Canada’s main ski resort, Whistler is about two hours from Vancouver. Originally conceived as part of a bid to host the 1968 Winter Olympics, the resort opened in 1966, but it wasn’t until years of expansion and a merger with Blackcomb Mountain that Whistler was awarded the 2010 Winter Olympics in association with Vancouver. With a modern lift system consisting of 23 lifts and gondolas, including the record-breaking Peak 2 Peak Gondola, which connects Whistler and Blackcomb mountains– it is the highest and longest in the world, taking passengers to a height of 436 meters in an eleven-minute drive, with sweeping panoramic views of the mountain ranges. The idea is for Whistler to be a mostly ski-in/ski-out resort, where you can leave with your skis or snowboards on your feet to take the nearest chairlift and ski back down the mountain to the village. Attractions, restaurants, shops and hotels are aplenty in Whistler. Everything can be easily explored on foot, as the center is closed to cars and served by free shuttles. It’s clear why the station consistently ranks among the best in North America.
Northern Hemisphere December to April
Base - 2,214 feet
Top - 7,493 feet
234 SKI RUNS
In the village: There are options for all tastes: Araxi stands out for its seafood, Il Caminetto is a classic Italian restaurant, and Nagomi is famous for its variety in Japanese cuisine. For a quick snack, Pure Bread is a must-try bakery. On the mountain: On the slopes, there are more refined options like Christine’s on On Blackcomb or relaxed self-services like Glacier Creek Lodge. Raven's Nest is North America's first mountainside vegetarian restaurant.
WHAT TO DO BEYOND THE SKIING
Whistler combines cultural excursions with outdoor activities. In addition to the Village 8 cinema, the village has the Audain Art Museum, the Squamish Lil'Wat Cultural Center and the Whistler Museum, three great options to learn a little about local history. Adrenaline seekers can try skeleton and bobsled at Sport Legacies, zipline through snowy forests with Superfly Zip Lines or bungee jump into a river at Whistler Bungee. Don’t miss the Olympic Park, a park with slides and a biathlon circuit, an activity that mixes skiing with target shooting.
ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS
During the winter season, Whistler Olympic Plaza is the setting for free family après-ski with games, activities and hot drinks for kids. Another option is the indoor space at the Whistler Conference Centre, which is filled with inflatable toys during the Whistler Holiday Experience. The little ones can also skate on the Olympic Plaza rink, go down the sled, slide down the inner tube in the Coca-Cola Tube Park, climb the wall at the Core Climbing Gym or take on the challenges of the Escape! Whistler, which has rooms full of riddles to be solved. The Whistler Blackcomb Snow School is considered one of the best ski and snowboard schools in North America and teaches children and teenagers between 3 and 18 years old.
In Whistler, the shopping scene is dominated by sporting goods stores – where you can find the latest equipment and accessories. In a short walk through the village, you will find brands such as Billabong, Burton and Columbia. To buy equipment, a great option is Can-Ski Village, where experienced salespeople can help you find the perfect boots. There is also the famed Canadian brand Lululemon, which makes yoga and gym clothes with modern cuts and vibrant colors.
Garibaldi Lift Company is considered one of the best après-ski bars in North America, but Dusty’s Bar and Longhorn Saloon & Grill also have strong traditions. Another fun spot is The Bearfoot Bistrô, which entered the Guinness Book of Records for opening 66 bottles of champagne with a long knife in just one minute. As if that weren't enough, inside is the Ketel One Ice Room, the coldest vodka tasting room in the world.
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