Planning a trip to Whistler
This page is designed to help those first time individual visitors or those planning to bring a group to see Whistler.
Most of the sightseeing companies who take their customers to Whistler do the following:
The usual departure time is around 8 or 8:30 am. The drive takes about 2 hours, however there are a couple of great photo stops on the way, plus a 20 or 30 minute stop at 1000 foot Shannon Falls - so you would probably arrive around noon.
The distance from Vancouver to Whistler is only about 75 miles / 120 kms along the 'Sea To Sky' Highway (Hwy 99). Just before we held the 2010 Winter Olympic Games the roadway received a $600 million dollar upgrade. The drive is very scenic, especially if there are no clouds, better yet if it's a sunny day. If you are planning to rent a car to get up there, you won't really need it once you arrive.
Skiing is the main thing during the winter, but there's actually more to do in the spring, summer and fall.
In Whistler: The Whistler Village has approx a 7 or 8-block long pedestrian walkway called the Village Stroll and it's loaded with shops, restaurants, condo's, hotels, drug stores, supermarkets, pubs, lounges, etc, etc, and is located at the base of both Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains.
The key thing people on a day-trip want to do up there, besides have lunch and maybe shop, is to ride one of the gondola's or chairlifts up either of the mountains, then ride the new 'Peak2Peak' gondola (an 12-minute ride one way, 24 minutes for a round trip). The 'Peak2Peak' costs about $50 a person. This includes the other mountain chairlifts or gondolas. You can ride up one mountain, ride the Peak2Peak, and come down the other mountain back to the Village. Often you can spot deer or black bears as you go up or come down the mountain. Best to check out the websites below for more information.
Whistler does have three golf courses, bike riding, trails, five lakes, swimming, tennis, ziplines, bungee jumping, flightseeing (in a float plane), etc, plus some people rent a bike and take it up the mountain (on a chairlift), and then ride down the mountain. Whistler Mountain is around 7,100 feet / 2100 m, Blackcomb is 8,000 feet / 2440 m in height.
As I said, most groups are usually happy with having a lunch, shop a bit, and riding the 'Peak2Peak'. At the top of both mountains there are also places to eat - and if it's clear, the view is a-m-a-z-i-n-g...snow capped mountain peaks in every direction. Even a few glaciers can be seen. Usually by 4 pm or so the tour buses head back to Vancouver - arriving around 6 or 6:30 pm depending on rush hour traffic around the Lions Gate Bridge.
It is possible to bus up to Whistler and fly back to Vancouver. Most bus and tour companies will allow you to stay overnight and return a day or two later. There are several bus companies that offer daily service to Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton year-round.
Both Squamish and Pemberton have golf courses as well. Squamish is on the way to Whistler, and Pemberton is located about 25 minutes north of Whistler, also on Hwy 99.
Bus Parking Fees
Group planners: The Resort Municipality of Whistler is now charging a fee for tour bus parking, for the day - and if overnighting.
This fee is in the $25 dollar range.
If booking a hotel for an overnight stay, ask them about bus parking. If they don’t have space, ask where they can park & if there is a fee.
Note: There may be some bus parking area’s made available without a fee & we’ll update this information soon. However these locations are likely not going to be nearby, and the driver will need to either ride the local transit or take a taxi.
- Tourism Whistler - tourismwhistler.com
- Whistler - whistler.com
- Whistler Blackcomb Mountain - whistlerblackcomb.com
- Aboriginal Cultural Centre & Museum - slcc.ca
- Tourism Squamish - tourismsquamish.com
- West Coast Railway Heritage Park - wcra.org
- BC Museum of Mining - bcmuseumofmining.org
- Rocky Mountaineer - rockymountaineer.com