Whistler Day Trip?
February 27, 2011 4:56 PM   Subscribe

Ski-ing/ snow-shoeing Whistler as a day-trip from Vancouver - is this do-able or crazy? Is Cypress Mountain a reasonable alternative?

Staying in downtown Vancouver this coming weekend on the company's dime. GF's flying in and wants to go snow-shoeing, I want to go ski-ing, and Whistler's reasonably close. To prevent dropping $300-400 for 2 nights in a hotel, is this is do-able as a day-trip? Or is Cypress Mountain a reasonable alternative?

I guess my day-trip fantasy is picking up a rental car Friday night, getting up crazy early & driving up Sat morning, parking, picking up rental equipment, me: 5/6 hrs on mountain/ her: 4hr snowshoe trip, eating, driving back Sat night (I know the drive back is awesome, but I guess it's going to be dark by then).

Part of me thinks this is a lot of hassle for a day's ski-ing, including that a resort this big requires much more time to get to know the runs. Is this do-able? Is this crazy? I guess my concern is that we're going to be absolutely done come the drive home.

It looks like as an alternative we could just get a bus up to Cypress Mountain and spend the day there, although their snow-shoeing is only 2hrs, so I'm not sure how that would work with me ski-ing.
posted by forallmankind to Travel & Transportation around Whistler, BC (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You could take the snow bus from Vancouver to Whistler, saving yourself from actually driving and parking.

There may even be a snow train that you could take.
posted by jennstra at 5:34 PM on February 27, 2011

I've done this before -- it's how a lot of Vancouverites ski Whistler. You're probably right in that you won't get as much out of it as if you knew the resort well, but it's definitely not crazy.
posted by Big Fat Tycoon at 6:50 PM on February 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

The drive from downtown is only about an hour and a half (barring crazy weather) and as Big Fat Tycoon said, it's how a lot of people from Vancouver (including me) ski Whistler.

Don't know much about snowshoeing, but if you're skiing and renting, I believe you can reserve online rentals in advance. I'd recommend going up early (lifts on the weekend start running at 8:15 bang on) and the first hour of skiing is often the best (no crowds and your legs aren't tired yet). Extra bonus is the rental place will be a lot less busy. Park in Creekside, less busy and it's free and covered.

You can also take the Greyhound up and back. The schedule is actually pretty useful.
posted by sinical at 6:58 PM on February 27, 2011

Totally doable as a day trip.

I am actually in a cabin outside of Whistler right now... we drove up from Seattle, and the section from Vancouver to Whistler was the best part of the road. It's beautiful and scenic and doesn't take that long.
posted by Mars Saxman at 8:20 PM on February 27, 2011

Definitely doable.

The mountains (Whistler, Blackcomb) are now open from 8.30am until 4.00pm. You can do First Tracks before 8.30 if you get on the lifts on time (as sinical said). Best to check the Whistler-Blackcomb web site to see what you can do once there.

There are snowshoe adventures that you can pre-book as well. It's a beautiful place and a well-run operation, you won't regret spending a day up there!

If you have enough time on the Sunday, you can also visit Cypress then, it's just over the Lions Gate bridge and offers great skiing and a few options for snowshoeing.
posted by seawallrunner at 8:31 PM on February 27, 2011

The web site for Cypress Mountain is here.

While you're at it, you might also want to consider Grouse Mountain, (web site), which offers skiing for you, snowshoeing for your girlfriend; skating and/or horse-drawn tours for both of you with a lovely lodge with restaurants, a lovely movie about Vancouver, and a lovely fireplace to warm your bones while sipping hot chocolate. I like to take visitors to Grouse to show them the city views from above (the six-minute Gondola ride to get up there is fun), and I like to show them a microcosm of what we can do in our expansive wilderness. If you have a few hours on the Sunday, after Whistler but before your flight back home, do consider Grouse.
posted by seawallrunner at 8:37 PM on February 27, 2011

I've done what you've described (renting a car and gear to go skiing for a day), albeit here in Seattle, and with a longer drive. Well worth it. Probably much more so for Whistler, which is a beautiful place to ski or snowshoe. I did a snowshoeing tour at Whistler and it was fantastic.

I agree with seawallrunner: definitely consider grouse.
posted by grouse at 8:57 PM on February 27, 2011

So yeah - that was do-able. With rental pre-booked (called Whistler guest services) & lift-pass bought from 7-Eleven (cheaper than at resort), left downtown @ 6.30am, up at Whistler 8.15, picked up rental and was on mountain @ 9. Chairs stopped @ 4, dropped off rental and was back in Vancouver for 7. Wasn't crazy busy either, which was good for a weekend.
Thanks everyone for your input.
posted by forallmankind at 7:14 AM on March 7, 2011

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