Cell phone networks in Canada can be quite expensive. They have a habit of charging for everything! So for example; you may have to pay for caller ID, to cancel your contract and to receive calls and text messages. Data in Canada is also quite expensive, however, there is so much free Wifi in Whistler you can usually do without it.
In Whistler village there are three phone shops; Rogers, Telus and Bell. All three provide bill pay and prepaid phone services. Bill plans usually range from $25 for basic to $65+ for long-term plans with data, voicemail and other add-ons. Most networks also provide the option for international text and calls. Though with Whatsapp, Skype and Viber these are not really that necessary at all.
If you start off in Vancouver it may be a good idea to pick up a phone there. You will be able to choose from a lot more providers. Be careful though when selecting your provider that it has signal and coverage in the Whistler area as not all phone networks do. Also, each area has it’s own area code, and calling between these areas can be classed long-distance. For example, newly issued Vancouver numbers will begin with 778 while Whistler numbers begin with 604. If you plan on basing yourself in Whistler then it’s a good idea to ask for a local Whistler number (604) if you are signing up for a new phone in Vancouver before traveling up to Whistler.
It’s advisable if you’re bringing a phone over from home to get it unlocked before you get here. There are no phone unlocking shops in Whistler, though if you ask around you can usually track someone down to do it for you. It can cost upwards of $50.
There are three banks based in Whistler. They are:
RBC and TD are based in Whistler village and Scotia Bank is based Creekside. It’s important to remember that if you use an ATM that is not owned by your bank you will face additional charges. These can add up, so it’s best to try use your banks own ATMs. Scotia Bank has an ATM in 7-Elevan in Whistler village. For the most part the banks provide similar services. A bonus with Scotia Bank is that when you use their ATMs with your Scotia card you get a free coffee in winter and a free big gulp in summer.
A Social Insurance Number (SIN) is a nine-digit number you will need to start working in Canada. It is similar to a National Insurance number in the UK, a tax file number in Australia or a Personal Public Service number in Ireland.
You can apply for a SIN at a Service Canada office. There is one located in Downtown Vancouver at 757 Hastings Street West. There is one also located in Squamish on 1440 Winnipeg Street. It is often advised to go to the Vancouver office, as it is much bigger and more equipped to deal with a high volume of applicants quickly. However, the Squamish office is usually the handiest location if you are already in Whistler and need to change or update your card.
To apply you will need to bring your Working Holiday Visa and your passport. You will be given your SIN right away. Then a week or so later you will receive your SIN card in the post.
Whistler mountain opens in mid to late November and Blackcomb mountain usually opens the week after it. Most seasons the mountain opens one week before the official Whistler Blackcomb opening day.
The mountains host over a 100 runs each. Both mountains host endless backcountry to be enjoyed also. You can see the Winter trail map below and can download your own printable copy here.
The bike park opens in mid May and closes mid October most seasons.Check out the trail maps below. For more details check the Whistler Bike Park website.