We’ll be visiting Whistler in February. That’ll make 12 years of fun family ski memories at this expansive Canadian mountain resort. I shared this with a friend here in Seattle who immediately came back and asked for help in planning his first trip to Whistler with his kids. His primary concern was where to stay given that Whistler is a large resort with many different “neighborhoods”. Here’s the advice I sent to him.
The Whistler Village area is where the hotels (Pan Pacific, Westin, Hilton) are located. On this map, “Skiers Plaza” is the area in front of the lift entrances. This is a busy spot before, during and after the ski day. Crowds gather at the Longhorn Bar (#7) from lunchtime on and this, and the Dublin Gate in the Pan Pacific (#16) are apres-ski central. Village Walk, the main pedestrian thoroughfare through the village starts from behind the Carleton Lodge (#7 on this map). It’s about a mile-long walk from here to the edge of the village i.e. the intersection with Hwy-99. The Village Walk is lined with shops, bars and restaurants and is the heart of the village.
The Whistler Kids drop-off/pick-up area is inside the Village Gondola building. The kids load up in the gondola (too cute when all you can see is the top of their ski helmets) and go up to mid-mountain to the Whistler Kids on-mountain base.
With small kids I’d avoid staying in this section of the village since it does get noisy at night.
This where we usually stay. The accommodation is mostly condo complexes some with communal pools or hot tubs. You’re still in the thick of the village action but not likely to be disturbed by late-night revelers. My favorites here are the Delta Whistler suites, the Town Plaza Lodge or Glacier’s Reach (this last because they have private hot tubs).
It’s a bit of a hike from say Town Plaza to the Whistler Kids drop-off especially with young kids in ski boots but if you give yourself an extra 30 minutes you can make it.
Whistler Upper Village aka Blackcomb is where you’ll find the really fancy accommodation: the Four Seasons, the Fairmont and Club Intrawest. There are regular shuttles between Blackcomb and Whistler and it’s really only a 15 min walk between the base areas, but the “village” in Blackcomb is much smaller. There is a single street – maybe 500yards – with no more than 10 shops. On the other hand, the Whistler Kids facility at Blackcomb is at the base area which is logistically easier especially with younger children and children who might need a little more time with Mom or Dad before heading off for the day.
Club Intrawest, with a pool and hot tub, a movie room and a games room is a luxury condo experience in the Upper Village.
The Creekside area is actually the original Whistler base. It’s a 5-10 minute drive to the village proper from here. The Creekside gondola can be excellent because the lines are shorter than the other gondolas but there are limited restaurant choices here and limited shopping.
There are free shuttles between all the village areas.
The maps on this post are all from Whistler resort accommodation information.
I’ve had great success finding good accommodation at reasonable rates using alluradirect.com and from specials on the whistlerblackcomb.com website.
If you have questions about Whistler or skiing with kids, leave your question in the comments below.