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Frequently asked questions when planning a trip to Whistler
Read time: 5 mins
A winter wonderland from October to April, and a flourishing paradise May through to September, Whistler is worth a visit 365 days a year. With 8,000-acres of alpine, coast-mountains primed for skiing adventures or leisurely hikes and a bustling residential village nestled below that's great for wining and dining, Whistler is a firm-favourite Canadian destination.
Here are some of our most frequently asked questions about this scenic town to ensure that you are in the know about where to go and what to do.
How do I get to Whistler from Vancouver?
If visiting Whistler as part of a self-drive tour, a stunning two-hour journey along Highway 99 will have you spellbound before you have even arrived at your accommodation.
If, however, travelling from Vancouver International Airport, the best way of getting to Whistler is via a shuttle bus. With short wait times and a journey of around two and a half hours, you will arrive in Whistler with ease.
Or, if you like to travel in style and want to kick-start your stay in Whistler with phenomenal sky views, Whistler Floatplane is available from May to September to take you from Vancouver Harbour to Whistler in less than an hour.
When is the best time to visit Whistler?
The best time to visit Whistler depends upon what it is you are coming to Whistler to do, but this year-round destination guarantees a magical time no matter the season or the weather. If you are visiting as a keen skier, early season snowfall in November to December means great ski conditions for low prices. With snow continuing to fall all the way into March, Whistler is home to the longest ski season in North America. But, as the snow finally lifts in April, the focus can shift onto Whistler’s other asset as the lush greenery and stunning turquoise lakes are unveiled in all their glory.
What is there to do in Whistler besides skiing?
Although Whistler is frequently synonymous as ‘Whistler Blackcomb’ thanks to being host to the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, there is far more to this alpine town than its mountains suggest. Whilst winter activities such as ziplining, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, ice skating and sleigh rides are popular during the colder months, the warmer months offer up great opportunities for hiking and biking, especially when culminating in a dip at one of Whistler’s picturesque lakes. For a particularly exciting excursion we suggest Whistler Bear Viewing Tours where you will get to see the 2010 Olympic venue as well as the 60 iconic black bears and cubs that reside there.
Is there anything for me to do that is a bit less active?
If you are looking for a break from the adrenaline-fuelled activities that Whistler promotes, there are plenty of slower-paced options available to you. Whilst retail therapy is always an option with the array of shops on show, for some real relaxation we recommend retreating to the Scandinave Spa. Deep in the forests of Lost Lake, the Scandinavian baths, waterfalls, saunas and plunge pools combine to create a luxury sanctuary fit with stunning scenery. For an equally enchanting experience, visit Vallea Lumina, an immersive light-show through Whistler’s mighty dusk-drawn forests – perfect for the young at heart. Or, if you’re looking to be enlightened in the more intellectual sense, The Audain Art Museum bares artefacts dating back to 18th century.
What is the Whistler gondola?
The Whistler gondolas are a series of record-breaking chairlifts connecting skiers and sightseers alike to Whistler’s two great mountains. 4.4kms apart, a 15-minute gondola ride is all it takes to traverse the great expanse and indulge in unforgettable panoramic views.
The Peak 2 Peak 360 Experience is the best way to absorb the vast wander of Whistler. Not for the faint-hearted, we recommend opting for the gondola with glass flooring so you have a direct aerial view of the majestic plains 436-metres below you.
Where can I find the best hiking trails around Whistler?
Thanks to the Whistler gondolas, spectacular hiking trails and tours are made easily accessible and there is an assortment to suit differing levels of ability and interests.
For those of you looking for an epic four-hour expedition, we think the best hiking trail is the Whistler Mountain, High Note Trail. Along this trail you will be treated to sights such as the Black Tusk- the towering peak of volcanic rock, Mount Garibaldi- the ominous stratovolcano, and the idyllic Cheakamus Lake.
For something a little less demanding, try Whistler Summit Interpretive Walk. Having arrived at the peak of Whistler Mountain via gondola, there are two loops to trek through from which you can admire the entirety of the Coast Range. We also recommend braving the Whistler peak suspension bridge (Cloudraker Skybridge) for a truly exhilarating amble over the grandiose gulf that is Whistler.
What is the golfing like in Whistler?
As one of North America’s premier golfing destinations, there are four championship golf courses to choose from in Whistler:
- Whistler Golf Club, a par 71, 6,722-yard course
- Big Sky Golf Club, a par 72, 7,001-yard course
- Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Club, a par 72, 6,635-yard course
- Nicklaus North Golf Course, a par 71, 6,961-yard course
All designed by internationally-acclaimed architects and fitted with impeccable practice facilities, we do not envy the impossible decision you have to make here in picking which golf course to make your green of choice.
Whatever choice you do make, we challenge you to focus on your game of golf when playing amongst such magnificent landscapes displaying sublime mountains, majestic lakes and pine trees that seem to go on forever.
Can you recommend any places to stay?
Here at Canada Sky we have a number of excellent places to stay right in the centre of Whistler.
For a charming hotel suited to families, couples and groups, check out Delta Hotels by Marriott Whistler Village Suites. Fit with a swimming pool, fitness centre and grocery service, along with spacious suites, Delta Hotels ensures you have a stress-free stay in Whistler.
At Fairmont Chateau Whistler, allow yourself to be whisked away by supreme luxury, sublime cuisine, designer golf courses and a rejuvenating spa.
With spacious guestrooms and suites complete with Hilton Serenity Beds, complimentary on-demand movies and high-speed-internet, plus exceptional spa facilities, everything you need to recoup after a long day on the slopes is available for you at Hilton Whistler Resort & Spa.
What is the best restaurant in Whistler?
With no less than 200 dining establishments, you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to deciding where to eat in Whistler. Here are a few of our best restaurant recommendations:
Bar Oso – Renowned for its Spanish dishes and lovingly made charcuterie, Bar Oso offers tasty food in a trendy setting. As its name suggests, Bar Oso is also an exceptional port of call for an evening of cocktails hand-crafted to match the menus.
The Mallard Lounge – Located in Fairmont Chateau Whistler, this luxurious lounge welcomes you with more than just delicious food, holding regular live entertainment for a night to remember.
Portobello – Portobello resists being defined as its menu continually grows: from rich coffees and delightful pastries, to custom-made sandwiches and fresh meat selections, all prepared for you in an open-style kitchen.
If you still find yourself stuck, we recommend one of Whistler’s Tasting Tours where you will be transported through an explosive gourmet journey.
Is there much going on in the evenings?
For the party-goers of you, Whistler is known to have a lively night life as it is home to a number of night clubs including the well-loved psychedelic Moe’s Joe; the stylish underground Tommy’s Lounge x Nightclub; and Garfinkel’s Night Club where famed musicians such as Avicci and Skrillex have performed.
Buffalo Bills is another popular spot for dancing the night away. Open Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, you will find games, booths and of course an epic dance floor.
If, however, you are looking for a more peaceful way to spend your evening, there are night snowmobile or jeep tours where you can observe the bustle of Whistler, alight with life, from the tranquillity of the mountains.