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Are you looking for a great place to have a winter vacation? Whistler, in Canada’s Coast Mountains, should definitely be on your list. They already have over 7m (21 feet) of snow in the 2017/2018 ski season and the conditions are great!
Whistler-Blackcomb is famous for the downhill skiing there. The mountains combine for more than 200 marked ski runs, three glaciers and 37 lifts sitting on over 8,000 acres of terrain spread across two mountains – is it surprising that Whistler is considered one of the top winter destinations in North America?
However Whistler isn’t just downhill skiing in winter. There are great adventures in Whistler to sample, as well as world class apres-ski.
After you’ve tested your skills on Whistler’s world-class ski slopes, relax in one of the many spas and enjoy fresh, sustainably produced local foods and spirits – like the world’s only organic potato vodka from Pemberton Distillery – and much, much more. Whether you’re a lover of the great outdoors or prefer the warmth of a cozy fire, a winter weekend getaway in Whistler is an unforgettable experience.
Whistler is located on the southern Pacific Ranges of the Coast Mountains on Canada’s western coast. It’s roughly 125 kilometers north of Vancouver International Airport, and is accessible from the city by car in about 2 hours. You can book a private transfer from Vancouver, the airport or Vancouver Island, or take the public shuttle, which runs approximately every 3 hours. There is also the option to rent a car – maximizing your potential to explore the stunning scenery – but it’s important to pay attention to weather and advisory warnings.
While Whistler’s year-round population is just under 10,000 residents, the tiny resort town receives more than 2 million visitors annually. Thankfully, there is an abundance of accommodation choices in Whistler – from luxury hotel suites, to rustic log cabins, town homes, chalets and much more. The two main areas of the village that offer super convenient slope access are Whistler Village, located at the bottom of Whistler Mountain lifts or the Upper Village located at the bottom of Blackcomb mountain lifts.
Most of the luxury accommodations are located in the Upper Village. For those looking to indulge, the Four Seasons Resort Whistler is Canada’s only AAA Five-Diamond property. The hotel features an award-winning spa, mountainside dining and easy access to Whistler’s two mountains. Another spectacular stay is The Fairmont Chateau Whistler. Tucked into the foot of the Blackcomb Mountain, the hotel features classic après ski lounges, slopeside whirlpools and impeccable accommodation options.
For families and groups, a great option is to stay in one of the many vacation rentals in Whistler. Here you can find an apartment-style accommodation that has multiple bedrooms and space for everyone.
For a great value, the Crystal Lodge & Suites is located right in the heart of Whistler Village and offers a variety of room choices – from single studios to large suites with up to three bedrooms. Additionally, the Summit Lodge Boutique Hotel was awarded “Canada’s Best Ski Boutique Hotel 2016”. And you can bring your pet there too! For those on a really tight budget, there’s also the Whistler Lodge Hostel offering dorm-style living as well as private and semi private rooms for around $30 per night.
For something totally off the beaten path – literally – check out Callaghan Country Journeyman Lodge. Set back nearly 9 km from the nearest road, this “rustic-luxe” accommodation offers untracked Coast Mountain powder for skiing or snowboarding, a handcrafted Scandinavian wood-fired sauna and a heaping dose of adventure!
Whistler is famous for its world-class slopes. The mountains average around 12m/39ft of pristine, fresh powder each season – attracting expert and novice skiers and snowboarders from all over the world. For thrill seekers, you can embark on a single or multi-day heli-skiing adventure to experience endless untouched terrain and zero lift lines. There is also ski and snowboard school available for all ages to improve your skills and confidence.
Aside from the regular slope access you can also enjoy an exhilarating terrain park, equipped with a range of features from technical tabletops to scaled-down rails. Backcountry skiing is also a popular option as well as cross country skiing, sledding, snowmobiling, ice climbing, ice skating, ice fishing and even dogsledding tours!
As well, Whistler offers a great way to explore for the whole family – snowshoeing. Go out on your own or select from one of the many guided tours. Guides will take you through a labyrinth of the tree-lined trails into the depths of the region’s most beautiful sites. You can take in the fresh air, spectacular scenery and maybe even spot some native birds or other animals along the way.
For a break from the cold, Whistler offers a number of activities such as the Peak 2 Peak Gondola Tour with breathtaking views of the rugged mountain landscape. Just a short drive from Whistler Village, you’ll find the Scandinave Spa for an authentic and reinvigorating experience. As well, the village features a number of shopping opportunities – from chain brands to luxury boutiques.
When you’ve worked up an appetite from all the activity, don’t miss out on Whistler’s impressive variety of foods and drinks. Restaurant options range from fine dining to budget-friendly, local and traditional to exotic and eclectic. Araxi, for example, is one of the village’s most celebrated eateries, where nation-leading chef James Walt prepares seasonal, local dishes fit for a queen. Check out 21 Steps for hearty portions of your favourite comfort foods at affordable prices. Or for something out of the ordinary don’t miss out on Bearfoot Bistro, featuring the world’s coldest vodka tasting room.
Spend a weekend in Whistler and you’ll be hooked. With so many activities ideal for people of all ages it’s the perfect winter wonderland!