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Whistler teems with partying Vancouverites, especially during the off-season. Three days provide plenty of time for zipping, skiing, biking, or whatever your alpine adventure may be.
But you'll quickly discover that it's a very happening place almost every day, with open-air concerts throughout the summer and weekly shows in winter with the area's best skiers and riders jumping through blazing rings of fire.
FEB.: With Winterpride Whistler (www.gaywhistler.com), the resort heats up for a week with naughty nightlife, fine dining, fabulous après-ski, and slope-side fun.
APR.: The raucous Telus World Ski & Snowboard Festival (www.whistler.com) end-of-the-season bash fills 10 days with music, arts, fashion shows, and extreme sports.
MAY: Fitness demonstrations, health seminars, and other events focus on wellness at Whistler Wellness Week (www.whistlerwellness.com).
JULY: More than 100 daredevil racers from all over the world hurtle down S-bends at breakneck speeds during Whistler Longboard Festival (www.whistlerlongboard.com).
AUG.: The annual Kokanee Crankworx (www.crankworx.com) mountain-bike festival showcases the sport's boldest and most talented athletes as they whip down double black-diamond runs; there are also daily concerts and a huge downhill biking scene.
NOV.: There's a little bit of everything at Cornucopia (www.whistlercornucopia.com), an annual festival for foodies and oenophiles. The grand gala do is a veritable who's who in the Pacific Northwest wine industry.
DEC.: The annual Whistler Film Festival ( www.whistlerfilmfestival.com ) features world premieres from top directors, industry events, and parties, all with a Canadian focus.
Just 120 km (75 miles) north of Vancouver on Highway 99 (Sea-to-Sky Highway), Whistler is easy to get to from Vancouver, depending on your budget. You won't need a car once you're here; even if you choose to stay outside the village, you can get around easily with public shuttle buses or taxis. The closest airport is Vancouver International Airport, about 135 km (84 miles) away.
Perimeter Whistler Express has daily bus service to Whistler from Vancouver International Airport and from many Vancouver hotels (nine times a day in ski season, five times a day in summer). Fares start at C$80 one way, and reservations are recommended. Greyhound Canada has service to Whistler from downtown Vancouver and from Vancouver Airport. Departing from Vancouver, the Snow Bus is a winter-only luxury coach with snacks and movies. Whistler Direct Shuttle provides year-round service from the airport.
Greyhound Canada (604/482–8747 or 800/661–8747. www.greyhound.ca.)
Perimeter Whistler Express (604/266–5386 or 877/317–7788. www.perimeterbus.com.)
Snow Bus (888/794–5551. www.snowbus.ca.)
Whistler Direct Shuttle (888/405–2410. www.whistlerdirectshuttle.com.)
Driving from Vancouver to Whistler takes approximately two hours along the scenic Sea-to-Sky Highway (aka Highway 99). It's recommended to check weather conditions during the winter season; in spite of considerable improvements for the Olympics, rockslides still occur and can cause delays.
If you've got the money, travel in style: Glacier Air Tours has charter helicopter and airplane service between Whistler and Vancouver International Airport or Vancouver Harbour for anywhere from C$230 to C$3,000. West Coast Air connects Victoria and Whistler, June through September for C$288. Whistler Air runs two daily flights between Vancouver's Coal Harbour and the Whistler area from mid-May to early October; the company also partners with Rocky Mountaineer's Whistler Mountaineer service to offer fly-rail packages for around C$320.
Glacier Air (800/208–4421. www.glacierair.com.)
Westcoast Air (800/665–0212. www.westcoastair.com.)
Whistler Air (888/806–2299. www.whistlerair.ca.)
LimoJet Gold runs a stretch limo service from Vancouver International Airport to Whistler for C$320 per trip. Pearl International Limousine Service has limos, sedans, and 10-passenger vans—all equipped with blankets, pillows, bottled water, and videos so you can enjoy the ride. Rates start at about C$300. Vancouver All-Terrain Adventures charters four-wheel drives from Vancouver International or downtown Vancouver to Whistler. Vehicles travel in all weather and will stop for sightseeing. The cost starts at C$350 one way.
Limojet Gold Limousine Services (604/273–1331 or 800/278–8742. www.limojetgold.com.)
Pearl International Limousine Service (604/732–7897 or 877/977–3275. www.pearllimousine.com.)
Vancouver All-Terrain Adventures (778/371–7830 or 888/754–5601. www.all-terrain.com.)
For a cab in the Whistler area call Whistler Taxi. Service is available around the clock.
Whistler Taxi (604/938–3333. www.whistlertaxi.com.)
The Whistler Mountaineer is a three-hour, premier train journey from North Vancouver to Whistler. It's an "experience" train trip, providing passengers with commentary and refreshments while taking in the Sea-to-Sky's jaw-dropping scenery. The service runs May to September; fares start at C$235 round-trip, including bus transfers from downtown to North Vancouver.
Whistler Mountaineer (888/687–7245. www.rockymountaineer.com.)
The Whistler and Valley Express (WAVE) transit system operates a free, year-round public-transit system within Whistler village, as well as paid public transit throughout the Valley and north to Pemberton.
BC Transit (604/932–4020. www.bctransit.com.)
Tourism Whistler (800/944–7853. www.whistler.com.)
Whistler Visitor Information and Activity Center (4010 Whistler Way, Whistler, BC, V0N 1B4. 604/932–0606. www.whistler.com.)