Whis is super-expensive, but you're paying for Disneyland on a mountain, right? If you're travelling with a group you can save by renting a house, the hostels aren't bad -- there's one at Creekside and the restaurant below it has killer breakfast. And for long-term there's always Pemberton -- I've got a few friends who live that way.
Whistler-Blackcomb is like no other place. It's pretentious as all hell, and lots of people care more about what they're wearing than how they're riding, but at the same time it offers so much diversity. You can ride a couple of glaciers and gorgeous bowls, great trees, and really fun groomers if that's all you're looking for. You can go other places to ski and ride, but there's only one Whistler.