Joanne Cowdery on 16 October 2023
Traffic-free Whistler Village is truly a four season resort full of character, shops, bars, restaurants and energy. I loved my visit and I can’t wait to return again and maybe visit in the winter to try out Canada’s premier ski destination. The village is designed to seem bigger than it is so every time you go out for a wander you find a new little area to explore. Opened in 1966 as a ski resort when the mountain was called London Mountain. It was renamed Whistler to make it a bit more distinctive, getting its name due to the whistling marmots. Whistler became famous in 2010 when they held the Winter Olympics there.

Conveniently located at the base of Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains it is an amazing purpose built ski resort with 3 ski areas, Blackcomb, Whistler and Creekside. It is a year round destination and when I visited in October I could experience the resort in the Fall and experience many activities away from the ski season.

Some of the highlights for me were the Ziptrek tours, Vallea Lumina, the ATV (off road buggy tour) and the three hour Whistler Valley Sightseeing Tour.

The breathtaking Ziptrek Tours ziplines really gave me a sense of flying high above the forest. I found the first couple of ziplines quite nerve wracking. Once I’d done a couple I thoroughly enjoyed gliding over Fitzsimmons Creek and the trees in all their Autumn colours. The guides also explained about Whistler’s ecology and wildlife. It was a great experience and well worth doing, I’d certainly do more if I went again.

Vallea Lumina was an evening filled with unexpected enchantments as I explored the extraordinary multimedia night walk and immersive light show set in the forested surrounds of Cougar Mountain. As I walked through the forest hidden wonders made it a magical and unforgettable adventure. It took an hour to walk through the show and it was a real highlight of my time in Whistler.

The Whistler Valley Sightseeing Tour was a great way to get my bearings, learn local knowledge and explore further from the resort centre. We visited the Olympic bobsleigh track and were very lucky to see professionals training. The rush of the bobsleigh as it hurtled past us was something else. Thrill-seeking tourists can also pay to ride in a bobsled with a professional pilot to take on the twists and turns at over 78 miles per hour! I didn’t feel the need for this, but it was great to witness and see the professionals training. On the tour we also stopped at Function Junction which is an industrial estate with cafe's, breweries and artisan outlets. A great little stop to experience something different after looking at many stunning views and lakes with green glacial waters and learning all about the area as we drove around. The tour also took us into residential housing areas so we could see where the locals live and get a real feel for the whole area.

The record-breaking PEAK 2 PEAK gondola was closed whilst I was there as they were changing over from the Summer season of carrying mountain bikes, bikers and hikers up the mountain to the winter season ready for the skiers and snowboarders. I was really looking forward to enjoying the stunning 360-degree views of Whistler Village, mountain peaks, lakes, glaciers and forests on this record breaking lift while spanning the two mountain tops (Whistler and Blackcomb). It will wait until next time.

During the summer the resort offers spectacular hiking, canoeing, fishing, axe throwing and golf with a choice of four championship courses. as well as some of the best mountain biking terrain anywhere in North America with its bike park. The paved valley trails connecting Whistler’s neighbourhoods offer many beautiful trails, for example to the Lost Lake or the train wreck trail featuring graffiti train cars and spectacular views of the Cheakamus River.

If you get chance do visit the Whistler Museum. I thoroughly enjoyed learning all about Whistlers unique history. Or Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre may appeal. It is an award-winning First Nations museum, as well as the Audain Art Museum, home to the world’s most important collections of Northwest Coast masks.

If you do prefer to visit in the winter season, apart from skiing and snowboarding you can do snowshoeing, ice skating, cross country skiing and dog sledding tours plus many more things to keep you busy. And don’t forget the winter season is much longer than in Europe with it running from November to May. With Whistler and Blackcomb mountains combined, Whistler is the biggest winter sports area in North America.

Top Tips

Generally you would head to Whistler from Vancouver, if this is the case make sure you sit on the left side of the vehicle if you can as you’ll have the best views of Howe Sound and the Tantalus Range.

Although a few things were closed as the resort prepared for the winter season the benefits of going out of season is that a lot of restaurants had amazing dining specials.

If you visit in the summer, and have a car, make sure you visit Pemberton.

Keep your eyes peeled for bears!!

Creekside village is cheaper to stay in compared to staying in Whistler. Plus there is free parking and good bus connections and ski lifts direct from the village.

The whole area is serviced by loads of buses that are cheap and offer a regular service.