“Walking in a winter wonderland” is the phrase that jumped to mind at the time, and it still aptly summarises my memory of the place. I ventured up to Whistler from Vancouver – on a (supposedly) 1 hour bus that went through Squamish (a place I remember all too well – a 10 minute toilet stop turned into a six hour layover as the road north was closed following a pile-up). I had been highly recommended the HI-Whistler Backpackers; home to winter Olympics athletes back in 2010. It was gorgeous accommodation; modern, clean and cosy, and neatly balancing the social dimension with an adequate amount of privacy. It was about a 30 minute walk to the main village, but buses were much quicker than that and tended to be the more appealing option in the snow.
Whistler itself is definitely affordable on a budget, but with some very lush options if you have money to play with. There are lots of resorts, boutique shops and spas. Unfortunately I was at the other end of the spectrum, mostly window shopping and scoping out the cheap eats, with three of my favourite options being as follows:
With everything on the menu being only $4.95, it would almost be rude not to! A decently extensive menu (with your classic range of salads, burgers, meat dishes and bar snacks), it is understandable why Furny’s is extremely popular, especially with those on a budget. Be prepared to queue if you go after about 6pm (outside unfortunately) but if you wrap up, it’s totally worth the wait. The food is good and the vibe of the place is really fun.
2. Naked Sprout
I became a bit of a local here, as my hostel didn’t have a free breakfast and I wanted to make sure I had a decent feed before heading up the mountain. Super healthy (but still delicious) food options, there were so many tasty smoothies and juices, salad bowls and treats to grab on the go. They also had a limited seating area with good wifi if you wanted to eat in.
Another healthy go-to, this place offered slightly more complex options. I had a mouth-watering soup with a delicious cracker/bread for dipping. It has big open tables (quite well suited for sharing, especially if you’re there by yourself), with a super cute gift shop attached so it is extremely easy to spend a bit of time here.