The Sea-to-Sky Highway that connects Vancouver to Whistler follows the banks of Howe Sound before entering the mountains, offering a stunning preview of what's to come. The largest ski resort in North America, Whistler is famous for both its world-class trails and for hosting the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Yet despite its predominantly snowy reputation, Canada's premier resort town is a year-round destination. Even after the snow melts, outdoorsy types come to hike and bike the 200-plus runs that crisscross its twin mountains as well as shop and dine in Whistler Village.
Winter sports are, collectively, Whistler's pièce de résistance. Whenever snow is forecasted, the Whistler Blackcomb ski resort's lifts, runs and drops swell to maximum capacity. Ice climbing, dog-sledding and cross-country skiing offer even more ways to experience the powdery landscape. Athletes still train at the Whistler Sliding Centre, where you can take a thrilling bobsleigh slide around the Olympic track. During warmer seasons, days are spent golfing, biking, hiking and horseback riding through the scenic terrain.
Whistler is one of Canada's most action-packed destinations, but there are a host of other, less sporty pursuits for sightseers. Whistler Village is full of stylish restaurants, après-ski bars and shops selling everything from art to jewellery. At the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Center, exhibits and events offer educational glimpses of the region's First Nations peoples. Even non-skiers can get in on the mountaintop action during a ride on the scenic Peak 2 Peak Gondola, which connects Whistler's two peaks.