Whistler is a world-famous resort town that draws in 2.7 million visitors per year. But Whistler is more than a haven for tourists – nearly 10,000 lucky individuals call the area home all year long, and there’s plenty to recommend this thriving resort municipality as a permanent home base. Here are just five reasons to consider Whistler as much more than a weekend getaway.
1. World-Class Skiing, Mountain Biking and Other Sports
Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, Whistler Blackcomb’s 8,171 acres of terrain and more than 200 marked ski trails make it North America’s largest ski area. Even better, the Ski or Ride with an Olympian program offers one-on-one or small-group training with one of Whistler’s resident Olympic athletes. And where else can you nurture your bobsleigh or skeleton hobby in your own backyard? How about ski jumping, or biathlon? The Whistler Sliding Centre offers programs that allow the public to try the Olympic sliding sports, while Whistler Olympic Park offers ski jumping programs and camps for kids and youth along with recreational biathlon programs. Of course, the facilities also provide the perfect training ground for future generations of Olympic athletes. What's more, the Whistler Mountain Bike Park is considered the #1 lift-accessed downhill bike park in the world, with 4,946 vertical feet of trails.
2. Stepping Out into Unbelievable Natural Beauty
All that world-class skiing and mountain biking doesn’t come without world-class mountains. So even if sports are not your thing, the sheer beauty of the region is breathtaking. From mountaintop trails, to turquoise lakes, to precious forested provincial parks – this area has some of the most outstanding natural beauty imaginable – and many of even the humblest of residences offer fabulous views. What a wonderful scene to wake up to each day.
3. A Thriving Arts and Culture Scene
The new Audain Art Museum houses one of the world’s finest historical First Nations masks collections and counts two dozen works by Emily Carr among its permanent collection, giving a major boost to the Whistler art scene. The Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre is another important cultural venue, offering a chance to explore local First Nations culture. To top it off, Whistler has a bustling festival schedule, with annual cultural events including the Whistler Children’s Festival, the Summer Concert Series and the Whistler Film Festival.
4. Canada’s Best Dining
Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay declared Araxi to be Canada’s best restaurant in 2009, and Whistler’s dining scene has been in the spotlight ever since. The après-ski scene was named best in North America by SKI magazine in 2010, and Cornucopia, an 11-day festival held each November, attracts 15,000 visitors to the area to explore gourmet food and drink.
5. A Young and Active Population
Almost half of Whistler’s permanent residents are between 20 and 39 years old, making the area a prime destination for young, active people looking to connect with their contemporaries. From the ski hill to the bike park to après-ski at a Village pub, there’s plenty of opportunity to do just that.