Whistler Wayfinding: A UBC Student’s Guide

Confession: One of my main motivations in coming to this university was its proximity to Whistler. No, I’m not ashamed of it. Now, after almost an entire ski season of making the winding, snowy, scenic commute up to Whistler, season pass in hand, I’ve decided to share some of my knowledge with you, lovely blog readers. So, without further rambling, here is the (un) official UBC student’s guide to getting to Whistler (might need to come up with a catchier name--never mind, I did. See blog post title).

Drive: Simple, right? If you’re lucky enough to have a car, I’m crazy jealous of you (wanna give me a ride up this weekend?). But, for those of you who are less fortunate, do not fret! There are other options for getting to the powder.

UBC/Vancouver Greyhound: If you live on campus, there’s a Greyhound that leaves every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from UBC at 6 am. This is how I usually get up to Whistler. It stops right across from Vanier on University Blvd (next to the Global Lounge) and then at the UBC Bus Loop, and drops you off right in Whistler Village. It’s the same deal coming back, with the bus leaving Whistler at 4 pm. Rates are available on the Greyhound website.

There are also several Greyhound buses that run daily from Vancouver to Whistler. They have several pick-up and drop-off locations around the city, but most people get on at the Pacific Central Station. If you’re catching an early morning bus, getting there by bus from campus is tricky, and you might have to cab. But if you’re taking the bus later in the day, transit shouldn’t be an issue.

I’ve heard a few horror stories about the Greyhound from the UBC Ski & Board group about people’s gear getting lost, busses getting overbooked, etc., but I’ve personally never had any problems travelling on the UBC Greyhound (aside from a girl almost making away with my boots after mistaking them for hers).

Note: Always, always, always buy your tickets from Travelcuts in the SUB. It’s the only way you can get the student rate of $35 round-trip from UBC. If you wait and buy your ticket on the bus, there’s a chance the bus might be full, and you’ll have to pay almost $60 to get to Whistler and back. Also, remember you need to call ahead by 6 pm the night before to book your spot on the bus.

Snowbus: Snowbus is a Vancouver company that runs buses from Vancouver to Whistler daily throughout the ski season. I’ve only taken the Snowbus once at the very beginning of the season, but I really enjoyed it. They even made a Timmie’s pit stop. The stop closest to campus is located at Maple & Broadway, and the earliest bus leaves at 5:45 am. You need to take the 14 around 5:15 in order to get there on time from campus, so don’t miss the bus and pray that the Translink gods don’t make you late—otherwise, tough luck.

Similar to the Greyhound, you need to call ahead and book your spot on the bus. I’ve had a few problems with their website, and preferred to call in and buy my tickets. The staff were really friendly and helpful. A student round trip costs $35, about the same as the Greyhound. You can also buy a season pass for $424 at the beginning of the season. I personally find the hassle of getting to Kits a little too risky, but if you live close to a stop definitely give the Snowbus a try.

UBC Ski & Board/Rideshare Groups: I’ve never used these groups, but if you go on Facebook there are tons of people offering spots in their cars and asking for rides up to Whistler. Just post in the group saying when you want to go up and how many spots you need (and throwing in an offer of gas money or free breakfast doesn’t hurt, either). Link to the group here.

Those are all the options I’m aware of, but comment if you know of any alternate means of transportation (aside from sketchily hitchhiking in the back of some guy’s logging truck). Also thinking about doing a couple more posts on Whistler related things–accommodation, season pass benefits, Whistler vs. local mountains, etc. Let me know if this is something you’d like to read more about, lovely people of the Internet. I need a good reason to avoid doing homework.

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