A picturesque alpine ski resort in the heart of British Columbia's backcountry wilderness, Whistler lies a mere 73 mi/118 km from Vancouver, making it a popular weekend retreat for busy urbanites. The absence of cars and abundance of cozy cafes, boutiques and upscale restaurants give Whistler the look and feel of an idyllic European mountain village.

But the town's charms go far beyond its aesthetic appeal and walkability. Whistler is one of the leading areas in the world for winter leisure activities and is one of the top ski-resort towns in North America. Visitors continue to flock to the area for what locals describe as the two greatest vertical-rise mountains in North America: Blackcomb Mountain's vertical drop is a whopping 5,280 ft/1,609 m, and Whistler Mountain's is close behind at 5,020 ft/1,530 m.

The town was founded on these natural skiing attributes, but visitors can choose from an ever-growing selection of additional snow-related activities, including snowboarding, dogsledding, snowshoeing, sleigh riding and snowmobiling. There's no doubt that Whistler helped Vancouver win the bid to host the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. All the alpine and Nordic skiing and sliding events were held at Whistler, the host mountain resort. Vancouver was the host city, and nearby Richmond was also a venue city.

With easy access to British Columbia's endless resource of natural treasures, the region also serves as a playground for outdoor summer activities, such as mountain biking, hiking, climbing and other ecoadventures. It is also a golfer's paradise, with four of Canada's top 100 golf courses. Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Robert Trent Jones Jr. and Robert Cupp have each designed championship masterpieces in this magnificent setting, earning Whistler a spot among the top golf destinations in the world.

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