This Whistler Travel Guide blog post is sponsored by The Westin Resort & Spa, Whistler, and all opinions are my own.
Welcome to the Winter in Whistler Travel Guide! We came to Whistler for the snowboarding, and after hearing so many raving reviews about this town, our expectations were high! Everyone we talked with said it was one of the best mountains for snowboarders, and we’d even heard it referred to as a snowboarder’s Disney World. So let’s get started with the Whistler Travel Guide, there’s a lot to unpack!
Whistler Travel Guide
And let me tell you, Whistler did not disappoint! Our snowboarding trip was absolutely perfect,from the snow coverage, the airport transportation, the convenience of the village, to the amazing hotel accommodations – it was everything vacation dreams are made of. So yes, we will absolutely be back. Probably next year. And yes, I will recommend Whistler to every single person I see (and you reading this Whistler Travel Guide right now too!)
Honestly, there’s not a single thing I would change about our trip, do “differently” or do better. One of the first times we nailed it on the first try, and that’s RARE for a new destination!!
So here’s a breakdown on where we stayed, how we got there, what we ate, and what we did while we were in Whistler with the ultimate Whistler travel guide!
Where to Stay
Whistler Travel Guide
You know I love the Westin Hotels across the world, and the The Westin Resort & Spa, Whistler was one of my favorites! First of all, I’ll start with the location. It’s right in the heart of Whistler Village and at the base of the Whistler Gondola. The Westin Resort & Spa, Whistler has ski valet, making it the perfect ski in / ski out destination with access to everything.
The best feature of The Westin Resort & Spa, Whistler is every room comes with a fully equipped kitchen – regardless of if you are staying in a suite or not. This is a major plus and rarity to find when it comes to hotels. The room is equipped with an oven, microwave, stove, fridge, and dishwasher – including all the pots, pans and plates you’d need to cook. For ski trips, having a fully equipped kitchen is a key essential for Ross and I. In the long run, it helps you save money by not having to eat out for every meal. We usually cook breakfast in the hotel, then eat out the rest of the time. We attempt to cook an easy dinner in one night – we can’t resist a giant pot of spaghetti and meatballs.
For picture reference, we stayed in a 1 bedroom suite and loving having the extra room for all our outerwear and extra luggage.
Another feature of all the hotel rooms, regardless of a suite, is a fireplace! Another essential for a ski trip! When you come off the mountain, it’s nice to have a warm area to lay all your wet clothing near so it dries by the next morning – especially your gloves! It rained at the base of the mountain, and by the time you made it up the Gondola at the top of the mountain it would turn to snow. Our outerwear coats were more wet than usual due to all the precipitation!
The Westin Resort & Spa, Whistler also has an amazing spa, pool and hot tub area! A hot tub is another must for a ski vacation. I loved how there was both an indoor and outdoor hot tub, and the pool was also indoor / outdoor style. Here’s a view of the outdoor pool area from our room!
Overall, our stay and room was perfect – we slept just heavenly on the Westin Heavenly mattress and enjoyed coffee on the balcony every morning.
I will note – there are 2 villages in Whistler – one at Whistler Mountain base and one at the Blackcomb base called Upper Village. The Whistler Village was a little bit more convenient to the Olympic Village (more shopping and restaurants). Overall, I highly enjoyed staying the Whistler Village. The 2 villages are about a 10 minute walk from each other. The grocery store is also located in the Whistler Village (which also made it convenient to not have a car but still able to get groceries!)
How to Get There – Transportation
Whistler Travel Guide
We ended up not renting a car, which is rare for us! My aunt had been to Whistler before, and told us we did not need one if we were staying at The Westin Resort & Spa, Whistler, as it was right in the Village. The most common route to Whistler is flying into Vancouver, then driving or taking a shuttle to Whistler.
We found an airport transportation service, Whistler Shuttle and loved our service to and from the airport. They were on time for pick up and we left right away once everyone loaded on the luxury bus. The seats were reclinable leather chairs, and the bus had giant windows for sightseeing on the 2 hour ride. Both drivers on the way there and back were full of knowledge, telling us fun facts along the way, like pointing out the golf course Happy Gilmore was filmed. The nice part is they dropped you right off at your hotel and pick you up at your hotel so there’s no trucking to a bus station!
Where to Eat
Whistler Travel Guide
Whistler had some of the best restaurant selections right in the Village!
Basalt – the perfect mix of somewhere nicer to eat that’s not completely upscale, and still makes delicious, unique meals. That’s the definition of my perfect place to eat and the atmosphere I’m usually looking for in a restaurant, and Basalt killed it. Indoors it’s a little crowded, but the outdoor seating has couches and fireplaces to stay nice and cozy. They are big into charcuterie boards if that’s your thing – this is the spot for that. Ross ordered Ginger + Scallion + Chestnut Stuffed Chicken and probably his fav dinner of the week. I was on a pasta kick during this trip – ordered the dairy free Garganelli made with cilantro pesto coconut cream, salmon, tomatoes, shrimp and bok choy.
Gnarly Roots Pizza & Cafe – If you’re looking for a casual pizza night – this is the place to go. A smaller restaurant, but great food and wine. I was shocked at the restaurant wine prices in Canada – I’m talking only $20 a bottle (I feel like in the US it minimally starts at $40 regardless of brand).
Grill & Vine – The restaurant inside of The Westin Resort & Spa, Whistler and it did not disappoint! First off all, the drinks were fire – I recommend the Cloud Nine with Tequila, Mezcal, Vanilla, Grapefruit and Egg White. For an appetizer, we tried the fried avocados – which Ross was skeptical about – but he trusted me and ended up loving them. Ross ordered the ribeye, and I tried the Linguine Vongole with clams, garlic and chili. We were able to take the dessert up to our room which was a perfect night cap!
Beacon Pub & Eatery – We came here just for drinks at the end of the night and the bar is definitely packed, but killer margaritas. Sneak up to the second floor bar area for more seating and views of the village.
Tapley’s Neighborhood Pub – A pub, laid back atmosphere as described, equipped with the best honey BBQ wings I’ve ever had. I want more. Right Now.
Longhorn Saloon – the party spot for Apres Ski – live DJ outside, heat lamps, drinks and bar food. Definitely the hot spot at the base of the mountain. We came here 4 times during our stay! The nachos were perfect to share, and big, juicy burgers if you’re starving after a day on the slopes.
Garibaldi Lift Co – Located at the base of Whistler mountain as well, with a more relaxed apres ski vibe than LongHorn Saloon. Couches with fireplaces for outdoor seating to overlook the mountain. Loved the Canadian Hot Chocolate!
Other Notable Restaurants
We weren’t able to eat everywhere we wanted, but all of these restaurants made our list of contenders.
II Caminetto – It was on our list to check out this restaurant, we just didn’t have enough nights! It looked like the best Italian food in Whistler, definitely fancier style of a restaurant though. The outdoor patio was huge and great for the summer months!
21 Steps Kitchen & Bar – A larger restaurant with a 2nd floor overlooking the village – it looked like our kind of spot!
Earl’s Kitchen & Bar – a Canadian chain with a few locations in the US, we already ate here Denver so we skipped it in Whistler. We enjoyed our meal in Denver so it’s another great restaurant pick with a casual atmosphere – lots of good appetizer / small plate options.
What to Do – Fun Activities !!
Whistler Travel Guide
Ski / Snowboard on Whistler Blackcomb Mountain
Whistler Blackcomb was hands down our top skiing experience so far. The mountain was absolutely enormous, with tons of blue (intermediate) runs. A cool fact about Whistler Blackcomb – every single lift as a green (Easy) route down, making it a great mountain for everyone regardless of skill level.
We enjoyed how many gondolas there were, we took those every time instead of ski lifts to stay warm. If you kept going all the way to the top and boarded back down to the bottom, the runs were so long it would take us 30 minutes – hour. It felt like we were able to do more snowboarding and less chair lift riding.
The weather in January was absolutely perfect – we hit a “warm week” in the 30s, and it snowed at the mountain top everyday. It was cloudy /foggy and it impacted visibility at times, but I wouldn’t have traded the fresh powder for anything!
Non Skiing Activities
If you’re not into skiing and snowboarding, there are still other fun winter activities for you!
First of all, they have a 28 person peak to peak gondola – its massive with gorgeous views! Just a ride to check out the scenery is a must do. Below were our snowy, cloudy views but still breathtaking!
This is the first time I had heard of ziplining in the freezing winter!! After seeing the views from the peak to peak gondola ride, and I can only imagine the thrill of the zip line with those snow covered tree line views. There are a ton of different options – check it out here.
Another fun option, however we focused this trip on skiing and snowboarding. Our friends did the snowmobile tour with Blackcomb Snowmobile and had a blast! There are tons of companies that offer snowmobiling, for the full list check out this page here.
Ice Skating at Olympic Village Plaza
This picture is more of the Olympic rings (lots of Olympic ring picture opportunities in the Village and up on the mountain) but the giant ice skating rink is behind it! Ice skate rentals are $7 with no other fees! Check it out here.
There’s an entire snow tubing park on Whistler Mountain! Check it out here.
What to Wear / Pack
It’s winter – pack warm!! I have a comprehensive guide on How and What to Pack for a Ski Trip here for more details. Otherwise, the usual in terms of winter wear – sweaters, boots, thick socks, hats, gloves, long coat, etc.
I will note my favorite winter boots here! For someone traveling from the South like me, these Sorel duck boots are my favorite “in between” boot. There are many Sorel boots out there – and many built for colder weather and deep snow. These would totally work in Whistler, but I wouldn’t really have a need for them back home. That’s why I love these Sorel boots – they aren’t as bulky but they still keep me warm in the snow! I can also wear them back in Nashville and not look out of place.
Overall, we loved the town of Whistler, The Westin Resort & Spa, Whistler, the skiing on the mountain at Whistler Blackcomb – so yes, EVERYTHING. Highly recommend Whistler as a ski and snowboard destination! If you want to check out some of my other snowy destination travel guides, check out:
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