Movin' in, Like a Local

Updated: Apr 3, 2021

Beautiful mountain backdrop view, from Nita Lake lodge arch, with blue skies and trees
View From Nita Lake Lodge

So you like what your reading? You want to move here? Good decision.

There are a couple of things I would like to share with you, to prepare you best for the process.

Housing is the hardest part of moving to Whistler, but once you secure a roof over your head, you can rest easy; everything else will fall into place.

The housing crisis dates back to about 6 or 7 years ago, according to most locals. This is the result of the 2010 Olympics putting Whistler on the map. The problem is supply and demand- most houses in Whistler are empty investments for rich foreigners, or weekend/vacation houses for city folks. That doesn’t leave much available for locals, and what is available is priced extremely high.

Mountain view from Balcony in Rainbow, rainy day
View From My First House in Whistler

It is not uncommon to have 20 Whistler-ites to a house, squishing 2-4 people per bedroom, just to save a few extra bucks. The average room in Whistler goes for $1000, but can be more or less. My first room in Whistler went for $1200, overpriced for what my budget allowed, but I took what I could get until I was able to find something more affordable. That is my advice to you. Take what you can get, settle in, and then you can keep searching.

Google maps, Function to Emerald, 17 minutes along highway
Function Junction to Emerald Estates

Whistler extends about 20 km from one side of town to the other, with the village in the center. The buses run from 5am to 3am and make every neighbourhood accessible. Whistler is split into 2 main subdivisions- south of the village and north of the village.

Here is a map from Tourism Whistler of the valley trail, including all Whistler neighbourhoods:

A popular neighbourhood for locals is Creekside. Creekside was the original Whistler village with shopping, food outlets and mountain access. This is ideal during peak season to avoid going into the village for your errands. The Creekside gondola is generally a lot quieter (locals secret), and if you can live and work in Creekside, you have hit the jackpot! Creekside also has Alpha Lake for your lakeside/park needs, and Nita Lake Lodge, where you can enjoy a spa day and a refreshing lakeside patio drink.

There are a number of ways to search for housing in Whistler. The most popular is the Whistler Housing for Locals Facebook page. It is the most secure, as you can see who is posting-a local forum. Craigslist is also recommended, however is subject to scams. A tip: always go see the house first and ask questions before sending money. If they say they are not in the country, it is most likely a scam. Third, word of mouth is effective, but this one takes time. Once you have put roots into Whistler, the more people you meet, the more luck you will have finding accommodation. Locals prefer this route, as the housing page and craigslist can be bombarded with responses.

Whistler Housing Facebook Page for Locals
Whistler Housing For Locals Facebook Page

If you are moving to Whistler from overseas, try and find a job that provides housing. If you work for the mountain or any hotel, staff housing is available. Working for the mountain, provides you a ski pass, housing and deals around town. It will set you up for your first season with no stress. Hotels like the Fairmont and Four Seasons are also good options, and the perks will include cheap staff stays in other locations and family rates. Great for when your family comes to visits you! Of course, they will- its Whistler.


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