Bipolar Resorts

Ski resorts that give you the best of both worlds: Washington, Quebec, and British Columbia

Jan 18, 2002
Outside Magazine

Crystal Mountain, WA
Diagnosis In the shadow of Mount Rainier, Crystal hosts avalanche clinics for a reason: backcountry terrain, 3,100 vertical feet, and mounds of snow. But not everything is ski-movie steep. The glade skiing of Orgasm Meadows is,’ll want a cigarette at the bottom.
Drop into Pinball, a narrow chute off The King mountain (7,012 feet high), and ski into Avalanche Basin in the South Back.
Tinkerbell, a two-mile-long cruiser through the trees.
Neutral Territory
Snowshoe up Bouillon Basin (Rainier Rides, 360-663-0182). Soak in the hot tubs at the East Peak Massage and Fitness Center (360-663-2505). Drink Rainier Beer at the Snorting Elk.
Average Annual Snowfall 340 inches
Breakdown 13% beginner, 57% intermediate, 30% expert
Acreage 2,300

Tremblant Ski Resort, Québec
Diagnosis In the Laurentian Mountains—a steep range on the Canadian Shield with challenging terrain—Tremblant offers action at night as well. Strike a pose at Le Café de l’Époque with the people who invented après-ski.
For slush bumps in the Spring, try Expo, a long and steep mogul run. And to test those edges, ski Zig-Zag and Vertige, both double black diamonds on the mountain’s south side.
Cruise the resort's entire 2,131-foot drop on the snaking, 3.75-mile Nansen trail.
Neutral Territory
Hit the Snow Park with its superpipe, big airs, and rails. Dare we say, compete in the Caribou Splash Cup in April? Ski or board from the resort's summit, do shots on the way down, then jump into a swimming pool. Simmer down at the Scandinavian Spa (819-681-4848), or try dogsledding, tubing, or snowshoeing with Mont Tremblant Activities (819-681-4848).
Average Annual Snowfall 180 inches
Breakdown 17% beginner, 32% intermediate, 51% expert
Acreage 610

Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia
Diagnosis With the massive spring snowpack, international crowd, and above-timberline skiing, Whistler Blackcomb's US$41 ticket is a bargain. The two mountains offer terrain for every level of skier over a whopping 7,070 acres.
The glacier-carved West Cirque—menacing and vertical—tops Whistler mountain.
Easy Out on Blackcomb gives you all the views, without the steeps.
Neutral Territory
If two half-pipes, three terrain parks, and a snowcross course—all fitted with on-slope, tower-mounted speaker systems blasting DJ-mixed music—are a tad overstimulating, chill (literally) in a horse-drawn sleigh (Blackcomb Horse Drawn Sleigh Rides, 604-932-7631), cross-country ski and ice-skate (Meadow Park Sports Centre, 604-938-7529), snowshoe (Whistler Outdoor Adventures, 604-932-0647), or dogsled (Cougar Mountain, 604-932-4086).
Average Annual Snowfall 360 inches
Breakdown 17% beginner, 55% intermediate, 28% expert
Acreage 7,070