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Whistler’s main village gets all the glory, but don’t sleep on this neighbouring community.
Whistler’s Creekside has always been the day-tripper’s choice: not only do you save the extra five kilometres to the village, you also avoid the frequently grinding traffic that occupies said five klicks at the end of a ski day. It’s a blessing and a curse: because everyone leaves for home the second the lifts close, Creekside has historically suffered greatly in the vibe department. But with some big changes underway, this once-transitory area is making a serious case to be the destination of choice for your next extended stay.
Whistler’s 8,171 acres dwarf every other hill in North America, but sometimes getting up to that expanse can be a bit of a slog, with huge, snaking lines popping up on busy weekends. But this season’s Creeksiders will be greeted with not only a brand-new 10-person gondola, but also upgraded chairs on the Big Red lift, which now hold six passengers each—that’s an increase in uphill capacity of 35 percent. Creekside was already the frequent choice for avoiding lines, but now the comparison is not even close—this will be easily the fastest way up the hill this coming season. And an added kicker? This new engineering marvel can be viewed from the patio at Dusty’s, which is the best après scene in all of Whistler.
Much of Creekside is taken up by the second homes of Vancouverites, and while there are always plenty of Airbnbs (search any of the Taluswood properties for great ski-in, ski-out), there are also two options if you’re looking for more traditional hotel lodging. The first is Nita Lake Lodge, the swankier of the pair and the choice if you have some dough but don’t want the village scene. The rooms are bigger, the prices lower than the hotel’s village brethren and it’s only 500 metres from the new gondola. Even closer is Legends, which is part hotel, part timeshare, but has solid condo-style rooms (done in that ubiquitous cedar and river rock style) right at the base of Creekside. If you need a two- or three-bedroom, this place is frequently the best deal in Whistler for a true ski-in, ski-out.
If you’re looking for caviar and Cristal, go to the village—Creekside skews a lot more chill. Fine dining is covered by the longstanding Rimrock Cafe, and while the food there is no longer pushing many boundaries, the wine list remains one of the best for breadth, sneaky value and commitment to finding cool B.C. producers. More typically Creekside is the iconic Creekbread, the heroes who brought proper pizza to Whistler and whose sprawling, high-ceilinged room is always packed. Even takeout must be scheduled well in advance if you want to eat a Pemberton potato pie in the comfort of your living room. Creekbread’s success has spawned the new Functional Pie, a takeout-only spot in Function Junction. Many are saying that Functional Pie now wears the crown as king of Whistler pizza (and it has the added bonus of being close to Coast Mountain Brewing, the only real craft beer producer in town—sorry Whistler Brewing—so it’s perfect for grabbing an accompanying growler of Crystal Chair pilsner).
READ MORE: 5 More Awesome Places to Visit in B.C. This Winter