Having been opened as an investment opportunity with the aim of hosting a Winter Olympics back in the 60s, Whistler - now one of the world’s most famous ski resorts – finally had its Olympic dreams come true in 2010. And what an Olympics it was! The resort has everything, from beginners to full on hardcore off-piste skiing available on site, and a single run drop off in excess of 1500 meters, Whistler caters for everyone, even throwing in an array of snow parks for those who feel the need to leap, skid and spin their way around.
In short, this is an absolutely world class ski resort, arguably the best in North America, and invariably home to some truly exceptional skiers honing their skills. In the summer, of course, you’re in for a completely different (and far more laid back) experience, with hikers taking over, wandering the trails above pristine lakes. Alternatively you can hop on a mountain bike for your adrenaline rush, or play a peaceful game of golf in the valley.
The all important ski season tends to run from late November to late April, and offers all the standard extras you’d expect from a top class ski resort, bundled in at all the predictably excessive prices. Heliskiing is phenomenally impressive, but also costs the earth, while those with less of a hair-raising downhill leaning can stick to cross country around the lakes instead. Snow shoeing, riding on snowmobiles, dog sledding, ATV off-road journeys and white water rafting can all be arranged, too (and, of course, are all seasonal), but will burn a serious hole in the pocket.
Not that price should put you off. It is (just) possible to do Whistler on a budget, and it’s more than enough fun without the costly hidden extras. Grab some steaming waffles in a log cabin half way up the mountain, eye the views and then slip your skis back on for an exhilarating ride into the village and you’ll know you’ve come to one of the world’s essential ski resorts.