Facts for the International Traveller

Frequently Asked Questions

We have compiled this list of frequently asked questions regarding Whistler Resort and Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. Remember, we are happy to help you by telephone with any information you might require before arriving in Whistler. Whistler Official Central Reservations is locally based and all travel consultants have considerable knowledge about the resort. Contact us at 1.800.WHISTLER (944.7853). Open daily, year round.

About Whistler

Where is Whistler?

Getting to Whistler

What documents do I require to enter Canada?

Where is the nearest airport?

Can I drive to Whistler?

The Mountains

When are Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains open?

What are the operating hours of Whistler Blackcomb?

How do I save money on lift tickets?

Summer FAQ

I'm in Whistler for the day. What is there to see and do?

Where can I see bears?

Where can I camp in Whistler?

Where can I hike around Whistler?

How much time does it take to ride the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola?

Why do people wear bear bells?

I plan to go out on the water on one of Whistler's lakes or rivers. Are there any local safety regulations?

Winter FAQ

What does 5/6 on the ticket mean and what is a 'dual mountain' pass?

How do I check for latest snow conditions?

Once I have a lift ticket how do I upload onto Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains?

Whistler Village

What is the weather like in Whistler?

What currency do I use in Whistler?

Are there any taxes on goods and services in British Columbia, Canada?

If I don't have a car how do I get around the resort when I arrive?

I am driving my car to Whistler - where do I park?

Where do I eat and drink in Whistler? Is there anywhere to go out at night?

I am camping or staying in a self-catering apartment, is there anywhere to buy food and supplies?

Is there anywhere in the Village I can connect to wireless internet (WiFi)?

Booking with Tourism Whistler

Why should I book with Tourism Whistler?

Is booking online secure?

What does Whistler Official Central Reservations do with my personal information?

How do I contact Whistler Official Central Reservations?

Where is Whistler?

Whistler is located in Canada’s Coast Mountain Range, 120 km north of Vancouver, British Columbia; the drive is about 2.5 hours along the scenic Sea to Sky highway. The year-round population of Whistler Resort is almost 10,000 permanent residents. The elevation of the Village is 675 metres / 2,214 feet; Whistler Mountain’s elevation is 2,182 metres / 7,160 feet and Blackcomb Mountain’s elevation is 2,284 metres / 7,494 feet.

Getting to Whistler

What documents do I require to enter Canada?
As of June 1, 2009, a valid passport OR one of the following documents are mandatory for any person over the age of 16 travelling between the United States and Canada by LAND or SEA/WATER (including cruises and ferries):

  • U.S. Passport Card (not valid for international air travel)
  • A NEXUS or FAST/EXPRES Card
  • State or Province-issued Enhanced Driver’s License (not valid for international air travel)

Beginning June 1, 2009, U.S. and Canadian citizens under the age of 16, or under the age of 19 if travelling with a school, religious, or other youth group, may present a birth certificate, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, Canadian Citizenship Card or a naturalization certificate. Birth certificates can be an original, photocopy, or certified copy.

Citizens of other countries, in addition to a valid passport, may require a visitor visa. Check with the nearest Canadian Consulate well in advance of travel. A list of applicable countries can be found here. Other regulations apply if an extended stay, work or certain types of business activity are contemplated.

As of July 16, 2009, Mexican visitors require a Temporary Resident Visa to enter Canada. Please apply at the Canadian Embassy in Mexico City.

Where is the nearest airport?
Vancouver International Airport (YVR) handles domestic and international flights and is located a short and scenic 2.5 hour drive from Whistler Resort. The South Terminal of Vancouver Airport handles private aircraft. Transportation to the resort is available by shuttle bus, limousine, SUV, and helicopter (weather dependent). During the summer months, regular and charter float plane services are available.

Can I drive to Whistler?
Yes. Whistler is approximately a 2.5 hour drive from Vancouver, British Columbia and a five hour drive from Seattle, Washington along the scenic Sea to Sky Highway (Highway 99). Driving directions from Vancouver or Seattle can be found here. Like all mountain highways, the Sea to Sky Highway can experience occasional seasonal closures and intermittent delays for construction - please check the road conditions and make sure your vehicle is properly equipped for the season when planning your drive.

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The Mountains

When are Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains open?
The ski season in Whistler typically begins around the third weekend in November coinciding with American Thanksgiving. From there, both mountains are open daily for winter operations until late April. Blackcomb Mountain stays open for spring skiing and snowboarding until mid-May. Summer glacier skiing and riding on Blackcomb Mountain starts the third week of June. In summer Whistler Mountain Bike Park opens as a haven for riders of all levels and the Village Gondola, PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola and Peak Chair are open for sightseeing.

What are the operating hours of Whistler Blackcomb?
Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains are both open daily from 8:30 AM until 3:00 PM for the early season. As the days get longer towards the spring, the mountain eventually stays open until 4:00 PM. Starting sometime in December, Whistler Mountain offers a 'Fresh Tracks Breakfast' program where for an additional fee which includes breakfast; skiers and riders may upload the Village Gondola between 7:30 and 8:30 AM. Fresh Tracks tickets may be purchased directly from Whistler.com before your arrival. During the summer, the Whistler Mountain Bike Park is open from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM with closing times dependent on daylight hours.

How do I save money on lift tickets?
Purchasing lift tickets in advance of your arrival can save you up to 30% over ticket window prices. Check here for lift ticket discounted prices. Lift tickets must be purchased 4 days in advance of arrival and with accommodation to qualify for the discount pricing. Tickets purchased from our call centre will be delivered directly to your accommodation at no extra cost.

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Summer FAQ

I'm in Whistler for the day. What is there to see and do?
On a sunny summer day, there's no better experience than the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola. You first take the Whistler Express Gondola from the Village which takes 25 minutes. You'll arrive at the Roundhouse, a lodge where you can have lunch or a snack, and take in the spectacular view of the mountains on the opposite side of the valley. From here, hop on the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola for a thrilling 11-minute ride over to Blackcomb Mountain. For a more exciting experience, take the silver PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola which has a glass bottom. Both mountains offer a variety of hiking trails for your enjoyment. During July and August, take the open chair-lifts down from Blackcomb for an opportunity to see bears grazing on the ski runs. When you're back down in the village, wander the Village Stroll with its shops, cafes and restaurants stopping at Whistler Olympic Plaza to take a photo of the Olympic Rings.

Where can I see bears?
There are between 60 to 80 bears that den on Whistler and Blackcomb mountains and it is not unusual to see them grazing on the ski hills in the summertime. A ride up the mountain in the Whistler Express Gondola or riding down one of the chairlifts on Blackcomb Mountain will often offer good opportunities to see them. June and July are the best months, when bears are foraging for food. For an up-close and educational experience, book a bear viewing tour with a local expert guide. For more information on safe interaction with bears, go to the Whistler Bear Smart website.

Where can I camp in Whistler?
There are three campgrounds near Whistler: Riverside Campground, right in Whistler; Whistler RV Park, 16 kilometers south of Whistler; and Cal-Cheak Forest Service Recreation Site, 15 kilometers south of Whistler. There are other campgrounds further away in Squamish and near Pemberton and there are walk-in, wilderness campgrounds in Garibaldi Park. Camping is not permitted in any of the day parking lots in Whistler. Be aware that campfires are not permitted in Garibaldi Park and that there may be campfire bans during the summer months at the other campgrounds in the area.

Where can I hike?
There are many options for hiking in and around Whistler. During the summer months, Whistler and Blackcomb mountains have a network of hiking trails accessible by the Whistler Express Gondola. Garibaldi Provincial Park offers many different trails, varying in length and difficulty. The Rainbow-Madley trail is a 16-kilometer hike through rainforest and sub-alpine meadows and takes about 6 hours return. There are easier options in the Whistler Interpretive Forest, varying from 2 kilometers to 6 kilometers, through rainforest, to Loggers Lake or around the rim of an ancient volcanic crater. Further away, Joffre Lakes Provincial Park has a 12-kilometer hike past three beautiful glacial lakes with amazing views of the hanging Matier Glacier. Take note that dogs are not permitted in any provincial parks and on the Rainbow-Madley trail. And always remember to pack out what you've taken in with you, leaving the wilderness in the same pristine state as you found it.

How much time does it take to ride the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola?
Give yourself at least 1.5 hours to enjoy the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola experience. It starts with a ride to the Roundhouse on Whistler Mountain via the Whistler Gondola which takes 25 minutes from the Village. From there you can walk into the PEAK 2 PEAK terminal and ride the magnificent PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola across to Blackcomb Mountain, which takes 11 minutes. Your ticket includes the return trip to the Village. You can travel back and forth as much as you like on the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola during the day but as soon as you come down to the Village your trip will have ended. If you have a little more time, you can enjoy alpine hiking trails and alpine dining.

Why do people wear bear bells?
Bears have exceptional hearing. People hiking and biking on trails where there is bear activity wear bells that jingle as they move. The sound alerts any bears in the area that something or someone is nearby, and can help to avoid startling them in their habitat. Singing or whistling is also a method of letting the bears know that you are nearby.

I plan to go out on the water on one of Whistler's lakes or rivers. Are there any local safety regulations?
If you are planning to enjoy Whistler's lakes and rivers this summer in a canoe, kayak, boat, raft, stand-up paddleboard or any other flotation device please ensure that you are aware of the water safety rules and regulations. Stay safe and have fun on the water this summer!

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Winter FAQ

What does 5/6 on the ticket mean and what is a 'dual mountain' pass?
Lift ticket pricing will typically have numbers such as 5/6 on the pricing structure. What this means is that your ticket is valid for any 5 days of skiing and riding within any specified 6 day period. This way, you can have one day off to relax during the 6 day period. All tickets are classified as 'dual mountain' which means they are valid for skiing and riding on both Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain. All tickets, as well as sightseeing tickets, include access to the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola.

How do I check for latest snow conditions?
Tourism Whistler offers current weather and snow conditions for Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. There are also webcams situated at the top of Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains.

Once I have a lift ticket how do I upload onto Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains?
Whistler Blackcomb is accessed by three gondolas and two chairlifts. Whistler Mountain has the Creekside Gondola, located in Whistler Creekside which is located 7 minutes south of the main village, while the Whistler Gondola and Fitzsimmons Chair are located directly in Whistler Village. Blackcomb Mountain is accessible by the Wizard Chair in the Upper Village (about a five minute walk from the Village) and the Excalibur Gondola, located right next to the Whistler Gondola and Fitzsimmons Chair in Whistler Village. The PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola connects both mountains at their peaks. Lift status is updated on a regular basis.

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Whistler Village

What is the weather like in Whistler?
Whistler enjoys a temperate climate. During the coldest winter months of January and February, the average daily high drops to -2C / 28F and the average daily low drops to -8C / 18F. The mountains receive an average annual snowfall of 11.9 metres (39.1 feet) based on a 10 year average. This consistent and reliable snowfall is complemented by extensive snowmaking technology. Summer in Whistler brings temperatures ranging from highs of 21C / 70F to 27C / 80F with August being the warmest month. You can view current conditions and see the latest weather through the webcams situated at the top of Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains, the Whistler Golf Course and Whistler Olympic Plaza.

What currency do I use in Whistler?
The Canadian dollar is the currency of Canada, but the American dollar is widely accepted throughout Whistler Resort. Whistler has several banks that are open from Monday to Saturday during normal business hours as well as many ATM machines throughout the village. Conversion rates fluctuate throughout the resort, but using your credit card will give you the most current exchange rate.

Are there any taxes on goods and services in British Columbia, Canada?
Goods and Services purchased in British Columbia are currently subject to the 8% PST (Provincial Sales Tax) and 5% GST (Goods and Services Tax). The majority of items such as lift tickets, activities, etc. are subject to one tax (5% GST). Lodging is subject to the 8% PST and 5% GST in addition to the 2% municipal and regional district tax.

Information Regarding the Cancellation of the Visitor Rebate Program and Details on GST Rebates for packages booked through Tour Operators: Click Here For More Information

If I don't have a car how do I get around the resort when I arrive?
You definitely don't need a car in Whistler! Hop on the bus from Vancouver and use Whistler's extensive public transit system while you're here. Whistler Village is pedestrian-only and easy to walk around; as well, a free shuttle is available that operates in and around Whistler Village, along with the Upper Village, at regular intervals. There are several neighborhoods offering accommodation that are not within walking distance of Whistler Village; there is a public transit system that operates regularly to all of these areas and these buses are equipped to carry skis, snowboards and bikes. The cost per ride is $2.50 so have your coins ready or pick up a 10-pack of tickets or a bus pass at the Whistler Visitors Activity Centre, located near the bus loop. Taxi cabs are also readily available throughout the Resort.

I am driving my car to Whistler - where do I park?
If you do drive, there is a mix of paid and free parking available in Whistler Village at the Day Lots. Lots 1, 2 and 3 are pay parking while Lots 4 and 5 are free. As well, Blackcomb has free parking near Base II (Lots 6, 7 and 8) and Whistler Creekside, in the underground garage. Check map for locations. Overnight parking is available under the Whistler Conference Centre and Whistler Public Library underground lots year-round for $5 from 5 PM to 10 AM. Overnight parking is permitted in the Day lots from May 1 to November 1 only, with exceptions for trekkers on multi-day hikes in Garibaldi Park in Lot 4 next to the berm. Sleeping/camping in vehicles is not permitted at any time. Most hotels charge a surcharge ranging from $8 to $25 per night for underground parking. During the winter, neighborhood street parking is restricted to allow for snow clearing.

Where do I eat and drink in Whistler? Is there anywhere to go out at night?
Whistler boasts an endless variety of great restaurants and international cuisines. Informal dress is the rule of Whistler; popular restaurants do get busy during peak times and reservations are recommended. Renowned for its fantastic nightlife and events, Whistler offers something to suit all ages and cultural tastes.

I am camping or staying in a self-catering apartment, is there anywhere to buy food and supplies?
Whistler has four grocery stores and four liquor stores which are well stocked and open daily. Check our local map for exact locations of services. Shopping is a pastime in itself in Whistler and any gifts or necessities that you might require while visiting are available. As well, Whistler is famous for its multitude of spas with a variety of treatment options guaranteed to help you relax and enjoy your holiday.

Is there anywhere in the Village I can connect to wireless internet (WiFi)?
There are a number of places that you can find a WiFi connection in the Village, including hotels, restaurants and on the mountains. Depending on the supplier, you may need to purchase internet time or be a customer of the facility. An alternative is to rent a personal WiFi hotspot from the Whistler Visitor Centre for a daily fee (plus refundable deposit). You can connect up to 10 devices at one time, and stay connected with friends and family wherever you go without the roaming charges.

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Booking with Tourism Whistler

Why should I book with Tourism Whistler?
Tourism Whistler Official Central Reservations is locally-based and guarantees to find you the lowest prices on lodging, activities, and transportation for your stay in Whistler.

Is booking online secure?
We use thawte SSL Certificates to offer secure communications by encrypting all data to and from our site. The thawte Trusted Site Seal is a visible, real-time assurance that our site is protected by one of the most trusted digital certificate providers on the Web.

What does Whistler Official Central Reservations do with my personal information?
All information given to our reservations centre is confidential and given only to Resort Partners to complete your booking as per your reservation. No personal information will ever be given or sold without your express permission. Refer to our privacy policy for more information.

How do I contact Whistler Official Central Reservations?
We are located directly in Whistler and can be reached by telephone at 1.800.WHISTLER (1.800.944.7853). Check out our detailed contact list for more information. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Call 1.800.WHISTLER (944.7853) to speak with a local travel consultant