If you are looking to do it cheap Van is the way to go. They've got buses that run from the city to the mountain and it includes your lift pass for a reasonable price, and anyone that says it's too far to drive from Vancouver to Whistler is an idiot. It's 1.5 hrs max to make that drive. You can fly into Van, take the sky train to your hotel, buy your own groceries, cook your own meals and use Vancouver's public transit system to get around.
'12 Lib Tech T.rice / '12 Burton Cartels
'10 CustomX / '10 Co2 EST