Whistler is a Coast Mountains resort town about 125 kilometres (78 mi) north of Vancouver on the #99 "Sea-to-Sky highway". Whistler was on a traditional trading route between the Squamish and Lil'wat (Lilloet) First Nations long before the arrival of Europeans. The British first surveyed the valley in 1960, and named the mountain "London Mountain" for its constant fogs, but it was colloquially named "whistler" for the sounds made by the local marmots.
A trail was cut through the area to speed travel from Howe Sound north to the gold fields northeast of Lilloet, in order to bypass the Fraser River's narrow canyon. After the gold rush was over, the trails were used by cattle ranchers, trappers and prospectors. When the Pacific Great Eastern Railway was built, it brought traffic to tourist resorts around Alta Lake. Until the 1960s, this area laced basic infrastructure (sewage, water, or electricity) and did not have road connecting to Vancouver. In 1962, four Vancouver businessmen began the Garibaldi Lift Company and in 1966 Whistler Mountain opened to the public. Though offered the 1976 Winter Olympics when Denver lost its community support, Whistler declined citing similar lack of local government support. Ultimately, the joint bid with Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Olympics was successful. Elite-class rail service between Whistler and North Vancouver is provided by the Whistler Mountaineer, which connects to rail service through to Jasper on the Rocky Mountaineer.
Whistler has developed into four key neighbourhoods: Whistler Village, Whistler Creek, Nordic Estates and the Blackcomb Benchlands.
Whistler is the Host Mountain Resort of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, and the Whistler Olympic and Paralympic Village (the Athlete's village) will house around 2,400 athletes, coaches, trainers and officials. After the Games, the site will be turned into a new residential neighbourhood.
Whistler is served by the Howe Sound School District #48. The town is served by Garibaldi Highlands Elementary, Myrtle Philip Community School, Spring Creek Community School and the Whistler Secondary Community School.
There is lots of shopping in Whistler, both tourist focused and for the benefit of the many residents and condo owners.
Most of the housing in Whistler is in multi-family low-rise condominiums.