Whistler Blackcomb Mountain Resort is located in British Columbia, about 120km north of Vancouver, Canada. It is the largest ski resort in North America and has the greatest uphill lift capacity. The resort is spread over two mountain peaks (Whistler and Blackcomb) and has three separate villages that feed them; Whistler, Creekside and Blackcomb.
Mya and I drove from Revelstoke to Whistler Blackcomb, taking the six-hour northern route, which, surprisingly was a great drive for this time of year. It wasn’t until we arrived in the village that it dawned on me – this was dejavu.
This time last year I was doing the exact same thing; travelling to Whistler and checking into the Aava Whistler Hotel. Only last year, I didn’t have Mya with me and seeing all the other dogs staying there with their owners really emphasized that I needed to make this trip work.
This year, I had a different feeling; this year – I was excited! I was here with Mya and I wasn’t leaving a part of my family behind.
If you don’t have a vehicle Whistler Blackcomb is accessible via direct bus from Vancouver Airport and downtown. There is also a Grayline bus route that goes there. I’m not sure what the circumstances are for dogs travelling on Grayline buses. Fortunately for us, we had the Jeep. Heading there in Winter you will need All Weather tyres or even better Winter tyres.
When we first arrived in Whistler we struggled to find parking with sufficient height clearance for the Jeep, because of the additional roof storage pod, but I can assure you it does exist, you just need to know where to look. If you have an oversize vehicle you will find plenty of parking in a large day car park between the Whistler and Blackcomb villages. The parking isn’t free, but it is available at an affordable hourly or daily rate.
Once in Whistler Blackcomb there is public bus that goes along the highway that you can travel between the three villages or any of the local towns. There is also the option of a taxi.
If you’re a skier or snowboarder, there is gondola or chair lift access from each of the villages. There is also the Peak to Peak gondola which allows you to change mountains without having to ski back down to the base. Unfortunately, none of the lift and gondola access is pet friendly.
When I first looked at heading to Canada I did explore the possibility of Whistler Blackcomb as our winter home. It is commonly known that Whistler Blackcomb has a huge shortage of long-term accommodation – seriously, there’s numerous Facebook groups dedicated to people seeking accommodation, and many locals are advertising rooms at exorbitant amounts because, well, they can.
I was told that you’d find a studio or 1 bedroom apartment on the mountain for around $1500-$2000 per month for a six month lease, however, I couldn’t find anything under $4,000. I actually came across resort staff who live out the back of RVs and cars because they can’t secure affordable housing.
Although Whistler-Blackcomb is a pet-friendly village, finding long term pet friendly accommodation can be even more difficult. The best way to get accommodation there is to get a job that includes accommodation in it’s salary. This may or may not be pet friendly though and often you will have to share. I was told it would be easier to find accommodation in-person in October but I didn’t want to risk it with Mya – otherwise we’d literally be sleeping in the dog house!
Instead, we made the decision to have our winter home based in Revelstoke, British Columbia and just head to Whistler Blackcomb for a visit. We were very lucky to be able to stay with the Aava Whistler Hotel for our stay which is centrally located in the heart of the village. The hotel room was nice and spacious and included a fridge and microwave. The hotel itself has some great facilities such as; Whistler’s only GoPro Demo Lab, parking, a heated outdoor pool with stunning mountain views, free ski lockers and a boot dryer, in-house ski & snowboard rental and tuning shop.
When checking in with a pet, you will receive a pet welcome pack, which included a water bowl for our room, some doggie treats, waste bags, a pet travel ID tag and information about travelling with your pet to Whistler Blackcomb. All those little things just made Aava Whistler Hotel feel that little bit more welcoming, a bit more like a home away from home. At times The Aava Whistler Hotel will have up to 40 pets onsite accompanying their humans with access for your dog to all areas of the hotel except the pools, making them truly pet friendly
Doggy Day Care Services
As dog friendly as Whistler Blackcomb is, if you want to truly experience it, you will have to arrange some sort of day care for you pup whilst you are getting involved with activities that won’t permit them. Fortunately for us I came across Alpine Dogs, who run a doggy day care service with off leash adventure hikes through the forest. One thing that I loved about the service they provide, is that each dog has their own GPS collar, so that if in the unlikely event that anything was to happen, they could easily be located. The team at Alpine Dogs also sent me through some happy snaps of Mya playing happily with her new dog friends, which definitely made me feel better about enjoy the slopes solo.
Predominantly most of the restaurants in Whistler Blackcomb aren’t pet friendly and will not allow dogs on their patios. This was probably my biggest challenge whilst visiting Whistler Blackcomb with Mya. I was pretty stoked though when we found Blacks Pub in the Whistler Village. Not only was Mya was allowed to join me on the outdoor patio, which had heating and fire pits, but our waitress was more than accommodating even bringing Mya out a bowl of water and serving her a plate of bacon!
Whilst visiting Whistler Blackcomb there are a variety of winter activities that you can get involved with. Some are dog friendly, whilst some aren’t. I’ve been skiing and snowboarding there, backcountry skiing, heli skiing, Nordic skiing, snow shoeing, fat biking, ski mobile sledding, dog sledding and checked out the former Olympic facilities. I hope to put together another blog in the near future with details about everything you can do in Whistler Blackcomb.