It’s what we are about.


An incomplete guide of all the things you wanted to know about Whistler, but were too polite to ask.


Q: What’s the Whistler connection to marmots?

A: Marmots are what gives Whistler its name. Originally called London Mountain, the name was changed after the whistling sounds made by the Western Hoary Marmots when danger is nearby. The marmots live in the rocks in the alpine and they’re pretty cute… as if you needed another reason to hike up in the mountains.


Q: How do I find out what’s going on in town while I’m here?

A: Not to toot our own horn but the two weekly newspapers, Pique Newsmagazine and The Whistler Question, our sister publications, are the font of all knowledge of what’s happening in town, from the ticketed shows at local bars to the free concerts at the plaza. These papers are free and in boxes around town.


Q: Free concerts?

A: They’re not just free, but outdoors in the village at Whistler Olympic Plaza with the mountains as the backdrop. For example, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra comes every year at the beginning of July. There are sounds floating in the air almost every summer weekend.


Q: What’s a toonie ride?

A: Now you’re thinking like a local! A toonie ride is the weekly Thursday cross-country bike rides on select trails in the valley. It costs a Toonie and you get an après with that too — a beer and a bite to eat. You need to be a member of WORCA, the local mountain biking club, to take part. That just involves signing up and paying the fee. Check out for the toonie schedule. There is no better way to get a sense of the local community as well as see some of the valley’s best trails.


Q: What do I need to know before I go in the Whistler Mountain Bike Park?

A: You need to know that the bike park is not all about massive jumps and seemingly impossible tricks. Everyone can ride the park from beginners to the pros. And they do. The real trick is figuring out how to get your bike on the chairlift.


Q: What mountain range is Whistler located in?

A: It’s always good to have your bearings. Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains are in the Coast Mountains on the northwestern edge of Garibaldi Provincial Park. Whistler Mountain has a top elevation of 2,182 metres; Blackcomb Mountain is slightly higher at 2,284 metres. The bike park is on Whistler.


Q: What should I do if I run into a bear?

A: Respect bears! Give them plenty of space and never approach them. No one should ever feed, pet or pose for a photo with a bear. Take pictures with a telephoto lens from a distance. Learn more at To report a human/bear conflict, call: 604-905-BEAR (2327).


Q: How can I stay safe in bear country?

A: It never hurts to sing a tune and whistle as you walk along the trails. It lets the bears know you’re near. All garbage must go into bear-proof containers. In Whistler, it’s the law! Bear-proof containers are located throughout the village, the municipal parks and the Valley Trail.


Q: Should I go swimming if I see a sign for swimmer’s itch?

A: Swimmer’s itch is a temporary itchy rash caused by microscopic parasites passed between water fowl and certain snails. It is not related to the quality of the water but the resort municipality will post signs at the local beaches if there are reports of swimmer’s itch. It’s perfectly safe to swim but think about staying clear of areas with weed growth. Swimming off a dock will cut down the risk. Also, think about wearing waterproof sunscreen and towel off vigorously or take a shower immediately after leaving the water. There are outdoor showers at Lost Lake, Wayside, Lakeside and Rainbow Parks.


Q: What about something a little more serious than swimmer’s itch?

A: There are walk-in clinics and doctors offices in Whistler. There is also the Whistler Health Care Centre, which has a fully-staffed emergency department. It’s located on Lorimer Road, in the village. You can’t stay overnight but it is open until 10 p.m. There are doctors on call throughout the night.


Q: Where do all the locals live?

A: If you’re staying in the Village you may wonder where everyone else lives! There’s a bustling little community at Whistler’s heart. Whistler has a permanent population of roughly 10,000 people. There are two elementary schools, a high school and a Waldorf School here. About 80 per cent of Whistler’s workforce lives in town, in the neighbourhoods north and south of the village. The rest make the commute from Squamish or Pemberton.


Q: Speaking of the commute, how do I avoid getting stuck on the Sea to Sky Highway?

A: With only one road in and out of town to the Vancouver, Highway 99 definitely has some issues, particularly on a busy weekend. Avoid peak travel times — Friday after work, Sunday evening. The trick is to come early and stay late. Plus, that gives you more time to enjoy Whistler. Once you’re on the road, it’s only an hour and a half to the city.


Q: I’m on a return trip to Whistler. What’s new this summer?

A: The biggest change in the last year is the opening of the $42 million Audain Art Museum. Read about it in FAQ. Another thing to look out for this summer is the new skatepark in the Village. And the new high alpine mountain bike trail on Sproatt Mountain will be finished by the fall. C’mon, this is Whistler. There’s always something new and exciting happening in Whistler.


Q: Indeed — there’s always something new and exciting. But when is Whistler Blackcomb’s new waterpark going to be ready?

A: Good question! The Watershed is in phase 1 of Whistler Blackcomb’s $345 million Renaissance investment in the coming years. Read more about this in our On the Mountains section. The Watershed will be a year-round indoor adventure centre with waterslides, surf simulator technology, cliff jumping and rock climbing. WB must still work through all the approvals but expect to see this massive investment in the coming years. In other words — we’ll see you back in Whistler!