Canada's Mountain GetawayIyna Bort Caruso
The Canadian resort destination of Whistler is not only one of the most lauded ski areas in North America, it’s also one of the most livable. The region has a tourism-driven economy that puts an emphasis on environmental protection and quality of life issues. Development is measured and balanced.
A premier second-home locale, Whistler is in British Columbia, some 80 miles north of Vancouver. The area is officially designated as the Resort Municipality of Whistler and is on the traditional territories of the Lil’wat and Squamish nations.
Whistler experienced major growth in 1914 when the Pacific Great Eastern Railway made its way to the valley, which was previously only accessible on foot or by ship. Tourists arrived in huge numbers. In the mid-1970s, local leaders worked toward achieving a spot on the world stage as an Olympic Games host and developed the area into a world-class ski destination in order to contend. The work paid off, first when Snow Country Magazine named it the number one ski resort in North America in 1992 and then when Whistler was named the host mountain resort for the 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games.
The resort is made up of two distinct mountains, Whistler and Blackcomb, joined by a peak-to-peak gondola system with over 200 ski runs. But it is more than just a winter destination. It is a four-season resort that attracts golfers, mountain bikers and hikers. Its extensive multi-use trail system is well-trodden. Off the trails are several public art works and institutions such as the Audain Art Museum with its collection of British Columbian art, the Whistle Museum, the Maury Young Arts Centre and the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre which tells the story of the area’s two First Nations communities.
The property market offers modern mountain cabins, grand chalets, alpine estates and luxury townhouses in prestigious neighborhoods such as Alta Vista, Kadenwood, Sunridge Plateau, Trudy’s Landing, Stonebridge and Spruce Grove. Some feature ski-in, ski-out access. Others are in exclusive waterfront communities with private lake access.