We hadn’t initially planned to go to Canada on February 15th, but having kept an eye on accommodation prices we decided to do a last minute (the day before!) change of plan and head to Canada early. I’ve used booking.com the entire way through our trip to book hotel rooms, I find their website easy to use and I can keep an eye on prices pretty easily.
The day we booked the trip our only accommodation options were either The Four Seasons Hotel or an apartment called The Ironwood by Whiski Jack. The Four Seasons was WAY beyond our budget so we booked the apartment, flights, coach transfer to Whistler and ski clothing hire and hoped it would all work out smoothly!
We flew with West Jet and the check in process using their touch screen machines was very efficient. You need to pay to check in a bag with the airline and the $25 per bag charge seemed a bit much but as we had no choice we had to pay. The flight was incredibly turbulent but nevertheless we landed on time to a very cold and wet Vancouver.
I had initially used RideBookers to book our transfer from Vancouver Airport to Whistler. Their website does state to book 72 hours before you depart, but last minute bookings were accepted where space was available. I made the booking online owing to only having a UK phone number and waited for email correspondence from them. I received an email shortly after booking explaing that their bus was full, but there was still availability on the Pacific Coach and they could move my booking to that company. I happily accepted and asked for confirmation once this was done, however we never received anything from them. I sent 2 emails the following day asking for confirmation, which went to a generic info@ mailbox and still heard nothing. I had checked Pacific coaches availability and saw they had lots of space left on the busses so we decided to wait until we could speak to a representative at the airport to see what was going on. 2 helpful employees at the airport let me use a work phone to speak to an agent at the office, who let me know the booking hadn’t been moved and said they would refund my card, without any real apology for the bad service. The RideBookers representatives at the airport said they had space on a later shuttle, but It was simple to book on with Pacific Coaches at the airport so we booked with them instead of waiting for a later bus. We definitely won’t be using RideBookers again and they could definitely tweak their customer service.
It took 3 hours to reach Whistler Village from Vancouver airport, it was only around 90 minutes full driving when we were fully on our way and the other time was spent in traffic getting out of Vancouver and picking other’s up from different stops.
We needed to check in and pick up our keys at Creekside, then head to our apartment located in Blueberry Hill. When we arrived and opened the door, it felt as though we had stepped into 5* luxury! We had a huge kitchen dining room with a log fire, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a balcony. We knew we were going to have a great 5 nights here and swiftly unpacked all of our belongings and put our backpacks away for a few days.
We rented ski clothing from Whistler Winter Wear, I saw someone reccomend them to another traveller on trip advisor and they come to your apartment which made everything easier. A man came with a van filled with jackets, salopettes, helmets, goggles and gloves. We hired a ‘full suit’ which was $140 each for 4 days. We then caught the bus into Whistler Village which was $10 return for two of us. Our next stop was boots and skis hire, which we did at a company called Salomon based near the ticket office and Blackcombe Gondola. Our final stop before hitting the slopes was to purchase our lift passes and then we were set!
We caught the Whistler Gondola upto the mid station, which offered a green slope all the way back down to Whistler Village. Having only skied once before I wanted something gentle to ease myself back in and see what I had remembered from Ski School a year ago. I surprised myself with remembering more than I thought I would, and managed to do my first run with no tumbles which did my confidence the world of good.
We stopped at the bottom for a bite to eat before heading back up in the gondola, this time getting off at the top. My objective of this skiing trip was to improve my ‘parallel’ ski technique, so a longer run helped me and although I had a few falls I felt as though I was getting the hang of it a bit more.
The conditions up the mountain weren’t the best, with visability poor and snow driving into my face. We had to stop to allow me to shake my hands about as they had gone completely numb and stung like one thousand wasps were on them. We took one final run down the mountain, before stopping and getting the gondola back down as the snow near the village was very slushy and I had done enough for one day.
The weather the next day was meant to be the best day of the week, so we ate and had an early night ready for a full days skiing the following day.