Whistler winter & summer, BC, 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.

The mountain 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.

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

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

Whistler Seasons

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).

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's lower zones, British Columbia, Canada

Snowshoeing and snowmobiling around the lower zones. Photo by CTC.

Winter sports here 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.

The list of things to do in Whistler in summertime is massive, ranging from the obvious: hiking, camping, golf, horseback riding, rock climbing, mountain biking, fishing, kayaking etc. to the less obvious: Bungee jumping, jet boating, summer bobsleigh tours, ATV tours, bear viewing, tree top walks and more…

Whistler mountain biking in summer, BC, Canada

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

Jumping into Whistler's Lost Lake in the summer, British Columbia, Canada

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

Traveling Whistler's Green River on budget inflatable boats, British Columbia, Canada

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

A summer festival in the Whistler's Olympic Plaza, British Columbia, Canada

A summer festival in the town’s Olympic Plaza. Photo by 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 this region is very pedestrian-oriented and a vehicle will NOT be necessary with most hotels near lifts and a good bus service for the rest.