Whistler hotels want to be full, all year round, so great deals on accommodation are available at off season times, PLUS there are ways to get great deals all year round!
Whistler restaurants and bars are packed in winter and summer - but sitting at a fraction of capacity during shoulder seasons - you get great restaurant deals then!
Whistler activities deals are available if they have excess capacity - at any time!
First off, go skiing! There are TWO massive, amazing, challenging, world class mountains, Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, this is the largest ski area in North America - and there are tons of double black diamond, off piste, crazy stuff to explore - so get ready for over 5.000 vertical feet of skiing!
Hotels can be $300 a night and up during ski season, and peak summer season - but three ideas have saved me money on accommodation. First, there is a condo booking agency called ResortQuest that can offer off season specials - I stayed in a gorgeous townhouse a block from the village square, with hot tub, fireplace, kitchen, sleeping 4-6 people in the early fall - save 35% on booking 3 days or more at 1-888-898-9208 - ask about any deals like that!
If you are sociable, and willing to both ENJOY and put up with the common areas of a bed and breakfast - Chalet Beau Sejour had bed and breakfast in a spectacular chalet looking out on the mountains for $130-170. Very social hosts, and a dining table looking out on the mountains with double sided fireplace and mulled wine while visitors from around the world discuss snow and ski conditions simply can't be beat!
Lastly, there are several hostels - rooms are in the $30 to $40 range, search for Fireside Lodge, UBC Whistler Lodge, SouthSide Lodge, and the brand new HI Whistler, in the former athlete's village for the 2010 Winter Olympics - you may share a room with some interesting strangers, but that price leaves plenty of money for food and entertainment!
Whistler has an incredible array of high end restaurants, but one I found outstanding was the Edgewater Lodge, just north of Whistler a few miles. Check the picture in the website, combined with the Zagat quote "venison to die for" (they have their own venison farm) and you'll be on your way!
At the other end of the spectrum, Peaked Pies, at 105 - 4369 Main Street - Australian meat pies that you will come back for over and over, especially after visiting Whistler's bars and nightclubs!
Three bars stand out as amongst Whistler's best, and offer a unique experience. Tommy Africa's will attract the early 20s crowd, with glass DJ booth, the best local DJs and a zebra striped door! The Savage Beagle is a two level bar on the main walkway, with a crowded dance floor downstairs, and a "belly up to the bar" section upstairs. The "cougar bar" for 30s and up is Buffalo Bills, at the other end of the main walkway - live bands, great DJs and comedians have offered many great nights over the years.
Ski lift passes are often available at the 7-11 in Squamish or Vancouver on your way to Whistler for a discount that can be $10-20 per lift ticket. Lift lines are shortest at the Whistler Creekside lift, if you want to get going quickly, but I prefer the skiing at Blackcomb, the other mountain (they are joined at Whistler Village, and by the Peak To Peak Gondola)
The best kept secrets about Whistler are the summer activities - there are a group of pristine lakes to swim or canoe, mountain bikes with full protection gear are rocketed to the top of the mountain for rapid or tricky, descents, and the ski hill has a glacier at the top that is kept open until August!
There are some amazing events going on throughout the year, from Cornucopia culinary event to Gay Ski Week to the World Ski And Snowboard Festival, to Crankworks bike events to free concerts during the summer, to Tough Mudder - and there's tons more!
Oh yeah, some guys named Palmer and Nicholas have golf courses, and there are ski camps, tennis camps, zip trek lines, heli hiking, white water rafting, fishing, horseback riding, ATVs - there are a LOT of great things to do, but bring money!!
More info on Whistler at the Whistler Blog