Photo credit: May Hung/Flickr
Just a two-hour drive from downtown Vancouver, Whistler is internationally known as one of the world’s leading ski resorts, and is consistently named one of the top ski destinations by travel and lifestyle magazines and snow sports associations each year. As Vancouver's partner city for 2010 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games, this spectacular resort gained even greater recognition for all that it has to offer.
In winter, many visitors head to Whistler for the snow. Whether you’re a skier or snowboarder, you’ll be thrilled by the resort’s two peaks, Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, offering 8,171 acres of terrain, 200 marked runs, 37 lifts, 16 alpine bowls, and 3 glaciers! The record-breaking Peak 2 Peak gondola connects the two, offering spectacular views of the alpine below. Additionally, Whistler Olympic Park is home to 130 kilometres (81 miles) of cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails. After an adrenaline-filled day, head down to the charming, pedestrian-only village to indulge in Whistler’s legendary après-ski scene.
Although acclaimed for its winter attractions, Whistler is a year-round destination, with festivals, activities and fun for every season. A visit to the resort in the summer is the perfect time to try mountain biking, play 18-holes on one of Whistler’s four golf courses, hike the many mountain trails, and enjoy al fresco dining. From May to September, skip the drive and take Whistler Air’s floatplane service from downtown Vancouver up to Whistler, and enjoy a view of the mountains from the air.
Check out www.whistler.com for additional information on events and activities.
Whistler is a two-hour drive from downtown Vancouver, climbing up the spectacular Sea-to-Sky highway via Horseshoe Bay, Britannia Beach and Squamish. Along the route, there are a number of opportunities for stops including the Britannia Mine Museum, the Sea to Sky Gondola, and natural highlights such as Shannon Falls and Brandywine Falls. Options for making the trip include driving, scheduled bus services, escorted tours, and in the summer, scheduled floatplane service.
From downtown Vancouver, follow Georgia Street west (Hwy 99) through Stanley Park and over the Lions Gate Bridge. Follow the signs for West Vancouver and stay in the right lane. At the first intersection (Marine Drive and Taylor Way), turn right on Taylor Way towards the mountains. At the third sets of lights on Taylor Way, turn left to connect to Highway 99 to Whistler.
A brand new option for those who love to take to the road themselves is Scenic Rush. Drive the Sea to Sky highway behind the wheel of exotic cars like the Ferrari F430 Spider, Lamborghini Gallardo or Nissan GT-R. On the way up and back, you get to stop, switch cars with fellow drivers and get back on the road, giving you the chance to drive four of these luxury machines.
Scheduled Bus Services
Several companies offer scheduled bus service between Vancouver and Whistler, with frequency depending on the company and the season.
- Epic Rides – 604.349.1234 – a no-frills option, this bus picks up from multiple locations in Vancouver, depending on the time of year, and only costs $35 round-trip.
- Greyhound Canada – 1.800.661.8747 – departs from Pacific Central Station, just outside of downtown Vancouver, offering year-round service.
- Pacific Coach Lines - 1.800.661.1725 – offers direct scheduled service to Whistler from both Vancouver International Airport and from downtown Vancouver, year round.
- Snowbus – 604.451.1130 – offered through the ski season, with scheduled service picking up in Richmond and Vancouver before heading to Whistler.
Whistler Air offers scheduled floatplane flights between downtown Vancouver and Whistler from May to September. Taking just 30 minutes, the fully-narrated flight soars over Garibaldi Provincial Park, as well as giving passengers a bird's eye view of Shannon Falls, the fjords of Howe Sound, and an unforgettable view of Vancouver. Book online or by calling 604.932.6615.
Looking to learn more about the area, stop along the way for pictures and have a hassle-free, guided experience? Many Vancouver sightseeing companies offer day tours exploring Whistler and the Sea to Sky corridor, including Westcoast Sightseeing, Landsea Tours & Adventures, Key West Travel & Tours and Vantage Whistler. Take the trip in luxury with Bentley Tours, who use Mercedes, Rolls Royce and Bentley vehicles; at the other end of the spectrum, West Trek offers a budget option. For languages other than English, try Van Top Tours or Dominion Tours. Most day trips take between 10 and 12 hours from Vancouver to Whistler, return.