5 Things Every Whistler Local Wants You To Know
Are you planning to Visit Whistler soon?
Did you know real-live locals call this fantastic mountain town home?
While the term “local” gets thrown around a lot in Whistler. It ranges from being used to describe someone who has been here for 30 years to the kid who has been here three weeks and heard that (self-labelled) “locals” get cheaper drinks to just about everyone in between.
Point being, although Whistler is famous for its millions of seasonal visitors, many of us call this beautiful ski resort home.
There are a lot of things we’d like to tell you, the seasonal visitor, that you won’t see in the glossy brochures at your hotel. Whistler is secretly way more awesome than the tourist hot-spots let on.
Here are a few things the Whistler local wants to know before you visit Whistler.
1. Whistler is More Than Just The Village
While Whistler’s main village is the hub for mountain uploading, food, drink and accommodation, Whistler has much more to offer that tourists often overlook. Spanning only 16 km from Function Junction to Emerald Estates, Whistler is packed with exciting neighbourhoods that are easily accessible by car, bus, bike or foot along the Valley Trail.
Commonly referred to as just “Function,” this industrial subdivision is situated at the southern entrance to Whistler, It may not compare to Whistler Village in terms of aesthetic, but it has a great vibe. Whistler Local’s know it’s full of hidden gems and things to do that tourists often overlook.
- Train Wreck
A rusted derailed train from 1956 has been turned into an artist’s canvas for local graffitists and a classic photo opportunity for hikers. A relatively easy trail beginning behind Olive’s Community Market will take you to the site, where you can (and most do) climb on and in the old carriages. Be careful though as they are old, rusty, and sharp in places. Bring your camera!
- Forged Axe Throwing
Fairly new to Function, opening only in March of 2017, axe throwing is a popular activity that has taken the town by storm. Release your inner lumberjack and get your competitive fix by literally throwing axes as big as three feet long. The party hosts at Forged will teach you all the techniques, so even if you’ve never touched an axe before this is a great activity for everyone! Find out everything about axe throwing here.
- Whistler Brewing Co
A provider of beer to many of the pubs around Whistler, WBC offers their craft beer along with appetizers to visitors of Function. Boasting sunny, open garage seating for the summer and a cozy atmosphere in the winter, this is the perfect place to grab a local beer after a hike or exciting new activity (hmmm, train wreck, axe throwing?).
- Functional Pies
Opening its doors only this past year, Functional Pies creates New York-style pizza that is absolutely delicious. The owner, Leigh Scott, works with a passion that any local or tourist can clearly see. From their creative logo to their mouth-watering pizzas that you can custom build, Functional Pies is worth the detour off the highway.
Local Tip: Functional Pies accommodates vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free, just ask! We can attest how delicious the vegan & gluten free option is. Its legit.
At one point, Creekside, established in 1966, was Whistler Village. The surrounding neighbourhoods were built around Creekside. The little hub is still a Whistler local’s favourite for living, working, and playing, Creekside is a highly sought after neighbourhood. It is home to a gondola uploading to Whistler mountain, a grocery market, a gym, and every Canadian’s favourite: a Tim Hortons.
The local’s watering hole, popular for sports and pub grub. Roland’s has an open-late liquor store on-site, as well as TVs, rotating taps and at least three people you know. If you’re staying in Creekside or looking to get out of the village, Roland’s is your spot to be.
Extremely popular for its pizzas and baked goods, Creekbread is a great spot for a date, to catch up with a friend, or for a group dinner. Offering wood-fired pizzas in sizes that are definitely big enough to share, you’ll be thankful that there is a gym right next door!
- Nita Lake
A summertime favourite, Nita lake is a destination for many locals during the hot sunny months. With picnic tables, gorgeous views and swimmable water, you’ll often find groups with portable BBQ’s, frisbees and floatables lounging on the grass. There are washrooms and even a playground, making Nita Lake a perfect place for a day of fun in the sun for everyone!
Just “Alpine” to locals, this subdivision is consistently voted best neighbourhood to live in by Pique (the local newspaper). So often in fact that the Pique renamed the best neighbourhood title to “The Alpine Meadows excellence award for best neighbourhood” just to give other neighbourhoods a chance! Creekside won in 2018!
Alpine has amenities to help create a lifestyle in Whistler including Meadow Sports Park. A full fitness facility, hockey rink, pool and more, Meadow Park is great for all your athletic needs.
Local’s Tip: The Vancouver Canucks trained at Meadow Sports park in 2018 check out their training schedule to see if you can catch the action!
2. Weekdays are Our Weekend
With thousands of hospitality and tourism employees in Whistler, Monday-Friday schedules are a scarcity and it’s rare to have a Saturday/Sunday off. Does this stop us from having a “weekend?” Absolutely not! Instead, we have 5 days, each one dedicated to a different activity or bar.
If you ask a Whistler local what to do, don’t be surprised if they respond “what day is it?” and then consistently tell you this:
Monday: Trivia at Crystal Lodge Maxx Fish Nightclub
Tuesday: Bingo at Tapley’s, Karaoke at Crystal Lodge, Tommy’s Nightclub
Wednesday: Trivia at 3 Below, Buffalo Bill’s Nightclub
Thursday: Garfinkel’s Night Club
Friday: Karaoke (again) at Crystal (new this year!)
Saturday: Party where? We are working!
Sunday: Moe Joes Glow Party
3. Our Summer Secrets
Whistler is a large community that is very interconnected, and much of that communication is done on social media. Countless groups and events are posted on Facebook, a place tourists may not even think to check and consequently may miss out on. Check out the Whsitler Summer Board for details.
- Patio Parties
Nearly every Sunday of summer hosts a patio party, typically at The Longhorn Saloon. They are usually themed for dressing up and often feature special guests, including world-renowned DJs. These events are popular enough that they do not need more advertising than simply Facebook and word of mouth around town. Check out Longhorn’s Facebook page for when you’re in town and come with a costume-people get into it!
- Outdoor Movies
Each year, Whistler Film Festival hosts free outdoor movies in Creekside in August. Whist makes it a perfect time to visit Whistler, and stay in creekside. They are shown outside Dusty’s Bar and Grill at dusk. Grab a lawn chair and a blanket and come enjoy a featured film after a day of exploring! 2019’s line up includes Stand By Me, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, E.T., and Bohemian Rhapsody.
4. Our Winter Secrets
“Where Should I Ski or Snowboard?”
With its vast coverage and over 200 runs, it can be hard to find the “best” places to ski if you’re only here for a short time. Locals have spent years discovering the mountains and can help make the most of your time. Check out the best powder spots best double blacks, and all your other needs from a local’s perspective. More advanced? The backcountry can be pretty intimidating, especially going in blind. Check out this guide to get you started.
“Where is the best Apres?”
Make sure your gear is comfortable because the apres begins the second you ski-out. With patios literally 20 feet from where you finish your day on the mountain, local DJs will have you ready to dance before your skis are even off. A full guide to the best apres here.
5. This Is Our Home – Please Treat It Like Yours
Whistler is a special place and it is easy to see why so many people who intended to stay for one season have chosen to make it home. Folks who visit Whistler often get a bad wrap because of the few who let a little too loose when they visit.
We are more than happy to share our beautiful home with you, but please treat it like it is your own.
- Please do not litter. Pack it in, pack it out. Everything you take with you camping, hiking, to the lake, etc.,needs to be taken back with you and disposed of properly.
- Please do not drink double what you would normally at home, especially if this leads to bar fighting. It may sound obvious or even humorous, but this happens a lot!
- Have respect. Respect the locals, respect other tourists, respect the animals and respect the land. Which leads perfectly into…
- Learn about our heritage. The Whistler and Squamish region has a deep, cultural history that has a huge influence today and deserves your utmost respect. A great way to learn about the indigenous people of our land and how Whistler and Squamish came to be is to visit the Lil’wat Cultural Centre.
- Whistler is also home to bears! As exciting as it may be to see a bear, they need to be respected and given their space. Bears are another reason it is so important to dispose properly of your garbage. If bears become dependant on human food, they will end up migrating towards human-dense areas, and that is not good for anyone. The saying goes: a fed bear is a dead bear! Everything you need to know about bears in Whistler you can find here.
A Final Word from Your friendly Local
Whistler is home to many seasonal and permanent residents, and there is no question why that is.Whistler locals love their lives here, however, there are some downsides to living in a town where the average person only stays for one to two years (typical duration of a working holiday visa)
A Local’s Insight: Long term local (23 years and counting) Bill Martin* talked about how hard it is to see your friends leave year after year. He recalls it taking over ten years before he was regarded as part of the local circle.
“You get really tired of saying goodbye to people you’ve made genuine connections with, so if we seem like we are giving you the cold shoulder, that’s just us protecting ourselves,” he discussed over a craft beer at a local pub.
So there you have it, a few local insights into getting the most out of Whistler, and also being the kind of tourist we wish would stay longer! Come visit whistler for a week, and you might end up here forever!