New to the Sport?

There are few sensations that can match the joys of alpine skiing or snowboarding. You soar down a snow-covered mountain, the wind in your face, a feeling of freedom and exhilaration like no other envelopes you. You control your speed, your destiny, with subtle body movements. You reach the bottom of the hill energized, invigorated and with a smile so big your face hurts.

We understand that skiing can also be intimidating for first-timers or those who are re-entering the sport after a long absence. The vast array of equipment options and strange sounding words can be overwhelming. But, that’s what we’re here for, to help ease your fears, and give you some basic information to get you started down the right path.

As the No 1. ski resort in North America, Whistler Blackcomb attracts some pretty phenomenal people and our Snow School instructors are no exception. The Whistler Blackcomb Snow School is the largest in the world with 1650 employees. Of the 1650, 1450 are Ski and Snowboard Pros, 100 are volunteers with the Whistler Adaptive Sports Program (WASP), 15 are Early Childhood Education (ECE) child care staff, and 75 are support staff in our Events, Magic Castle, Tree Fort and Food and Beverages areas.

Whistler Blackcomb Snow School has taught as many as 240,000 lesson days in a single season. With all the experience the Whistler Blackcomb Snow School is arguably the best place in the world to learn to ski or ride. Check out the ski and snowboard section of our website for a full run-down of the lessons Whistler Blackcomb offers to guests of all ages and abilities.

Experience the fun of learning:

Learn about our Lesson Ability Levels:

Choose your level of ability to help find the right Ski School lesson or program. Each video gives you a brief overview of the skills and techniques used by our world class instructors at Whistler Blackcomb Ski & Snowboard School.

Ability Videos

Skiing versus snowboarding; which one is right for you?

Choosing whether to ski or snowboard all comes down to preference. If you think you might like to try snowboarding, prepare to spend some time on your bum in the beginning. The flow of snowboarding can take a little time to catch on, but once you’ve got it, you’ve got it for good. People learning how to snowboard also tend to progress rather quickly.

For skiing, most people find it a bit easier to stay standing while learning to turn. The finesse and fine-tuning required to become a great skier tends to take more time. To start, pick the option you gravitate more towards. But, if you tried snowboarding and it wasn’t for you, try skiing (and vise versa) as they are quite different.
Let's move on to equipment. Whistler Blackcomb offers the largest rental fleet of skis and snowboards in the Whistler Valley, and all are backed by our service guarantee. Choose from 15 rental stores throughout Whistler, including mountain top, Creekside, Village and Blackcomb base locations. Get your Ski Rental or Snowboard Rental when you arrive, save the hassle.

Skiing

Boots

There are a number of different styles of ski boots, but the most important thing is that they are comfortable, though snug on your feet.

When you arrive at a Whistler Blackcomb rental shop, it is a good idea to come with a pair of medium to lightweight ski socks. Ski socks are different in that they fit snuggly around your foot minimizing blisters or chafing and provide warmth. Wearing two pairs of socks for warmth may seem like a good idea, but in fact, this can lead to blisters and chafing as well.

With the right socks on, your big toe should barely touch the front of the boot and when you bend your knee, your big toe should be able to slide back very slightly. Make sure there aren’t any pressure points or any pinching. Your rental tech will be able to help coach you through selecting the right-sized boots so you don’t need to remember all of this. Do remember, however, that ski boots are not meant to feel like evening slippers. They should fit snuggly around your foot when fully done up. The movements that you make with your feet need to travel through the boots to make the skies turn which is why a snug fit is required.

Skis

Like most sports, there are different skis for different types of ability, gender and the type of terrain and snow conditions you’re looking to explore. For beginners, Whistler Blackcomb offers rental skies designed for beginners. To the eye, you can’t tell the difference, but there is a more exaggerated shape to the ski that helps make turning easier which allows beginner and intermediate skiers to improve faster. When renting, simply let your rental technician know you’re starting out in the sport and they’ll help select the right beginner ski for you.

Poles

Poles are used to help with balance and rhythm when skiing. The Whistler Blackcomb rental technician will be able to assist choosing the right-sized poles for your height.

Snowboarding

Boots

For beginner snowboarders, boots feel a lot more comfortable than ski boots. However, the same principles in boot fitting apply as what we mentioned above. Don’t forget those medium to lightweight socks and remember that your boots, like ski boots, should fit snuggly around your foot when done up. When you arrive at a Whistler Blackcomb rental shop it is a good idea to come with a pair of medium to lightweight ski socks. Snowboard socks are different in that they fit snuggly around your foot minimizing blisters or chafing and provide warmth. Wearing two pairs of socks for warmth may seem like a good idea, but in fact, this can lead to blisters and chafing as well.

With the right socks on, your big toe should barely touch the front of the boot and when you bend your knee, your big toe should be able to slide back very slightly. Make sure there aren’t any pressure points or any pinching. Your rental tech will be able to help coach you through selecting the right sized boots so you don’t need to remember all of this. Your snowboard boot should fit snuggly around your foot when filly done up. The movements that you make with your feet need to travel through the boots to make the snowboard turn which is why a snug fit is required.

Board

Like skis, there are a number of different types of boards for ability level, gender and terrain type of snow you’re planning to hit. Whistler Blackcomb offers Burton boards that are designed specifically for beginners. You can’t tell by looking at the board but they are shaped slightly different to make turning a little easier. In addition, there is a very slight upwards angle on the edge of the board which helps decrease the number of times a beginner catches an edge (otherwise known as falling.)

As you progress, board selection will change depending on gender (women specific boards) and the type of snowboarding you’re looking to do: big mountain or parks riding. Again, the Whistler Blackcomb rental technicians or the retail staff at Showcase Snowboards can help you select the best board for you.

Terms you should know

Après ski The nightlife following a day of skiing. Shopping, live music, and drinks with friends are a few examples.
Gondola A gondola is an enclosed lift suspended from a cable to transport passengers up and down a mountain. We have four. Make sure to ride the Peak 2 Peak Gondola
Quad A chair lift carrying four people.
Binding The object that attaches you to your ski or snowboard.
Edge A metal strip found on the bottom sides of skis and snowboards used for carving.
Leash A lasso-like device used to attach the snowboard to the front foot so it won’t slide away while getting in or out of the bindings.
Nose The front end of the snowboard.
Tail The back end of a ski or snowboard.
Tips The front end of the skis, where they curve up and come to a point.
Goofy Stance Riding with the right foot closest to the nose of the snowboard.
Regular Stance Riding with the left foot closest to the nose of the snowboard.
Traversing Moving horizontally across a slope.

What to wear

The key to remember is that function trumps fashion on the slopes. The following list includes items that will help keep you warm and happy.

Gloves: Waterproof gloves or mittens work the best. Avoid cotton or wool.

Goggles / Sunglasses: Keep UV rays and wind out of your eyes.

Jacket: Wear a waterproof and windproof jacket to ensure that you stay dry and comfortable.

Helmet: Protect your noggin and keep it warm. They provide the best of both worlds.

Layers: The key to staying warm. Fleece and polypropylene work the best because they don’t absorb much water.

Pants: Waterproof pants that cover your boots are the best. They keep you dry and eliminate snow from going down your boot. Avoid wearing jeans and any other absorbent material.

Socks: Only wear one pair of thick, long, and stretchy socks. This will keep your feet warm and prevent blisters and bunching.

Retail Shops in Whistler

How to Carry Your Skis / Snowboard

  • Be Aware! When carrying skis or snowboards you must pay attention. Look before you turn. Not doing so can result in injuries to near by persons.
  • The easiest way to carry skis is by placing them over a shoulder and holding them in place with one hand. This prevents the arms from doing all the work and getting fatigued. It also allows one hand to remain free.
  • The best way to carry a snowboard is by placing the board under one arm and holding it in place with the same hand. Never drag a snowboard by the leash because it will sacrifice performance and cause damage.

Getting In and Out of Skis / Snowboards

  • Avoid trying to buckle in on steep slopes. Look for a flat surface if possible.
  • Always have skis pointing the same direction.
  • Always buckle in with skis / snowboards perpendicular to the slope.
  • Make sure your rental technician shows you how to use your bindings before you get on the mountain.

How to Fall and Get Up

  • It is human nature to stick your arms out and brace yourself for impact when falling. Try to refrain from locking your arms out because this can cause injury to wrists and arms.
  • Make sure to have your feet downhill from your body when attempting to get up. This is much easier then the other way around.

Entering and Exiting a Chairlift

  • Ask the chairlift operator to slow the chairlift down if you’re intimidated
  • Be prepared to get on. The number of people per chair, speed and timing.
  • When you reach the top of your chair ride, Keep your Tips Up!
  • Go straight off the lift.
  • If you’re going to fall, don’t grab the person next to you.

Protect Your Skin

Just because you’re not at the beach does not mean that you don’t need sunscreen. Make sure to cover your face with a minimum of SPF 40 sunscreen. Lip balm is useful because lips tend to get dry / chapped on the mountain.

Where to learn

Ski & Snowboard School is the best place to learn the basics of skiing and snowboarding. If you decide to venture off on your own make sure to:

  • Stick to the beginner’s terrain. Don’t get in over your head.
  • Practice on soft, groomed snow. Avoid icy conditions.
  • Stay positive, don’t become frustrated if you fall a lot the first day.
  • Practice makes perfect.

Whistler Blackcomb Trail Map »

Whistler Blackcomb Ski & Snowboard School »

What are you waiting for?

We'd love to see you out here this season and introduce you to the incredible mountain experience of skiing or snowboarding. The best vacation package deals of the season can be found here. See you soon!

Here's where to start:

Links to deals

Deals and Packages

Last Minute Deals

Tip:

When you book a package we can help you with rentals and lessons as part of your stay and ski package.

Our Partners

Using state-of-the-art technology, TELUS unleashes the power of the internet to deliver the best solutions to Canadians at home, in the workplace and on the move.

Coca-Cola offers the world's favourite beverage brand to Whistler Blackcomb guests as a part or their memorable resort experience. As the cold drink sponsor at Whistler Blackcomb, Coca-Cola brings more than ice-cold refreshment.

Glacier Fresh Beer.Brewed in the mountain town of Creston, British Columbia, Kokanee beer is famous for it’s cool, crisp glacier-fresh taste. Kokanee is enjoyed by outdoor enthusiasts from coast to coast in Canada.

Since 1995, GMC has been the Official Vehicle of Whistler Blackcomb. GMC trucks and SUVs give you the performance, engineering and technology to get you, your family and friends and all their gear to and from the mountain any time of the year.

Monster Energy

Monster Energy

Nintendo

Nintendo of Canada

Smirnoff

Smirnoff is proud to be the vodka sponsor of Whistler Blackcomb. From extraordinary event experiences, to the latest in Music, Nightlife and extraordinary Cocktails. The world's best cocktails start with Smirnoff.

Samsung

Samsung Canada is proud to be the official electronics partner and preferred supplier of Whistler Blackcomb. As a world leader in digital technology, Samsung Canada enables Whistler Blackcomb to enhance the resort experience in new and innovative ways.

The Globe and Mail, Canada's National Newspaper, daily offers unparalleled national, international and business reporting, analysis and commentary to all the guests and patrons of Whistler Blackcomb.

Jackson Triggs

Our name represents a long-standing tradition of producing premium wines from Canada and around the world; it is your guarantee of outstanding quality and an uncompromising commitment to making great wine. We’ve got a wine for that.

American Express is the official Card of Whistler Blackcomb. The sponsorship program brings unique offers, purchase incentives and rewards for American Express® Cardmembers. ®,™: Used by Amex Bank of Canada under license from American Express


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Avis Car Rental and its subsidiaries operate one of the world's best-known car rental brands with approximately 5,200 locations in more than 165 countries.

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Gore-Tex

W.L. Gore & Associates, the makers of GORE-TEX® products, is proud to be the official technical fabric sponsor of Whistler Blackcomb. GORE-TEX® products are wearable weather protection that keeps you dry and comfortable from head to toe in any kind of weather.

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