Massive. Stunning. World-class… Whistler, B.C. is an area which can be described in any number of ways. Unfortunately, one of those ways is not ‘cheap’. Whether your activity of choice is skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, zip-lining, etc. the mere fact that you’re in Whistler will jack the price up significantly. So what is a budget traveler to do? Here are a few tips on how to explore Whistler for free (or on the cheap).
Check out the Valley Trail system
Whistler Village is its own attraction, but Whistler has a lot of natural beauty to offer as well — from frozen lakes to snow-laden forests. The Valley Trail connects most of the area’s sights and is very well-maintained and walkable. Walking the full thing in a day would be ambitious, but walking a section or three will show you parts of Whistler many people neglect to see. Best part? It’s free.
Cross-Country Ski on a Wednesday night
Even cross-country skiing can be expensive in Whistler, with tickets and equipment rental costing between $50-60 for a single day. Enter $5 Wednesdays at Whistler Olympic Park. From December – March of 2017, visitors can cross-country ski OR snowshoe for $5. Equipment rentals are a mere $5 as well, meaning you could get a solid half-day of skiing/ snowshoeing for 1/6 of the full-day cost. Trails are well-groomed and a number are lit so you can keep exploring after the sun goes down.
Trade publicity for experiences
As with many other activity-centric tourist towns (like Taupo, for instance), publicity is key for Whistler’s attractions. If you’re a blogger or photographer, leverage your skills and presence to try and score some comped trips. It can be a great way to do some of the expensive activities (like zip-lining, skiing, etc.) without breaking the bank. Getting the trips setup will just require a little patience and legwork on the part of you, the freelancer.
Consider WWOOF’ing for Long Term Stays
WWOOF’ing is popular among the Working Holiday crowd — it usually involves working in exchange for room and board. If you’re looking to spend some quality time in Whistler while keeping your living costs down, that’s the way to do it. Yeah, you’ll be working, but if you can find a gig which lets you play during the day and work in the evenings, you’ll be set.
Ever been to Whistler? What recommendations do you have to add for those looking to experience Whistler for free or close to it? Share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below!