If you’re lucky enough to have skied in Whistler, you’ve likely had the chance to sample the unique and celebratory atmosphere of the village. When Whistler Blackcomb gets voted as the No. 1 Overall Ski Resort in North America by the annual SKI Magazine Resort Survey, it scores high points for its terrain, lodging and off-hill activities and the such. But for a ski town to tie it all together, it needs the charm and vibrancy of an amazing base village. Locals and tourists alike enjoy the many offerings of the Village Stroll, but one of our favourite stretches of pavement in town is the Upper Village. Here’s why:
Whistler’s dining scene is world famous with restaurants such as Araxi and the Bearfoot Bistro earning accolades often. But a little further from the main drag there’s a host of great dining venues for a range of budgets. At the higher end, Sidecut Modern Steak + Bar in the Four Season Hotel and Wildflower Restaurant in the Fairmont Chateau both have diverse menus reflecting Pacific Northwest cuisine, as does the locally-owned Legs Diamond. Milestones, just steps from the base of the Wizard Chair lift has a comfortable apres lounge and great mid-range food choices. Portobello – also inside the Fairmont – is one of Whistler’s favourite lunch spots and has a reputation for its outstanding pastries. Bacon Maple Cream doughnut anyone? If you’re in the mood for Japanese, Nagomi will rival any of its rivals in Whistler’s very competitive sushi scene.
Apres-ski, apres dinner, apres anything! Relaxing with friends, beverage in hand, is one of the quintessential ski town experiences. If craft beer is your thing, Handlebar Apres and Fitz Pub have continuously rotating taps and always have something that even the most devout craft enthusiasts haven’t tried yet. The Mallard Lounge (Fairmont) and Fifty Two 80 (Four Seasons) are perfect for kicking back with a cocktail in your night wear or your ski pants. Also across from the Wizard Chair lift is Merlins, one of Whistler’s most celebrated apres bars. Make sure to stop by for live music on Fridays.
There’s a plethora of accommodation options around the Upper Village beyond the big hotel chains, including Glacier Lodge and Le Chamois. There’s units that offer self-catering options, multi-bedroom town homes for families and large groups, all with free bus shuttles to the main village and base areas. The area above the Upper Village (known as the Benchlands) also has some of the only true ski in/ski out accommodation in Whistler, where you walk straight onto snow and slide down to the lift in the morning.
The great thing Upper Village is that you never need to walk far if you need anything. There’s plenty of shops for fashion as well as ski and snowboard gear, a selection of ski rental shops (including our own storefront location in Le Chamois) and conveniences such as day spas, ski school for adults and kids and a small market for groceries.
It’s a misnomer that accessing Whistler Mountain from Upper Village requires a longer walk or bus shuttle to the Whistler Village Gondola. Simply head up the Wizard and Solar Coaster Express chairs and jump straight on the Peak 2 Peak! Also, during busy times, the lineups for Wizard are generally shorter than that of Village and Excalibur gondolas. The Magic Chair also allows access to the Base 2 area should you want to visit the Coca Cola Tube Park.
There’s so much many nooks and crannies in Whistler worth exploring during your vacation. Don’t return home without sampling the eclectic offerings found in the Upper Village.