Whistler Mythbusters

by Ava Chisling, an AOL Travel ContributorPosted Oct 20th 2010 06:01 AM

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Whistler Mythbusters

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If you ask people what they think of Whistler, they will tell you it is beautiful, but not affordable. These mountains have been playgrounds for the rich and famous for decades, and playing host to the 2010 Winter Olympics only pushed the prices further skyward. Is this town only for the adventure hounds, the young and the wealthy? Let's see what Whistler mythbusters have to say.


1. If you come to Whistler, you must ski or snowboard.


TRUE – to an extent. If you come to a ski resort, you better love the cold and the snow. Well, at least that is how the myth goes. Whistler-Blackcomb is renowned as one of the best ski resorts in the world. Beautifully groomed trails, steep elevations, and state of the art lifts are only three of the 100 reasons people come here to ski and snowboard. So while there are things to do in the area that do not involve the mountains – going to a spa, for example – it's probably best that you at least give the outdoors a try. Maybe you don't have to ski or snowboard, but what about ice skating or skate-skiing? One way or another, you will want to put the hot chocolate down and get some exercise outdoors.


2. Whistler is only for the young.


FALSE. Of course, resort towns cater to the young in many ways! This is a mountain playground – a place to party. Well, that is kind of a Whistler urban myth. Though in a lot of ways, the myth holds true. This is a place that caters to the young, much like South Beach in Miami. Teenage boarders and skiers come from all over the world to spend weeks and months on these slopes. You can see them in line during the day as they wait for a ride up and you can see them on line at night as they wait, with flashy clothes and already buzzed on alcohol, to get into the clubs. "Ride hard, play hard" is the motto of many in Whistler. Of course, there are things for older people to enjoy as well. There are fine restaurants and upscale shops that do not attract a noisy young crowd. But to experience the real Whistler, you should at least be young at heart and do some shredding of your own.


3. Whistler is only for the rich.


FALSE, though it is expensive. Similar to resort towns like Aspen or Vail, Whistler does attract a rich and famous crowd. Seal, Ashton and Demi, Justin Timberlake, Sarah Jessica Parker ... all the big Hollywood and European names come here for the day and nightlife. Let's look at some prices to see if this myth is true. First, there is a ski pass. A two-day adult pass can cost as much as CDN $182. Of course, there are combination passes, flexi passes, book-in-advance passes, etc., that bring the daily cost down but no matter how you look at it, it's not cheap. A one week's stay at the Chateau Whistler in mid-January will run you roughly $2,100 and up. Equipment rental, food, transport to and from Whistler, and an "I Love Canada" T-shirt, and you can expect a hefty bill at the end of your stay. Now, having just affirmed this Whistler urban myth, it is also true that you can stay at a bed and breakfast, ski only once and eat at McDonalds, but clearly it is not the same experience.


4. Whistler is like the TV show.


FALSE. Was the TV drama Whistler a reflection of life in the real town of the same name? It's doubtful. The award-winning television show, which ran for a few years on various North American stations, was all about lies, power and control, with cheesy taglines like "What new secrets lie hidden beneath the snow? The truth is hard to find. In Whistler it's just about impossible." We're pretty sure it's actually possible to find the secrets beneath the snow, waiting for summer to arrive being the most obvious way. The show focused on pretty people finding themselves, and sometimes used the real Whistler as its backdrop. The only person who believed the show was based on any kind of reality is real-life Canadian Olympic gold medalist Ross Rebagliati. He threatened to sue the TV show's producers for misappropriation of his personality for commercial gain and defamation in 2006. They eventually settled the case out of court, incredibly.


5. The only time to visit Whistler is in winter.


FALSE. Whistler has a reputation of being a world-class winter resort probably because it is. However, there is more than one season in this part of Canada, so don't dismiss summer as a viable option to visit. The same chairlifts that carry skiers and bikers to the peaks in the winter take hikers and bikers in the summer. Relax in one of the mountain-top restaurants, surrounded by snow-covered mountains on all sides. Take a bike up and ride switch-back all the way down, through the trees, all the while mindful of bears. You can also swim, kayak, canoe and otherwise enjoy pristine lakes.

That's the truth according to Whistler mythbusters! Visit soon for exciting outdoor fun.
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