We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The Tripadvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Vancouver to Whistler over Christmas & NY - which car/SUV?

London, United...
4 posts
2 reviews
1 helpful vote
Vancouver to Whistler over Christmas & NY - which car/SUV?
Save

Hi, we are flying to Vancouver from London for Christmas and NY and will be driving up to Whistler to spend a week skiing over NY. We need to hire a car/vehicle which will be suitable for both driving around town and getting us up into the mountains and driving to/from the resort in the snow, as are staying in a small village just outside Whistler. There are 4 of us, husband and 2 kids, so it needs to be big enough to take all our kit/bags too. Have had a look on AVIS, but am not familiar with the types of car mentioned on there, as they seem very different to ones here in England. Can anyone help advise what we should be booking? Presume some kind of SUV with winter tyres, but how do I know which ones they are as it doesn’t say in the name? Cost effective would also be good! Thanks so much.

Penticton, Canada
Level Contributor
28,611 posts
27 reviews
11 helpful votes
1. Re: Vancouver to Whistler over Christmas & NY - which car/SUV?
Save

this is a link to vehicles Avis might have https://www.avis.ca/en/cars/vehicles/ca

the mini van category should work.

Where are you staying as that may make a difference on the recommendation on whether the standard M+S tires that are acceptable under the law might work or if you should upgrade to the full winter tires with the snowflake symbol which is a premium with an extra daily rate (which does not show when booking online)

Edited: 3 years ago
West Grey, Canada
Level Contributor
94,848 posts
99 reviews
613 helpful votes
2. Re: Vancouver to Whistler over Christmas & NY - which car/SUV?
Save

>>Can anyone help advise what we should be booking?<<

First things first...

Does the driver have experience driving in winter conditions ?

>>Presume some kind of SUV with winter tyres<<

With or without winter tires - It is my opinion that operating a 4x4, without genuine winter driving experience, usually gets a driver into MORE trouble as a 4x4 provides a false sense of security, which causes the driver to become over confident.

4 wheel drives, even all wheel drives, will only help you when trying to get unstuck, which is a situation you want to avoid in the first place. Plus, SUVs / 4x4 are heavier than a car. The extra weight causes extra momentum, which makes them harder to stop !

I would suggest reading the Traveller Article "Winter Driving in Canada", here on TA.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g153339-c55003

Best Regards

Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
14,261 posts
132 reviews
82 helpful votes
3. Re: Vancouver to Whistler over Christmas & NY - which car/SUV?
Save

Winter driving experience is the most important aspect of this post.

Any front wheel drive with snow tires is ample for your situation.

Yes a 4x4 or all wheel drive with snow tires but also increases your confidence and risk. A 4x4 takes the same amount of time to stop as a 2 wheel car so still take it easy.

As to what model or brand for 4 people, any of them will do. Actually you might not get the one you reserve as they always have the right to substitute.

I strongly recommend you book it ASAP as in that period they will run out if you not already too late.

Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
39,526 posts
60 reviews
46 helpful votes
4. Re: Vancouver to Whistler over Christmas & NY - which car/SUV?
Save

"A small village outside of Whistler"? Do you mean one of the outer residential neighbourhoods? Or do you mean Pembeton or even Squamish? Whistler is a walking village, so you just don't drive "around the village". However it does sound like you will need a vehicle. Type of vehicle doesn't really make all that much difference. If road conditions are good you want front wheel drive with good snow tires. If conditions are bad, just don't drive.

West Grey, Canada
Level Contributor
94,848 posts
99 reviews
613 helpful votes
5. Re: Vancouver to Whistler over Christmas & NY - which car/SUV?
Save

>>If road conditions are good you want front wheel drive with good snow tires. If conditions are bad, just don't drive.<<

Well said !

Comox Valley, Canada
Level Contributor
3,236 posts
210 reviews
115 helpful votes
6. Re: Vancouver to Whistler over Christmas & NY - which car/SUV?
Save

Hi Polly, to answer your question on vehicles, looking at Avis selection, I'd go with the GM Acadia, Jeep Grand Cherokee ( not Cherokee....too small) or Jeep Wrangler. GM Suburban would also work but huge unit. They all have fancy traction control systems as well as AWD or 4WD ( the Wrangler is a manually operated system like the old Landrovers) that make them handle like a dream in bad conditions. None will be cheap.

1 post
7. Re: Vancouver to Whistler over Christmas & NY - which car/SUV?
Save

Anybody knows if winter tires (or M+S tires) are mandatory on the highway from Vancouver to whistler?

I mean the driver won't be turned away or get a ticket, right?

Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
39,526 posts
60 reviews
46 helpful votes
8. Re: Vancouver to Whistler over Christmas & NY - which car/SUV?
Save

Yup. They set up road blocks and turn you around.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
Level Contributor
78,222 posts
58 reviews
98 helpful votes
9. Re: Vancouver to Whistler over Christmas & NY - which car/SUV?
Save

M&S tires are required for the section of the Sea to Sky highway from Alice Lake on north.

When there is a significant weather event, could be more snow than highway ploughs can keep up with, could be a lot of slippery sections, the RCMP will set up a tire check on the highway about where Alice Lake is. You would not be able to go further north. If enough cars have slid off the highway further north they may even close the highway.

If the way is clear, no police, and you later get into an accident, the lack of winter tires will impact the insurance outcome and any penalties.

London, United...
4 posts
2 reviews
1 helpful vote
10. Re: Vancouver to Whistler over Christmas & NY - which car/SUV?
Save

Thanks so much everyone for your very helpful advice - that is all really good to know! We will be staying in Pemberton so will need to drive in each morning to Whistler and park so we can get up the mountains to ski. I think it is not that far but we definitely need to be prepared for snow! Thanks for suggesting the normal car with snow/all weather tires, they are less expensive (& some places seem already to have run out of the SUV’s already) so if they really work as well in those conditions then we will try and book one. The only issue is it is not clear how you book the winter tires when booking online - I guess we have to try and phone to pre-book them? Avis and Alamo don’t seem to have phone numbers but I will just keep on looking.

Looking forward to our trip and have driven quite a bit in the European Alps when there is snow, so hopefully we will be careful enough!

Thanks all again.

Polly

© 2021 TripAdvisor LLC All rights reserved.

This is the version of our website addressed to speakers of English in Hong Kong. If you are a resident of another country or region, please select the appropriate version of Tripadvisor for your country or region in the drop-down menu.