Vancouver is 2 hours (or more, if you're in the burbs) from Whistler. It's not a bad drive, but you have to factor 4 hours worth of travel into your plans. If you want to actually live in Whistler you have to be rich and retired or at least have a damn good job. Or be willing to eat KD and Rama a lot. Great mountain though.
Vancouver is generally pretty expensive as well, but we're day-trip distance from Whistler, Baker, Manning, Hemlock, Cypress, Grouse, and Seymour. It'll do.