Whistler: A Resort Town Crowning British Columbia
Incorporated as the Resort Municipality of Whistler or RMOW, this town is regarded as one of the best four-season resorts in the North American region. For roughly a month, Whistler basked in the world’s spotlight as host of the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. And while the panoramic beauty of this mountain town may have been unknown in the past, its rise to international stardom has been an overnight success. Just a two-hour drive from Vancouver through the Sea to Sky Highway, Whistler is a famous destination since Alex and Myrtle Philip constructed the Rainbow Lodge on the Alta Lakes Shores in 1914. Once known as a summer getaway, it wasn’t until the 1960s that Whistler opened for skiing and in the succeeding years created the biggest ski complexes in the region.
Before the world-acclaimed resorts, high altitude action, and slopes, Whistler Valley has once had a fascinating history. In the 1860s, British officers arrived in the area and named the Whistler Mountain as London Mountain. In the 1900s, the area became a base for loggers, miners, and trappers. They named the community ‘Whistler’ because of the whistle sound created by the hoary marmots residing in the rocks. When the fearless Alex and Myrtle Philip arrived on Alta Lake (which is the site of modern day Whistler), there was no railway or road. They had to ride a ferry, a buckboard stage, and travel by foot to reach their destination. Two years later, a railway expansion project linked Whistler Valley to the region. And with this new transport, Rainbow Lodge became a famous summer destination in the 1920s.
Whistler Valley was formed between the upper middle reaches of Cheakamus and the Green River headwaters. It is surrounded by glaciated mountains on both sides, the Garibaldi Ranges, and the Pacific Ranges. Blending the mystical charm of this alpine village with amenities of a metropolis, the pedestrianized Whistler community offers great dining, eclectic boutiques, luxurious accommodations, revitalizing spas, and a vibrant nightlife.
The average list price for single family homes in Whistler is $1.2 million. If you are looking to invest in studio condos, the prices start at $160,000. There are also a number of investment hotel units and fractional ownership offers for real estate investors and ordinary consumers. If you are looking at the high end, $15 million is something unheard of.
Education and Transportation
Whistler is accessible through BC’s Highway 99, approximately 76 miles from Vancouver and 58 kilometers north of Squamish. There are also daily scheduled bus services from Vancouver to Whistler. The Whistler Valley Express offers year round bus service throughout this resort town. Whistler currently has two primary schools namely Spring Creek and Myrtle Philip Community Schools. The town has one secondary school at the moment—Whistler Secondary.
Recreation and Shopping
There is more to Whistler than just premier snowboarding and skiing. Thrill-seekers, adventure-lovers, and families can enjoy 129 kilometer of groomed Nordic skiing, moonlit sleigh rides, backcountry tours, tuning, snowshoeing, and dog sledding. Learn more about the town’s history at the Whistler Museum or the Squamish Lilwat Cultural Center. Hop on a summit bound gondola or chairlift, or enjoy the peak to peak ride between the Blackcomb and Whistler Mountains. Whistler also offers a wide variety of shopping experiences for those who are searching for regional giftware and slope-oriented items. Check out the weekly farmer’s market on Sundays in the upper village and the popular Creekside Market.