Are you considering living in Canada for a season? Looking for adventure and plenty of outdoor activities? If snow and extreme sports are your types of fun, you will love living in Whistler!
Whistler will fascinate you. It may be a small and remote city, but the excitement and activities that take place here make it feel bigger. Whistler hosted the 2010 Winter Olympic Games and has one of the largest ski resorts in North America.
Surrounded by mountains and incredible landscapes, Whistler is a popular tourist destination that over two million tourists come to visit every year. From snowboarding and skiing to kayaking and mountaineering, this town is perfect for outdoor enjoyment and exploration.
In this guide, you will learn everything there is to know about studying, working, and living in Whistler. So, if you’re ready to cross a few adventurous activities off your bucket list, let’s dive in!
Quality of Life in Whistler
One unique thing about living in Whistler is its location. About a two-hour drive from Vancouver, Whistler is a compact, lively village that sits tucked within Blackcomb and Whistler mountains of British Columbia.
For that reason, this small town packs in all the amenities of a big city. It has a cinema, bars, restaurants, and everything else you may find in a major city, just on a much smaller scale.
For first-time visitors, Whistler may look like something out of a Christmas movie. During peak tourist seasons, towns flood with crowds, events, and parties. During the low season, living in Whistler can feel like a tranquil and relaxing getaway.
Whistlerites are friendly, social, and have a sense of community. You will find it easy to spark a conversation at a local bar (especially for tips on avoiding cougars and bears in the mountains!).
Study While Living in Whistler
Would you like to study in Canada? Through our GrowPro program, there is a wide range of sports-related courses available in Whistler! Choose from mountaineering courses, mountain biking, ski instructing, and more!
These courses take you outside of the traditional classroom and into the stunning nature that surrounds Whistler. Best of all, these unique courses have flexible hours, allowing you to enjoy time for leisure or working a job.
You can also study business-related courses, such as marketing and hospitality. We offer co-op vocational programs, where you receive hands-on training to earn a certification in the specific job sector.
Requirements to Study in Whistler
Studying in Whistler has many of the same general requirements for studying in Canada, including:
- A valid passport
- Visitor Visa for Canada or electronic travel authorization (eTA)
- Proof of enrollment in a designated learning institution (DLI)
- Study permit (if staying for more than six months)
- Evidence of financial support for the duration of your stay
- No criminal record (certification from the police department)
- Good health (a medical exam if staying longer than six months)
- Proof of departure from Canada once your study permit expires
- A biometrics test
Work While Living in Whistler
Whistler has two peak seasons: summer and winter. While only about 11,000 people live in Whistler year-round, another 12,000 people have a second residence in the city and return periodically. Additionally, the city receives an additional two million tourists a year! Because of this, finding work in Whistler can be easy, especially in the hospitality sector. There are plenty of restaurants, hotels, and resort positions available during peak tourist seasons, including mountain guide and ski instructor positions.
Requirements to Work in Whistler
Aside from having a visa, you will need a working permit. Many international students working in Whistler temporarily do so through the International Experience Canada (IEC), also called the Working Holiday program.
Through this program, you can temporarily live and work in Canada for up to one year. You will need an open work permit, which lets you obtain most Canadian jobs. The price of the permit is 153 CAD, in addition to the biometrics fees. Also, you must be at least 18 years old to legally work under the permit.
If you plan to work in hospitality and tourism while in Whistler, there are usually entry-level positions that provide training on the job. However, job positions related to sports and activities may require a certification of that skill, which will endorse your abilities as a monitor, guide, or instructor.
Tips for Finding a Job in Whistler
Whistler is one of the few places in Canada with a low unemployment rate. Although it is easy to find a job, it is still beneficial to be prepared. Resorts in Whistler generally have job fairs which you can attend.
Create a strong CV or resume that highlights your strengths and focuses on your professional skills. Since the town’s economy operates primarily on tourism and hospitality, it is important to present yourself as responsible, punctual, and with strong interpersonal skills.
Keep in mind that most winter jobs in Whistler are advertised in September for start dates in November or December. Likewise, summer positions are usually advertised in April for employment opportunities starting in June.
Also, it is common for people living in Whistler to have multiple jobs simultaneously. Whistler is an expensive city, and layoffs are common during low seasons of tourism.
Areas to Live in Whistler
Whistler is a cozy community home to several different neighborhoods, each with its uniqueness and style. Among them are:
- Alpine Meadow– a popular and cheaper area for rentals, this neighborhood is home to the Meadow Park Sports Center.
- Whistler Cay– a little more expensive than other areas, due to its proximity to Whistler village, most homes in this neighborhood are in good condition.
- Bayshores– known to be family-friendly, this neighborhood has elegant-styled homes and regular bus services into town.
- Creekside- a mini-village in town with many stores and bars. It also has a gondola lift to go into the mountain for skiing.
You can check out a full village directory on the official Whistler tourism website and download complete maps of the city.
Accommodation in Whistler
As a major tourist destination, it can be difficult to find housing in Whistler during peak tourist seasons. The cost of living in Whistler is fairly expensive, where most students and travelers share a rental with a couple of other roommates.
The good news is that most employers here provide staff housing, where the rent is usually equivalent to an hour’s pay per day. You can also seek private rental rooms in local homes, but these can be expensive.
Tips on Finding Accommodation
Craigslist is a commonly used platform in Canada where landlords offer their homes for rent. Not only can you see housing offers, but you can also post an ad of yourself as someone interested in finding a room for rent.
Additionally, there is a Whistler Housing Rental for Locals Facebook group where you can find ads in the area. There are over 30 thousand members in the group, so it can also help you find roommates.
Kijiji is another online platform you can use that is a little more modern than Craigslist. It doesn’t have as many users or ads posted previous options, but it is still helpful to check the offers on there from time to time.
Lastly, a good rule of thumb is to arrive in Whistler before the peak seasons begin. This way, you will have a better chance of finding and booking reasonable rental prices. If you can’t find a place or don’t mind traveling every day in exchange for cheaper accommodation, Squamish and Pemberton are alternatives. These cities are about a 30-minute drive from Whistler.
Cost of Living in Whistler
In general, living in Whistler is somewhat more expensive than in other cities in Canada. Accommodation may be your biggest expense. Rental prices can vary depending on their distance from the cable cars and the time of the season. Generally, a one-bedroom apartment can range from 1,800 to 3,200 CAD per month and a shared room starts around 750 CAD.
Public transport has more frequent schedules in winter than in the summer. A bus trip costs 2.50 CAD and also has monthly passes for 50 CAD.
As for shopping in a local supermarket, you can expect grocery items to cost around the following (in CAD):
- A loaf of bread: $1.81
- Milk (1 L): $8.09
- Rice (1 lb bag): $1.81
- Chicken (1 lb): $5.65
- Water (1.5 L): $2.21
Fortunately, many employees of Whistler hotels and resorts receive discounts on meal plans and leisure activities.
Transportation in Whistler
The benefit of compact living, especially in downtown Whistler is that every area of the city can be explored by bike or on foot. The Valley Trail is a paved, car-free trail used for that purpose. It stretches for more than 40 kilometers and connects the various Whistler neighborhoods and lakes.
As for public transportation, Whistler Transit operates multiple routes, including free shuttles at peak seasons. You can use NextRide to help you plan your routes and learn the areas.
Weather in Whistler
In Whistler, you can expect an abundance of snowfall. The city typically receives over eight feet of snow during the winters and as early as November.
On average, Whistler has 11 days a year when temperatures rise above 30°C during the summer and below -10°C during winters. Whistler welcomes thousands of ski and snowboard lovers during the winter and fans of cycling, kayaking, and mountaineering during the summer.
Keep in mind that temperatures up in the mountains can be 10 degrees lower than in the city area of Whistler. Also, due to its location within the continent, the weather tends to change drastically throughout the same day in every season. An interesting thing is that the length of the daylight varies as well.
Things to Do in Whistler
Whistler is known for its adventurous outdoor activities. First, depending on the weather and season, you can go skiing, cycling, hiking, kayaking, and more! Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain surround Whistler and stand at 2,200 meters. For many, these are the best mountains to ski in all of North America. I
Next, for a change of pace, the city offers other interesting activities to do both during the day and at night. While living in Whistler, you will discover the nightlife is very bustling, especially downtown. The busiest nightclubs are Moe Joe’s and Maxx Fish, and there are plenty of restaurants and bars in the area, all within walking.
As for the pubs located in the center, a highly recommended one is Dubh Linn Gate Irish Pub. As the name implies, it is an Irish-styled place, with hearty dishes, the best beer, and live music.
Places to Visit in Whistler
Finally, for exploration around the town, you can visit the Whistler Museum and the Audain Art Museum. There are plenty of other creative leisure options in town, including:
- ax throwing in Forged Ax
- Enjoying the scenery on the Peak 2 Peak Gondola, the gondola that connects Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain;
- an escape game in Escape! Whistler
- Getting an adrenaline rush while bungee jumping at Whistler Bungee
Live in Whistler With Help from GrowPro
So, if living in Whistler sounds like an incredible experience, our team here at Grow Pro Experience can help you plan your next adventure! Check out plenty of programs and experiences packages we offer in Whistler and choose one that interests you. Next, we’ll guide you through the process from start to finish:
- You will have a Student Advisor at your disposal to answer questions about courses, visa requirements, and expectations
- Receive assistance with your registration and your visa process
- Attend a Welcome Session in Whistler for tips, resources, and organized events to meet other travelers like you
- And more!
As always, download our free guides and subscribe to our YouTube page for helpful information and insight on abroad experiences. Now that you have all the information you need, what are you waiting for? Come live in Whistler through GrowPro!