Snow conditions in Whistler are the hot topic right now. As a result, we’re diving head-first into ski season planning, and dreaming of pillows and pillows of the white stuff.
But what are the expectations for the season ahead and how do they measure up to snow conditions in Whistler for years gone by? And when should you be planning your trip? We did the leg work to bring some interesting stats and forecasts to you today.
Snow Conditions In Whistler 2018/19
Last year saw 949cm of snow for Whistler Blackcomb, according to onthesnow.ca, with January coming out on top in terms of most snowfall.
- Total snowfall days: 82
- Biggest single snowfall: 74cm
- Average summit depth: 208cm
- Average base depth: 111cm
On reflection, it was a great year – in fact, December 2018’s snowfall in Whistler broke a 24-year-old record!
What About This Year?
According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the snowiest periods will be in late December, early to mid-January, and early February. They report ”above-normal precipitation and below-normal snowfall”, which is confusing to say the least.
We went searching for a more reliable source. Looking at climate.gov, they explain that ‘The El Niño of 2019 is officially done. Near-average conditions in the tropical Pacific indicate that we have returned to ENSO-neutral conditions (neither El Niño or La Niña is present).
A return to neutral means that we will not get that predictable influence from El Niño or La Niña, but the atmosphere is certainly capable of wild swings… ENSO-neutral doesn’t necessarily mean “bland and boring”…’
Looking back at 2009 (which is reported as an ENSO-neutral year), we see a total snowfall of 958cm. Other stats from that year look particularly promising in terms of snow conditions in Whistler:
- Total snowfall days: 164
- Biggest single snowfall: 69cm
- Average summit depth: 265cm
- Average base depth: 245cm
When Will Whistler Blackcomb Open?
Whistler Blackcomb’s opening day is currently slated for Nov. 28, according to Pique Newsmagazine. However, in 2018 this was scheduled a week sooner for November 22. This could be down to the ENSO-neutral conditions we touched on earlier. Vail Resorts may well be hedging their bets on a slower start to the 2019/20 season.
So, When’s The Best Time To Ski?
Our recommendation would be to avoid disappointment by booking a ski trip no earlier than December. Look at booking your ski trip well into January for more reliable snow conditions in Whistler (and fewer crowds).
In our opinion, February is a good time to visit, too, however it can get pretty chilly. Checking out Government weather records, we see an average temperature in February to be around the -6oC mark, with the extreme low of February 2019 noted at -17oC(!)
This cold trend typically continues into March, although not as severe.
Bagging A Bargain
If you’re looking for accommodation, the best time to book a winter stay in Whistler is in the fall. During this time, hotels and lodges in the area tend to hold flash sales and incredible discounts. The offers typically run throughout September and October, tapering off in November, and usually valid for stays right up until the end of April.
Check out our post on Top Tips On Finding Great Value Accommodation or consider “bulk-buying” your Whistler accommodation for discounts up to 35%. The Nita Lake Lodge Season Pass Program is valid for stays between January 5th, 2020 – April 30th, 2020 and may save you time and money!
Another thing to consider is your lift pass. The best value can be found when buying in advance (plus you avoid any potential queues at the kiosk). As with accommodation, the best savings are found prior to November. In fact, if you book by November 15 you save up to 30%. Find lift ticket options and purchase yours through the Whistler Blackcomb website here.
Keeping Track Of Snow Conditions In Whistler
If you’re getting as excited as we are, there are a number of resources making it easy to track snow conditions in Whistler .
The official Whistler Blackcomb website provides access to on-mountain web cams, which update every few minutes or so. This is a great way to gauge in real time what’s happening on the mountain.
TOP TIP: Mountain cams also offer views of gondola queues, which makes it easier to avoid, and plan around, busy periods.
Find Whistler Blackcomb on Twitter and keep track of their #WBOPS hashtag. We personally find this a great resource in terms of tracking snow conditions in Whistler, as well as lift status and trail conditions.
Emma is Whistler Blackcomb’s virtual mountain assistant. The software was in Beta phase during the 2018/19 season, “learning” the sorts of things that visitors want to know. EMMA continues to “learn” this season and we’ll continue to recommend EMMA as a quick and easy way to get resort updates.
Simply text Emma at 77477 with questions such as “Is the Blackcomb Gondola open?” or “What’s the temperature at the Roundhouse”.
During the 2018/19 season, Whistler Blackcomb provided daily updates via their Instagram story. Be sure to follow the resort @whistlerblackcomb to get a bitesize overview of operations day-to-day.
#FindYourSpace at Whistler Blackcomb
With more than 8,000 acres of skiable terrain and over 200 marked runs, there’s more than enough space to explore on Whistler Blackcomb. With that in mind, we’ve compiled five of the best Whistler Blackcomb runs – as chosen by Whistler locals. Add them to your checklist and have the best day ever!