts.
Best Time To Fly To Whistler: There is no way to hack the travel conundrum that is Whistler. Most skiers coming from places farther than Seattle will fly to Vancouver and then trek 150 minutes from there. As many destination skiers are coming from places other than the West Coast, this means a four-plus hour flight with an additional drive that can take three hours. Short of going to Alaska, this is the biggest travel commitment required from any North American ski destination. Finding cheap flights to Vancouver can be tough; it's a long flight and airlines can charge a lot for directs in. Look for flights away from peak business travel times—avoid Sunday nights, Mondays and Thursdays—and hone in on flights on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, when there tends to be more tourist fliers, who are far more sensitive to price, something the airlines' algorithms know.