Whistler Bear Smart Vacation Rentals by Owner

By Katharine Mills

Whistler is Bear Country. And with a standing population of around 50 bears in the local area, it is critical for those visiting Whistler to get clued up on bear awareness and safety.

Read on to find out about the types of bear found in Whistler and how to minimize bear-human conflict.

Species of bear in Whistler

Although there have been very rare cases of grizzly bears being spotted in the Sea to Sky area, Whistler is home only to black bears. Despite their name, black bears can come in all colors, from the white Kermode bear, to all shades of brown (cinnamon bears) as well as their namesake black. Some visitors encounter lighter colored bears and will mistakenly identify them as brown bears or grizzly bears – but there are some differences.

Test your knowledge of bear species with this test from Montana Fish, Wildlife, & Parks.

Cinnamon Bear in Whistler BC | How to stay Bear Aware in Whistler
A (brown colored) black bear on one of Whistler’s ski runs.

Bears can be seen in Whistler from April to November, depending on the yearly temperatures and snow. In early summer they are most likely to be found on the valley floor before they move up into the mountains for the berry season. The Whistler Golf course is a popular bear hangout, especially in early mornings and just before sunset.

The Bears of the Whistler Golf Club – Video from WhistlerGolfClub

How to be Bear Smart

The Bear Smart Whistler Visitor’s Guide gives 4 basic guidelines:

  1. Never feed a bear. This means intentionally OR unintentionally. Bears are attracted to human food as it is high in calories and easier to procure than picking berries or catching salmon. Bears that are accustomed to easily accessible human food, either from being fed or through raiding garbage, lose their wariness of humans and go to greater lengths to get their food. This can include breaking into people’s homes or cars, which results in the bear being killed. It’s the law in Whistler to dispose of all garbage in bear-proof containers.
  2. Give bears space. Never approach a bear, especially to pet them or for a better photo. It is recommended to keep a distance of at least 100 m (or about the length of 7 school buses) between you and the bear. Bears usually do their best to avoid people and it’s not a good idea to force them into an uncomfortable position.
  3. Watch out on the roads. It is not uncommon to see bears grazing on the side of the road on the Sea to Sky highway between Squamish and Whistler. Don’t stop on the highway to take photos and keep your eyes open for bears crossing the highway – unfortunately many are injured or killed by being hit by cars.
  4. Stay alert and aware. When out hiking in the mountains or biking through the trails, stay alert to the possibility of encountering a bear. Your goal is to avoid surprising a bear, so make your presence known by talking, singing or calling out every now and again. You can carry a bear bell attached to your backpack to warn bears of your approach. My go-to method is playing music through the speaker on my phone. If hiking with dogs, keep them on a leash or close to you, as they can often provoke bears more than the presence of humans.

What to do when you encounter a bear

If you see a bear in human territory, you should phone the BC Conservation Officer Service (COS) at 1-877-952-7277 or 604-905-BEAR.

It’s important to make this call so that COS can act to remove the bear from any potential conflict with humans, steering it clear of homes, garbages etc so the bear does not become used to hanging around humans. The more accustomed bears become to people, the harder it is to change their behavior. Most of Whistler’s bear deaths take place because the bears are no longer wary of humans.

A bear on the Whistler Golf Course | How to stay bear aware in Whistler

A black bear on the Whistler Golf course.

If you encounter a bear in Whistler, Bear Smart recommends the following course of action.

Stop and assess.

  • Remain calm and do not approach the bear. In most cases, the bear will flee.
  • If the bear is still a distance away, turn back and return the way you came. If you must pass, keep your distance and give the bear a wide berth.

If you come across a black bear suddenly at close range.

  • This can happen when moving fast through the bike trails. Stand your ground and face the bear.
  • Identify yourself as human by talking in a calm tone of voice while backing away slowly.
  • Never run.

If a black bear approaches you.

  • It’s natural to be frightened, but don’t panic.
  • If you meet a bear in the woods, or in its territory, talk in a calm and respectful tone to let the bear know you are not threatening (particularly if the bear is defending cubs or a food cache).
  • If you encounter a bear in an urban area or human territory, use a loud, firm voice as though you are speaking to a dog that’s misbehaving. Say “No!” and repeat as necessary. Remove your sunglasses and make direct eye contact with the bear.
  • Sometimes a bear may try to motivate you to leave, through intimidation. It may “pop” its jaws or swat the ground while blowing or snorting. It may lunge toward you or “bluff” charge – run toward you and then suddenly stop and turn away. Although scary, you are not likely to be hurt. For your own safety, stand your ground until the bear turns away and then retreat.
  • You can carry bear spray as a precaution and use it if a black bear is persistent in approaching you or attacks.
  • If a black bear attacks you offensively making full physical contact, fight back with any weapon you can find, including rocks and branches. Do NOT play dead.

Whistler’s black bears are generally timid creatures that are tolerant of humans and human activity. Spotting a black bear is an exhilarating experience and can really enhance your trip to Whistler. Keep these tips in mind during your visit to have a happy and safe Whistler vacation!

Whistler Accommodation BY Owner

Bear viewing optional… from your Whistler vacation rental by owner balcony.


katharine millsKatharine Mills is a trail and ultra runner living in North Vancouver. Originally from the UK, she lived in Whistler for two years before making the move to the city. Compared to the UK, she thinks Canada has an incredible lifestyle, but terrible tea. Her favourite things are exploring the wilds of the BC backcountry, racing mountain bikers down the trails of North Vancouver, and Honey’s Doughnuts from Deep Cove.


Whistler Vacation Rental Taxes and Guest Booking Fees

Avoid Whistler VRBO Taxes & Fees.

Ask about hotel taxes, parking and fees before booking your vacation rental.

It’s important to ask all the right questions about your Whistler vacation rental pricing before making your reservations and paying the rental deposit.

Two private homes may look the same and charge the same, but one may cost you quite a bit more in undisclosed taxes and fees.

Some—but not all—Whistler owners are required to charge tax, and some charge  separate cleaning, parking or guest fees that are not included in the nightly rate. 

It’s important to ask about taxes and fees in advance and get the terms of your rental contract in writing.

Whistler Pet Friendly RentalsVacation Rental Pet Fees

And if you’re planning on bringing Fido, you will want to ask about any associated pet fees, some places will add an extra cleaning charge when bringing your furry friend.

Damage Deposits on Vacation Rentals?

Another area where travellers sometimes get blind sided is the damage deposit. Many owners require one, which is understandable, as they’ve likely invested $500,000 or more in their rental. However, it’s important that your contract includes a description of what constitutes “damage” and under what conditions the deposit will or will not be returned.


Whistler Parking FeesParking Fees

One final piece of advice: if you’re driving to Whistler, be aware that some building complexes charge extra for parking your car—as much as $20 per night! Definitely ask the owner about these fees before you book, as they can have a substantial impact on the cost of your stay.

Bonus Tip… Guest Booking Fees

Just announced in 2016, all Expedia, HomeAway and VRBO vacation rentals will have a 4% to 16% guest booking fee applied as the vacation rental payment is processed.

This new fee is labeled ‘Service Fee’ and it goes straight to Expedia, HomeAway, or VRBO.

To avoid booking service fees like these, search around for the rental property name or do a Google image search. You can likely find the same vacation rental on other websites that don’t charge guest fees. Connect directly with the owner and then book through the website without the fees.

For Whistler vacation rentals without guest service fees, check out 50+ trusted rental homes on ResortAc.com or WhistlerbyOwner.com

Whistler Vacation Rentals by Owner VRBO ResortAc.com

Whistler Resort Upgrades Announced for 2016

WhistlerBlackcomb Plans $8 Million Future Improvements.

Plans to update winter and summer facilities and trails.

Plans include enhancements to learning areas on Whistler Mountain, major upgrades to Roundhouse Lodge deck and Garibaldi Lift Company patio and improvements to summer hiking trails.

Awesome news for Whistler Resort tourists and locals. Personally, I really respect a company that re-invests profits back into improving quality for their customers. These sound like smart upgrades that will improve guest experience at the resort, summer and winter. Here are the details…


Dave Brownlie WhistlerBlackcomb“All of these projects demonstrate our commitment to ensuring our guests have the best possible experiences when they come to our mountains,” says Dave Brownlie, President and CEO of Whistler Blackcomb. “These plans are designed to improve guest experience, enhance our weather resiliency and contribute to the year-round growth of our business. Reinvesting in our operations and continuing to provide new offerings to guests year after year is something we are very proud of.”

Beginner Terrain & Lifts:

Enhancements to the ski and snowboard learning areas on Whistler Mountain will involve earthwork in the Olympic Station area to open up more beginner-friendly terrain, as well as re-grading the Olympic and Fantastic runs to make them more accessible to novice skiers and riders. Whistler Blackcomb will be installing two new covered magic carpet lifts at Olympic Station and 25 new energy efficient snow guns to ensure prime conditions for beginner skiers and riders all season long. Plans also include re-grading the Upper Whiskey Jack run above the Chic Pea Hut to make it less steep and to create a more positive experience for beginners, as well as adding four new energy efficient snow guns to the area.

Roundhouse Lodge Decks:

Upgrades to the Roundhouse Lodge glacier-view deck include the addition of 6,000sq feet of new space in the form of a new upper and lower deck and a new “umbrella bar” featuring a collapsible roof that can open and close like an umbrella depending on the weather. The upgrades will add approximately 160 new outdoor seats to the Roundhouse Lodge, 63 of which will be at the umbrella bar. The umbrella bar is heated and will be open during the winter season, along with the new upper patio.

Glacier Lift Company Patio:

The GLC upgrades include plans to renovate the section of the patio overlooking Skier’s Plaza with a small expansion, a new roof, heaters and fire pits. The renovation will increase the capacity of the GLC on a year-round basis with 90 outdoor covered seats, and will elevate the patio experience for guests at Whistler’s signature slope-side après restaurant.

Summer Trails:

Enhancement plans for the summer experiences at Whistler Blackcomb include improvements to the Harmony Lake, Peak Express Traverse, and Whistler Summit Interpretive Walk hiking trails on Whistler Mountain, and the Alpine Walk hiking trail on Blackcomb Mountain. Work such as resurfacing and widening will be done on each of the trails to improve their usability and make them more enjoyable for guests.

Alpine Theatre Moves to Rendezvous:

The Samsung Alpine Theatre, which has been a summertime favourite in the Roundhouse Lodge during recent summers, will be expanded and relocated to the lower level of the Rendezvous Lodge on Blackcomb. The theatre will continue to show visually stunning videos that touch on things like Whistler Blackcomb’s history and the construction of the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola.

All of the projects included in the $8 million investment are expected to be complete by the start of the 2016-17 ski season.

Source: WhistlerBlackcomb.com Press Release

Whistler Blackcomb 50th Anniversary Video

WhistlerBlackcomb Vacation Rentals by Owner…

Whistler Vacation Rentals by Owner VRBO ResortAc.com

Find a great Scam-Free VRBO on our Trusted website www.Whistler.ResortAc.com

Dog Sled Tours in Whistler

Winter Dogsledding Tours.

Dog Sledding is the classic Canadian winter experience.

Travel through Whistler’s pristine backcountry on a sled pulled by powerful sled dog Huskies.

Whistler Dog Sledding for Couples Canadian Wilderness Adventures


Enjoy the Canadian Wilderness Adventure at Callaghan… Let your eager and powerful dog team lead you into the magnificent old growth forest of the Callaghan Valley. Stop for a rest at an abandoned trapper’s camp on Totem Lake and learn about the history of our Canadian fur trappers and there dog sledding adventures. Join your professional musher in harnessing and staging the dogs, learn the dog sledding commands and how to handle a dog sled. Relax with your family as you ride your dog sled along a mellow mix of open and winding trails for an unforgettable winter journey.

Or Blackcomb Dog Sled option in Soo Valley… This winter, reunite yourself with ‘man’s best friend’ as you experience the beautiful backcountry in pure Canadian style; by dogsled.

Join your musher in harnessing and staging the dogs, learn the commands and brace yourself for an everlasting memory in the making. Grab yourself a blanket and snuggle up in our comfortable sleds– or step onto the musher’s runners if you’re feeling adventurous.

Sit back and enjoy your timeless ride as you’re whisked away under snow-covered alpines and unforgettable views of the Callaghan Valley, just south of Whistler. At the end of your journey, warm up with a hot cup of apple cider and snack, and get one visit in in with our dogs – this truly is a once in a lifetime adventure.

  • Suitable for all ages and abilities.
  • Learn about the history of dog sledding.Dog Sledding Tours Whistler
  • Learn about the unique physiology and incredible skills of the specially bredArctic sled dogs.
  • Drink and snack included.
  • Sleds can accommodate 2 adults and 1 child.
  • Available December through April.

Whistler Dog Sled Tour Videos:

Blackcomb Dog Sled

Offers 2 tours each 2.5 hours in duration, Mountain Mushing in the Callaghan Valley and Champagne and Moondogs, an evening tour.

Canadian Wilderness Adventures

Offers a 2.5 to 3 hour tour called Trapper’s Run in the Callaghan Valley.

Tour Reviews for Whistler Dog Sledding

Blackcomb Dog Sled Trip Advisor Reviews 

Canadian Wilderness Adventures Yelp Reviews

Whistler Vacation Rental Deals…

Find a great Whistler rental for your holiday. Guaranteed Scam Free. Discount Lift Tickets.

Whistler Vacation Rentals by Owner VRBO ResortAc.com

Whistler Beer Wine & Liquor Stores

Whistler BC Liquor Store Guide.

Foreign tourists might consider Whistler’s liquor laws, rules, and prices very different than home.

Without too much effort, you will find out where to buy beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes and cigars in Whistler… and what hours the shops are open. If you prefer cold beer and wine, take note that only some stores offer chilled beverages.

Whistler BC Liquor Stores

BC Liquor Stores in Whistler Resort

BC Liquor Stores carry a full selection of wines from around the world, spirits, beers, ciders, and coolers, as well as some de-alcoholized products and bar accessories. Many of the sales associates have extensive wine, spirits, and beer knowledge and are available to provide assistance with selecting products for any occasion and budget.

Additionally, many sales associates have considerable knowledge on BC VQA wines. BC Liquor Stores offer free Wi-Fi to help you find your product on the go with the mobile app.

whistler marketplace liquor storeWhistler Village Location – 4211 Village Square across from the Whistler GroceryStore

Whistler Marketplace Location – 4360 Lorimer Road across from Marketplace IGA, now featuring a “Cold Zone” chilled beverages

Whistler Creekside Location – 2071 Lake Placid Road just down and around the corner from the Creekside Market

See Whistler Marketplace Liquor Store Reviews Here

Nester’s Liquor Store Delivers

Nester’s Liquor Store stocks cold beer and wines from all over the world.

Located in Nester’s Plaza in Whistler Resort, BC Canada.

Phone: 604.938.BEER

They deliver 604.938.BEER – 4PM – 10pm

See Nester’s Liquor Store Yelp Reviews Here

Between Two Kegs – Whistler Beer Festival and Nester’s Liquor Store Video:

Blackcomb Liquor Store

Whistler’s home for the finest in local and international wines, beers, and spirits. Locally owned and operated since 1996, the Blackcomb Liquor Store has long been a destination for the best in British Columbian craft brewed beers, and boutique estate wines, and continue to be the exclusive retailer in the area for the most sought-after vintages from the Okanagan Valley. Alongside their regional focus they offer a wide array of chilled beers, fine spirits, and outstanding wines from all around the world.

blackcomb-liquor-storeFamous for quality and service, the sommelier-run store boasts over 125 different beer listings, and nearly 400 wine selections to choose from, as well as top quality spirits. With friendly, knowledgeable staff to offer assistance, and their range of in-store features each month, they confidently offer something for every taste, and satisfaction is guaranteed. Open every day from 9am to 11pm including Sundays and holidays, and have delivery service.

Located in The Glacier Lodge, across from the Fairmont Chateau Whistler Hotel.

Phone: 604-932-9795 Delivery Service Available

See Blackcomb Liquor Store Yelp Reviews Here

Roland’s Creekside Beer & Wine Store

Roland’s Beer & Wine Store offering a great selection of wine, coolers, liquor and beer with friendly service.

Located next to the Nita Lake Lodge in Whistler’s Creekside. 2129 Lake Placid Road, Creekside, Whistler

Phone: 604-932-5926

Whistler Vacation Rentals by Owner…

Great Value from Whistler’s 1st Vacation Rental Website. Discount Lift Tickets Available.

Whistler Accommodation BY Owner

Whistler Nordic X-Country Skiing

Cross Country Skiing in Whistler.

Want to experience world-class nordic skiing? Head to Whistler, the official venue for Nordic events during the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

Whistler is a cross country skiing paradise where pristine mountain wilderness meets Olympic-rate trails.

Whistler Cross Country Skiing

Over 160 kms of trails for all ability levels and styles means plenty of variety for extended ski vacations. Bring your own skis or hop on a pair of rentals and get that heart pumping as you experience the wonders of Lost Lake, Whistler Olympic Park and the Whistler Valley Trail.

Nordic Skiing at Whistler Olympic Park

With access to almost 90km of trails groomed for both classic and skate skiing — 30km of which are dog friendly — there’s no shortage of cross-country exploration at Whistler Olympic Park. Whatever your ability, scenic and legendary trails accommodate all levels of ambitions and enthusiasm. Get your endorphins going well into the evening (night skiing offered Wednesdays mid-winter).

Rent equipment on site and take a lesson in classic or skate skiing at a world class facility.

On Wednesdays until the end of February, the Park will be open until 9:00 pm,and trail tickets are only $5!

Whistler Fat Tire Bike on Cross Country Trails‘Fat Tire’ biking is now possible at Whistler Olympic Park!

During all normal operating hours, fat tire bikes are permitted on designated trails throughout Whistler Olympic Park, assessed on a daily basis. Check with the Guest Services team for the trails open for the day, as they may differ depending on weather, snow conditions and user compatibility. Access to Fat Tire Biking requires a valid season pass or a cross country day ticket.

Daily Whistler Village Shuttle Bus to Whistler Olympic Park

It operates daily between December 19, 2015 and April 3, 2016, Whistler pick-up is at 9:45am at the Gondola Transit Exchange loop (10:00am in Creekside/in front of Legends hotel), it leaves Whistler Olympic Park at 2:30pm to return to Whistler Village.

Lost Lake Cross Country and Snowshoe Trails

Whistler Nordic SkiingLost Lake offers 25 km of cross country trails and 15 km of snowshoe and Nordic hiking trails with incredible views of Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. The cross country trails are groomed daily for classic and skate techniques, with four kilometres lit for night skiing.

The cross country ski season typically runs mid-December to the end of March, depending on weather. Operating hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., with alternative hours on holidays.

Lost Lake Park is located a short walk from the Village, Day Lot 4 and 5 and can be accessed with the free Village Shuttle at the Day Lot 4 drop off.

604-935-PLAY(7529) for daily trail updates and conditions

Cross Country Skiing on the Valley Trail

Update December 15, 2015
The Valley Trail from Meadow Park to Rainbow Park is groomed and trackset  for cross country skiing this winter.

Dog owners are welcome to ski, snowshoe or walk the trail. There is no trail fee and the trails are groomed approximately every three days.

Ski Callaghan

North America’s most unique and diverse Nordic Center. Located close to Whistler BC, Ski Callaghan is your perfect cross country skiing get-away. With over 130km to explore by ski or snowshoe, a new snowy adventure awaits every time you visit!

Ski Callaghan offers many activities the entire family can enjoy, including many dog friendly trails, groomed trails for skate skiing and classic XC skiing, wilderness trails for backcountry ski touring access, and beginner to advanced trails for snowshoeing.

Great Vacation Rentals for Whistler Cross Country Skiers…


Resort Accommodation Whistler Vacation Rentals by Owner

VRBO (by Owner) chalets, cabins, townhomes & condos. Forget Craigslist or AirBnB and search our network of scam-free Whistler Rentals here.


Heli Skiing Whistler Heli Boarding

Whistler Resort Heli Boarding or Skiing.

Skip lift lines and Crowds. Access untouched mountains, untracked powder, and prime BC alpine terrain.


Whistler heli skiing companies have the highest standard of pilots. Professional guides are expertly trained with years of experience.

Whistler Heli Skiing and Boarding

It’s an exhilarating experience to rival all else – unadulterated skiing and uninterrupted snowboarding down 6000 feet of powder. That’s the way it should be.

Whistler Heli Skiing Video:

Transform your ski holiday into a dream holiday. If you can ski or ride blue runs (intermediate) then you can heli-ski in Whistler! No previous powder experience is necessary. With exclusive rights to 432,000 acres of big mountain terrain that includes 173 glaciers and 475 runs, Whistler Heli-Skiing is Whistler’s most popular heli-skiing company.

  • All tours are led by certified guides.
  • Group, private and multi-day adventures available.
  • Tours include lunch, avalanche safety equipment and return ground transportation from Whistler Village.
  • Available December through April.

Whistler Heli Ski and Heli Boarding Company Reviews:

Coast Range Heli Skiing – read TripAdvisor Reviews
Powder Mountain – TripAdvisor Reviews
Whistler Heli-Skiing – Reviews by TripAdvisor

Private Whistler Vacation Rental Chalets for Your Heli Skiing Trip

Whistler Accommodation BY Owner