We all know the feeling – you get back from your vacation and think to yourself… if only I’d had the inside scoop on a few things, I might have had even more fun, and perhaps for even less money! Well, we’d prefer you didn’t have those thoughts after your next Whistler vacation, so here are some answers to questions we get asked the most, ensuring you can take advantage of even more of what makes us great.
The fabulously scenic drive from the Vancouver Airport to Whistler typically takes about two hours. Since Whistler’s village is pedestrian friendly with most amenities within walking distance, there is very little need for your own vehicle once you’re here. We recommend skipping the car rental as the route is well covered by a shuttle bus service. That said, if there happens to be 7 or more people in your group you may want to look into chauffeured transportation. The cost could almost be the same as taking the shuttle service while offering everyone a more convenient and personal option.
All hotels offer parking for guests although the majority are pay parking. These generally run anywhere from $20+ per night but do offer secure underground parking for the most part. There are 3 day lots located between Whistler and Blackcomb. Since the villages are pedestrian only, these parking lots are generally the closest you can get by car. Lot 4 is free (and fills up quickly) while lots 2 and 3 are $8 a day (at the time of this post).
This really depends on a few things: budget, skiing experience, other activities you have in mind. The most popular stay is 5 nights with a 4-day lift ticket, or 3-day lift ticket and one rest day for other activities. For most skiers, this gives you enough time to familiarize yourself with the village, the runs and some activities. Keep in mind, though, that’s this is a very large resort with two huge mountains and a ton of things to do – we’d hate to see you go before you really had your fill! Obviously, if you’re travelling from Europe or Australia, I recommend at least a week.
My best advice is to dress in layers, especially if your trip is in the early or late season. As with most large mountains, the base and alpine elevations are very different. What might feel like sweater weather in the village can be much colder on the top of the mountain.
Waterproof gear is highly recommended even for the days that you might not be skiing. Whistler is in the Coastal Temporal Rainforest, so even if it’s snowing on the upper sections of the mountains, it might be raining at lower elevations and in the Village.
Multiple pairs of socks, gloves, and long underwear for under your ski wear. You might not have laundry in your unit or a chance to do it every day, which means some of your wet stuff may not dry out completely for the next day. Bringing multiples gives you time between washing, and allows your items to properly dry so you’re not forced to wear wet clothes the next day.
Let me just say, other than choosing Whistler Blackcomb as your destination, renting your equipment may be, in my opinion, the single best vacation decision you make. If you’ve ever air travel with your gear you would know its a huge pain – and expensive. Plus the world of rentals has become so progressive and sophisticated that there’s a pretty good chance what you end up renting will be a big step up from what you’re used to. Assuming you’re smart enough to rent, here are my some tips for a hassle-free start to your vacation: (1) pre-book your rental gear online (which usually saves you money as well) and (2) pick your stuff up THE NIGHT BEFORE you start skiing and avoid the busier times in the morning. Most Whistler Blackcomb stores are open until 9:00 PM.
Sometimes you’ve just got to have some time to yourself, and we totally get that!
For ages 18 months to 4 years, Whistler Blackcomb Daycare runs every day in the winter season from Whistler and Blackcomb bases, and weekends in Creekside. These are day-long programs covering the same timeframe as a ski day with licensed facilitators and plenty of fun-filled activities. Be sure to dress them warmly as they do go out to play. This is a popular program with limited space that will sell out on busy days – as always, it’s best to book early.
For children outside those age ranges, we highly recommend Snow School daily or weekly lessons, perfect for parents who want to ski solo and have their kids learn fundamentals at the same time.
If your child is too young, would prefer not to ski, for times when lessons are not running or you’re looking for a night out without the kids, Nannies in Whistler will come right to your hotel room. They have 24/7 hours so they are a great option whenever you need someone.
Each item (rentals, lessons, ski passes, etc.) has its own cancellation policy so it’s important that you familiarize yourself with what applies in each instance. Hotels tend to have different policies and the majority take final payment in the winter season at least 30-60 days prior to arrival. We suggest purchasing insurance should an unforeseen circumstance prevent you from travelling to Whistler. Some locations will allow you to choose alternate stays, but that is up to the discretion of the hotel.