Discussions over the merits of snowboarding over skiing (and vice versa) can get as heated as any and can be overheard breaking out between the sports’ respective proponents on countless buses setting out from Vancouver en route to Whistler. But these cease the instant their coaches round the final corner to reveal a view to remember: it is a fairy tale setting featuring snow-capped trees on the fringe of frozen lakes bypassed by the route into Whistler, a village that encapsulates what is a winter paradise.
Perched at the base of two mountains – Whistler and Blackcomb – Whistler Village lies about 120km north of Vancouver. It has also seen its reputation spread to become recognized as one of the world’s most popular ski resorts. As one of the venues for the 2010 Winter Olympics, the resort caters for the expert skiers but beginners have nothing to fear as every skill level is catered for. But that is not all as Whistler Village also boasts the necessary facilities for après-ski entertainment including movie theatres, restaurants ranging from the fast-food variety on through gourmet award-winning eateries and, of course, countless shops. In all, it is surprising that “merely” millions visit each year.
Cheap flights to Whistler arrive at Vancouver Airport. Visitors have a number of transportation options from here but one of the most common is the two-or-so-hour bus ride along the scenic Sea-to-Sky Highway.
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Winter sport enthusiasts book cheap flights to Whistler (via Vancouver) starting in mid-December though January and February are considered peak season.
Meanwhile, peak season to visit Vancouver spans July and August. However, the main tourist season covers the summer as well as parts of the spring and fall, starting in April. Summer events taking place in the city include festivals (jazz, folk and film among others), the HSBC PowerSmart Celebration of Light fireworks display.
Both Whistler and Vancouver are also at their best during the so-called shoulder seasons (May – June and September – October for Vancouver as well as December and March – April for Whistler) when both destinations are less crowded and the weather is milder. Both early spring and late fall are also ideal times for whale watching.