Showdown North America - Aspen V Whistler

Monday, 27th Mar 2017 by Jennifer Blake
Categories: North America

Sarah and Stephen Watts and their three girls are lucky enough to have spent time in two of North America’s most famous ski destinations. They’ve shared their insights on skiing North America with us.

Sarah Watts says Whistler is a great introduction to skiing North America as it’s an ideal setup for families, especially given the ease of getting there and the variety of runs.

Whistler last run Georgina Watts

“We flew straight into Vancouver and it’s only a few hours by road to Whistler. Our hotel was right at the base of the mountain in the gorgeous, car free village.

“The girls did ski school from 9am till 3pm every day and just loved it. For the 2014 Winter Olympics a cable car was built linking Blackcomb and Whistler so it’s now a huge field with runs to suit everyone,” says Sarah.

In fact skiable access at Whistler is 8,171 acres compared to 675 at Aspen (5,303 including surrounding peaks) but summit elevation is 7,493 feet compared to Aspen’s 12,510, meaning the snow is generally drier at Aspen but the altitude might adversely affect some people.

Tourism Whistler, Mike Crane - Holiday Village Stroll_2016 LowRes
Photo supplied byTourism Whistler, Mike Crane

The Watts girls were older when the family decided to try Aspen which is a harder mountain to ski and also a bit harder to get to. From Los Angeles you can get a small plane directly to Aspen which is quicker but it can be impacted by weather. Alternatively, you can fly to Denver and get the shuttle to Aspen which takes around 3 hours.

“There are four mountains to choose from and we stayed at Snowmass which has a larger ski area with more varied terrain than Aspen, Aspen Highlands or Buttermilk. There’s a free shuttle between them and you can access all mountains on the same pass. You can also use the bus to get into Aspen Village for shopping or a night out.


“Aspen is definitely more expensive than Whistler but can be a little less crowded. Aspen village is beautiful with fantastic restaurants, bars and shops that can be dangerous for the wallet, but one of our highlights was Cloud Nine bistro on Aspen Highlands.

“It’s a crazy, exciting après ski experience with music, dancing and champagne flowing (and spraying) freely. Certainly not for the faint hearted, as you have to get down the mountain afterwards,” said Sarah.

We couldn’t pin the Watts family down on a favourite but they all agreed - whichever you choose, you’re going to have a fun time skiing North America.

Here are a selection of deals available now:

Ski Whistler – 6 days from $1449

Ski Whistler – 7 nights from $1799

Ski Aspen – 6 days from $2279

Ski Aspen Snowmass – 6 days

Ski Whistler & Experience Banff – 6 days

Visit an RAA shop or go to for more great ski deals.

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