Whistler is famous for it’s mountains, of which two of them are of particular importance. Whistler Mountain is the original lift accessed mountain, however years later Blackcomb Mountain was developed as a ski hill. This acted to separate Whistler’s town in to two main areas. Originally Whistler Village was the only place to spend your time in Whistler, but as Blackcomb Mountain developed, so did the area at the base of Blackcomb. This area is now officially know as Upper Village. However to locals and visitors form a bygone era it is still known as Blackcomb.
Just like Whistler Village, Upper Village has a pedestrianised village stroll, although on a much smaller scale. The stroll is lined by hotels, restaurants and shops. The stroll begins at one end with two large hotels: The Fairmont Chateau; and Club Intrawest. It continues all the way to the Wizard chairlift at the foot of Blackcomb Mountain. This chairlift provides access to Blackcomb Mountain in both Summer and Winter. The plaza that surrounds the chairlift is also the finish to the main ski runs down to the Upper Village and several bike and hiking trails in Summer.
There is a lift ticket booth, guest services, ski rental stores, bike rental stores, parking, and all the amenities to make the Upper Village a completely adequate ski resort all of it’s own. In fact you could spend your whole stay in the Upper Village and never need to visit the main village. But why would you?
The reasons to stay in the Upper Village are pretty straight forward. For some people it is as simple as wanting to stay in the Fairmont Chateau, as the high level of guest service and excellent amenities are a real draw. For others, myself included, it is the simple fact that the Upper Village is less crowded, and a lot less hectic than Whistler Village. At night time there is less noise, and during the day, less people. There are also some genuine ski-in/ski-out accommodation options in the Upper Village too. You can be sat in your hot tub watching people ski by you, and in summer you can can leave your hotel door and ride right into a bike trail.
In terms of accommodation, there are the hotels around the Upper Village stroll and the hotels further up the mountain, in an area known as the Benchlands (where the genuine ski-in/ski-out accommodation is). The hotels around the stroll are considered ski-in/ski-out, and you can ski-in to them. However skiing-out involves a brief walk to the lift, a lift ride, and then you can ski. But from what I can see, they are all equally convenient.
For ultimate convenience, I would recommend Le Chamois Hotel which is the closest hotel to the Wizard chair. Also right next door are the Fairmont, and Glacier Lodge. Club Intrawest is a little further away from the lift, and the Four Seasons even further away (although it has a very good private shuttle service and ski concierge based at the Wizard chair).
For ski-in/ski-out you have to take the road up the mountain and stay in either the Aspens, Woodrun, or Coast Suites. The is a very good free bus that drives this road regularly, connecting both Whistler Village and Upper Village to the Benchlands.
You will pay a premium for these ski-in/ski-outs, so it is definitely worth considering the accommodations just on the opposite side of the mountain road. The inconvenience comes in the form of a meagre two minute walk to the ski trails. These options also tend to have a better atmosphere and mountain lodge feel to them. Good options include the Wildwood Lodge or The Marquise.
We like to support locally owned, small businesses in Whistler, so recommend Spicy Sports for your ski rentals and Excess Backcountry for your accessories and ski gear. In summer Whistler Sports is a locally owned company providing bike rentals. Both located on the stroll in Le Chamois hotel. We recommend Whistler Retreats as a booking agent if you are looking to stay in Blackcomb. And finally, although it is not a local company, Portobello Cafe is a good option for breakfast, lunch and dinner!