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Why do two million people visit Whistler every year? It’s high time you find out! This tiny resort town, located in the southwest corner of Canada in the province of British Columbia, was just a blip on the map as recently as the 1950’s. Even today, its permanent population is under 10,000. However, Whistler is now considered one of North America’s top destinations for alpine skiing and snowboarding, in addition to hiking, mountain biking and fishing during the warmer months. If you watched the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, then you saw Whistler Mountain, Blackcomb Mountain and Cypress Mountain – these are the big dogs in Whistler, where all the action is.
The primary airport visitors fly into is Vancouver International Airport (YVR), with the highway connecting Whistler and Vancouver known as the Sea to Sky Highway. The 78 miles between the cities is stunningly beautiful, and many people enjoy riding the train, the Whistler Sea to Sky Climb. The mountain, ocean and canyon vistas are remarkable! Another option for getting to Whistler during ski season is aboard the Snowbus, which serves the Vancouver region. Once you arrive in Whistler, you can utilize public buses run by the Whistler Transit System.
Whistler Blackcomb is the largest of the North American ski resorts, and you will find practically endless things to do here. There are 8,000 acres to ski, 200 trails and 37 lifts. You can snowshoe, snowboard and snowmobile – you can even heli-ski here! First-class terrain parks have been created, offering extreme sports opportunities. The summer offers lots to do as well, including horseback riding, fishing, whitewater rafting and mountain biking. The Peak 2 Peak Gondola takes you high in the sky, between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains, where you will think you can see forever, while breathing the crispest, cleanest air.
Garibaldi Provincial Park is another extremely popular location in Whistler. You can hike over 90 km of trails, fish and swim at several sparkling lakes, ski, snowboard and snowshoe during the winter – no motorized vehicles are allowed. Black Tusk and Wedgemount Lake Trails are both located at Garibaldi and are difficult hikes, for experienced hikers only. The park boasts abundant wildlife, so bring your camera!
The 2010 Olympics also utilized Whistler Olympic Park for a variety of events. Visitors can now take advantage of the skiing and hiking trails and groomed terrain, along with Toboggan Hill, a fun place to take your kids. Cross-country ski on Neverland Trail, designed for beginners, or explore the outdoors on horseback. Lost Lake Park also features a number of perfectly groomed cross-country trails.
Whistler Mountain Bike Park offers exciting challenges at every turn, and is open mid-May through the beginning of October. No problem if you didn’t bring your own bike, as excellent rental equipment is available. And if you’re up for a thrill of a lifetime, head to Whistler Sliding Centre, which was utilized for Olympic bobsleigh, luge and skeleton events. You can test your athleticism on these very same sports!
You may be asking yourself if there’s more to Whistler than the mountains? Of course there is! Whistler Village boasts literally hundreds of shops, restaurants, pubs and nightclubs, offering lots to see and do day and night. As a matter of fact, you would likely enjoy staying in a hotel in Whistler Village to be near everything! Visit Scotia Creek Gallery to find the perfect fine art piece to take home, or Whistler Museum to learn how Whistler, the big-time resort town, came to be. If you are interested in educating yourself about the culture and customs of the local First Nations peoples, spend some time at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, where you can see unique handmade baskets and blankets, along with hand-carved canoes.
Whistler Conference Centre offers special events such as the Whistler Film Festival, which brings exciting new films to town each winter. If you’re lucky enough to be here during November, be sure to check out Cornucopia, a fabulous food and wine fest, hosted at the Conference Centre; the Bizarre Bazaar also brings more than 100 artisans to the Centre in November, a wonderful shopping opportunity right before the holidays. Another popular locale, Whistler Creekside, provides the venue for the annual Whistler Children’s Art Festival each July, along with ArtWalk events during the summer.
Scandinave Spa Whistler, is the perfect place to relax and rejuvenate, soaking your weary muscles after a long day of playing on the mountain. If golf is your thing, are you ever in luck! Big Sky Golf and Country Club, renowned as one of the best courses in Canada, is found at the base of Mount Currie. Whistler Golf Club was designed by Arnold Palmer, while Jack Nicklaus laid out the plans for Nicklaus North Golf Course. Both courses have welcomed many, many famous names. The Fairmont Chateau boasts a popular course as well, built into the side of Blackcomb Mountain and designed by well-known Robert Trent Jones Jr. The Fairmont hosts the annual TELUS Golf Classic in September.
The Whistler Farmers Market offers the freshest foods as well as locally made arts and crafts, mid-June to October. April brings the TELUS World Ski and Snowboard Festival, ten days of competitions, concerts and family-friendly activities. Certainly you are getting curious about Whistler and itching to get a look at this amazing little big town for yourself! Enjoy reading about all the Whistler attractions and events, then it’s time to book one of our fabulous Whistler hotels for a getaway your friends will envy!