Whistler is a pedestrian-only village. No cars are allowed on the village streets. Cars are only allowed on the highway (that bypasses to the west of the village) and the residential side streets.
Most visitors rent a car in Vancouver and drive it up to Whistler, where it will then sit in a parking lot for their entire time there. There is a free gravel parking lot outside of the village, but you're only allowed to park there during the day. Hotels charge visitors up to $25 (or more) a night to park in their underground parkades.
Having a car for a daytrip is good if you're not renting the car, as it will only cost you one tank of gas to get there and back from Vancouver. However, if you're only renting a car to get to Whistler, I'd suggest taking one of the many buses, limos, shuttles and taxi services that frequently travel between Whistler and Vancouver. It will likely save you a lot of money.
Although you can't ski at Whistler in the summer, there is still a ton of stuff to do. Many of the local areas have great hiking trials, so if you like getting dirty and seeing some amazing views, then try one out. You can also rent bicycles in the village, and explore whistler that way.
Fondest memory: On a hike I did last summer, reaching this lake was worth the price of my sore legs..
There are many hiking trails accessible in the Whistler area during the summer time. Shannon Falls, Garibaldi Lake, and the Chief are a few of the bigger ones.
If you have time, make sure you go for a hike. Bring along your camera, as you'll see many great views!
Fondest memory: Hiking through snow in the summer time.
HOW TO SKI WHISTLER / BLACKCOMB
This is the recommended procedure I picked up from a friend that has owned a condo at Whistler for about 25 years .
1. Be in line before the lifts open.
2. Head straight to the top
3. Ski the upper half until about 10:30 am or
when you see that the late risers have
made it this far
4. Then head down and ski the lower half.
The crowd is now at the top.
5. Have an early lunch and repeat the
process starting at 12:45.
The 7th Heaven and Harmony Lifts a can get crowded . Ski these early and then move elsewhere .
Favorite thing: When you arrive in Whistler, pick up a copy of the free newspaper the Pique. It is invaluable for info on everything from restaurants and club nights to yoga classes. It's the best way to find out where the busy spots are each night.
Favorite thing: For a quick break and a great way to add back calories during a day's ski-ing, try the Beavertails at the Olympic station - halfway up Whistler mountain. They're freshly made and have a variety of toppings available. At Easter 2010 they cost $6 each. The vendor did not take credit cards so make sure you have cash. It was great to sit outside - I imagine it could be miserable if the snow is coming in horizontally - though they really are worth getting cold for.
Favorite thing: There is a simple but touching memorial to Nodar Kumaritashvili in Whistler village. Nicely done though it's a shame to see one or two inappropriate entries in the Memorial book. Overall, well done and worth pausing as you walk by to remember the lengths some people will go to be the best. We saw it in April 2010 - I don't know how long the authorities plan to keep the memorial there.
You can expect to feel like this in the morning if you don't drink water before going to bed. You can then expect to essentially lose a day of your ski pass, because your day on the mountain is going to consist of mostly green runs since you're hungover.
Fondest memory: The whole trip.
ski the back side of the glacier at Blackcomb.
Fondest memory: making my own tracks in some fresh powder in the back bowl glacier as the sun was setting. Took this several mile long run all the way to the bottom where a cold beer was waiting at the Apres Ski party.
There is no problem moving between mountains. You can ski one area in the morning and the other in the afternoon bur you have to come down to the base .As a rule you ski one mountain one day and the other the next day and alternate.
This will all change Nov 2008 when the Peak to Peak Gondola starts up.
There are three genreal areas in which you can stay which may be an issue.
Creekside is the lowest and snow may be slushy at the bottom.
Whistler village is slightly higher ( not much) and the snow at the base will be less slushy than at Creekside.
Upper Blackcomb Village is again higher and thus there is less chance of slushy snow.
Some people prefer Whistler while others prefer Blackcomb.
Generally speaking the Beginner runs at Whistler/Blackcomb are more difficult than at European Resorts. Ditto for Blues , and Blacks.
Whistler is a destination resort with summer and winter activities to choose from .
Intrawest is the developer with similar properties in Quebec. , Colorado , etc . and they are now in Les Arcs, France.
Here is the TIP.
If you are at Whistler or any other Intrawest resort hang out at the mid staion around 11:00 am ( Stop into have a hot chocolat or a snack ) .
There will be an Intrawest agent at the mid station looking looking for candidates to invest at the resort .
You have to look young or semi rich.
The agent will offer an appoinment at the Intrawest Sales Office , with a reward of $ 75 ( cdn ) voucher for a Whistler restaurant , etc.
Take advantage of the offer and sit through the presentation and you may be rewarded with more than $ 75 cdn . depending on what you say .
Fondest memory: .
You can find ski-in ski-out accomodations on Blackcomb Mountain beside the Wizard Express high speed quad .
There are four to choose from :
(1) Marriot Inn , highest up the mountain
(2) then Painted Cliff
(3) then The Woodrun
(4) and The Aspens the lowest
This is the Aspens .
It is an easy walk into the Village or you can take the shuttle bus. Blackcomb Upper Village and Chateau Whistler are a five minute walk .
The Magic Express provides access to Blackcomb . To go to Whistler ski down to
the Magic Chair ( slow) , then down to the Fitzsimmons Express at the base of Whistler and take the upper lift , Garbanzo Express to the top.
Favorite thing: After spending all that money to go up the mountain on a bear watching tour, we saw this family of bears just ambling into the town. As we were catching a bus for our Ziptrek tour, we only had the opportunity to fire off one shot.
Favorite thing: After searching for bears on the Rainbow Lake Trail, I decided to see the Whistler area via the Valley Trail. It's a trail that extends form Alpha Lake through Whistler Village...past Lost Lake...touches Green Lake...and encircles Whistler Golf Course. I walked most of it in one afternoon. The Lost Lake area was the most scenic...the lake is nice...there's area for picnics and other lake activities. Whistler Village has a bunch of shops, restaurants...and lots of people...so I didn't stay there too long. Float Planes that gives tours of the area can be found on Green Lake...there's also a ghost town near Green Lake, but I didn't get to see it. Anyway...if you're looking to see more than ski runs in Whistler, Valley Trail is definitely an option.
It is piercing silence up on top of the mountain. Forget using a lighter if you are going to have a ciggy, not enough oxygen...I learn fast...
The moment I stopped to take in the fresh air, what a relief...it is so peaceful.
Stay away from the locals, they will bring you bush wacking! No, no, in all it was fun going through the trees in untouched paths full of powder, just watch out for the holes surrounding the trees.