There’s no getting away from the fact that Whistler in winter is, by anyone’s standards, an expensive place to go on vacation. But even at this time of year there are ways of getting more Whistler for your money. Here we explain how you can make your money go further, last longer, or even remain safely in your wallet.
CHOOSE YOUR ACCOMMODATION WISELY.
This isn’t a shameless plug. This is practical advice to ensure you don’t blow your budget on a huge hotel room that you don’t really need, or end up staying in an out-of-town budget hostel that takes ages to get to and from every day.
Pangea is the wise choice if you’re after affordable accommodation in the heart of Whistler. We cost a lot less than a comparable hotel, and we offer a lot more than your average hostel – like essential elements of privacy, a boutique design and outstanding facilities (including free gear storage).
GET YOUR LIFT TICKETS IN ADVANCE.
If you want to save money, do not buy your lift tickets when you get here. Apart from splashing out on a luxury hotel, that’s probably about the quickest way to empty to your bank account. We touched on this in an earlier post, but it’s worth revisiting now, especially as you’re more likely to be using the lifts in winter.
WhistlerBlackcomb.com is the best place to buy tickets in advance online; they guarantee the lowest price. Tickets give you access to both Whistler and Blackcomb and include the Peak 2 Peak Gondola, the record-breaking, valley-spanning lift that makes it possible to ski both mountains on the same day. Canadian and Washington State residents can also save money by purchasing a 5- or 10-day Edge Card.
BRING YOUR OWN GEAR (IF YOU HAVE IT).
A surefire way of saving cash on a trip to Whistler is to bring your own gear. Providing getting it to Whistler isn’t a problem and your hotel has a place to store it once you get here (Pangea does, by the way), it’s by far the most cost-effective option.
However, if you aren’t a regular skier or snowboarder and don’t have gear of your own (or if the cost of transporting your gear is prohibitively expensive), it’s usually a better idea to hire your equipment from one of Whistler’s great local rental companies. Most outfitters offer budget options as well as pro-grade kit.
GOURMET EATING AND DRINKING – FOR LESS.
Whistler has a world-class food scene, and who are we to tell you not to make the most of it? If you want to wine and dine in the fancier restaurants, be our guest. But you should know that gourmet food, outstanding wine and high-class cocktails can also be found at The Living Room or The Rooftop Patio for considerably less. Whether you’re a guest of the hotel or not, you can make your money go further by après-ing at Pangea. And even in the winter, the patio scene is where it’s at.
LOW COST FUN.
Whistler in winter isn’t just about skiing and boarding. Sure, it’s what brings most visitors to town, but there are other things to do and they can be surprisingly inexpensive. Snowshoeing, for example, is one alternative winter activity the Pangea team love when they’re looking to rev up the heart rate in a stunning outdoor setting, and for less than 15 dollars you can hit the scenic trails of the world-famous Callaghan Valley (check out our Winter Guide for more on this). There’s also admission-free ice-skating in the village, with skate rental costing less than a beer. So if the price of lift tickets brings a tear to your eye, consider taking a day or two off the slopes at the beginning or end of your vacation.
BOOK AHEAD FOR CHEAP TRANSPORT.
This should go without saying, but the earlier you book your flight, train, bus or car, the better. Of course, this could be said of any destination in the world, but remember not every destination in the world is quite like Whistler; booking transport a long way in advance makes even more sense when you’re heading somewhere that’s known for being high-end.
Depending on where you’re flying from and when you want to fly, it can be more cost effective to fly to Seattle and pick up a bus or train from there.
Stay tuned to our blog and social media channels for more insight and more tips and tricks to experiencing the best of the unique mountain town of Whistler on a budget.