One thing you may not know about the three of us is that we LOVE to ski. Despite being raised near the beach, jetting off to a winter mountain scene is one of our favorite vacations. Ever since our parents surprised us with a ski trip to Club Med Copper Mountain (which unfortunately closed years ago) as little ones, we’ve made it our goal to plan at least one killer ski trip per year.
Though the states offer so many incredible mountain resorts, our favorite family ski getaways always take place in Western Canada. We featured our favorite hotel in Banff earlier this year (see here), but this time we are going to take a step into British Columbia for today’s city guide feature: Whistler. Whether you’re looking to plan your next trip to Whistler or learning about the city for the first time, we’re here to fill you in on all of our favorite spots for your next vacay.
Though Whistler shares the same style and luxury elements of ski towns like Aspen, the city boasts a certain down-to-earth vibe like none other. With luxury resorts lining the town and one of the top apres-ski scenes around, Whistler is a city you must add to your bucket list. Whistler Resort has the largest ski area and two of the longest vertical drops on the continent, which is why it’s no wonder the Winter Olympics were held here in 2010!
Fun fact: Whistler is a member of Mountain Collective, which allows you to ski 11 ski destinations with one single pass! Check out two of our other city guides that are also members of Mountain Collective: Banff and Taos!
How to Get There:
Whistler is located only two hours outside of Vancouver, so it’s easiest to fly into Vancouver and drive the Sea to Ski Highway. Since Whistler is a walking city, we don’t recommend renting a car for the week, but rather take a shuttle from the city to the mountains. Our personal favorite way to take the journey? Rent a limo from the airport to the city – champagne and sight seeing make the drive much more fun!
What to Do:
Though a trip to Whistler can involve lots of relaxing, we recommend taking advantage of all of the activities and adventures available in the city! Here are some of our recommendations:
– Whistler Village – Whistler Village is where all the action takes place in this chic ski town. With hotels, restaurants, bars, and shops lining the village, everything you need is just a quick step away. Best of all, you can hop right on the chair lifts from the Village!
– Ski/Snowboard – Whistler Resort features two mountains, Whistler and Blackcomb, with 37 lifts and over 200 runs. Not only is the skiing phenomenal, the views from the tops of the mountains are absolutely breathtaking! Tip: the slopes in Western Canada are tailored towards advanced skiers, so grab a ski instructor if you’re a beginner!
– Ski Alternatives – For those of you who don’t love hitting the slopes on a winter getaway, here are some other snowy activities that are always a blast:
- Snow Tubing
- Hot Tubbing – Because donning a bikini in the snow is daring in itself!
– Peak 2 Peak – Experience the highest gondola in the world, that also holds the record as the longest unsupported lift span, which links Whistler and Blackcomb Mountain. This glass-bottom gondola offers amazing views of the mountains, as well as Fitzsimmons Valley.
– Apres Ski – Let’s be real, what’s a day on the slopes without a little apres-ski? Ditch the skis and pop into the local chalets for a round of drinks and live music with other skiers. Active day: rewarded.
– Shopping – Whistler Village is lined with shops of all sorts from ski shops to everyday favorites like Lululemon and Lush. Roots has always been a favorite of ours, so pop in next time you are visiting! For local crafts and handmade souvenirs, check out the Squamish Lil’Wat Cultural Center.
Heading in for the summer? Whistler offers plenty of summer activities such as biking, hiking, zip lining, golfing, and much more! Try planning a picnic at Garibaldi Lake – The scenery is amazing!
Where to Eat:
There’s no shortage of delicious food in this city! Whether you are craving pub-style cuisine and a beer, or our personal favorites raclette or fondue, the options are endless. Few favorites:
– ALTA BISTRO – Great ambience + wine menu
– Creekbread – The best pizza
– Crepe Montagne – Trust me, the raclette is to die for!
– GARIBALDI LIFT CO. BAR & GRILL – Right on the base of the mountain, ideal for apres-ski
– Glacier Creek Lodge – A ski-in-ski-out spot on the mountain
– Raven’s Nest – An all-vegetarian menu on the mountain
– RIM ROCK CAFE – Voted #1 in the city
Where to Go Out:
Where to Stay:
Whistler Village (ski-in-ski-out for Whistler Mountain):
Upper Village (a short 10 minute walk, ski-in-ski-out for Blackcomb):
Looking for more ski inspiration? Check out our other ski posts: