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Blackcomb and Whistler Mountains. When Whistler and Blackcomb Ski Resorts merged in 1997, they created a snow behemoth not seen in these parts since the last sighting of a yeti—the alpine version of the northwest's infamous Sasquatch. Whistler had already garnered top-notch status, but the addition of Blackcomb left the competition buried in the powder. The numbers are staggering: 410 inches of annual snowfall, over 8,000 skiable acres, 200 named runs, 12 alpine bowls, three glaciers, and the world's most advanced lift system. Point yourself downward on Blackcomb and you can ski or snowboard for a mile from top to bottom. And there are lots of ways to get to the top, either via the Whistler Village, Creekside, or Blackcomb Excalibur gondolas or by taking one of several chairs from the base up the mountain. According to the locals, many of whom are world-class competitors, picking the day's mountain depends on conditions, time of day, and time of year. While most residents swear by Whistler's bowls and steeps, some prefer the long glade runs and top terrain park of Blackcomb. You can do both in the same day, thanks to the Peak 2 Peak Gondola, which whisks riders along the 2.7-mile journey in just 11 minutes. 4545 Blackcomb Way, Whistler Village, BC, V0N 1B4. 604/932–3434 or 800/766–0449. www.whistlerblackcomb.com.
Ultimate Ski Adventures. Whether your goal is to gain confidence and control on the runs or to tackle the best terrain the mountain has to offer, these folks will show you how with one-on-one instruction or in small groups. 7273 Fitzsimmons Rd. S, Whistler Village, BC, V0N 1B4. 604/263–2390. www.ultimateski.com.
Whistler Alpine Guides Bureau. These expert mountain guides offer group tours, instructional clinics, and customized one-on-one trips to get you shredding untouched backcountry powder. 19-4314 Main St., Whistler Village, BC, V0N 1B4. 604/938–9242. www.whistlerguides.com.
Whistler/Blackcomb Hi Performance Rentals. Equipment rentals, including some of the best brands on the market, are geared toward intermediate and advanced skiers. It has several outlets in the village as well as at the Whistler gondola base. 3434 Blackcomb Way, Whistler Village, BC, V0N 1B4. 604/905–2252. www.whistlerblackcomb.com.
Whistler/Blackcomb Ski and Snowboard School. The school offers lessons for skiers and snowboarders of all levels. Whistler Kids remains one of the best children's ski schools anywhere. 4545 Blackcomb Way, Whistler Village, BC, V0N 1B4. 604/967–8950 or 800/766–0449. www.whistlerblackcomb.com.