So much more than just a ski resort, Whistler is a premier year-round destination nestled in the middle of the Whistler and Blackcomb mountains in Canada’s stunning British Columbia. With quintessential alpine villages, great outdoors and natural charm in abundance, there’s no mystery why the town is such a popular place to visit.
The infamous Blackcomb Peak boasts more than 200 ski runs in winter, and the tourists also come flocking when the snow melts for an adventure fix in the form of mountain biking, zip-lining or white-water rafting.
Also an idyllic place to relax, Whistler offers ample opportunity to kick back, indulge in some well-deserved retail therapy, treat yourself at one of the beautiful spas and soak up the tranquility of the mountains.
Regardless of the timing of your visit, Whistler offers no end of adventure. Whether you’re entertaining your inner adrenaline seeker or simply want to take a leisurely hike, Whistler has all your activity bases covered. Whistler Blackcomb is home to one of the longest ski drops in North America and boasts more than 3,200 hectares of terrain.
So if snow sports are at the very top of your agenda, these world-class slopes won’t disappoint. If you’re visiting Whistler in summer, you won’t be mourning the lack of snow – summer skiing on Blackcomb Glacier provides the same thrills. Enjoy a round of golf at one of Whistler’s numerous courses, cycle your way around Whistler Mountain Bike Park or hit the Whistler Mountain alpine hiking trail and take in the spectacular view of turquoise waters, snowy mountains and glaciers.
For something a little tamer, wander the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre to learn more about the history and culture of the area, or visit the Whistler Museum, which documents the town’s development into such an iconic Olympic resort.
Eat and Drink
Whistler provides a host of activities to build up your appetite, as well as some wonderful ways to satisfy it – from eclectic mountain-top dining to local, tucked-away eateries brimming with fresh, healthy dishes. Whistler Village is the lifestyle hub of Whistler and is home to a diverse range of dining options, including sushi, tapas, Italian and, of course, the not-to-be-missed Canadian favourite of poutine.
The Whistler Farmers Market in the Upper Village is held twice a week and serves up fresh produce, organic cheese and artisan baked goods by the bucketload. For some après ski fun, the bars and clubs in Whistler Village are bursting with food, beer and partygoers.
Where to Stay
If you’re in Whistler to ski, Whistler Village or Upper Village are the obvious places to situate yourself. Based at the bottom of the Whistler lifts or Blackcomb lifts, respectively, accessibility is second to none. You will inevitably have to pay for such a location, however, as accommodation in this area comes at a premium.
Whistler Village is home to the biggest selection of bars, cafés and clubs, as well as a range of self-catering and fully serviced accommodation. Head to Village North if you want to stick to a tight budget, but be prepared to get shuttle buses to and from the slopes each day. For upscale luxury, Upper Village is home to Whistler’s swankiest resort hotels.
Pedestrian-only shopping streets are the order of the day in Whistler, and the districts are bursting with high-end fashion, handmade jewellery and boutique gift shops. Whistler Village is home to beautiful art stores as well as both casual and upscale fashion boutiques.
It also has the pick of the bunch when it comes to vibrant cafés and restaurants for your retail break. Upper Village is your go-to for charming art galleries and luxury gourmet food stores.
Check out Creekside just south of Whistler Village for a wonderful range of clothing and craft boutiques, perfect for a lazy afternoon wander.
Whistler Like a Local
If you’re visiting Whistler during winter, do like the locals do and head to nearby Gates Lake, just an hour out of Whistler. In winter, the frozen lake is the perfect place to join in a hockey game, try your hand at ice fishing and serve up a winter barbecue.