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driving from Seattle to Whistler in mid-April

North Carolina
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driving from Seattle to Whistler in mid-April

My friend and I are driving from Seattle to Whistler around mid-April. We're from the east coast in the US, so we're not very knowledgeable about this part of the world.

I've got two questions. First, if we are driving from Seattle to Whistler in mid-April, can we rent an economy car and be fine on the roads or do we need something with 4WD?

Second, is there anything we need to know about driving across the border in a rental car? We've got passports, so I think we're all set, but just don't want to be caught by surprise.

Thanks.

Green Valley...
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1. Re: driving from Seattle to Whistler in mid-April

First... sure. It would take an extraordinary and unexpected snow storm at that time of year to hinder your trip.

Second... should be fine. Never hurts to also have a birth certificate. You might check with the rental car company about their rules and thoughts about crossing the border.

You might even find civilization and sophistication in "this part of the world: LOL :).

North Carolina
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2. Re: driving from Seattle to Whistler in mid-April

thanks for the update. we are looking forward to your part of the world! we have a week trip that's going to be split between whistler, vancouver and seattle. should be fun.

Green Valley...
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3. Re: driving from Seattle to Whistler in mid-April

Enjoy your trip. Be aware that there is much to see and you will find yourselves rushed.

seattle
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4. Re: driving from Seattle to Whistler in mid-April

I do tours in Vancouver all summer. Click on my name and go to inside pages. Read some of my hints for crossing the border. Be aware that Whistler is a long day trip of driving from Seattle. You have to wind thru downtown Vancouver before getting to Whistler and Hwy 1. Perhaps you might consider Amtrak which has a direct bus from Vancouver to Whistler. Call 1-800 usa rail and check them out. Once in Vancouver you will find you won't need a car really. Same with Whistler. The pro is it will save you lots of time at the border.

San Francisco...
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5. Re: driving from Seattle to Whistler in mid-April

I just did the Seattle to Whistler trip last week. Went up on a Wed, back on Sunday. It took me 4 3/4 hours up and almost 6 back. The difference is On Wed heading into Canada there was no wait at the border. Coming back I got to the border at 10:45am and didnt get through until 12:15pm.

Here is what I can say about the roads. I have been to Whistler twice this season. Both times it was snowing hard as I left Whistler, and snowed all the way down to Squamish (about 45 miles) and both time the roads stayed clear. They do a great job of keep in the roads to/from Whistler clear.

Washington
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6. Re: driving from Seattle to Whistler in mid-April

First, if you have passports - you are set - birth certificates in addition are not needed.

Second, highly recommend crossing at the BLAINE TRUCK CROSSING, which is the exit just before the main tourist/official US - Canada (Peace Arch) crossing. They are doing quite a bit a construction at this crossing, which has increased wait times a bit, but it is still quicker than crossing at the Peace Arch.

From there you will enter Canada and travel for about 20 minutes on a two lane highway through a couple smaller towns to Canada HWY 1. It is far more time efficient than winding through the streets of downtown Vancouver to HWY 1.

Third, in prep for the 2010 Olympics, there is quite a bit a road construction on the road to Whistler, but they are doing a very good job of keeping the highway open and traffic moving. For the most part, the road is 3 or 4 lanes all the way to Whistler. (two lanes each direction or one with a passing lane)

Fourth, I recommend traveling in the daylight hours. Through the road is in very good shape, it does twist and turn and travel is so much more pleasant when you can see where you are going. Plus the scenery is spectacular along the highway with the Pacific to your West, mountains and waterfalls hugging the road to the East. There is a good reason why they call this the "Sea to Sky" highway.

The Ski & Snowboard Festival this year is April 13-22 and the village will be packed and activities abound should you be traveling at that time.

Our Sea-Whistler record is 4 1/4 hrs with no border wait. Typically our travel time is about 4 1/2hrs into Canada with a slightly longer return trip into the US - usually about 5 hours.

Seattle, Washington
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7. Re: driving from Seattle to Whistler in mid-April

Seattle, Vancouver and Whistler are all great places to visit, but if it was a one time visit here I'd personally skip Whistler. There are so many things to see in and between Seattle and Vancouver that I'm not sure Whistler would add much, and it is significantly farther north. However if you have a good reason to go, then why not?

On driving across the border, bring you ID and proof of citizenship (passport is best, and will be required from 2008, see travel.state.gov).

Make sure your rental car is allowed into Canada. While most are, I recently rented a car from Seattle to BC, northern Alberta and Montana and came across policies that were limited to certain states, and even one that limited BC to the area around Vancouver (I can''t remember if this included Whistler).

8. Re: driving from Seattle to Whistler in mid-April

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