Over the years Whistler has taken steps to become one of the most accessible and inclusive resort communities in the world. Although this mission is not complete, Whistler has improved immensely in providing a seamless accessible experience for people with different ability levels, no matter how adventurous you choose to be. Locals and visitors alike will surely notice accessibility is built into Whistler, from the pedestrian only streets, paved walking trails, accessible transportation, and activities and sports catering to those with different physical needs. Here we will explore Accessibility in Whistler and highlight resources and programs available to support your visit.
In 2010 Whistler hosted the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Accessibility was already to a high standard at this time; however, the investment into programs, the built environment, and education created one of the most progressive resort town accessibility models in the world.
The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) is committed to working inclusively and collaboratively with resort partners to create equal opportunity environments to people with visible and non-visible disabilities; locals and tourists alike. The municipality has recently launched the Access Whistler Project and has signed onto BC’s Measuring Up Program to continuously improve the opportunities, benefits, inclusivity and accessibility for those with different abilities. Here is a video about Whistler’s Commitment to continuously improving accessibility as part of British Columbia’s Accessibility 2024 agenda.
Over the years Whistler has created a seamless and barrier free environment that includes pedestrian only streets, paved trails and slopes with gradients. There has been an increase in disabled parking stalls and accessible washrooms throughout the Village. All of this information can be found on a comprehensive Accessibility Map which also indicates points such as elevators, tactile pads, TTY telephones, pedestrian audible signals at intersections and more.
If taking public transportation Whistler’s bus system has accessibility features such as ramps and easy access buses plus extra space for wheelchairs. Wheelchair access taxis can also be arranged.
Activities and Adventure
Having a physical impairment will not limit your choice of activities and adventure while in Whistler. When hosting the 2010 Paralympics it was paramount that athletes received a barrier free experience of the resort and this right transfers to locals and visitors today. The majority of activities are accessible and can be modified to suit people of different abilities.
The Whistler Adaptive Sports Program (WASP) is a not-for-profit organization providing year round recreational programs for people with different abilities. The program began in 1999 offering sit skiing and has evolved into a year-round program offering 1400 ski lessons every winter and other activities such as hiking, biking, kayaking, canoeing and yoga. The Rick Hanson Foundation is another remarkable organization which has liberated the amazing potential of people with disabilities. Read about how a local Whistler athlete went on to push limits and live an active and adventurous lifestyle after breaking his neck while skiing in Whistler.
Besides the adventurous activities there are plenty of other things to do for people of all abilities in Whistler such as shopping, visiting museums and art galleries, wining and dining, relaxing at the spa (just to name a few).
Where to Stay
Hotels and resorts throughout Whistler are equipped to host people with different impairments and ability levels. Whether you are looking for something in the heart of the Village, south of Whistler in Creekside or somewhere on the mountain it is possible to find the perfect place that meets your unique requirements. For suggestions on where to stay while in Whistler and the best places for accessible accommodation contact the staff at Whistler Reservations for the latest, up-to-date recommendations.
Whatever your ability and mobility levels are, Whistler has an array of activities for you to try. With a world-class accessible and barrier free environment, and a commitment to continuously improve and create seamless experiences for those with physical impairments, Whistler truly is a remarkable place to travel for people of all ages, ethnicities, and ability levels.