Less than 2 hours’ drive from Vancouver, up the winding, scenic Sea-to-Sky Highway, you will find the city’s favorite place to play: the mountain resort of Whistler-Blackcomb. Widely considered one of the world’s greatest ski resorts, Whistler-Blackcomb hosted the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, which brought with it a slew of new hotels, a vastly improved telecommunications system, a better highway, and the attention of the entire world.
The resort is actually two mountains—Whistler and Blackcomb—and between them lies Whistler Village, which is where you can find most of the off-slope action. And, although the resort is best known for its winter sports, there’s just as much to do here in summer.
In winter, the skiing is epic. The resort has more vertical runs, lifts, and varied ski terrain than any other in North America. In addition to downhill skiing and snowboarding, there’s backcountry, cross-country, and heli-skiing, as well as sleigh riding, snowshoeing, and even bobsledding at the Whistler Sliding Centre.
In summer, Whistler is a mecca for mountain bikers, with a world-class mountain bike park to match its world-class winter skiing. There’s also river rafting, hiking, golfing, wildlife-watching, and horseback riding, as well as the more leisurely pursuits of shopping and fine dining.
The Village itself is a cute, compact, colorful mountain community of hotels, restaurants, and shops. It only dates back to the 1970s, when a group of locals set about designing a resort town with a carefully planned infrastructure and aesthetic. The result is a safe, friendly, easily walkable town where everything is within easy reach. Yes, it’s expensive, and it can be a bit of a party, but who doesn’t like a party once in a while?