Powder Mountain

International Guest Information

come ski the coldsmoke

Visas for International Travelers

Good news, you definitely don’t need your passport to board the helicopter for Heliskiing!

However there are a few things you may want to know before you get to Canada, and travel requirements vary depending on where you are coming from. You need to get into Canada before you get to Whistler, so pay attention!

  1. Anyone flying into Canada needs to have a valid (check the dates) passport or NEXUS card, and may require a visitor visa or something called an Electric Travel Authorization (eTA) number. As well, there can be additional regulations/requirements if you are coming to do work, attend a conference, visit family or various other things. Rather than fill up 76 pages with government and legal mumbo jumbo, the easiest way to know what you need is to check this handy Visa Requirement Form the Canadian government has created.
  2. Americans driving into Canada can do so with just a valid driver’s license but a passport is always the best bet, our border guards are not always known for their friendliness or consistency. It’s probably a case of a few bad apples ruining it for the whole bunch but at the same time, why risk letting someone’s bad day spoil your catski or heliboard trip?
  3. If you have a criminal record you may not get into Canada.
Heli-skiing children
Entering Canada with Children

For parents who share custody of children it’s advisable to have a copy of the custody documents as well as a letter of authorization from the other parent allowing you to bring the child/children on this trip. The letter should have the kid’s names as well as the full name/address/phone number of the other parent. If you really want to play it safe, get the letter notarized, especially if your last name is different from your child’s.

You definitely want one of those letters if you are bringing someone else’s child into Canada.

Travel Insurance
Travel Insurance

We think it’s wise to get it. Just in case of injury. Whistler Medical Centre is amazing but for out of province visitors the costs can add up.

We also have our specific optional heli and cat Evacuation Insurance.

More Travel/Border Info

If you want to do a deep dive on entering Canada, check the Canadian Border Services Agency site.


What kind of Money?

In Whistler (and all of Canada) we use the Canadian dollar. Some businesses will take $USD but they will not give the same exchange rates as a bank or credit card.

Credit Card use is widespread. The most common are Visa, Mastercard, Amex and JCB International. Other cards may not be accepted as widely.

Canadian money comes in bills and coins. The bills come in $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100 notes. There is a $1000 dollar bill but few people have ever seen one and you will be considered a huge pain in the butt/show off if you try to spend one. Coins come in the following denominations and have their own names.

  • Five Cent Nickel. It has a beaver on one side
  • Ten Cent Dime. It usually has a ship on one side
  • Twenty-Five Cents Quarter, there are a bunch of different graphics but the most common is a caribou
  • One Dollar Loonie. It has a Loon on it
  • Two Dollars Toonie, it’s two-coloured and has bears on it but is still called a toonie because it’s worth two loonies
Tipping and gratuities

Tipping is culturally expected in Canada, but it can be challenging to know when to tip, and how much.

Long-time Whistler local Feet Banks wrote an entire article on tipping in Whistler, but the easiest rule is when in doubt tip 15%.

Canadian Cash

Canadians have universal healthcare so there are a lot of taxes here. Any goods or services are subject to an 7% PST (Provincial Sales Tax) and 5% GST (Goods and Services Tax). Not everything is subject to both taxes but lodging (hotels) is subject to the 7% PST and 5% GST and there’s also a 3% municipal and regional district tax. There’s also a liquor tax on all booze, it’s 10% PST instead of 7%.