Whistler Winter and Summer, British Columbia, Canada

Whistler town seen from Blackcomb peak terminal, British Columbia, Canada

Whistler town seen from Blackcomb peak gondola terminal. Photo by by Mogodore.

Visiting Whistler

A distant and high winter view of Whistler bowl and lake, British Columbia, Canada

A more distant view of Whistler bowl and lake. Photo by OOroyOo.

Whistler resort town and its award-winning pedestrian-friendly village is consistently voted as one of the top winter sports resorts on the North American continent, not only home to a superb balance of slopes and accommodation but also easily accessible by Americans by road from Vancouver or Seattle.

Whistler is blessed with an altitude and location that ensures almost certain good snowfall (over the last few winters anyway), while the number and variety of pistes (316kms) suits everyone from wild, off-piste daredevils to beginners and young families.

The main winter activities are downhill skiing and snowboarding but there is a fine variety of alternatives including cross country skiing, snow shoeing, heli-skiing, zip-line eco-tours, snowmobiling, sleigh rides and spas. Whistler ski resort guide.

In the summer the focus is on mountain biking.

Whistler Weather

Winter temperatures range from just above zero to -6C (-21F) while average summer temperatures run from lows of about 7C (45F) to highs of 22C (72F).

The view from the Roundhouse Lodge terminal for Whistler Mountain Gondola, British Columbia, Canada

The view from the Roundhouse Lodge terminal for Whistler Mountain Gondola at about 6000 feet. From here secondary lifts go to higher elevations. Photo by Mogodore.

Whistler in Winter

Cross-country skiing from a Whistler lodge, British Columbia, Canada

Cross-country skiing from a Whistler lodge. Photo by CTC.

Apparently Black bears too are all in favour of WhistlerBlackcomb as they have learned to open car doors and locked garbage bins to ‘borrow’ food, but residents are tolerant of the mostly docile creatures so the two species live together with equanimity.

Snowshoeing and snowmobiling around Whistler

Snowshoeing and snowmobiling around Whistler’s lower zones. Photo by CTC.

Winter sports at Whistler involve more than just fine snowboarding or skiing. There’s also snowmobiling, horse-drawn sleigh rides, dog sledding, snowshoeing, helicopter tours, snowcat tours, ziptrek ecotours, an icy Tube Park that is of particular interest to kids, a Squamish Lil’wat Culture Centre, shopping, fine dining and even wind/ice-surfing. Is there no end to this sport-combo madness? And after all that exercise it’s time to loosen up in a hot spa.

Whistler in Summer

Whistler town, British Columbia, Canada

Whistler town. Photo by Philippe Giabbanelli.

mountain biking in Whistler Bike Park, British Columbia, Canada

Whistler’s most popular summer activity is mountain biking, in this case in the local bike park. Photo by Whistler/Steve Rogers.

Jumping into Whistler

One of the less expensive activities on Whistler’s Lost Lake in the summer. Photo by Whistler/Steve Rogers.

Traveling Whistler

Traveling the Green River on a budget. Photo by Whistler/Chad Chomlak.


More traditional activity on Nicklaus North Golf Course. Photo by Whistler/Mary Henebry.

A summer festival in the Whistler

A summer festival in the town’s Olympic Plaza. Photo by Whistler/Mike Crane.

Getting there

From Vancouver: Just two hours drive (76 miles/123 kms) from Vancouver on the jaw-dropping Sea-to-Sky Highway (Highway 99), one of the best drives on the North American continent.

Also accessible from Vancouver by Sea-to-Sky Climb Train (3 hours) and various bus services including Pacific Coaches, Whistler Buses and the uber-cool Snowbus.

International/from Seattle:
This is a low-cost option as many discount flights, such as Frontier, Southwest and Virgin Airlines, land in Seattle but not in Vancouver and the drive from Seattle to Whistler-Blackcomb is a pleasant and scenic 4/5 hours. Seattle to Vancouver takes about 3 hours.

Avoid arriving at the border in the middle of the day (say, 11am- 5pm winter and summer) as that’s when the immigration lines become big and sluggish. And remember to take your passport if you’re American!

Note that Whistler is very foot-oriented and a vehicle will NOT be necessary with most hotels near lifts and a good bus service for the rest.