Tag: Whistler British Columbia

Whistler, British Columbia

A- Overview:
Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, both part of the Whistler Resort, are the two largest ski mountains in North America and are consistently ranked as the No. 1 or 2 ski destinations on the continent. They offer winter and summer glacier skiing, the longest vertical drop in North America, and one of the most advanced lift systems in the world. Some 32 high speed lifts, 200 trails, and 12 alpine bowls cover more than 7,000 acres. Whistler has also grown in popularity as a summer destination, with a range of family oriented outdoor activities and events.

At the base of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains are Whistler Village, Village North (also called Marketplace), and Upper Village, a rapidly expanding, interconnected community of lodgings, restaurants, pubs, gift shops, art galleries, and boutiques. Local residents refer to the entire area as Whistler Village. With dozens of hotels and condos within a five-minute walk of the mountains, the site is filled with activity. Culinary options in the resort range from burgers to French food; Japanese fare to deli cuisine.

Whistler Village is a pedestrian only community. Anywhere you want to go within the resort is at most five minutes away, and parking lots are just outside the village. The bases of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains are also just at the village edge. In fact, you can ski right into the lower level of the Chateau Whistler Hotel.

In winter, the village is populated with skiers and snowboarders from all over the world. In summer, the pace is more relaxed, as the focus shifts to cycling, hiking, and boating at various spots around the Whistler Valley. The Valley Trail is available for roller blading, cycling, and walking. There are ample opportunities for golf, tennis, and horseback riding, and the Whistler River is known for its excellent white-water rafting.

The marvels of Whistler are just ninety miles from Vancouver. Narrow, winding Highway 99, the Sea to Sky Highway, passes Shannon Falls and the Tantalus Range glaciers enroute to the Whistler resorts.

When planning a trip to Whistler, consider extending it to include the Coast Mountain Circle, which links Vancouver to the Cariboo Region. This 435-mile route takes in spectacular Howe Sound, the deep-water port of Squamish, Whistler Resort, and the Pemberton Valley before heading back to Vancouver through scenic Fraser Canyon and Harrison Hot Springs. This loop can be comfortably completed in two to three days, with time to stop and enjoy points of interest along the way.
B- City Information:
Population: 8,896

Area: 7,000 acres

Elevation: 2,009 feet

Time Zone: Whistler is in the Pacific Time Zone. When it is noon in New York City, it is 9:00 AM in Whistler.

Average Temperatures by Month

High, Low
January 23, 3
February 31, 6
March 42, 18
April 54, 27
May 64, 34
June 69, 42
July 74, 44
August 73, 43
September 65, 36
October 52, 30
November 38, 21
December 25, 8

Packing

In winter, dress warmly in “layers.” A hat, scarf, gloves and sturdy shoes are essential. For summer travel, select loose-fitting natural-fiber clothes; pack a wool sweater and light jacket. If you plan on camping or hiking in the deep woods in summer, carry insect repellent, especially in June, which is blackfly season.

Holidays

New Year’s Day, January 1
Good Friday March, April (varies)
Easter Monday (varies)
Victoria Day May 22
Canada Day July 1
British Columbia celebrates British Columbia Day August 7
Labour Day first Monday in September
Thanksgiving second Monday in October
Remembrance Day November 11
Christmas, and Boxing Day December 25, 26

Business Hours

Most banks in Canada are open Monday-Thursday 10-3 and Friday 10-5 or 6. Some banks are open longer hours and also on Saturday morning. All banks are closed on national holidays.

Telus Guest Communications Centre, in the Roundhouse Lodge at the top of Whistler Mountain, is a business communication center where skiers can check their stocks, answer their e-mail, and recharge their cell phones between getting off the lift and skiing down the mountain. The center has constant global stock updates on a Bloomberg stock exchange monitor, a small meeting room, fax machines, a photocopier, card swipe phones, wall clocks showing the time in major cities, and instant Internet links. The services are free. Open 9-3 daily, Nov.-June. 604/905-2380; FAX: 604/932-1095.

Shops

Stores, shops, and supermarkets are usually open Monday-Saturday 9-6, although in major cities supermarkets are often open from 7:30 AM to 9 PM. Blue laws are in effect in much of Canada, but a growing number of provinces have stores with limited Sunday hours, usually noon-5 (shops in areas highly frequented by tourists are usually open on Sunday). Retail stores are generally open on Thursday and Friday evenings, most shopping malls until 9 PM. Drugstores in major cities are often open until 11 PM, and convenience stores are often open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Customs & Duties

Arriving in Canada

Cats and dogs must have a certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian that clearly identifies the animal and certifies that it has been vaccinated against rabies during the preceding 36 months. Seeing-eye dogs are allowed into Canada without restriction. Plant material must be declared and inspected. There may be restrictions on some live plants, bulbs, and seeds. With certain restrictions or prohibitions on some fruits and vegetables, visitors may bring food with them for their own use, providing the quantity is consistent with the duration of the visit.

Canada’s firearms laws are strict. No handguns or semiautomatic or fully automatic weapons may be brought into the country. Sporting rifles and shotguns may be imported provided they are to be used for sporting, hunting, or competition while in Canada. All firearms must be declared to Canada Customs at the first point of entry.

Emergencies dial 911.

Mail
Following are postal abbreviations for provinces and territories: Alberta, AB; British Columbia, BC; Manitoba, MB; New Brunswick, NB; Newfoundland and Labrador, NF; Northwest Territories and Nunavut, NT; Nova Scotia, NS; Ontario, ON; Prince Edward Island, PE; Québec, PQ; Saskatchewan, SK; Yukon, YT.

Money

ATMs are conveniently located throughout Canada in banks, large hotels, and shopping centers.

Currency

The units of currency in Canada are the Canadian dollar (C$) and the cent, in almost the same denominations as U.S. currency ($5, $10, $20, 1¢, 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, etc.). The $1 and $2 bill are no longer used; they have been replaced by $1 and $2 coins (known as a “loonie,” because of the loon that appears on the coin, and a “toonie,” respectively).

Taxes

Most purchases in British Columbia are subject to a Canada-wide 7% Goods and Services Tax (GST) and a 7% Provincial Sales Tax (PST). If you are not a resident of Canada, you can reclaim the GST on goods you take out of the country.

Electricity

Canada, like the United States, uses 110-volt, 60-cycle electric power.

Passports & Visas
Entering Canada

Citizens and legal residents of the United States do not need a passport or a visa to enter Canada, but proof of citizenship (a birth certificate or valid passport) and some form of photo identification will be requested. Naturalized U.S. residents should carry their naturalization certificate. Permanent residents who are not citizens should carry their “green card.” U.S. residents entering Canada from a third country must have a valid passport, naturalization certificate, or “green card.”

Getting Around

Compact and pedestrian-oriented, Whistler Village has signed trails and paths linking together all shops and restaurants. If you’re staying in the Village, you can park your car and leave it for the duration of your stay. The walk between the Whistler Mountain (Whistler Village) and Blackcomb Mountain (Upper Village) resorts takes about 5 minutes.

Sightseeing Tours

Blackcomb Helicopters (604/938-1700 or 800/330-4354) is one of several local operators that fly year-round flightseeing tours over Whistler’s stunning mountains and glaciers. In summer, the company offers heli-hiking, heli-fishing, heli-picnics, and even heli-weddings.

Several companies, including Outdoor Adventures@Whistler (604/932-0647) and Whistler ATV Tours (604/932-6681), organize guided rides through the backcountry in all-terrain vehicles.

Telephones

The country code for Canada (as for the United States) is 1. The area code for Whistler is 604. You do not need to dial the three-digit area code when making a call from within the same code.

Directory & Operator Information

For operator assistance, dial “0.” For directory assistance in Canada, dial the area code followed by 555-1212; dial 1 before the area code if the area code is not the same as the one you are calling from.

International Calls

International calls can be direct-dialed from most phones. If you’re dialing Canada from the United States, dial 1 plus the area code and telephone number. If you’re dialing the United States from Canada, dial 1 plus the area code and telephone number.

Tipping

Tips and service charges are not usually added to a bill in Canada. In general, tip 15% of the total bill. This goes for waiters, waitresses, barbers and hairdressers, and taxi drivers. Porters and doormen should get about $1 a bag (or more in a luxury hotel). For maid service, $1 a day is sufficient ($2 in luxury hotels).

When to Go

The slopes are open from mid-November through April, and in this season the village buzzes with skiers and snowboarders from all over the world. In summer the pace is more relaxed, as the focus shifts to cycling, hiking, and boating around the Whistler Valley.

Arriving & Departing
By Air

Vancouver International Airport (YVR)
Grant McConachie Way,
604/276-6101),

the airport closest to Whistler, is south of Vancouver, which is 120 km 74 mi south of Whistler. An airport improvement fee is assessed on all flight departures: $5 for flights within British Columbia, $10 for flights within North America, and $15 for international flights.

Carriers

Air Canada (888/247-2262). American (800/433-7300). Air New Zealand (800 663-5494). Alaska Airlines (800/252-7522). Continental Airlines (800/231-0856). Horizon Air (800/547-9308). United/United Express (800/241-6522).

Transfers Between the Airport and Town
By Shuttle

Perimeter Whistler Express (604/266-5386 in Vancouver; 604/905-0041 in Whistler) has daily service from Vancouver International Airport to Whistler. Perimeter has a ticket booth at domestic arrivals Level 2 and one at the airport’s international receiving lounge. The fare is about $47 one-way; reservations are recommended.

By Bus

Greyhound Lines of Canada
Greyhound Canada Transportation Corp.
200-1150 Station Street
Vancouver, British Columbia V6A 4C7
1-604-482-8747 Fax: 1-604-683-0144
Toll Free: 1-800-661-8747
email: schedules@whistlerbus.com

Buses leave frequently throughout the day for Whistler Village from the depot in downtown Vancouver (1150 Station St.). En route to Whistler the bus makes momentary stops along the Sea to Sky (Highway 99) at:

Horseshoe Bay
Lions Bay
Brittania Beach
Squamish
Whistler Creekside

The final destination is the Whistler Village bus loop at the Village Gate and Northlands Boulevard.

Return Trips

Return trips to Vancouver stop in the same places. The bus also makes stops in downtown Vancouver at prominent intersections before its final destination at the main bus depot at Main and Terminal Streets.

West Coast City and Nature Sightseeing (604/451-1600 in Vancouver) offers a sightseeing tour to Whistler that allows passengers to stay overnight and return to Vancouver on their date of choice. The tours run year-round and cost about $57.

By Car

Whistler is 74 miles or 2 1/2 hours, north of Vancouver on Highway 99, the Sea to Sky Highway.

By Train

There is no longer rail service to and from Whistler.

Getting Around

By Bus

Streets in Whistler Village, Village North, and Upper Village are all pedestrian-only; pay parking is readily available on the village outskirts. A free public transit system loops throughout the village, and paid public transit serves the whole valley. Call 604/932-4020 for information and schedules.

Car Rentals

Available in Vancouver at all major rental companies.

Insurance

Drivers must carry owner registration and proof of insurance coverage, which is compulsory in Canada. The Canadian Non-Resident Inter-Provincial Motor Vehicle Liability Insurance Card, available from any U.S. insurance company, is accepted as evidence of financial responsibility in Canada. The minimum liability coverage in Canada is $200,000.

Requirements

Driver’s licenses from the U.S., or from other countries, and international driver’s licenses are valid in Canada.

By Taxi

For a cab, call Sea to Sky Taxi (604/932-3333).

Highway Regulations in British Columbia

Highways in British Columbia are safe and modernized. Be aware of some highway regulations:

Speed limits are in metric
Seat belts are mandatory
Use headlights even in daylight
Watch for wildlife and fallen rock
The Sea to Sky Highway speed limit is 80 kph (50 mph)
Roads can be slippery even in the summer months
Infant car seats are required for children weighing up to 20 pounds

Metric Conversions

50 kph = 30 mph
80 kph = 50 mph
1 Kilometre = 5/8 or .621 miles
1 Mile = 1 3/5 or 1.6 kilometres
Gasoline is sold in litres: 1 US Gallon = 3.78 litres
C- Attractions/Things To Do:
The Whistler Explorer
BC Rail 1- 800/339-8752 or 604/984-5246;

If you have only a day to explore the backcountry of southern British Columbia, don’t miss the Whistler Explorer. For centuries, the canyons, mountain meadows, and lakes of the area between Whistler and Kelly Lake were inaccessible to all but the most experienced hikers. The Whistler Explorer, offers a leisurely way to see this remote landscape.

Departing from the Whistler train station on Lake Placid Road at 8am, the Explorer takes an 8 1/2-hour round-trip ramble through the spectacular Pemberton Valley and past Seton Lake and Anderson Lake. After leaving the historic town of Lillooet, the train follows the Fraser River, climbing high above the canyon and offering breathtaking views before arriving at Kelly Lake, which is adjacent to the historic Cariboo Gold Rush Trail. After a 1-hour break, passengers re-board the train, returning to Whistler at 5:30pm.

Whistler/Blackcomb Mountain
Lifts open daily 8:30am-3:30pm (to 4:30pm mid-Mar until closing,
depending on weather and conditions)
4545 Blackcomb Way, Whistler

Phone 604/932-3434, Snow report 604/687-7507 in Vancouver,
604/932-4211 in Whistler
Web site www.whistler-blackcomb.com

Prices Winter lift tickets C$61-C$63 (US$40-US$41) adults, C$53-C$55 (US$34-US$36) youths and seniors, C$31-C$32 (US$20-US$21) children

Now that both mountain resorts are jointly operated by Intrawest, one pass gives access to both ski areas. Locals have their preferences, but the both offer great skiing. Whistler Mountain has 5,006 feet of vertical and over 100 marked runs that are serviced by a high-speed gondola and eight high-speed chairlifts, plus four other lifts and tows. Helicopter service from the top of the mountain makes another 100-plus runs on nearby glaciers accessible. There are cafeterias and gift shops on the peak as well as a licensed restaurant.

Blackcomb Mountain has 5,280 feet of vertical and over 100 marked runs that are serviced by nine high-speed chairlifts, plus three other lifts and tows. The cafeteria and gift shop aren’t far from the peak, and the licensed restaurant is worth the gondola trip even if you’re not skiing. The view is spectacular. Both mountains also have bowls and glade skiing, with Blackcomb offering glacier skiing well into August.

Whistler Museum
4329 Main Street
Whistler, BC V0N 1B0
604-932-2019
July and August Daily 10 AM to 4 PM;
September through June
Thursday to Sunday 10 AM – 4 PM

Discover the female pioneer who put Whistler on the map!

Glacier Skiing & Snowboarding
Blackcomb Mountain’s Horstman’s Glacier is open long into the summer for sun-filled days of skiing and snowboarding. Two T-bars serve the experienced snowboarders and skiers. Be sure to pack sunscreen for sun protection. Visitors can ski or snowboard in the heat of summer sun, and then return to Whistler Village, and finishing the day with a round of golf or a swim in a warm mountain lake.

Golf

Furry Creek Golf and Country Club
(604) 894-2224

Built on a mountainside that slopes down to Howe Sound. Short course: 6,001 yards from the gold tees, but a welcome challenge for those who love climbing.

Whistler Golf Club
(604) 932-4544

Just under 6, 400 yards with a slope rating of 128. Designed by Arnold Palmer.

Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Club
(604) 938-2095

6.635 yards from the back tees with a slope rating of 142. The clubhouse is architecturally noteworthy.

Blackcomb Horsedrfawn Sleigh Rides
(604) 932-7631
Daily on the hour 5-8 Dec.-March.

Tours depart from the Base II of Blackcomb Mountain at the end of Glacier Drive. Tours of the wooded countryside stop at a warming cabin where musical entertainment is provided. Lunch and Dinner sleigh rides are available by reservation.

Dogsledding
4314 Main Street
Suite 36
Whistler, BC
(604) 932-4086
Call for details.

White-Water Rafting
Whistler River Adventures
4165 Springs Lane
Whistler, BC
(604) 932-3532

At the base of the Whistler Mountain gondola in Whistler Village. Trips depart daily. 8-8 Mid-May- early-September.
D- Family Fun Attractions:
Adventure Zone
The Whistler Adventure Zone is located at the bottom of Blackcomb Mountain. Combination packages are available for families and groups.

Mini Golf
Adult, youth, senior, child, and family rates available. Golf clubs, balls, putters are all provided. Open daily until September 15.

Westcoaster Luge
Zoom past the muddy mountain bikers as you ride down the mountain on your very own sled. Banking curves, screaming straight-aways. Weather permitting. Open weekends until September 15.

Great Wall Climbing Centre
There are nine routes to stretch your capabilities as you climb the 25 foot wall – safely guided by the experts. Ideal for children and novice climbers. Open until September 15.

All-Canadian Trapeze
Swing, fly, and catch your friend. Or not. A completely enclosed safety net is just metres below. Open until September 15.

Kiss the Sky Trampoline
Open weekends until September 15.

Horseback Tours on Blackcomb Mountain
Trot up Whistler in pioneering style for a 45 minute guided scenic trail ride of Blackcomb Mountain. Open daily

E- Events & Entertainment:
Winter
In January and February, skiing competitions take place at most alpine ski resorts in British Columbia.

Summer
From June through September, the Whistler Summer Festivals present street entertainment and a variety of musical events at the resort.

June
During the third week in June, Whistler Summer Solstice World Roots Music Weekend (tel. 604/932-2394) brings the sounds of Celtic, zydeco, bluegrass, Delta blues, Latin, folk, and world-beat music down to the villages and up to the mountains.

August
Whistler Summit Concert Series (tel. 604/932-3434) is held on August weekends, with the mountains providing a stunning backdrop for performers such as the Barenaked Ladies, Amanda Marshall, and Blue Rodeo.

September
The Alpine Wine Festival (tel. 604/932-3434) on the mountaintop during the first weekend in September, features tastings, a winemaker’s dinner, and other events highlighting North America’s finest vintages.

Also in September, mountain bikers compete in the Power Bar Garibaldi Gruel and the Cheakamus Challenge Fall Classic Mountain Bike Race.

The second weekend September ushers in the Whistler Jazz & Blues Festival (604) 932-2394, a great opportunity to hear live jazz, gospel, R&B, and blues.

November
Cornucopia – Whistler’s Food and Wine Celebration Wine tastings, food sampling, gourmet dinners, celebrity chefs. Cornucopia brings together the best talent in the Pacific Northwest and over fifty top wineries.

December
Dozens of downhill ski competitions are held December through May. They include the Owens-Corning World Freestyle Competition (Jan), Power Bar Peak to Valley Race (Feb), Kokanee Fantastic Downhill Race (Mar), and Whistler Snowboard World Cup and World Cup Freestyle (Dec)