Living Costs in Whistler
Living costs are really hard to determine without knowing what kind of lifestyle you’ll be living – if you are careful you can get by on a surprisingly small budget, for a ski-resort town anyway! Let us know if you would like to know about any other living costs…
Obviously this is the biggest expense & can vary a lot depending on when you arrive in town & what quality of accommodation you are willing to settle for. The big factors in this town are distance to the lifts (walking or bus), own room or shared room, number of people in the house, quality of house & furnishings, bills included or not, etc.
If you turn up in the summer you are WAY more likely to find the really nice quality accommodation at the lower end of the price range – if you turn up in November to March you will likely pay the top end of the price range.
1-bedroom Apartment – $1,000 to $2,200
Private Room in a house – $700 to $1,400
Shared Room in a house – $500 to $1,000
Some houses will include bills in the rent, the majority will not… all Ride On Whistler’s accommodation prices include all bills , as well as a weekly cleaner, bed linen, etc.
Electricity in winter (called Hydro here) – $50 to $100 per person per month
Internet – $35 to $60 per month depending on provider and quality
Cable TV – add another $40 on to your internet bill.
See the Cell Phone guide for more info, but an average month would cost $40 to $80
See the Season Pass guide for more information, but basically this will cost you between $1,100 & $1,729.
Whistler’s grocery stores are well known for being expensive – they are all at least a little more expensive than the store in Squamish or Vancouver, although you get used to it after a while! There are three main supermarkets in Whistler:
IGA Marketplace – the largest & easiest location.
Nesters – my favourite… best value and selection, generally considered the locals grocery store.
Creekside Market – the most expensive but a good location if you live in Creekside.
You can also drive/bus to Squamish & visit one of the larger, cheaper supermarkets (Save On Foods, Extra Foods, Walmart)- I do this about once a month for bulk items like pasta, flour, etc.
I'd budget about $300 per month for groceries.
You cannot buy alcohol in the supermarket here… only in licensed liquor stores. The cheapest options are the BC Liquor stores; one in the centre of the village, one in the marketplace & one in Creekside. There’s also a private “cold beer & wine” store in Creekside, and one in Nesters, both with later opening hours.
Here’s a couple of choices you may go for over the season – for a comprehensive list of what you can buy and how much it costs go to BC Liquor’s website:
- Cariboo canned beer, 6-pack – from $7.79
- Wildcat canned beer, 8-pack – $12.49
- Whistler Brewery bottled beer, 6-pack – from $9.95
- Cheaper wines start at $9.50 per bottle
In a bar you can expect to pay about $5 for a beer & from $8 for a glass of wine.
Whistler has a new hydrogen powered fleet of busses that operate a pretty decent schedule in the winter (less in the summer). A single journey is $2.50, a monthly bus pass is $65 and a 6-month pass is $330.
Taxis are pretty reasonable and there are always plenty about – it’s about $12 from the village to any of our houses.
If you keep an eye out for special offers in the Pique & the Question newspapers you’ll find deals for most non-weekend days – often from ~$10 for burger & fries, etc. Generally though my average cheap meal out is closer to $20 after tax (12%) and tip (15%).
A meal out for 2 with wine in a medium cost restaurant is about $80.
There is a big municipal recreation centre with gym, pool, squash courts, ice rink, etc a short bus ride from the village – membership is about $70p.m.
There are a number of smaller gyms and yoga studios around the village & Creekside too;
- WCAC (Whistler Creek Athletic Club)
- The Core – right in the centre of the village (easy to get to), it’s a decent gym with two studio rooms and a climbing wall/bouldering cave. Monthly memberships start at $53p.m.
- Crossfit Gym – in Creekside, class membership from $150p.m.
PST (Provincial Sales Tax) & GST (Gov’t Sales Tax)
PST is a 7% tax applied to almost all products and services in BC. GST is a 5% sales tax applied to all products (not services) in BC. The taxes are added at the point of sale, so generally not shown on the ticket price (or the menu).
Exceptions are long-term accommodation, healthcare, etc.
You cannot apply for this tax to be returned when you leave Canada.
You are expected to tip 15% on the pre-tax total for good service everywhere in BC – restaurants, bars, taxis, tours, hairdressers, etc.