Mountain to Village: First-Timer’s Tips for Visiting Whistler Mountain
It’s easy to understand why a place like Whistler can intimidate someone seeing it for the first time. Even if you’re not a skier, there is plenty to enjoy and explore. The snowy mountain peaks, myriad of pedestrian walkways, and sheer number of shopping options will leave you as breathless as a cold vertical drop. Some prior research and planning will ensure that you make the best of your time (and money) while visiting this world-class tourist hot spot.
Seasonal Fun, Naturally
No matter when you visit, there’s plenty to do and see in this corner of Canada’s Pacific Coast Mountain Range. Such special events abound in the winter and many are free of charge to anyone and everyone in the Village. The Fire and Ice Show is the most famous of these public events. Every Sunday evening, between the resort’s official opening day in November and the end of the season in April or May, you can enjoy dancing, music, spinning fire and some of Whistler’s most talented boarders and skiers strutting their stuff.
Come when the snow is off the ground to beat the crowds and see this vibrant and verdant ecosystem from another perspective. The ski trails are also used in the off-season for hiking, and the chair-lifts are still used for transport or sightseeing. The Peak 2 Peak gondola runs all year round for transportation and scenic viewing. Whistler Village also hosts a number of exciting and unique festivals throughout the year. Check the calendar for events in every season. In the summer, you can still practice your skiing or boarding with a trip, tour, or lesson at the nearby Horstman Glacier.
For those content to take a break from skiing in the off-season, the calendar has plenty to keep everyone busy. The fall hosts Cornucopia. This event that celebrates both food and drink, from the garden to the plate, and features wine tasting and culinary presentations. There’s the vibrant Farmer’s Market from May to October, where you can find everything from local edibles to unique artistic creations. There’s also the annual summer photography contest held from May to October.
For winter diversions, there’s Nintendo Family Day in February and the Whistler Film Festival in December, great activities for the less outdoors-inclined or as an aprés slopes activity. When you get hungry, there are plenty of restaurants, booths and bars to choose from. Whistler Village is home to no less than 17 restaurants, plus two loges on the mountain that also serve food and drinks. This includes an eclectic collection of international offerings; everything from Korean to Italian to local West Coast specialties are represented.
Deals and Discounts
One of the most daunting aspects of winter ski resorts is the cost. Fear not, as Whistler is a diverse community that likes to be accessible to all income levels at any time of the year. The entire Whistler Village is built in a pedestrian friendly, close knit style that doesn’t require motorized transport, a huge money-saver right from the start. You can call the hill directly to get the latest updates on possible deals in any season, from the budget UBC Whistler Lodge to the upscale Pan Pacific Mountainside Hotel.
Many have invested in homes and property here with the intention of making their ski vacation dream home a permanent reality. There are many possibilities in Whistler for long term rentals as well as permanent purchases. Options include condominiums, homes of varying sizes and open lots in undeveloped areas. Due to the large seasonal fluctuation of visitors Whistler enjoys, there is often the option to try before you buy with time-share and group financing available.
When you first set your sights on the glorious peaks and sweeping vistas that make up Whistler Blackcomb, remember that there is something here for everyone in every season. Whistler Blackcomb is a place for skiers, boarders, foodies, film buffs, outdoor enthusiasts, and photographers, just to name a few, What a for these groups have in common, however, is their love of travel and an appreciation for the new and diverse.
Emilio Thompson is a Whistler regular and as a confirmed ski-enthusiast, he loves the chance to share his tips and insights with an online audience. He is a regular writer for several different websites.