Overview

If you are seeking a mountain experience with snowy winters and moderate temperatures, Whistler is your ticket.  You’ll enjoy a small mountain community that has a passion for protecting and conserving the natural mountain environment, with an international feel.  Whistler has a diverse natural environment with rocky mountain peaks, ancient forests and glacier fed rivers, streams and lakes making this a location that is both stunning and awe-inspiring.

As per the 2011 Canada Census, there were 9824 year round residents and two million visitors per year.  On peak holiday weekends, the population can swell to over 55,000, opposed to 1975, when fewer than 1000 people lived in Whistler.  It takes 13,500 employees during the busy season to keep this hotspot running.  Nearly half the population at Whistler is 25 to 34 year olds who are highly educated with 29 percent having a university degree.  It is a family friendly destination as 20 percent of all households in Whistler have children who are enrolled in the three schools located within the valley.  Because this is a family-friendly destination, Whistler has introduced WiFi hotspot, for a rental fee of $5 per day (plus a refundable deposit) you can eliminate roaming charges by connect up to 10 devices at a time; available at the Whistler Visitor Centre. 4299 Blackcomb Way, Whistler, BC, Canada 1-604-966-5500

Before ski lifts and snowboarders and even before the nineteenth century trappers and loggers, the Squamish and Lil’wat First Nations used the isolated valley for gathering and hunting.  Bears (black and grizzly) and cougars, deer, rabbits and rodents, birds including the eagle, and fish all call this valley home.  The marmot (a rock-dwelling rodent about the size of a small dog) is how Whistler got its name as this animal warns others of potential dangers by releasing a high-pitched whistle.  Their calls can be heard, usually during the warmer seasons, throughout the mountains.

In 1914, Alex Philip opened Rainbow Lodge (used for fishing and as a holiday camp).  Later that same year, the Great Pacific Northwestern railway pressed over the valley making a path to Prince George.  In the late 1940’s, Rainbow Lodge became a popular honeymoon spot but was only accessible by train or float plane (still a viable option for travel to Whistler) until the hydro road was paved in 1966.  The ski area was opened by the Garibaldi Lift Company and in 1968 Whistler held the Winter Games.  Since then, Whistler has been known as a magnet for skiers and snowboards alike enjoying two of the highest ski mountains in North America.  Blackcomb Mountain rises 1609 metres (5280 feet) and Whistler Mountain rises 1530 metres (5020 feet). 

Whistler is the first designated resort municipality in Canada and was incorporated on September 6, 1975.  9 years after officially opening the village, December 1980, Whistler was ranked one of the top-notch resort destinations in the world.  Similar in appearance to Vail Village in Colorado, Whistler’s foundation was created by the same architect, Eldon Beck.  The pedestrian village is actually built on an old garbage dump.

The main modes of transportation around the resort are carpooling, transit, walking or biking and 96 percent of seasonal residents use these modes on a regular basis, even in the winter.  Transit was introduced to Whistler in 1991 and has the highest ridership per service hour in all of British Columbia.  Day passes for an adult are $7.00 and $5.00 for students and seniors.  There are also free bike parking racks installed throughout Whistler Village, the Upper Village, Whistler Creek and in parks from April to October.  The village is linked by a pedestrian-only causeway called the Village Stroll that is lined with shops, restaurants and hotels.

Culture

Whistler was designated as the 2009 Cultural Capital of Canada with painters, sculptors, ceramicists, multi-media artists, writers, actors, playwrights, photographers and filmmakers all calling this glacial mountain area home.

Every year the Whistler Film Festival is held with thousands of people flocking to places like the Maurice Young Millennium Place that has a 250-seat theatre and a rotating art exhibition in the Scotia Creek Gallery. 4335 Blackcomb Way, Whistler, BC, Canada V0N 1B4 1-604-935-8410 www.myplacewhistler.org

Whistler has an outstanding art program that includes the Street Banner Art Program where local artists create unique banners to be hung on the light posts around the village.  Each series is displayed for two seasons and then sold to the public with revenues extending to future public art projects.

When visiting, stop by the Squamish-Lil’wat Centre for a history in culture regarding the two heritages and traditions of the people.  You’ll see artifacts, art, carvings and tools that are similar and different to the two native groups.  And don’t miss a story-telling session; they run at regularly scheduled times.  The on-site café has some unique spins on contemporary foods like the venison chili.  The cost of visiting this excellent interpretive center is $18 and they are open daily from 9:30 am to 5 pm.  Squamish-Lil’wat Centre 4584 Blackcomb Way, Whistler, BC V0N 1B0 1-866-441-7522 www.slcc.ca

There are approximately 16 art galleries and 10 studios were you can practice or learn to basket weave, do pottery, dance and many other forms of art.  There are 12 local arts & cultural groups for people of all ages ranging from writers groups and chorus to festival societies.  Whether you are an avid art collector, enthusiast or you just want to admire some amazing work, a great way to see all the local art at Whistler is to take a self-guided tour where each piece of art is identified with signs and additional information can be accessed via phone or QR code.  Brochures about this walking tour are available at Whistler Visitor Centre.

In 2008, an economic impact study was conducted that centred on arts, culture and heritage.  The study revealed that the combined annual income of arts organizations and artists in the Sea-to-Sky Corridor was an unbelievable $16.5 million.  Most of these dollars are then spent within the region.

Whistler has a thriving night life with more non-skiers filling the bars and clubs than skiers.  The après scene has been described as legendary with DJ’s and bands from Vancouver and beyond.

Location & Orientation

40 kilometres away from the Pacific Ocean, settled in the valley of the Coastal Mountains lies Whistler, a picturesque “Village” only 2 hours (or 140 kilometres) for one of Canada’s largest metropolises, Vancouver, along the Sea to Sky Highway between Squamish and Pemberton with five access points along the way. 

If traveling by car in the winter season, keep in mind that like all mountain highway routes, weather conditions change rapidly.  All visitors who fly in touch down at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) which is a short drive to the United States border.

Climate & When to Visit

Whistler is a popular destination in the summer for hiking, biking, and many water sports like fishing and canoeing.  If you like to golf, Whistler also have champion courses designed by star designers like Arnold Palmer.   With the longest skiing and snowboarding season in all of North America, winter visitors can also enjoy snowmobiling, snowshoeing and skating. You can enjoy all types of activities year round at this top notice resort.

Whistler boasts over 200 trails and 37 lifts with its’ longest run 11 kilometres.  This means that you can ski or snowboard for days on different terrains and areas of the mountain.  The average snowfall per year is 39.1 feet (11.9 metres) and due to the coastal proximity, the temperatures rarely dips below -10 degrees Celsius.  The average daily temperatures in the winter (December to February) are 5 degrees Celsius and ranges from 21 to 27 degrees Celsius in summer months with August being the warmest.  Due to its’ location within the forests, rain can be overwhelming in the lower elevations, but rain in the valley means more snow on the hills for adventure-seekers to take advantage of.

If visiting in the fall, a must do is hiking the ancient cedar trails.  There are some remarkable trees and lots of mushrooms, like Morals and Chanterelles, growing in the area.  The hike takes approximately 3 hours in total but is well worth it because of the beautiful changing colors of the season.    To access this hiking area, take the turn-off at Cougar Mountain and drive approximately 15 minutes up the gravel road. 

Sightseeing Highlights

 Peak 2 Peak Gondola

You don’t necessarily have to be a skier or snowboard to enjoy a ride on the signature red gondolas.  From inside the safely enclosed space, you will have stunning views of the sky fields, mountains and Whistler village so don’t forget your camera.  Peak 2 Peak also have a viewing gallery where you can learn about how the machinery works and watch it in action.  And at the top, enjoy breath-taking views while dining at a full-service restaurant.  The lift span that runs from mountain to mountain is the longest unsupported in the world at 3.024 kilometres (1.88 miles) and is the highest of its’ kind, reaching elevations of 436 metres (1417 feet).

Ticket prices are $48.95 for an adult $41.95 for youth and seniors and $24.95 for children.  If you book 4 days in advance, the price per ticket is reduced by a few dollars.  Your ticket includes a gondola ride from the village up the Peak 2 Peak gondola, unlimited crossing on the gondola for the day, the viewing gallery, videos in the Alpine Theatre, and the 2010 Olympic Games display at the Roundhouse Lodge.  The gondola operates daily from 9 am to 3 pm and is open year-round and is suitable for all ages and abilities.

www.whistler.com/gondola/

4545 Whistler Way, Whistler, BC, Canada, V0N 1B4 1-800-766-7449

Whistler Olympic Park

Whistler Sliding Area, Olympic Park and the Athletes’ Centre are three venues that were responsible for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2010.

The parks’ trail system has 27 trails for all levels from beginner to intermediate and 6 kilometres of those trails are lit. This is one of the largest Nordic areas in North America with stunning scenery.  Facilities at the Olympic Park include the Day Lodge & Visitors Centre where you can purchase passes and pick up rental equipment, Brandywine Café where you can grab some lunch or have fondue for 2 (Wednesdays only).  The Ski Play Zone is the Olympic Parks newest addition and is used mainly by school groups and clubs.  Toboggan Hill is best for families and young children but helmets are required and can be rented at the Day Lodge.  The Neverland Trail is a 3.8 kilometre cross-country skiing trail for beginners or those with no experience.

Whistler Olympic Park is open 7 days a week in the winter season (November to April) and the summer season (May to September).  Monday, Tues, Thursday and Friday 9 am to 4:30 pm Wednesday open late from 9 am to 9 pm and weekends from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm (in the winter) and 10 am to 4:30 pm daily (in the summer).  In the summer months, admission to the park is $10 (including tax) per vehicle or $5 for motorcycles.  With all paid admissions, you will receive a $5 coupon towards experience biathlon.  In the winter months, if you would like to ski Callaghan, the daily cost for an adult is $23.50 and $13.50 for youth.  A family pass (maximum 4 people/2 adults) is $60.50.  Snowshoeing is $14.00 per adult $7.00 per youth or $35.00 for a family.  But if just some sightseeing and tobogganing is more your thing, the cost is $10.00 per vehicle.  However, if you want to save a little bit of money, 10% off is available for Nordic skiing and snowshoeing midweek.

There is also a biathlon shooting area where visitors can shoot a .22 rifle at targets used in the biathlon during the 2010 Olympic Games.  You will be under supervision and a staff member will walk you through how to operate a gun.  It is $10.00 for 5 bullets and $5.00 for an additional magazine of 5 bullets.

www.whistlerolympicpark.com

5 Callaghan Valley Road, Whistler, BC, Canada V0N 1B8 1-604-964-0060

Whistler Blackcomb’s Coco-Cola Tube Park

Tube day or night down 1000 feet of sliding area and no special equipment or training is necessary.  There are multiple lanes for the whole family to enjoy and a conveyor will take you back to the top. 

Something to take into consideration when heading to the Coco-Cola Tube Park is that children under 12 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.  Children must be at least 36 inches tall to ride in the park and children between 36 and 41 inches may use the 2 available child lanes from the halfway point.

The park is open 12 pm to 8 pm weekdays and 11 am to 8 pm on weekends with some holiday exceptions.

4545 Blackcomb Way, Whistler, BC, Canada V0N 1B4 1-604-932-3434

Whistler Museum

If you are looking to get out of the cold or whether you just need a rest from skiing, the Whistler Museum has plenty of interactive exhibits to entertain the whole family.  You can even have your picture taken holding a real Olympic torch.  The display showcases 13 of the uniforms and gear worn by athletes’ of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The museum tells the story of Whistlers’ journey up to the Olympic Games with stories and artifacts about the people that made it happen.  The museum displays artifacts from many eras including Whistler’s natural environment, skiing history and the hippie and squatter days and holds three collections:  artifacts, archives and research with important objects from the early pioneer days.

There are many educational programs available at Whistler Museum and in June, July and August you can take a walking tour called the Valley of Dreams where you will learn unique facts about the history of Whistler.  The tours are about 1 hour long and start at 1 pm and leave from the Whistler Village Information Centre.  These tours are by donation.

Open year-round 11 am to 5 pm daily.  Adult admission is $7.50 Students/Seniors $6.00 Youth $4.00 and children under 6 years are free or a family (4-6 people) is $20.00.  The Whistler Museum is located behind the Whistler Public Library in the heart of the village.  If parking under the library, keep in mind that it is pay parking.

www.whistlermuseum.org

4333 Main Street, Whistler, BC, Canada V0N 1B4 1-604-932-2019

Whistler Bungee

This fun and exciting sport received a 5 star rating from over 94 reviews on Trip Advisor but has also been voted by locals as the most extreme sport in Whistler.   This adrenaline filled jump is 160 feet (50 metres) high over the Cheakamus River that is glacial fed and you are surrounded by old forest growth and basalt column cliffs.

Whistler bungee has a perfect safety record since opening in 2002.  You have the option of jumping alone or tandem and they are wheelchair equip making this truly a sport anyone can try. There are three main ways to jump including using a chest harness, which is more comfortable and keeps you in an upright position, the ankle harness, which is the most traditional way to jump as you fall head first towards the river below and tandem, for those too scared to jump.

They are located 15 minutes from Whistler village and open every day, all year round in any weather condition.  Pre-booking is required and you need to arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled jump time.  Open 12 pm to 5pm Monday to Friday and 11 am to 5 pm Saturday and Sunday. 1st time jumpers pay $130.00 (transportation included) but if you have jumped at Whistler Bungee before, the cost is $80 as you are considered a member (transportation fee $10.00).  Discount pricing is available for groups of 10 or more.  Transportation leaves from Whistler Bungee’s village office located on the Village Stroll.  All spectators that require transportation must pay a $10.00 fee.  All jumpers receive a free t-shirt.  A professional photographer is on-site and available to capture your experience.  Pricing is available on-site.

www.whistlerbungee.com

The sales and booking office is located in the Eagle Lodge.  19-4314 Main Street, Whistler, BC, Canada V0N 1B4 1-877-938-9333

Whistler Mountain Bike Park

This bike park is gravity-assisted and has over 4900 vertical feet of biking with 3 zones (gentle cruising through the forest, tight and twisty tracks and steep slopes with drop offs) and over 60 trails.  There is also the Air Dome; an 8400 square foot covered indoor bike training facility.  This is a safe environment with foam pits and wooden ramps.

Full face helmets, gloves and biking armour are recommended, as well as full suspension bikes.  Hours of operation vary per season but the Whistler Mountain Bike Park is generally open from May to October.  The bike park is free to ride but a lift ticket is required to reach the top of the mountain.  The cost for a 1 day pass is $61.00 for adults $53.00 for youth/seniors and $35 for children.  All users must sign a waiver.  Bike rentals are available at G1 Rentals (inside the Village Gondola Building) or the Demo Centre (at Carlton Lodge).  The Air Dome is open various times throughout the year so be sure to check the website for details.  Cost of using the Air Dome for a 3 hour session is $19.05.  Rental bikes are available for $25.00 and include a helmet.

www.bike.whistlerblackcomb.com

4545 Blackcomb Way, Whistler, BC, Canada V0N 1B4 1-866-218-9690

Alexander Falls

Located just 40 minutes from Whistler in Callaghan Valley, this 141 foot (43 metre) waterfall is open year round.  There is a viewing platform directly across from the crashing falls or if you want more adventure, there is a trail (level: difficult) that leads both to the top of the falls and the bottom.  There are a number of picnic areas located in clearings and don’t forget to read the information board as there are a number of great pictures and stories.

Once you leave the highway and head into the mountains on a 10 minute drive, there may be sightings of bears as they like to eat the grass that grows along the side of the road.  All the platforms and picnic areas where designed and constructed before the Olympic Games and there is a café and visitors centre, as well as, this location is connected to Whistler’s Olympic Park but the gates are only open during regular business hours.  Hours of operation during the summer are 10 am to 4:30 pm daily and during the winter 9 am to 4:30 pm weekdays.

This area was largely used as a logging area and there are a number of logging roads used by campers but they are bad and in disrepair so be on the cautionary side.  Keep in mind that the parking area at Alexander Falls is free but no camping or overnight stays are allowed.  Dogs are allowed in all of the Callaghan Valley but be aware and cautious of wildlife.

www.whistlerhiatus.com

Callaghan Lake Provincial Park, Whistler, BC, Canada

Brandywine Falls

The Brandywine Falls trails are easy and the 2 kilometre hike takes approximately 30 minutes roundtrip.  The falls are 66 metres and drop from an abrupt cliff.  These falls are easy to locate as you will see signs along the Sea to Sky Highway, approximately 25 minutes from Squamish.  Once you pull into the large parking area, it is a 1 kilometre hike over and along the Cheakamus River.  There are picnic areas and pit toilets but no other facilities.

www.whistlerhiatus.com

Shannon Falls

Shannon Falls is the third largest waterfall in British Columbia at 335 metres (1105 feet).  Shannon Falls Provincial Park is a popular tourist spot for picnicking. The trails are well-maintained and the network lets you explore among the trees and old stumps.  There is a large parking area, washrooms and an information centre all located at the falls.

The best time to visit is in the spring when the snow has melted as it makes for a dramatic raging waterfall.  From the falls, you can take a steep 7 to 10 kilometre roundtrip hike that takes you over the top of Stawamus Chief where you will get a stunning view of Squamish, Howe Sound and many mountain peaks.

www.tourismsquamish.com/attractions/shannon-falls-provincial-park

Nairn Falls

The hiking along and to Nairn Falls is easy with well-worn trails.  Allow about 1 hour to complete the 2.4 kilometre roundtrip hike.  There are several picnic areas along the trail so don’t forget to bring a lunch or if you want an overnight adventure, the park boasts a large camping area along the Green River.  From the viewing platform, you can watch the chaotic green water crash through several areas and drop in 10 to 20 metre sections, for a total of 60 metres in height.

There is also another hiking trail that takes you away from the falls and leads to One Mile Lake.  It is a 2 kilometre trail but you can enjoy swimming once you get there.

Nairn Falls is a quick drive, only 20 minutes from Whistler.  The trail to the falls is open year round even with the large amount of snowfall in the winter.  The campground is open May to September and can accommodate up to 94 vehicles.  The cost for camping is $18 per party per night.  Dogs are welcome but bikes are not.  There is a hand-operated water pump and pit toilets available, along with picnic tables.

www.whistlerhiatus.com

Squamish

Squamish is 59.7 kilometres from Whistler, approximately a 47 minute drive and has been named the “Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada.”  Some of the activities in this area include mountain biking, rock climbing, horseback riding, rafting and numerous other adventure laden activities including skiing.  Squamish has also become popular for its’ vibrant art scene and has the second highest number of artists as residents in all of Canada.

October is a great time to visit Squamish as the Farmer’s Market is open and you will be able to purchase food and local arts, plus the Magic Pumpkin Train is operational and is a fun family event.  Squamish has a number of great attractions such as the West Coast Railway Heritage Park and Britannia Mine Museum.  If you just want some good laughs and good times then check out Whistle Punk Hallow Adventure Golf.

www.tourismsquamish.com

Pemberton

Pemberton is a 29 minute drive from Whistler (33.7 kilometres).  The town sits 8000 feet below Mount Currie and is home to 2369 residents.  Before the settlers, this area was home to the Salish tribe.  The valley is known for its seed potatoes and has been nickname “Spud Valley.”  World-class recreation is available in Pemberton, from hiking and biking to golf, gliding and jet boating.

Drop by the Pemberton Visitors Centre to discover all the Pemberton has to offer.

www.pemberton.ca

Recommendations for the Budget Traveler

Places to Stay

Market Pavilion

Rooms start at approximately $85 per night (in the off season).  This hotel is located beside Marketplace mall so there are plenty of cafés, shops, restaurants and other services just out your door.  This location is only an 8 minute walk from ski lifts and free shuttle service is available close to this location.  The building has secure parking for vehicles and bicycles, as well as, an equipment storage area.  There is a restaurant on site and a hot-tub in the common area.  Rooms are clean, comfortable and homey.  4368 Main Street, Whistler, BC, Canada V0N 1B4

Glacier Lodge

Rooms start at approximately $89 per night (in the off season).  This hotel is located in the upper village at the base of Blackcomb Mountain.  It is a ski-in ski-out location with access to shops and restaurants.  In the summer, the farmer’s market is right outside or you can stroll across the street to the grocery store.  The hotel features an outdoor pool (heated) and two hot-tubs, plus free internet access.  The Ciao Thyme Bistro and Fitzsimmons Pub are on-site.  Keep in mind that this is a 100% non-smoking hotel.  There is 24 hour front desk service and a fitness centre.  Parking for either vehicle or bicycle is secured, as well as, equipment storage. 4573 Chateau Boulevard, Whistler, BC, Canada

HI-Whistler (hostel)

If value for your money is what you seek, stay at this property.  HI-Whistler was built in 2010 to accommodate athletes during the Olympics.  Because of this, the building boasts amenities and rooms that rival some four-star hotels.  There are both private rooms and dorm-style rooms available.  There is a café, Cheaky’s, which is on-site that serves beer, wine and specialty coffee, and serves ups fresh homemade meals, as well as, snacks.  Meet other skiers and snowboarders while you relax in the TV lounge or while playing a game of pool.  Some unique features to these accommodations include bike hire and book exchange.  This location is a bit of a distance from the village but a $2.50 bus ride is easily accessible.  Prices are approximately $37 per night in the dorm-style room that sleeps four people or $67.50 for a private room. 1035 Legacy Way, Whistler, BC, Canada www.hihostels.ca

Aava Whistler Hotel

This accommodation has been labelled “chic” and “contemporary”.  With only a 5 minute walk to the lifts and situated at the edge of the village where all the action takes place, this location is affordable and convenient.  Many standard amenities apply to this hotel including a heated year-round outdoor pool and Keurig coffee machines in some rooms. Pets are allowed but for a small fee.  Room starts at approximately $122.00 per night.  4005 Whistler Way, Whistler, BC, Canada V0N 1B4 1-604-932-2522 www.aavawhistlerhotel.com

Chateau Luise Inn

Another great way to stay at Whistler is in a bed and breakfast accommodation.  This three-story, eight room inn is only a short 10-minute walk to the village and all the offered attractions.  In the summer, this location has colorful flowers bursting from the balconies and in the surrounding gardens.  It is a quiet and relaxing place for guests to unwind after a long day.  The fireside lounge can provide you with much need down time; you could soak in the whirlpool or steam in the sauna.  Prices start at approximately $129.00 per night. 7461 Ambassador Crescent, Whistler, BC, Canada 1-800-665-1998 www.chateauluisewhistlerinn.com

Places to Eat & Drink

Dusty’s Bar & BBQ

If you love BBQ then “put the wild back into your west”.  Dusty’s was the original place locals went to drink and party the night away while enjoying its’ rustic decor.  The seating is picnic tables and the wood is reclaimed from the original building.  This place is lively and is known for its’ après, Caesars and live bands.  The team working in the kitchen cooking up your BBQ are truly a team of professionals.  They toured 30 restaurants to find the best of the best and have come up with secret spice rubs and sauces so delicious you’ll be licking your fingers.  If visiting in the spring, outside seating is ideal because the sun hits the seating area late into the day.  Dusty’s is open 11am until late.  The restaurant is affordable (pitchers of beer only $12.00 and half-price Tuesdays) and offers menu choices for those we are vegetarian as well as a children’s menu.  2040 London Lane, Whistler, BC, Canada V0N 1B2 1-604-905-2171

Dirk & Bernie

If you enjoy a good cup of java, this is the place as they have over 45 different coffees to choose from.  This is where you can get the perfect espresso in a diner-style restaurant with all –day breakfast and home-style cooked meals.  The burgers at Dirk & Bernie are huge and the prices are very reasonable.  Try the famous “Grizzly” burger if you want an authentic and large meal. Open Monday to Sunday 8 am to 3 pm. 4557 Blackcomb Way, Whistler, BC, Canada 1-604-962-0606 www.dirkandbernie.com

Hot Buns Bakery

The entrance to this sweet spot is on Sunrise Alley and whether you visit at the beginning of your day or at the end, you will enjoy some delicious eats.  Try the cinnamon buns or the pain au chocolat (known to be the best in town).  With its stone floors and simple wood furnishings, this bakery feels like you are sitting in a rural town somewhere in France sipping lattes. Grab their daily cinnamon bun special 6 buns for $2.25 Open 7 days a week from 7:30 am to 10:30 pm 4232 Village Stroll, Whistler, BC, Canada V0N 1B0 1-604-932-6883 www.hotbuns.moonfruit.com

La Brasserie des Artistes

Average meals but excellent views of the mountains from the patio under yellow umbrellas; this bistro is located in the square with a perfect vantage point to take in the street entertainment and people watching. The décor is interesting and eclectic and meals arrive quickly.  The steaks, burgers and breakfasts are all at reasonable prices from $12.00 to $22.00.  This is a popular spot, known as “The Brass”, for après ski and the crowd usually lingers until midnight but getting a table doesn’t usually take too long.  Grab some friends or family and enjoy a big plate of nachos. 4232 Village Stroll, Whistler, BC, Canada V0N 1B0 1-604-932-3569 www.labrass.moonfruit.com

Sushi Village

The place is buzzing with après ski and late night diners as they offer family-style hot pots, rolls, sashimi and tempera.  This is a great spot to socialize and enjoy sake or try their sake margaritas. Three excellent reasons to dine at this hotspot include fresh food, friendly service and the owner, Mikito, loves the restaurant, loves Whistler and he loves life.  Sushi village imports from around the world.  The salmon, tuna, shrimp and snapper are all shipped in from Vancouver twice a week.  If you get a chance to sit at the sushi bar, ask one of the chefs to make you one of their favorite combinations as you will not be disappointed with the flare and excitement involved in the preparation.  There are private “dining rooms” available to accommodate large groups (up to 60 people) and take-out is also available. 4272 Mountain Square, Whistler, BC, Canada V0N 1B4 1-604-932-3330 www.sushivillage.com

Places to Shop

Whistler has over 200 shops to suit everyone’s taste from fashion and jewelry to camping supplies.  But if there is one thing you must buy while in Whistler, it is the toque (a knit cap). The toque is said to originate with the Metis and fur traders; they would leave their nightcaps on during the chilly winter months for extra warmth.

Rocky Mountain Soap Company

 If you are seeking bath and beauty goodies, try their 100% natural products.  All the ingredients used in their products can be found in nature and are used in their natural form or by extraction.  The owner, Karina Birch, was featured in Chatelaine October 2012 as one of the top 100 female entrepreneurs and several products have been featured in magazines such as Canadian Living.  Winter weather can dry and irritate skin so be sure to try a body butter or soap that contains cocoa butter as it has softening and protecting properties.  With 29 different scents and varieties of soap, there will be a kind to please everyone in the family.  Soaps starts at $5.25 per bar.  4314 Main Street, Whistler, BC, Canada V0N 1B41-604-932-2009 www.rockymountainsoap.com

Cows

If treats are more your thing, head to where you can get the best ice cream served in a freshly made waffle cones.  You can not walk by this location without the delicious aromas enticing you to enter.  Cows opened in 1983 on Prince Edward Island and have since found its way to Whistler.  They still use the traditional secret recipes that children enjoyed back in the time of Anne of Green Gables. You’ll be delighted with over 35 different flavors to choose from.  There are three main factors that contribute to the success and great taste of Cows ice cream: the high butter-fat content (16%), minimal air exposure making the ice cream high density so it melts slowly, and the finest and freshest ingredients like PEI berries and imported cocoa from Holland.  They also sell a selection of souvenirs like silly t-shirts and coffee mugs.  Trip Advisor awarded Cows with the Certificate of Excellence in 2013 and was given a 4.5 out of 5 star rating by reviewers.  Cows is ranked #17 out of 158 restaurants at Whistler. 102-4295 Blackcomb Way, Whistler, BC, Canada V0N 1B41-604-938-9822 www.cows.ca

Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory

 Another great place for treats is the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory (founded in 1981) where you can watch fudges being made.  A must try is the apples dipped in chocolate with marshmallows and nuts. There are 55 locations across Canada with retail operators also located in the United States, Japan and the United Emirates.  They are rapidly expanding due to their sweet treats become more and more popular. This is not an eating establishment so no table service is available.  217-4293 Mountain Square, Whistler, BC, Canada V0N 1B4 1-604-932-4100 Open daily 9 am to 11 pm www.rockychoc.com

Armchair Books

Looking to relax with a book while on vacation?  Pick up your copy of a bestseller or some magazines at a friendly place, Armchair Books. The also carry a large selection of guides and maps for the area, so don’t forget to make a quick stop before you head out onto the trails.  There are also a number of books about wildlife and the flora and fauna in the area.  Their Facebook page is a great place to find details about upcoming events and scheduled readings.  They are open 7 days a week, 9 am to 9 pm.  4205 Village Square, Whistler, BC, Canada V0N 1B4 1-604-932-5557 www.whistlerbooks.com

Amos and Andes

Whistler has many shops were you can buy sweaters (from wool to cashmere) but this one is by far the best.  It is a stand-out shop because all of its sweaters are handmade. The owner has been quoted saying “I grew up on a farm wearing jeans, t-shirts and sweaters that Granny made.”  Check out their Facebook page at Amos and Andes: The Whistler Sweater Shop to see the latest styles and get tips directly from Granny herself like how to fold a sweater properly (includes a link to a youtube video).  2-4321 Village Gate, Whistler, BC, Canada V0N 1B41-604-932-7202 www.whistlersweatershop.com