The perfect winter getaway at the No.1 ski resort – Whistler

Vancouverites are really lucky. We’re not only spoiled with 3 different local mountains all within a 45-minute drive, but also a world-class ski resort just 2 hours away. Every winter calls for a Whistler getaway to escape the city life, even if it’s just for a short weekend. If you haven’t already been to Whistler, what are you waiting for?!

Kollecting Koordinates - Whistler getaway

one of the runs at 7th Heaven on Blackcomb Mountain

Know before you go

  • Everything is expensive. Brace your wallet; Whistler is coming.
  • Bring a pair of rainboots. They might not be #ootd-worthy but the joke’s on you when your fancy non-waterproof shoes get drenched by nasty slush.
  • Expect long lines at chairlifts. Lines move fairly quickly but they’re inevitable.

Tip: This is why we prefer riding at Sun Peaks in Kamloops or Big White in Kelowna. I don’t remember ever having to wait more than 5 minutes to get on a lift at Sun Peaks or Big White… but then again Whistler is only a 2hr drive from home versus 5-6hrs on the dreadful Coquihalla Highway.

Photo credit: Becca at @habitat9travels

Getting to Whistler

By car

Driving to Whistler from Vancouver is easy peasy because directions and signs are clearly marked. Strap in for a gorgeous ride along the Sea-to-Sky corridor. Follow signs for the Trans-Canada Highway/BC-1 W/BC-99 N from wherever you are, and continue on BC-99 N until you see the Whistler Village on your right. 

Tip: Winter tires are required by law on the Sea-to-Sky Highway from October 1 to March 31. Make sure your vehicle complies!

By bus/shuttle

Don’t have a car or don’t want to drive? Bus and shuttle services like Pacific Coach and Snow Bus offer transportation from YVR (Vancouver International Airport) and downtown Vancouver to Whistler. Prices range anywhere from $40-70, one way.

Tip: Check Groupon for deals. I’ve seen deals on shuttle passes for around $35, round trip.

Kollecting Koordinates - Whistler getaway

Peak to Peak Gondola – Photo credit: Becca at @habitat9travels

Where to stay on your Whistler getaway

How do you choose which hotel, lodge, or rental property to stay at? It really depends on how many people you’re traveling with. If it’s just you and a significant other, get a hotel or 1-bedroom Airbnb. If you’re traveling with a big group of friends or family, renting a cabin is the way to go. Rates start at $300CAD/night for upscale hotels and there’s always a 2+ night minimum stay required for cabins and Airbnb.

Tip: Always check the map to see if your accommodation is close to a gondola and chairlifts. Most hotels offer complimentary shuttles if they’re not in the village. Ski-in/out choices come with a hefty price-tag but it’s worth the convenience (and view!).

AS and I stayed at the newly renovated Crystal Lodge & Suites last December and it was perfect. Located in the center of the village, we were literally steps away from the Excalibur Gondola (takes you up the Blackcomb Mountain). It was so nice not having to lug our gear for more than a 3-minute walk after a long leg day on the slopes.

Read more: Crystal Lodge & Suites – The Perfect Place to Stay in Whistler

Kollecting Koordinates - Whistler

Whistler village stroll

Kollecting Koordinates - Whistler

Crystal guest room in Crystal Lodge & Suites

What to eat on your Whistler getaway

Eating in

The biggest advantage of renting a cabin or Airbnb is that it comes with a kitchen. Whistler is expensive, so you end up saving a lot of money by cooking your own meals. There are two grocery stores in the village: Whistler Grocery Store and MarketPlace IGA (larger, slightly cheaper). 

Dining out

No kitchen? Don’t worry! Start your morning with a breakfast of champions at Wild Wood Pacific Bistro. The large portions will keep you fueled throughout the day. For a mid-day snack (or second breakfast!), hop on the Crystal Ridge Express chairlift for some delicious Belgian waffles at the Crystal Hut.

Kollecting Koordinates - Whistler getaway 7

Peaked Pies serves authentic Australian meat pies- hearty comfort food at a reasonable price. Head to Araxi for their famous oyster happy hour from 3-5pm. And of course, don’t miss the charcuterie board and cheese fondue at Basalt.

Kollecting Koordinates - Whistler

yummy charcuterie board at Basalt Wine & Salumeria

Things to do on your Whistler getaway

Ski / snowboard

Duh, if you’re not going to Whistler to ride why are you even going? Jokes. There’s actually a lot more to Whistler than just skiing and snowboarding, but you’re in for a treat if shredding fresh pow is your main goal. Connected by the Peak-to-Peak Gondola, Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains are comprised of 200+ marked runs, 8000+ acres of terrain, and 16 alpine bowls.

Tip: 1-Day lift passes are $139CAD but you can save by purchasing at least 3 days in advance. The more days you buy, the more you save. Children (7-12yrs), youths (13-18 yrs), and seniors (65+) also receive discounted rates. Check this page for more information.

Tip: Canadians and residents of Oregon and Washington States are eligible for the EDGE Card, which offers discounts on lift tickets and activities. It also links your credit card, allowing guests to pay easily at shops and restaurants.

Kollecting Koordinates - Whistler getaway

Kollecting Koordinates - Whistler getaway

Go tubing at the Coca-Cola Tube Park

You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy the tube park! When I was younger, Papa Ko would spend the day cruising down the tubing hill while I learned how to snowboard. This fun activity is family-friendly and for people of all ages.

Tip: Rates are $23/hr or $31.50/2hrs for adults, but EDGE Card holders receive 20% off. Find out more about pricing and hours of operation here.

Go snowshoeing

If neither riding nor tubing is for you, slap on some snowshoes and hike through a winter wonderland. Tours start at $49CAD per person; check out the different tour options here.

Treat yo self at Scandinave Spa Whistler

You’re missing out on life if you haven’t tried hydrotherapy! The Scandinave Spa is the cherry on top for your Whistler getaway. Eucalyptus steam rooms, wood burning saunas, Nordic waterfalls, cold baths, and outdoor hot pools in the snow… what more do you need? Relax, rejuvenate, and recharge with the health benefits of hydrotherapy. You can also take your experience to the next level with a massage treatment.

Tip: They open at 10am- get there right when it opens so you’re the first ones to use the pools. It can get pretty busy in the afternoon, especially on weekends.

Kollecting Koordinates - Whistler getaway

Kollecting Koordinates - Whistler getaway

Photo credit: Becca at @habitat9travels

Ball out on a helicopter tour

If you have a fat wallet, why not splurge on a heli-ride to make your Whistler getaway extra special? Enjoy a bird’s eye view of the glaciers, snowy valleys, and coastal mountains. You can even add a hike or glacier trek to your package to make it a full-day activity. Prices range from $170-715CAD depending on your tour.

Kollecting Koordinates - Whistler getaway

Photo credit: Becca at @habitat9travels

Special thanks to Becca at @habitat9travels for providing some of these amazing photos of Whistler! Follow her on Instagram for more stunning travel photography.

Like it? Pin it!

Kollecting Koordinates - Whistler getaway

37 Comments

  1. March 13, 2017 / 12:00 am

    Isn’t there a fancy railway train that goes to Whistler and has spectacular views on the way? I could swear when I was there I saw it being advertised. I SO wanted to go but I was in the wrong season to see it all beautifully coated in white. Gorgeous pics! And I agree Vancouver has a lot to offer as a city- I always thought If I got offered a job there I could certainly live with that :). I lived in SF and felt the same (on the ocean… 1 hour from wine country, 1 hour from tons of hiking areas, 3 hours from snowy mountains, tons of all ethnic foods available, great entertainment, etc)

    • March 13, 2017 / 4:47 pm

      No… but I wish we did! That would be AWESOME. There’s talk about having public transit that go all the way to Whistler from Vancouver but it won’t be rolled out until after 2020 (if they actually go through with it, that is). I’ve heard the same about SF too! The two are pretty similar in that they’re both awesome places to live 🙂 AND YES the food!

  2. Cali
    March 13, 2017 / 1:04 am

    Whistler sounds amazing! I have never gotten around to learning how to ski/snowboard, but I think that would really help pass the time until the warm weather! Very informative and beautiful pics!

  3. kallsy
    March 13, 2017 / 1:49 am

    Wow, the beauty of Whistler blows me away. I’ve been interested in checking out some of the resorts there but, as you said, have been turned off by the cost. I’ll start saving my money to enjoy the helicopter ride!

  4. March 13, 2017 / 3:13 am

    I am not into skiing or snow sports at all, but I would love to see the beauty of Whistler in both winter and summer. That Scandinave Spa with its Nordic waterfall would also be on top of my wish list.

  5. March 13, 2017 / 8:22 am

    It seems like you really enjoyed your stay in there. Just looking at the impressive photos make me feel like going there too. If only visa will not be an issue, it will be the next destination I would like to visit soon. Playing in the snow is one of the activities that I am dying to do.

  6. March 13, 2017 / 7:25 pm

    Whoa, this looks impressive. I have never tried skiing but would love to learn one day. One of my friend was going to a skiing destination in Auli, India. I almost accompanied her but cancelled last minute. Never mind, someday I will fulfill my skiing dream.

  7. March 13, 2017 / 8:33 pm

    All your photos look amazing! Wow! With views like that, and all those fun activities, no wonder it’s expensive. I have never gone snowboarding but I really want to one day, even if I’m not sporty. Good idea about renting an AirBnb to save money and be able to splurge on other things. The Scandinavian Spa sounds like heaven too! Just reading your description is making me feel refreshed already!

  8. March 13, 2017 / 9:24 pm

    My new word for the day is Vancouverites! I can imagine how easy it is to get to Whistler, everything is so organized in Canada. Those Belgian Waffles at Crystal Hut look delicious and worth the visit to Whistler alone! You have some incredible images of the mountains, so much detail!

    • March 27, 2017 / 5:12 pm

      Thanks! Becca from @habitat9travels on IG contributed some of these awesome shots. She has an amazing gallery!

  9. March 13, 2017 / 9:50 pm

    We are big skiers and plan to go to Whistler for the first time next season. Originally we were going to go 2 years ago, but our daughter was too young for their childcare program, so we skied stateside for the last couple of seasons. I’m definitely looking forward to skiing Whistler, though. Luckily, we have most of the year to save up for it! Skiing is such an expensive hobby. I swear we spend as much skiing for 4 days as we do when we go abroad for 2 weeks.

    • March 27, 2017 / 5:13 pm

      I know right?! The price for lift passes really hurts… Good thing it’s not a year-round sport haha

  10. Ally Emm
    March 14, 2017 / 2:26 am

    I haven’t skied or boarded in years…and to be honest, living in upstate NY makes me not care about winter fun AT. ALL. but this post makes me want to visit Whistler!! Especially that spa….haha I really love your writing style too, btw! Very entertaining! I think I’ll be back for more…. 😉

    • March 27, 2017 / 5:14 pm

      Hehe thanks for your kind words Ally! 🙂

  11. March 14, 2017 / 9:45 am

    I have never tried skiing or snowboarding but I would love to visit a mountain resort like Whistler to enjoy the views and the activities in the area. The Scandinave Spa looks like a proper treat after a day in the cold and the gondola offers stunning views. The only downside has to be the price, everything seems to be so expensive.

  12. March 14, 2017 / 9:45 am

    I visited Whistler a few years ago and it is beautiful. I went at the end of May so not as much snow as there is in winter, it looks beautiful with all the snow. Not sure about skiing or snowboarding but I could certainly spend some time in that spa.

    • March 27, 2017 / 5:15 pm

      The Scandinave Spa is great year-round! They open up the upper decks where the hammocks are in the summer (our favourite section!)

  13. March 14, 2017 / 4:04 pm

    This is beautiful! I’ve never skiied in my life and never seen this much of snow so far!!! Indeed you guys are lucky to be so close to such a gorgeous landscape!! Thanks for the tips about the expenses that could occur there!!!

  14. March 15, 2017 / 4:45 am

    I love Whistler! It is darn expensive though. And I’d add that the hills are no joke, especially if you’re not used to skiing real mountains. I live in Chicago and our “mountains” are either valleys or trash piles covered in fake snow. A green at Whistler is probably equivalent to a black out here! I’d love to try snow shoeing sometime – it looks like a lot of fun!

    • March 27, 2017 / 5:16 pm

      Haha! I guess we won’t be visiting Chicago any time soon for skiing/snowboarding 😛

  15. March 15, 2017 / 12:18 pm

    Your pictures are to die for! It looks absolutely incredible. How lucky that you live so close! Heard so many great things about Whistler we would love to visit, shame it’s so expensive but glad to see your recommendations on the cheaper meals to try and save some cash.

  16. March 15, 2017 / 7:57 pm

    I’ve never been, but Whistler looks so gorgeous! I think I might spend more time at the spa than on the mountain though, haha. Love all your tips and these pretty photos. Need to get there soon!

  17. March 18, 2017 / 7:18 am

    Good tips for visiting Whistler. I guess the views and scenery make the price worth it — it looks absolutely gorgeous. I’d love to check it out at some point.

  18. Flo
    March 18, 2017 / 3:43 pm

    These photos are amazing! I have always loved Becca’s shots (and yours too!) Whistler looks like an incredible place to get away from the city, but so so so pricey – eep! I’m learning to ski next week so maybe one of these days will be able to brave it and make it over to Canada!

  19. March 18, 2017 / 5:54 pm

    Whistlers Coming. Love the GOT. Jenn traded a massage (she is a LMT) for a heliski trip. It was epic. Whistler is one mountain that eluded her. She lived and worked at Crystal and Steven’s Pass in Seattle but never made it up there. This mountain is literally her unicorn.

    Love this post BTW. The pace and flow of information is superbly done. There are lots of nuggets of true, insider wisdom in here.

    • March 27, 2017 / 5:17 pm

      Let me know when you guys visit next! I won’t be able to make it to the Aug/Sept meetup 🙁

  20. March 19, 2017 / 2:44 am

    Your pictures are really pulling at my heart strings! I’ve skied in Banff and Goldon, but haven’t made Whistler yet … that needs to change!

  21. March 19, 2017 / 3:38 am

    Whistler is a beautiful place. I don’t get out West all that often but do enjoy seeing great coverage of this area of my home country. The food looks spectacular! I am not surprised that the lines for the chairlifts are long and that everything is expensive. This is usually the case in touristy areas 🙂

  22. March 19, 2017 / 5:22 am

    Whistler is such a popular destination in winter! I am not a skier, but it is glad to know that there are so many other options for me to have fun there. You will find me soaking at the Scandinavia Spa 😀

  23. March 19, 2017 / 1:23 pm

    I simply cannot wait for the day where I get to visit Whistler. Those Scandinave hot springs look out of this world too! One big question though: how is the snow in Whistler? I’m fairly spoiled having grown up in Colorado, but I do know and accept that there a few places in the world where the snow is fluffier and drier than back home.

    • March 27, 2017 / 5:19 pm

      It’s GREAT. The higher up you go the fluffier and you won’t get your bum wet after sitting on it for a while- I guess that means it’s drier 🙂

  24. March 19, 2017 / 6:01 pm

    I have heard nothing but incredible things about Whistler and your post reaffirms that. I may not go for skiing since the last time we did ski we almost broke every bone in our body so we would probably hike a lot since we love hiking. Whistler seems to have no shortage of beautiful views. The food at the hotel you stayed at looks wonderful as well.

  25. March 20, 2017 / 6:47 pm

    Renting a cabin sounds like an great idea for a trip to Whistler! I love big cabin trips with a lot of friends and family! I’ve been to Whistler once in the summer time, I would love to go for a winter getaway next time!

  26. Cassandra
    March 20, 2017 / 10:58 pm

    Wow, the ski lodges around me definitely DON’T look like that! Vancouverites ARE spoiled!! And our food in the ski lodges don’t look half as delicious as that… we always just get curly fries and hot dogs, or extremely burnt pizza and watered down pasta! Your photos are beautiful, btw! I need to make sure to go here next year during the season!

    • March 27, 2017 / 5:21 pm

      OH but curly fries are SOOOO good too lol!

  27. March 21, 2017 / 8:49 pm

    Whistler has been so hot lately! I would love to go! It looks gorgeous! You have included such a comprehensive guide as well! Will be sure to keep in mind if I ever visit!

  28. March 23, 2017 / 4:05 pm

    Oh my goodness!! Take me there now please?! Skiing all day and then resting my warn out body in those hot pools?! Yes, please!! This post has my wanderlust cranked up to 10!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *