Whistler, without a car.

Well that was a waste of two hours.

I made reservations to spend two nights in Whistler for a mini getaway. I booked into the Lost Lake Lodge using the Whistler resort reservations page. The lodge is near the top of the road that leads into the Upper Village, which is not that far from the main part of the resort but mostly uphill on an icy road with no sidewalk. Fortunately there’s a bus.

Which provides this with a bit of a back story. Yesterday I went online to figure out exactly how I was getting to the hotel. Multiple websites, including that of the accommodation and that of the resort, reference a “free shuttle bus.” None of them provide information on where or when this bus runs. Some also mention other local transit options and point to the BC Transit website. The BC Transit site, in turn, makes no reference to any of its services in Whistler being free. If you figure out to open the PDF version of the route map of bus #5 or #4, then you will see mentioned in the title that they’re free. This info took me an hour or more to assemble last night.

So I arrived in Whistler today knowing where my accommodation was and how to get there. That part was surprisingly easy – it was about a five minute walk from the Greyhound stop to the #5 bus stop, and a five minute ride from there to the Lost Lake Lodge.

EDIT: I almost forgot it wasn’t as easy as all that. There are no stop announcements on the bus so you either need to ask the driver to announce for you or follow along on your GPS. I chose the latter fortunately without incident.

That’s when it all went horribly wrong. I got to the door (with, I might add, a small suitcase, a backpack, and a ski bag) and encountered a sign saying I had to check in at Blackcomb Lodge and giving an address. I didn’t think to note the address as I didn’t think that would be a hard thing to find. I was also distracted from doing so by some guys out on their patio adjacent to the front entrance who basically told me what the sign said. At some point in all of this I lost a glove.

So I headed back for the bus stop knowing it was the only way to get anywhere, and I missed the bus by about ten seconds. So I waited in the cold and rain for ten or fifteen minutes for the next one.

In the meantime, I entered Blackcomb Lodge into Google Maps on iPhone and it gave me transit directions to 4809 Spearhead Drive, just down the hill. It seemed reasonable that this would be where one would check in given its proximity to the Lodge.

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So I followed these directions. And ended up at the Marquise hotel. At 4809 Spearhead Drive. Not sure what Google was thinking.

At this point I was frustrated and cold and starting to get angry. I found Blackcomb Lodge’s website and tried to find its address. It is nowhere to be found on their site. I tried searching on the Whistler site and it offered a map that is completely unviewable on iPhone. None of this was assisted by the fact that Whistler resort runs a facility called “Blackcomb Day Lodge” at the base of Blackcomb Mountain.

I eventually found a phone number and called it. After I explained I didn’t have a car they started to give walking directions. Remember at this point I’m still on foot, still half way up the icy hill with no sidewalks, and still carrying my stuff. Oh, and now it’s dark. After she got about half way there it became apparent how impractical walking directions would be and she eventually started to describe where Blackcomb Lodge was. It was near the taxi loop, which is the exact spot I got off the Greyhound bus an hour earlier. Yes, it had now been an hour.

I finally got the next bus back to the village (for some reason the bus normally runs every 10-15 minutes but there’s a 20-minute gap in the schedule right when I needed it again, and it has started raining… Ugh). I got to the “checkin centre” which is built into the Whistler information centre, and was told “that’s [gesturing at a closed and gated desk] where you would normally check in…” at which point I almost broke down into tears.

Fortunately the other place to check in was inside Blackcomb Lodge itself. And the lodge was next door. I got to the desk where the reception was sympathetic but rather unsurprised by my ordeal. I checked in, got my key and, after pointing out the fact that I just signed something saying I would use the ski lockers provided but hadn’t been provided a locker assignment, got a locker combination.

At this point I was tired and cold and hungry so I took a $10 cab back to the lodge since there were plenty of them waiting out front. Two hours after arriving on the Greyhound, I got into my room.

And that is why Whistler is not friendly to those who choose not to drive.

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