guide for first timers to whistler peak 2 peak gondola image via flickr by atsushi kase

Guide for First-Timers to Whistler, British Columbia

The ultimate vacation resort of Whistler in British Columbia is situated hardly two hours away by road from the coastal city of Vancouver, Canada. With convenient bus connections from the airport, getting to Whistler has never been so easy. I have put together a helpful guide to unlock the perfect vacation for those of us intending to visit this dream destination for the first time.

Getting to Whistler

As mentioned, this mountain paradise, Whistler is only just a short two-hour drive from Vancouver with the scenic Sea-to-Sky Highway making a perfect entry point to this iconic holiday destination. In case you do not feel like driving, regular bus services are available from the airport and the Vancouver city centre.

guide for first-timers to whistler sea to sky highway image via Flickr by Tatham Oddle
Sea-to-Sky Highway. Image via Flickr by Tatham Oddle

There is a leisurely train ride to be had, which luckily, passes through some of the best mountain scenery and cute Whistler vacation homes, making you fall in love with the resort town instantly. But for tourists who do not have much time, they can opt for a 20-minute small plane ride from Vancouver and you can get to the resort in a jiffy.

Accommodation

Whistler has such a wide range of accommodation that choosing the right one can become quite intimidating especially if you are new to the place. Depending on your interests, Creekside or Upper Village have plenty of options for families with kitchen and condo options. While the Upper Village is a beehive of activity, the Creekside is more peaceful and quiet.

Go skiing

Skiing in Whistler is unparalleled due to the presence of some of the best coaches and instructors as compared to anywhere else in the world. There is a great possibility of running into present or future Olympians in the ski lift on any day. If you already know how to ski, it is recommended to book a Ski or Ride with an Olympian package in advance at the Blackcomb Snow School.

guide for first timers to whistler skiing image via flickr by tim gillin
Skiing in Whistler. Image via Flickr by Tim Gillin

Go biking

The Whistler Mountain Bike Park is considered to be the best downhill bike park in the world, and that to a lift-accessed one. The 70 different well created trails passing through four different mountain regions make Whistler the number one bike park in the country.

Take tips from the guide at the bike park to learn the fundamentals as it will help you to gain confidence with each downhill ride. For beginners, it is best to begin at the Orientation Center situated at the Fitzsimmons Top.

Take a ride on the Peak 2 Peak Gondola

Irrespective of the time of the year, the Whistler Peak 2 Peak Gondola provides stunning 360-degree views of not only Whistler Village, but the forests, lakes and glaciers. This longest and highest lift in the world has been exclusively erected for outdoor lovers, the gondola connects Blackcomb mountain with Whistler mountain, offering stupendous views during the ride.

guide for first timers to whistler peak 2 peak gondola image via flickr by atsushi kase
Peak 2 Peak Gondola. Image via Flickr by Atsushi Kase

Enjoy some aprés

After a day of skiing in Whistler, do not forget to enjoy some après. For those who do not know the meaning of après, it is essentially the social activities and entertainment to celebrate a day on the slopes. You can ski right up to the slope-side bars and restaurants for food, drinks and live music.

The aprés scene caters to families and children as well. The Dusty Bar & BBQ at Creekside and the GLC at the Village are all child-friendly, with some great live music and dancing till late.

The family aprés event takes place on Mondays and Wednesdays between 4 to 6 pm at the Whistler Olympic Plaza throughout the winter season.

guide for first timers to whistler apre ski image via flickr by jeff wilcox
Aprés ski. Image via Flickr by Jeff Wilcox

Nightlife for everyone

They say that the nightlife in Whistler rocks, not only for grownups but for children too. For some good and unadulterated Canadian fun, the seven lanes of snow tubing at the Coca-Cola tube park remains open till late evening.

The Fire and Ice show, which is incidentally free, showcases a dazzling display of fireworks every Sunday at 6.30 pm. Acrobatics by snowboarders and skiers through a Ring of Fire are an added attraction.

Eating out

The award-winning dining outlets of Whistler are beckoning food connoisseurs to relish an out-of-the-world eating-out experience. From aprés snacks to local organic produce, Whistler can satisfy the taste buds of every visitor.

Restaurants like the 21 Steps provide great views of Whistler Village from the second floor. The Amsterdam Cafe and Pub serves European-flavoured food on an open-air patio.

Hiking

They say that the best way to get a real feel of the outdoors is by taking a hike. If you are new to the town and are itching to don your hiking shoes, no matter which direction you want to go, you will be rewarded with a sublime dose of Mother Nature.

Whistler walks are suitable for all abilities and experience for casual strollers to wheelchair enthusiasts. The Fitzsimmons Accessible Nature Trail and Lost Lake Loop from the Village afford superb views of the Whistler and Blackcomb mountain ranges.

guide for first timers to whistler hiking trail image via flickr by kcxd
One of the many hiking trails in Whistler. Image via Flickr by kcxd.

Shopping

Whistler’s Upper Village, situated at the base of Blackcomb Mountain, is lined with trendy boutiques and upscale shopping outlets, a mere few minutes stroll to the lower Whistler Village.

The place displays an array of almost 200-plus specialty shops along cobblestone paths. The Keir Fine Jewellery, Open Country, Mountain Adventure Center and the Galleries at Fairmont showcase works by Canadian artists.

Take in the Olympic spirit

The 2010 Winter Olympics had left behind an indelible mark on the Whistler sporting scene. The passion and flair for the newcomer to challenge something new has kept the Olympic spirit ignited till today. Partake in a high-speed slide or try your hand at Nordic sports for the first time at the Whistler Olympic Park for a spectacular experience of the mountains and the valleys.

The extensive 3,300 hectares terrain which constitutes Whistler BC is a one-of-a-kind diverse destination which is not only suitable for regulars but for first timers as well. Even if you have no knowledge of skiing, the tubing park at Blackcomb will prepare you for an ultimate outdoor adventure.

*****

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guide for first timers to whistler british columbia katpegimana image via Flickr by kcxd

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