Vancouver to Whistler on the Sea to Sky Highway (Highway 99)
The beautiful two hour drive from Vancouver to Whistler is the start of your adventure. There's a magic moment when the city disappears, leaving snow capped peaks on one side and the deep waters of Howe Sound on the other. Please be aware that the Sea to Sky is a mountain highway where rain, snow and even wildlife can affect driving conditions - here are some resources to help prepare for the drive so you arrive in a holiday state of mind.
Live Weather and Road Conditions
Winter Tires Required on the Sea to Sky Highway from October 1 to March 31
The Sea to Sky Highway is a mountain highway, where conditions can be unpredictable due to rapid changes in elevation and weather. A trip that starts in sunshine may also encounter slush, ice, heavy snowfall or compact snow. For safety in winter conditions, passenger vehicles are required to have winter tires installed to drive the Sea to Sky Highway between October and March.
The following information from the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure of British Columbia outlines the requirements for winter tires in the province. Please read and ensure your vehicle complies*:
*Winter tire requirements are set by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure for British Columbia and may change without notice - always check their website for the latest information.
Driving in British Columbia
Highways in British Columbia are safe and modernized. Be aware that Canadian highway regulations may differ from where you are from. Please note:
- Speed limits are in metric
- Seat belts are mandatory
- Use headlights even in daylight
- Roads can be slippery even in the summer months
- Infant car seats are required for children weighing up to 9 kg / 20 pounds
During winter months, snow can be heavy on the highway. Be prepared for winter driving:
- Check the road conditions before you leave
- Renting a vehicle? Ask about all-wheel drive options for better handling in the snow
- Learn more about winter driving and preparing your car for winter with Transport Canada
Wildlife on the Road
Animal collisions pose a risk to wildlife, people and their property. Help reduce the number of deaths and injurious accidents by following these guidelines:
- Drive defensively and concentrate on the road at all times. Watch the sides of the road for wildlife attempting to cross, especially where visibility is poor (at bends in the road, or where the forest comes close to the road).
- Use extra caution at night; bears are dark animals and are very difficult to see in the dark, or even at dusk and dawn. Bears and other animals are often found foraging roadside during spring when newly sprouting clover (especially along newly constructed highways) provides good feeding.
- Watch for signs that have been posted in high wildlife collision zones and slow down.
- Never stop to view wildlife. This stresses wildlife and creates unsafe road conditions due to traffic congestion.
- If you are involved in a collision, call the police if there are any human injuries or significant damage to your vehicle. Inspect your vehicle to see if it is safe to continue driving.
- Call the local wildlife agency if there is a dead or injured animal to report. In BC, call the Conservation Officer Service at 1.877.952.7277.
- Learn more about wildlife on the road with the Get Bear Smart Society
United States to Canada Border Crossings
Whistler is just a short drive from the United States border. The following information may be of use if entering Canada by vehicle.