Whistler is buzzing in the summer. You can swim or wakeboard in Alta Lake, hike up to Singing Pass or Rainbow Lake, or tackle one of the challenging mountain bike trails, which are graded in the same way as ski runs. Kids can be transformed into trapeze artists at the base of Blackcomb or can hurtle down the hill on the luge.
The white chocolate and macadamia nut cookies served in the mountain restaurants are sublime. If you want to try a regional speciality, chocolatey Nanaimo bars are super sweet and packed with sugar - clearly an essential energy-boosting snack.
During school holidays, the lift queues can be enormous. How to beat them? Take the Fitzsimmons and Garbanzo chairlifts instead of the gondola on Whistler mountain.
Head up the mountain at 8.30am instead of 10. Join the singles lines. These move quickly and you meet locals who might share a tip on a hidden powder stash. (Or you can sneakily follow them!).
Try Crystal Chair on Blackcomb. It's older and slower, so queues are shorter and there's some fantastic terrain and sweet tree riding.
In the summer, you can add a little glamour to your holiday and arrive in style by taking the floatplane from downtown Vancouver to Whistler. The views are unforgettable and the trip takes just 30 minutes. You can also fly from Victoria on Vancouver Island.
Whistler Air; tel: 604 932 6615; www.whistlerair.ca
If you haven't had your fix of snow come May, book yourself a late-season trip. Although Blackcomb closes on April 23rd, Whistler mountain remains open until June 4th.
The snow may be on the slushy side, but skiing or boarding in a T-shirt and finishing the day off with a few beers on the Roundhouse patio is pretty awesome.
Powder in May is certainly not unheard of and, the way things are going so far (a record 469cm in January alone!), is looking increasingly likely this season.
One-day spring season tickets are just CAN$46, a bargain compared with the whopping CAN$75 charged over Christmas. And if you still want more, Blackcomb reopens in the summer for glacier skiing and riding, usually until late July or early August.
Never mind a two-week holiday - the best way to experience Whistler is as a local. Anyone aged 18 to 35 can obtain a 12-month work permit through BUNAC's Work Canada programme. (You don't have to be a student.)
Whistler Blackcomb holds a hiring fair in October. Competition is fierce and the company is extremely customer-focused, so show plenty of enthusiasm and animation.
A job with the mountain means a free season pass, free lessons, discounted food and ski/snowboard gear and subsidised accommodation. You might work as a liftie, a ski technician, a cappuccino bar server or a ticket validator.
Hard work, yes, but you'll improve your skiing/riding no end and discover all the secret spots on the mountain.
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