2009 Resort Poll: Top 10 Overall Resorts

What does it take for a resort to make it into this top ten list? The resort has to meet or exceed our reader’s high expectations—we’re not talking about expectations involving slopeside concierge service or five-star dining, we’re talking park maintenance and epic powder conditions. We want fast lifts that open early and close late, good inexpensive food, a great park, and a mellow place to sleep so we can wake up and do it all over again. We want to have a pow-slashing, park-bashing, hot-tub-splashing, nightlife-thrashing good time—that’s how you get to be a top ten resort.

* About The Poll: The online Resort Poll is voted on by both subscribers and the online readers of twsnow.com—in total over 1,600 readers logged on to cast their votes. Readers were given the opportunity to vote on the three best resorts they visited during the 2007/2008 season, ranking them on 21 different categories. Some 154 resorts across North America and Canada were judged, after the numbers were crunched, ten in each category rose to the top.

1. Whistler/Blackcomb

Whistler/Blackcomb has an unbeatable formula: Take 8,171 acres of terrain and over 200 trails, add an average annual snowfall of 402 inches and more than 93 restaurants and bars in the village, top it off with a Peak 2 Peak gondola spanning 1,400 feet in the air connecting both resorts and you’ve got the winningest resort in the Readers’ Poll. PHOTO: Dave Steers

Host of the forthcoming 2010 Winter Olympics, Whistler/Blackcomb has been working overtime for the past few years to expand and prepare for the ultimate wintersports exposé. Yet despite the feverish preparations, the resort itself is already the world’s best. With a whopping 8,000-plus acres of terrain and a mile of vertical, it’s the biggest resort in North America offering the ultimate riding experience. Through constant fine-tuning of the lift access, park terrain, and on-hill amenities, the Whistler/Blackcomb complex is an enormous playground with a mind-numbing array of good-time potential. Snowboarders relish the miles of varying terrain: from the steep chutes and alpine powder of Whistler’s Peak and Blackcomb’s 7th Heaven, to the all-out shred party runs of Peak To Creek and the Nintendo Terrain Park. There’s so much mountain and so much snow; the annual snowfall average is over 33 feet—it hit this amount in 2008 and felt anything but average. With the sheer volume of terrain, the park scene at Whistler could easily be an afterthought, but no way. Last season saw a renewed emphasis on made-for-shred terrain under the direction of a new park manager, Brian Finestone, and his dedicated crew of park rangers and groomers. With the unveiling of their new Peak To Peak gondola this year—an unprecedented lift project that links the two mountains—Whistler/Blackcomb propels itself further into the lead as the best and most progressive resort in North America.