What to Do Before You Visit Whistler, Canada
Planning a trip to British Columbia? If that’s the case, Whistler is a must-see destination. Here’s what you need to know to make the most of your trip without spending a fortune.
Whistler welcomes around 2 million tourists every year. But what makes this mountain town such a huge draw with tourists from all over the world?
For starters, the idyllic landscape and sights will leave you in awe. Its main ski resort is among the biggest and most impressive in the hemisphere. And when it comes to skiing conditions, you can get a good five months of perfect slope action.
But keep in mind that Whistler may not be a place where you can just drop by unannounced.
1. Convert Your Money Early
Visiting Whistler, Canada takes a bit of planning – including in terms of money. Some of the restaurants and shops in the village accept US dollars but most only use Canadian dollars.
Unfortunately, there are very few places where you can exchange money in Whistler. So, it’s best that you have Canadian dollars on hand when you arrive to prepare for any unforeseen situation.
2. Whistler Village Is Not Whistler Blackcomb
Those that don’t visit Whistler regularly may confuse the two. Whistler Blackcomb is the main ski resort in Whistler Village. It has 200 runs, 37 lifts, and spans over 8,000 acres.
Whistler Village, on the other hand, is the mountain town that provides access to the ski resort. It’s also where you can find most of the shops, restaurants, and accommodations.
3. Learn the Seasons
Like any other famous ski town, Whistler has peak seasons. And spring and winter dominate in terms of tourism.
Early spring there is still cold enough that you can still take to the slopes. Yet, it’s during winter when most tourists flock to the town to experience the slopes.
It’s also cool to visit during the winter because there are many outdoor festivities that you can check out. Once April comes around, the temperature starts to rise considerably. But even then, the weather still allows the locals to host the World Ski and Snowboard Festival.
During the summer and fall, you can expect a good amount of rain. And the temperatures don’t surpass the 70 to 80 degrees range. But the weather won’t always allow you to hike in perfect conditions.
4. Step Away from the Crowd
Hiking is one of the favorite tourist pastime activities here. So before visiting Whistler, Canada, you may want to do your research.
Tourists often flock to the most popular and easily-accessible trails. But there are plenty of trails that are off the beaten path. The further north you venture, the more you can explore without rubbing elbows with massive groups of people.
5. Getting Around
How do you plan to get around during your Whistler summer vacation? Most people prefer renting mountain bikes and ATVs. And Blackcomb Mountain is an ideal spot for off-roading.
But what if you visit in the cold seasons? That’s when things get even better. During winter and spring, you can rent snowmobiles. You can also take a dog sled tour and explore what the mountain has to offer aside from the slopes.
Do you want a bird’s eye view of the region and get some adrenaline rush at the same time? Then, try the zipline tours. This is a year-round activity in Whistler and the longest zipline measures over 1.2 miles.
Another way to check out the surroundings from above is by lift. The Peak 2 Gondola is the longest continuous lift system in the world. It connects the two mountains and offers a spectacular view of the region.
6. It’s Not the Cheapest
Whistler is not just British Columbia’s crown jewel of ski destinations. It’s also one of the most popular in the whole of Canada.
But it’s also one of the priciest if you don’t plan in advance. You can find package deals that cater to budget travelers, but not without proper planning and research.
7. It’s Easier to Reach Than You Think
Getting to Whistler is very easy. This top tourist vacation spot has easy access by plane, car, or bus.
If you’re to stop in Vancouver, for example, Whistler is only a two-hour drive away from the airport.
8. The Air Is Clean
Once you’ve had enough of the Whistler ski resort, it’s time to head into the village.
The bottom of the mountain is home to the main village area. And although packed with tourists, it’s one of the cleanest places you can visit. Why? Because it’s a pedestrian-only village.
You won’t see any vehicles in the main village area – people get around on foot. But don’t worry about your vehicle. The village has more than enough parking spaces in the surrounding area.
9. Pack Warm Clothes
Whistler weather is not the harshest. That said, temperatures hover around freezing in the height of winter. So make sure you pack enough layers for your trip.
Even during the spring, the area still has ideal skiing conditions as it gets warmer. This means warm clothes and moisture-wicking layers are still essential when hitting the slopes.
10. Try to Save on Lift Tickets
Surprisingly, this is one of the most significant expenses for anyone visiting. You have to use them most of the time, so the costs will add up.
But, you can purchase lift tickets before you even land there. It’s also possible to find discounts on various vacation packages. Keep this in mind if you want to save a few bucks.
You can put that money you save toward other experiences while you’re there.
11. Plenty of Fine-Dining Establishments
It should come as no surprise that this premium vacation destination offers amazing culinary choices. Whistler houses some of the best fine-dining restaurants in British Columbia.
Whether it’s local cuisine or international, you can find anything your heart desires. Prices do vary greatly but what remains is the amazing quality of food.
The Most Important Things to Do Before You Visit
To explore as much as possible, check out a Whistler Blackcomb trail map. Mark the less popular trails if your goal is to avoid the crowds. And remember to convert your money before you get to Whistler to avoid any inconveniences.
Make sure to pick a season to visit well in advance depending on your favorite things to do, or perhaps based on your weather preferences.
Remember that Whistler is a premium tourist destination and is thus priced accordingly. But it’s still possible to find a few deals, including accommodations, lift tickets, and other things you may need.
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