You would think that purchasing Whistler lift tickets would be a pretty straight forward procedure. You show up in Whistler, plop down your credit card, and up the mountain you go!
And you know what? It can
that straight forward. Except that if you go about it that way,
chances are you will end up paying top dollar for your skiing or
And nobody wants that, right... right?
That's what I thought.
Now that we're on
page, let's take a look at your lift ticket options for Whistler
and more importantly, how to save yourself some money that can be
better spent elsewhere. Like
treating your Mom to a little après-ski at the Garibaldi Lift Co. in Whistler Village...
The Peak 2 Peak Gondola looking
towards Whistler Mountain
sure that you buy your
Whistler lift tickets before you arrive at the resort.
No matter what type of Whistler Blackcomb lift pass you purchase
(and no matter who you purchase it from), in order to make sure that
you get a good price (ie. the biggest
discount) you must follow
the above advice. You see, once you are standing at the ticket window
Whistler Village it's usually too late. They've "got you" so to speak.
either pay full price (or very near full price) or you don't get up the
So does buying ahead of time guarantee that you will purchase the "perfect" type of Whistler lift pass, from the "perfect" place in order to optimize your savings?
Well, not necessarily.For example, if you do purchase your Whistler lift tickets ahead of time, but from the wrong source, you may not receive the biggest discount.
What's that? You want to know how you can find the "perfect Whistler ski lift ticket" that will save you and your family/friends the most money next time you visit?
With single day lift tickets at Whistler
now priced at $114.24 (the 2012/2013 price including taxes), taking a
few extra minutes to find that perfect ticket is worth it.
little bit helps right?
Below you will find a summary of just about every way you can purchase a ticket to get up Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. And depending on a number of factors, including your age, when you are arriving, where you live, whether you are taking ski or snowboard lessons, whether you are a full-time student, how many days you will be skiing/riding, among others, one of the options below will be your best bet.
BUT...Even with all of your options laid out before you it can still be a daunting task to find the "perfect Whistler Blackcomb lift ticket" that we've been talking about. With so many choices and variables involved it can be a bit overwhelming.
Wizard Chairlift, Blackcomb Mountain
on" the wizard, answer a few questions, and you'll be on your way
to finding the perfect ticketing option for you and your friends/family.
Truth be known I developed this little "ticket wizard" (named after the Wizard Chairlift located at the base of Blackcomb Mountain) as a time saver for myself. You see, as I mentioned above, there are many variables (age, place of residence, time of season, number of ski days etc., etc.) that go into deciding which lift ticket or pass is the best for someone looking to get the biggest discount. And because of this, the scenarios are endless!
For example, let's say you are an adult (but not a senior) coming
with your family (spouse and 2 kids, ages 10 and 15) and you are
planning on skiing 5 days over Christmas. The Whistler lift tickets
that I would
recommend for you and your family will be different than those I would
recommend for two seniors from Toronto, visiting Whistler in mid-April
planning on skiing for only 2 days.
Boarding the Excalibur Gondola in Whistler Village
So rather than going through scenario after scenario to try and cover all of the bases for you, I developed a series of questions, and plugged them into my Whistler Lift Ticket Wizard. Now all you, or anyone else has to do is walk through the questions one by one and voilà, 99 times out of 100 you will end up with the "perfect" ski lift ticket for Whistler Blackcomb!
Still with me?
Let's walk through your options for purchasing Whistler lift tickets and try and decide which one works for you. As we go through each option I'll give you another chance to jump on the ticket wizard and see if that particular option is truly your best bet.
If you do decide to ignore my #1 rule (buying before you arrive), and wait until you get to Whistler resort before buying your lift tickets, prepare yourself for the possibility that you might have to pay full price, or close to it, for your skiing and snowboarding.
Whistler Blackcomb lift ticket window circa January 2013
As you can see from the photo above, the only way you can save a little bit of money if you wait and buy your lift tickets at the resort is to go with a multi-day lift ticket. And even then you will only save yourself $4 per day. Believe me, there are better deals to be had!
Unlike purchasing multi-day tickets when you arrive in Whistler, pre-purchasing those same tickets before you arrive can save you significant money in some situations.
Multi-day tickets can be purchased directly
from the resort or in many instances, through your accommodation
provider. Just make sure that you purchase them at least 3 days in
advance of arriving in Whistler BC or you will be out of luck.
One last thing before we get to the pricing. Even though you do save on pre-purchased multi-day tickets, there still might be better options available. For example a Whistler Edge Card or 7-Eleven Whistler Lift Tickets might be less expensive. See below for more information on these options.
here to see what the latest full price Whistler Blackcomb lift ticket
costs are (opens
a new window) or keep reading to see your other options.
Are you a resident of Canada or Washington State? If you are then this is likely your best option when it comes to purchasing Whistler lift tickets. (Unfortunately, if you are not a resident of either Canada or Washington State you can't take advantage of this offer. And just in case you are wondering, you must provide proof of residency and photo ID when you pick up your card.)
The Whistler Blackcomb Edge Card
with 1, 3, 5 or 10 days of
lift access, and can save you as much as 45% per day compared to a full
price one day lift ticket. Edge Cards also provide a discounted rate
are used up and are priced separately for Adults, Seniors &
In addition to the discount you receive on lift tickets, there are also a host of other perks and discounts that are available to Edge Card holders, including Whistler accommodation deals and retail store discounts.
My collection of Whistler Blackcomb Edge Cards and Express Cards dating back to 1994
If you qualify, the Edge Card might just be your best bet for saving money. My wife and I have been Edge Card holders for over seventeen years now, even going back to the days when they were called "Express Cards" (see the arrow in the picture above). What can I say. We are sold on the value.
Do you have to pre-purchase an Edge Card before you arrive in Whistler in order to receive a discount?
Yes and no.
If you are purchasing a 1-Day Edge Card, in order to receive a $14 discount you must pre-purchase your pass online at least 48 hours prior to arriving.
If you are planning on purchasing a 3 or 5-Day Edge Card, it is not
necessary to pre-purchase these passes as there is no discount offered
during the season. However,
by pre-purchasing an Edge Card for next ski season before the end of
the present year's season (are you following me?) you can
receive a significant discount. And on top of that you get a free ski
day next season, and you can ski the rest of the current season for
$79. (Find out how to use this Whistler
Edge Card perk to ski the entire length of your next Whistler
vacation for only $79.)
10-Day Edge Cards must be
pre-purchased. In fact the only way to get
a 10-Day card is to purchase it before the ski season even starts.
Try out the Whistler Lift Tickets
Wizard to see if an Edge Card is your best bet.
One of the best (and easiest) ways to save money on Whistler lift tickets is to stop in to a 7-Eleven convenience store in either Vancouver or Squamish (which is located halfway between Vancouver and Whistler) and purchase your lift tickets there. You will save yourself about 12-13% on single day lift tickets by going this route.
in at any Greater Vancouver
or Squamish (where the above
sign is located) 7-Eleven store,
|pick up your discounted Whistler Blackcomb
ski lift tickets...
then head straight to the lifts when you arrive in Whistler.
The boys getting ready to load the Wizard
Chairlift at the base of
Blackcomb Mountain on a sunny day in Whistler, British Columbia
First, if you wait until you get to Squamish there is a remote chance that the two 7-Eleven stores there will be sold out of ski lift tickets. It's unlikely, but I have heard of this happening before. To be on the safe side, purchase your Whistler lift tickets at one of the 7-Elevens in the Greater Vancouver area.
Second, although there is a 7-Eleven located right in Whistler, for obvious reasons they do not sell discounted Whistler Blackcomb lift tickets. And neither does the 7-11 store located at Vancouver International Airport.
Find more info on 7-11 Whistler ski lift tickets, including pricing,
options and store locations here.
Our 4 year old son getting his lift ticket
at the Blackcomb Base II ticket window
With two boys in the "12 and under" category, I speak from experience when it comes to buying Whistler lift tickets for children. Let's start with the little ones first.
Tots (6 years and under)Children 6 years of age and under ski and ride for free with an adult. But even though they get up the mountains for free, they still need a valid lift ticket. Simply bring your child to any ticket window or Guest Relations office in Whistler in order to pick up their free ticket. Multi-day tickets are also available which saves you the hassle of going to the ticket window each morning.
Ski lessons on Seventh Heaven, Blackcomb Mountain with
Whistler Mountain across the valley
Our 11 year old son in his first season with a
Season Pass, dropping into Harmony Bowl, Whistler Mtn
One of our family's goals is to be in a position where we are skiing at Whistler Blackcomb so much that it makes sense for us to all have a season pass. We're not quite at that point yet, but we're getting there!
In fact this winter I actually bought my 11 year old son his first Whistler season pass. (It was only a few dollars more than the 10 day edge card so it made a lot of sense.) Based on that I guess you could say that we are 1/4 of the way to our goal. Hey, only 3 more to go!
When will that day come?
Well, once we get up over 15 days per season it starts to actually make sense, so that's our goal. Right now we ski about 10 to 12 days so we're getting close. Here's a closer look at the Whistler season pass including up to date pricing, perks and look at exactly how many days on the mountain you do need for it to make "cents".
Are you a Passholder, Cardholder or Homeowner at another Intrawest Resort? If so you are eligible for either a $25 or $10 discount on Whistler lift tickets.
For example, if you are a Super Pass or 5X7 Pass holder from Blue Mountain in Ontario, you will qualify for a $25 and $10 discount respectively on Whistler lift tickets.
Here is a complete list of resort passes that qualify:
There are basically two ways that you can purchase your Whistler lift tickets in combination with your accommodation.
The first is to purchase a "Ski & Stay Package" like we discussed above.
The second way is to purchase your lift tickets from your accommodation provider after (or at the same time) that you book your lodging. The prices that you will pay for lift tickets sold by lodging companies is the same as what you would pay if you pre-purchased multi-day tickets from Whistler Blackcomb, so there really isn't any benefit here other than convenience.
My two boys and me skiing Blackcomb at the end of May