Area: 7,000 acres
Elevation: 2,009 feet
Time Zone: Whistler is in the Pacific Time Zone. When it is noon in New York City, it is 9:00 AM in Whistler.
Average Temperatures by Month
January 23, 3
February 31, 6
March 42, 18
April 54, 27
May 64, 34
June 69, 42
July 74, 44
August 73, 43
September 65, 36
October 52, 30
November 38, 21
December 25, 8
In winter, dress warmly in "layers." A hat, scarf, gloves and sturdy shoes are essential. For summer travel, select loose-fitting natural-fiber clothes; pack a wool sweater and light jacket. If you plan on camping or hiking in the deep woods in summer, carry insect repellent, especially in June, which is blackfly season.
New Year's Day, January 1
Good Friday March, April (varies)
Easter Monday (varies)
Victoria Day May 22
Canada Day July 1
British Columbia celebrates British Columbia Day August 7
Labour Day first Monday in September
Thanksgiving second Monday in October
Remembrance Day November 11
Christmas, and Boxing Day December 25, 26
Most banks in Canada are open Monday-Thursday 10-3 and Friday 10-5 or 6. Some banks are open longer hours and also on Saturday morning. All banks are closed on national holidays.
Telus Guest Communications Centre, in the Roundhouse Lodge at the top of Whistler Mountain, is a business communication center where skiers can check their stocks, answer their e-mail, and recharge their cell phones between getting off the lift and skiing down the mountain. The center has constant global stock updates on a Bloomberg stock exchange monitor, a small meeting room, fax machines, a photocopier, card swipe phones, wall clocks showing the time in major cities, and instant Internet links. The services are free. Open 9-3 daily, Nov.-June. 604/905-2380; FAX: 604/932-1095.
Stores, shops, and supermarkets are usually open Monday-Saturday 9-6, although in major cities supermarkets are often open from 7:30 AM to 9 PM. Blue laws are in effect in much of Canada, but a growing number of provinces have stores with limited Sunday hours, usually noon-5 (shops in areas highly frequented by tourists are usually open on Sunday). Retail stores are generally open on Thursday and Friday evenings, most shopping malls until 9 PM. Drugstores in major cities are often open until 11 PM, and convenience stores are often open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Customs & Duties
Arriving in Canada
Cats and dogs must have a certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian that clearly identifies the animal and certifies that it has been vaccinated against rabies during the preceding 36 months. Seeing-eye dogs are allowed into Canada without restriction. Plant material must be declared and inspected. There may be restrictions on some live plants, bulbs, and seeds. With certain restrictions or prohibitions on some fruits and vegetables, visitors may bring food with them for their own use, providing the quantity is consistent with the duration of the visit.
Canada's firearms laws are strict. No handguns or semiautomatic or fully automatic weapons may be brought into the country. Sporting rifles and shotguns may be imported provided they are to be used for sporting, hunting, or competition while in Canada. All firearms must be declared to Canada Customs at the first point of entry.
Emergencies dial 911.
Following are postal abbreviations for provinces and territories: Alberta, AB; British Columbia, BC; Manitoba, MB; New Brunswick, NB; Newfoundland and Labrador, NF; Northwest Territories and Nunavut, NT; Nova Scotia, NS; Ontario, ON; Prince Edward Island, PE; Québec, PQ; Saskatchewan, SK; Yukon, YT.
ATMs are conveniently located throughout Canada in banks, large hotels, and shopping centers.
The units of currency in Canada are the Canadian dollar (C$) and the cent, in almost the same denominations as U.S. currency ($5, $10, $20, 1¢, 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, etc.). The $1 and $2 bill are no longer used; they have been replaced by $1 and $2 coins (known as a "loonie," because of the loon that appears on the coin, and a "toonie," respectively).
Most purchases in British Columbia are subject to a Canada-wide 7% Goods and Services Tax (GST) and a 7% Provincial Sales Tax (PST). If you are not a resident of Canada, you can reclaim the GST on goods you take out of the country.
Canada, like the United States, uses 110-volt, 60-cycle electric power.
Passports & Visas
Citizens and legal residents of the United States do not need a passport or a visa to enter Canada, but proof of citizenship (a birth certificate or valid passport) and some form of photo identification will be requested. Naturalized U.S. residents should carry their naturalization certificate. Permanent residents who are not citizens should carry their "green card." U.S. residents entering Canada from a third country must have a valid passport, naturalization certificate, or "green card."
Compact and pedestrian-oriented, Whistler Village has signed trails and paths linking together all shops and restaurants. If you're staying in the Village, you can park your car and leave it for the duration of your stay. The walk between the Whistler Mountain (Whistler Village) and Blackcomb Mountain (Upper Village) resorts takes about 5 minutes.
Blackcomb Helicopters (604/938-1700 or 800/330-4354) is one of several local operators that fly year-round flightseeing tours over Whistler's stunning mountains and glaciers. In summer, the company offers heli-hiking, heli-fishing, heli-picnics, and even heli-weddings.
Several companies, including Outdoor Adventures@Whistler (604/932-0647) and Whistler ATV Tours (604/932-6681), organize guided rides through the backcountry in all-terrain vehicles.
The country code for Canada (as for the United States) is 1. The area code for Whistler is 604. You do not need to dial the three-digit area code when making a call from within the same code.
Directory & Operator Information
For operator assistance, dial "0." For directory assistance in Canada, dial the area code followed by 555-1212; dial 1 before the area code if the area code is not the same as the one you are calling from.
International calls can be direct-dialed from most phones. If you're dialing Canada from the United States, dial 1 plus the area code and telephone number. If you're dialing the United States from Canada, dial 1 plus the area code and telephone number.
Tips and service charges are not usually added to a bill in Canada. In general, tip 15% of the total bill. This goes for waiters, waitresses, barbers and hairdressers, and taxi drivers. Porters and doormen should get about $1 a bag (or more in a luxury hotel). For maid service, $1 a day is sufficient ($2 in luxury hotels).
When to Go
The slopes are open from mid-November through April, and in this season the village buzzes with skiers and snowboarders from all over the world. In summer the pace is more relaxed, as the focus shifts to cycling, hiking, and boating around the Whistler Valley.
Arriving & Departing
Vancouver International Airport (YVR)
Grant McConachie Way,
the airport closest to Whistler, is south of Vancouver, which is 120 km 74 mi south of Whistler. An airport improvement fee is assessed on all flight departures: $5 for flights within British Columbia, $10 for flights within North America, and $15 for international flights.
Air Canada (888/247-2262). American (800/433-7300). Air New Zealand (800 663-5494). Alaska Airlines (800/252-7522). Continental Airlines (800/231-0856). Horizon Air (800/547-9308). United/United Express (800/241-6522).
Transfers Between the Airport and Town
Perimeter Whistler Express (604/266-5386 in Vancouver; 604/905-0041 in Whistler) has daily service from Vancouver International Airport to Whistler. Perimeter has a ticket booth at domestic arrivals Level 2 and one at the airport's international receiving lounge. The fare is about $47 one-way; reservations are recommended.
Greyhound Lines of Canada
Greyhound Canada Transportation Corp.
200-1150 Station Street
Vancouver, British Columbia V6A 4C7
1-604-482-8747 Fax: 1-604-683-0144
Toll Free: 1-800-661-8747
Buses leave frequently throughout the day for Whistler Village from the depot in downtown Vancouver (1150 Station St.). En route to Whistler the bus makes momentary stops along the Sea to Sky (Highway 99) at:
The final destination is the Whistler Village bus loop at the Village Gate and Northlands Boulevard.
Return trips to Vancouver stop in the same places. The bus also makes stops in downtown Vancouver at prominent intersections before its final destination at the main bus depot at Main and Terminal Streets.
West Coast City and Nature Sightseeing (604/451-1600 in Vancouver) offers a sightseeing tour to Whistler that allows passengers to stay overnight and return to Vancouver on their date of choice. The tours run year-round and cost about $57.
Whistler is 74 miles or 2 1/2 hours, north of Vancouver on Highway 99, the Sea to Sky Highway.
There is no longer rail service to and from Whistler.
Streets in Whistler Village, Village North, and Upper Village are all pedestrian-only; pay parking is readily available on the village outskirts. A free public transit system loops throughout the village, and paid public transit serves the whole valley. Call 604/932-4020 for information and schedules.
Available in Vancouver at all major rental companies.
Drivers must carry owner registration and proof of insurance coverage, which is compulsory in Canada. The Canadian Non-Resident Inter-Provincial Motor Vehicle Liability Insurance Card, available from any U.S. insurance company, is accepted as evidence of financial responsibility in Canada. The minimum liability coverage in Canada is $200,000.
Driver's licenses from the U.S., or from other countries, and international driver's licenses are valid in Canada.
For a cab, call Sea to Sky Taxi (604/932-3333).
Highway Regulations in British Columbia
Highways in British Columbia are safe and modernized. Be aware of some highway regulations:
Speed limits are in metric
Seat belts are mandatory
Use headlights even in daylight
Watch for wildlife and fallen rock
The Sea to Sky Highway speed limit is 80 kph (50 mph)
Roads can be slippery even in the summer months
Infant car seats are required for children weighing up to 20 pounds
50 kph = 30 mph
80 kph = 50 mph
1 Kilometre = 5/8 or .621 miles
1 Mile = 1 3/5 or 1.6 kilometres
Gasoline is sold in litres: 1 US Gallon = 3.78 litres