How do I get to Whistler?

Hayley Bosch

The closest things you’ll find to an airport in Whistler are seaports and heliports. You can’t very well land a seaplane in the middle of winter, when the lakes are frozen over, but helicopters are a good option year-round. If you fly into Vancouver International Airport, you’ll take a quick transfer shuttle to either the seaport or heliport to begin your journey.
 
Air travel isn’t the only way to get to Whistler; in fact, driving along the aptly named Sea-to-Sky Highway is absolutely beautiful. You can fly into Seattle-Tacoma International Airport or Vancouver and hit the road. Whistler is about four-and-a-half hours from Seattle, while Vancouver is about two hours. Keep in mind that winter and spring can be tricky for the roads; so be sure to check the driving conditions before you leave.
 
When all else fails, or you simply don’t feel like driving, hop aboard the Rocky Mountaineer Whistler Sea to Sky Climb train for a scenic ride along the oceanfront, through canyons and over mountains. The trip is about three and a half hours from Vancouver to Whistler, and is a great alternative to driving or flying.

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    What are the best places to eat in Whistler?

    No matter what you’re in town for — be it skiing, hiking or mountain biking — you’ll work up an appetite in Whistler. With a cornucopia of restaurants, there’s a wide variety of cuisine to be tried in this alpine village. Here are Forbes Travel Guide’s editors’ picks for the five best places to eat in Whistler:

    1. Araxi. This Whistler Village restaurant is consistently the best in town. Araxi serves up a delightful West Coast-focused menu with dishes like whole British Columbia Dungeness crab and Canada prime beef tartare.

    2. Bearfoot Bistro. This fine dining restaurant within The Listel Hotel in Whistler Village has a massive wine cellar and a contemporary Canadian menu that’s heavy on upscale dishes made with local ingredients, including the Canadian buffalo with tomato marmalade and herb quinoa salad.

    3. Christine’s Restaurant. Sitting atop Blackcomb Mountain within the Rendezvous Lodge, Christine’s Restaurant is the only full-service restaurant on either mountain. The food is delicious, but the setting is unbeatable. The summer menu features dishes like Salt Spring Island mussels and frites, while the winter menu has hearty dishes such as bouillabaisse.

    4. Aura. Nita Lake Lodge’s signature restaurant, Aura, has a European menu with local ingredients. You can opt for a five- or ten-course tasting menu, as well a three-course prix fixe option. The menu has a good balance of offerings from both the land and sea.

    5. Sidecut. This eatery at Four Seasons Resort Whistler offers a nice twist on fine dining. Sidecut is cozy and warm in the winter, while summertime brings dining on a refreshing outdoor patio. The menu features all things meat, as well as regional seafood like Chinook salmon.
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    What are the best places to stay in Whistler?

    Over the years, Whistler has grown to include some top-notch hotels. Some are located at the base of Whistler Mountain, while others are located in the quiet, yet convenient, area of Creekside Village. Here is Forbes Travel Guide’s take on the five best places to stay in Whistler:

    1. Four Seasons Resort Whistler. This Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star resort sits at the base of Blackcomb Mountain, just a short walk away from the chairlifts. A cozy ski lodge with all the trappings of a luxury hotel, Four Seasons Resort Whistler has an equally as impressive spa.

    2. The Fairmont Chateau Whistler. Fittingly, this hotel looks like a chateau sitting at the base of Blackcomb, with easy access to the mountain. The ski-in/ski-out property is fabulous no matter what time of year you visit. There’s even an onsite golf course to entertain you come summer.

    3. Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre. This location is one of two Pan Pacific resorts in Whistler, and these private residence-like lodgings are convenient to everything. You’ll have your own full kitchen in your room and when you wake up, you’ll have the backdrop of the mountains and the bustling village.

    4. Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside. The sister resort to the one in Whistler Village, this alpine-chic hotel has one of the best ski-in/ski-out locations. Adding to the luxurious accommodations is the unrivaled view of the enormous mountain resort.

    5. Nita Lake Lodge. Though it’s not situated at the base of either of the mountains, Nita Lake Lodge lies on the shores of the tranquil Nita Lake. It’s just a short ride away from Creekside Village, which used to be the sole access point to the mountain resort. The hotel even has lockers at the base of Whistler Mountain where you can store your gear.
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    Where is the best shopping in Whistler?

    Though you wouldn’t expect it, Whistler is a great place to shop. With more than 200 shops located in Whistler Village alone, you’ll find everything from ski supplies to clothing more suited for nights out in the big city. From Roots (a classic Canadian brand) to Lululemon (headquartered in nearby Vancouver), there’s plenty of fashion to be found. And it doesn’t end there — Whistler Village is home to trendy shops, art galleries and a cornucopia of sporting goods stores. Whether you need a new snowboard or are looking for some hiking boots, a variety of shops in Whistler will fit the bill. There are also sweets shops to satisfy those cravings after a long day on the slopes — visit Cows for freshly made ice cream. Needless to say, the only problem you’ll have in Whistler is deciding which shop to go to first.
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    What are the best things to do with kids in Whistler?

    Being an all-season resort destination, Whistler offers a wealth of outdoor activities that kids will love. Whether its ski season and they’re learning to navigate the slopes, or summer and they’re swinging on zip lines, kids visiting Whistler will find there’s something for everyone. Here are Forbes Travel Guide’s picks for the five best things to do with kids in Whistler:

    1. Tree trek. Hop from treetop to treetop on suspension bridges, boardwalks and platforms. This activity is not for the height-fearing crowd, as you’re way above the comfort of the hard ground. It’s fun for the whole family and it’s a cool way to see the mountain from a different point of view.

    2. Ice skating. Let your little champion skate at Whistler Olympic Plaza, where victors of the 2010 Winter Games were crowned. Winter skating is free and rentals are available for just $5. Though you may enjoy the Olympic setting for different reasons, it’s a great activity for everyone.

    3. Hit the slopes. If your kids are veteran skiers, then pile them on the chairlift and indulge in some of North America’s finest skiing. There’s a family zone that’s geared toward beginners and young kids, while the older ones will have a blast in the terrain park.

    4. Coca-Cola Tube Park. When skiing gets old — we don’t think it will — or you just want to switch things up, head to Coca-Cola Tube Park for some fun. Located at the Base II Zone on Blackcomb Mountain, this tube park has eight lanes for you and your kids to slide down.

    5. Adventure Camp. For those youngsters who are just learning to ski, join the Adventure Camp. It’s five days of fun and skiing — kids discover the Magic Castle and Tree Fort while learning the sport.
  • On July 5, 2012
    Hayley Bosch answered the question: Hayley Bosch

    What are the best things to see and do in Whistler?

    Whistler offers some of the best skiing in North America, and when the snow melts, the hiking is out of this world. It’s not all about mountain sports in Whistler — just mostly. Here are Forbes Travel Guide’s editors’ picks of the five best things to see and do in Whistler:

    1. Hit the slopes. Whistler and its sister mountain, the adjacent Blackcomb, have top-notch skiing — slopes that make even the most difficult Appalachian trails look like a piece of cake. If you aren’t an experienced skier or snowboarder, you’ll want to take lessons; otherwise, hit the slopes and prepare yourself for the best skiing of your life.

    2. Bike to Rainbow Lake. Come summer, the snow has melted (except for Whistler’s glacier, on which you can often ski through June) and Whistler lends itself to plenty of mountain biking opportunities. One of our favorite rides is to Rainbow Lake, on the west side of Whistler Valley, where you can even cool off with a dip in the shallow waters.

    3. Hiking. It’s hard to imagine that underneath those difficult ski slopes are challenging hiking trails. A day spent on the mountain, making your way to the top, is both trying and rewarding. Some trails are more difficult than others, but the view from the top is worth the hike.

    4. TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival. It’s a 10-day event in mid-spring that shows off the latest in the worlds of skiing and snowboarding. From fashion and free concerts to skiing and snowboarding demos, this is an alpine event that shouldn’t be missed.

    5. Ride the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola. Whether you’re in town for the ski season or during summer, hop on the record-breaking PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola that travels between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains — its longest unsupported span runs just under two miles, making it the highest lift of its kind rising more than 1,430 feet above the valley floor and it completes the longest continuous lift system in the world. It’s great for sightseeing no matter what time of year it is.