A Visitor’s Guide to Whistler

A Visitor’s Guide to Whistler
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Less than two hours from downtown Vancouver lies Whistler Blackcomb, one of the largest ski resorts in North America. At the hub of the action is Whistler Village, one of the most charming little towns you have ever seen.Unlike other ski resorts around Vancouver, the Village isn’t just a small collection of some cafes and equipment rental shops, it’s a full scale pedestrian village with a massive selection of shops and services. 

Those coming here to ski or snowboard will be treated to over 8,100 acres of snowy slopes and over 200 marked trails. Aside from browsing the Village and hitting the ski runs, Whistler has the most exciting outdoor activities no matter what the season. From hiking to zip lining to snowshoeing, Whistler is one of the best places you could go to play outside.

Getting There

Sea to Sky Highway

The journey from Vancouver to Whistler is a 1 hour and 40 minute drive along the Sea to Sky Highway. This scenic drive takes you up past Horseshoe Bay and Squamish, treating you to gorgeous views the entire way. When driving through any mountains in BC, the road conditions can be unpredictable. Be sure that you have the appropriate tires for whatever season you’re travelling in and check the road conditions before you go.

You can also get to Whistler by bus or shuttle, an excellent option if you don’t have your own car or you don’t want to drive on icy roads. Once you’re in Whistler, you may be surprised at how large the village is and just how vast the slopes are. An invaluable travel tip is to either print out or download any maps of Whistler you think you might need. You may think you know exactly where your hotel is, but that little Village is bigger than it looks and it can be easy to get turned around.

Skiing and Snowboarding

Whistler Snowboarding

Whistler is so much more than just a ski resort, but obviously skiing and snowboarding is a major attraction. There are 8,100 acres of snowy mountain side, 16 alpine bowls, 3 glaciers, 5 terrain parks, 1 halfpipe, and over 200 marked trails. Check the snow and weather report for the mountain and village before you head up for the day, or just take a peek at the webcams to see the slope conditions for yourself. You can check here to see which of the 26 lifts and 240 trails are open. Purchase your lift tickets online and at least 7 days in advance to get the best deals possible.

Winter Activities

Coca Cola Tube Park Whistler

Don’t ski or snowboard? No problem. You don’t even have to go near the slopes to have the time of your life while visiting Whistler in the winter. There are a ton of winter activities, both indoor and outdoor, to keep you busy for your entire stay. Winter ziplining will send you flying over snowy treetops, snowshoeing trails will take you deep into a winter wonderland, and the Coca Cola Tube Park will have your kids begging over and over for just one more slide down the hill. Put your sightseeing expedition in the hands of an experienced guide and check out a Heli Ice Cave tour, a Snowcat tour, or an Olympic tour. There’s an ice skating rink, tree top adventures, sleigh rides, and just about every other winter activity you could want to create the most perfect winter vacation.

If you want to escape the icy winter chill, head to the spa for some pampering and relaxation. You’ll have 13 different spa facilities to choose from, as well as a number of yoga studios, gyms, beauty salons, and other luxury health services. Scandinave is Whistler’s most unique and luxurious spa, with soothing outdoor baths, heated solariums, wood burning saunas, and a Nordic waterfall. You could also spend your day exploring the museum or cultural centre, solving your way out of an escape room, or chucking some steel at Forged Axe Throwing.

Summer Activities

Ziptrek Treetrek Tour Whistler

Whistler is known as a ski resort but this place is just as incredible in the summer as it is in the winter. Awesome summer activities around the mountain include biking, hiking, bungee jumping, rock climbing, white water rafting, ziplining, and a ton of other outdoorsy adventures that will make you never want to come inside. You can spend the day golfing, horseback riding, or exploring the treetops via a network of suspension bridges, suspended stairways, boardwalks, and trails on a Ziptrek Treetrek tour. The area around Whistler is an absolute playground of trees, trails, and epic views. You haven’t experienced Whistler until you’ve visited in the sunny months as well as the snowy season.

Where to Stay

Whistler Hotels

Whether you want a 5 star luxury resort experience or you just want a room to crash for as cheaply as possible, Whistler has the perfect accommodations for everyone. You can rent a townhouse for a month for you and a bunch of your snowboarding buddies, book a last minute deal for one night in studio suite, or hunt down a hot tub room so you can soak away all that hard work you did on the slopes.  Even some of the cheapest hotels in Whistler are gorgeous chalet-style properties with wood-burning fireplaces, saunas and swimming pools, and rustic cabinesque decor.

Dining and Nightlife

Breakfast, lunch, dinner, or cocktails, Whistler is full of places to eat and drink. Bars, pubs, bistros, restaurants, grills, coffee shops, pizza joints, ice cream shops, the options are endless. There are a ton of options for quick bites to grab and go, affordable restaurants to sit down and have a great meal, or fine dining establishments that serve only the best in steak and seafood.

Dubh Linn Gate Whistler

After a long day of hitting the slopes, it’s time for après-ski. Your mind and muscles both need to relax and there are a ton of places to kick back in at the bottom of the hill. You can choose between a lively bar with dancing and loud music, or a classy joint with only the fanciest of cocktails. There are casual pubs with classic appies, sporty hangouts where you can always catch a game, or family friendly spots where you can unwind with a cold beer and some chicken tenders for the tots. 

Shopping

Whistler Shopping

Browsing the shops of Whistler Village is an event unto itself. The snowy streets are lined with little boutique shops filled with handmade wares and art studios with one of a kind pieces. You’ll find upscale fashion and jewellery as well are outdoorsy apparel and sportswear. The Village has enough candy and chocolate shops to satisfy even the most insatiable sweet tooth. Or maybe you just want to stock up on the essentials for your stay? Within the Village you’ll find a grocery store, a liquor store, a pharmacy, and even a post office. If you left the kids at home and need to bring back a souvenir, you’ll find souvenir shops on nearly every corner, each containing their own stock of unique and quirky items.

From luxury 5 star suites to miles upon miles of explorable wilderness, Whistler has a little something for everyone. You can head there with the family for a snowy Christmas or make it a girls trip and hit up the most lively bars and pubs. Whistler can be the perfect spot for a quiet getaway, a rowdy weekend, or an escape into nature and outdoor adventures. You can stay, shop, eat, or play and there are always options to suit every budget.

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Nikki Bertrand

Nikki Bertrand

Nikki is a British Columbia native who was born in the Vancouver area. When she’s not busy being a tourist in her own city, you can find her exploring her passion for SFX makeup at Mixx SFX or reviewing subscription boxes at Unboxing Rocks.