Whistler is an ever-changing landscape, no two seasons are the same. From spring skiing to hiking in the Fall. Famous for it’s world-class ski Resort, winter is a popular time to visit Whistler, but did you know there are far more things to do in Whistler in winter?
I learned to downhill ski in Whistler, it was my first time ever putting on a pair of skis. And while I gave it my best, I’m still not very good! I’ve since tried snowshoeing, ice fishing and snowmobiling among many other things.
There are an array of winter activities in Whistler, here are some ideas for your next trip to the great white north!
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1. World Ski & Snowboard festival
The World Ski & Snowboard festival is a fun time in Whistler and brings people here from all over the world. Unlike the Crankworx festival in the summer – many of the events for this festival are not free and do require some sort of entry fee.
Events include concerts in Skiers Plaza as well as many events on the mountain including the slush Cup. The Ski & Snowboard festival comes to Whistler every April and runs for 10 days.
2. Whistler Tasting Tours
Whistler tasting tours is the perfect way to get to know some of Whistler’s fine dining restaurants. Tours will take you several of Whistlers top restaurants where you’ll get to sample some of the amazing food and wine.
If you’re looking for the full-blown fine dining experience, my personal restaurant recommendation is the Rim Rock Cafe. The food here is consistently good, and so popular that a reservation is a must!
3. Take A Scenic Flight Over The Sea To Sky
Head down to Squamish and book a scenic flight over the Sea to Sky. Tours last anywhere from 25 minutes to 90 minutes and give you a panoramic view of the South Coast Mountains of British Columbia. Check out Sea to Sky Air for more details.
4. Bungee Jump Over The Cheakamus River
Get your adrenaline pumping with Whistler Bungee. Sitting above the Cheakamus river, Whistler bungee is 160 feet high! This attraction is open all year round.
Whistler is home to an abundance of snowshoe trails. Most of the easy hikes near Whistler are perfect after a snow fall to get outside and snowshoe through the wilderness. My favourite trails include Alexander Falls, Whistler Interpretive Forest and Nairn Falls.
6. Ice Fish
Ice Fishing was honestly something I never imagined myself doing. Fishing in general really. I have no idea how it happened, but I found a strange love of fishing (well, as long as I’m catching something!)
A couple of winters ago, I tried my hand at Ice Fishing. I caught (stole) my first fish on the first day! Grab some camping chairs and some hot chocolate and go chill on one of Whistlers lakes!
7. Cross Country Skiing
As I’ve mentioned on this blog many times before, I suck at downhill skiing and need more practice. Cross country skiing, or Nordic skiing, is a great place to start for those of you who have never skied before or like me, simply suck at it.
After a day on the mountain it’s time to hit up some of Whistlers best apres. Some of the best bars for apres are the GLC, Dubh Linn Gate, Longhorn Saloon, Blacks Pub and The Cinnamon Bear. You can’t visit Whistler in the winter without attending at least one apres!
Spend a day rejuvenating in the hydrotherapy pools of the Scandinavia Spa. A cycle is recommended of several minutes in the hot pools followed by 30 seconds in the cold pool (or as long as you can last!) then a relaxation period of 10-15 minutes in one of the many solariums. The Scandinave Spa is the perfect way to end a day of skiing or snowmobiling.
10. (A Song Of) Fire & Ice Show
(Yes, I’m a nerd and that was a GOT reference) Exactly what it sounds like, skiers and snowboarders hit big jumps over hoops of fire and it’s super fun to watch. The Fire and Ice show happens every Sunday in Skiers Plaza and is free to watch.
11. Whistler Train Wreck
The Whistler Train Wreck is one of Whistler’s most famous landmarks. This nice easy hike in Whistler is accessible all year-round, whether you choose to snowshoe and explore the trails or just take a morning stroll.
12. Sample Vodka At The Worlds Coldest Ice Room
Sample some of the 50+ vodkas on offer from around the world at the Ketel One Ice Room located inside of the Barefoot Bistro. At -32 the Ketel One Ice Room is the worlds coldest vodka tasting room, but don’t worry they give you the most warm and comfy coats to wear!
13. Join The Bar Hop
Whistler has some of the best nightlife in BC with an array of both clubs, bars and pubs to choose from. The Whistler Bar hop gets you access to four venues, five drinks and pizza!
14. Peak 2 Peak Gondola
The Peak 2 Peak is one of the most popular attractions in Whistler. This Gondola connects the mountains of Whistler and Blackcomb and showcases an incredible 360 view of the valley below. The Peak 2 Peak once held the Guinness World Record for the longest continuous lift system and the highest at 436 metres high.
15. Try A Tipsy Snowman At The Four Seasons
The tipsy snowman has to be one of the cutest freaking drinks I’ve ever seen. A mix of hot chocolate and your choice of liqueur, topped with the most adorable marshmallow snowman with a candy corn nose! It tastes fantastic with baileys! You can find the tipsy snowman at the Four Seasons and find a cosy seat to sit outside by the fire pit.
16. Explore An Ice Cave
One of the best things to do in Whistler in Winter is explore an ice cave. The Pemberton Ice Cap is one of 5 giant ice fields in British Columbia. There are various tours available by helicopter in Whistler
17. Warm Up In A Hot Spring
Warm up in one of BC’s natural hot springs. Head out to Skookumchuck, Keyhole or Sloquet hot springs and take a dip. Always check avalanche and trail conditions before making the journey.
18. Free Ice Skating In Olympic Village
Pop on your skates and head to the Olympic Plaza skating rink to skate for free! Don’t have your own skates? Rental is only $5. Alternatively head to Meadow Park for a full hockey sized ice rink.
19. Explore The Backcountry By Snowmobile
Snowmobiling is by far one of the best things to do in Whistler in Winter, and one of the most fun things in Whistler I’ve ever done.
Canadian Wilderness Adventures offer snowmobile tours in the Callaghan Valley for all abilities. Their snowmobiles are perfect for beginners. Canadian Wilderness also supply helmets and boots if you don’t have the correct attire.
Experience the magic of Whistler’s Callaghan Valley with a truly Canadian tour aboard a dog sled. Tours are offered through Canadian Wilderness and last around an hour. Tours can be booked for a variety of occasions.
21. Enjoy A Winter Sleigh Ride
Enjoy the winter wonderland of Whistler on a horse-drawn sleigh ride. This is a great activity for families especially during the festive holiday season!
22. Mountain-Top Fondue Dining
Experience a one of a kind dining experience by spending an evening atop Whistler Mountain enjoying a fondue dinner. You can opt to take the adventurous option and drive a snowmobile up to the crystal hut, or take the somewhat warmer option – the snowcat.
23. Axe Throwing
Can you really come to Canada and not try axe throwing? Forged Axe Throwing in Function Junction is the place to head for the funnest time ever! If you’ve got a competitive side be prepared as there will be games – and I like to win!
24. Escape Rooms
Put your problem solving skills to the test at the Escape Rooms. There are four themed escape rooms to choose from and 1 hour to solve the puzzle. This is super fun if you are traveling with a big group of people as you can do different rooms and see who finishes first!
25. Movie & Dinner Date
Head to the Village 8 movie theatres for the latest flick. Three Below offers a dinner and movie deal for $23 on certain nights of the week.
26. Whistler Tube Park
Located at Base 2 on Blackcomb Mountain, the Whistler Tube Park is a super fun activity for everyone. Choose to slide down alone or grab a group of friends and slide down in twos, threes or fours – the more people you hold onto the faster you’ll go!
27. Whistler Museum
Whistler has quite the interesting history, find out more about this ski towns past at the Whistler Museum.
Exhibits include history of Whistler’s origins when it was known as Alta Lake through to the beginnings of Whistler Blackcomb, when it was known as the Garibaldi Lift Company, and everything beyond.
28. Squamish Lil Wat Centre
Learn about local first nations peoples with a tour through the Squamish Lil Wat Cultural Centre. The centre was opened to celebrate the two nations. Whistler is where the Squamish and Lil Wat territory overlaps, making it the perfect location for the Centre. Why not book the First Nations Feast and experience an authentic pow wow!
29. Audain Art Museum
The Audain Art Museum is perfect for a rainy winters day. This building that houses the Audain is a work of art in itself and instantly recognisable. The museum features permanent exhibitions from First Nations as well as local artist Emily Carr. They also host several temporary exhibits here throughout the year.
After spending some time in the Audain you can always continue onto the village and gallery hop throughout the multiple art galleries.
30. Whistler Sliding Centre
Walk in the footsteps of winter Olympians at the Whistler Sliding Centre. Try your hand at luge, skeleton or bobsleigh!
31. Wander Through The Enchanted Forest At Vallea Lumina
Experience Vallea Lumina, a multimedia light show that takes you on a journey through an enchanted forest. Located on Cougar Mountain, Vallea Lumina is a self guided walk through interactive light show performance and is incredible to see late at night.
32. Via Feratta
Mountain Skills Academy offers tours for Via Ferrata – but what is Via Feratta? Admittedly I’ve never done this, but I’ve been curious since seeing it advertised on local transit. Via Ferrata is a mix of hiking and climbing. The tour will take you to the top of Whistler Gondola and the from here you’ll climb to the top of Whistler Peak.
Sounds amazing right? All equipment is provided and you’ll need a good fitness level to participate.
33. Try Your First Caesar
Quintessentially Canadian, a Caesar is the flamboyant cousin of the Bloody Mary. Almost every bar in town serves a Caesar and is popular during apres. The Caesar is so popular here in Whistler there’s even a battle for the best Caesar every year. You’ll often find them garnished with everything from bacon to sliders!
34. Shop In Whistler Village
Whistler Village is the perfect place for some retail therapy. You’ll find stores such as Lulu Lemon, Aritzia, The Body Shop, Pandora and more. Pick up a cute Whistler charm at the Pandora store, I have a few of my own!
35. Sample Whistlers Craft Beer Scene
Experience some of Whistler craft breweries down in Function Junction. You’ll often find a lot of locals in this part of town so you know it’s the place to come! While the breweries are super popular it’s also a nice change from the bustling Whistler Village. Both Whistler Brewing and Coast Mountain offer awesome brews and food.
36. Downhill Ski (Duh)
With 37 lifts and over 200 runs, Whistler Blackcomb is the best thing to do in Whistler in Winter. There are runs for every level or if you’ve never skied in your life, consider taking a lesson. There are small learning hills for beginners and it’s super fun once you gain your confidence on the snow!
37. Karaoke At The Crystal
Sing your heart out at the Crystal Lounge with their karaoke nights. Every Tuesday at 9pm the Crystal Lounge hosts a karaoke night, along with 40 cent wings – what’s not to love? They also host Jam sessions on Sundays with live entertainment throughout the week too.
38. Spot Bald Eagles
Drive south to Brackendale and see the winter migration of Bald Eagles. Bracken dale Eagle run is the perfect place to go if you’d like to catch a glimpse of these magnificent birds. They are generally found in this area between November and February.
One winter afternoon we were lucky enough to see well over 30 Bald Eagles in this area. Keep an eye out on the drive down too as we’ve been able to spot them from Whistler all the way to Squamish!
39. Whistler Olympic Park
The Whistler Olympic Park offers trails for both cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. If you’re new to either this may be a good place to start. Or if you looking for something different why not try the biathlon? Whistler Olympic Park also has some of the most breath-taking views!
40. Ride The Sasquatch
Ziplining is fun all year round. Ziptrek tours offer several options for zip trekking but the most famous is the Sasquatch, the longest Zip line in all of Canada and the USA. The Sasquatch runs from Whistler Mountain to Backcomb Mountain and lasts around 2 hours. The views are awesome any time of year!
There are plenty of winter activities in Whistler. If you’re planning a winter trip to Whistler, consider staying a few days longer to really experience the full effect of this resort town. Even if you have non-skiers in your party, there is plenty to see and do in Whistler, you’ll never be bored!
Where To Stay In Whistler In Winter
The Fairmont Chateau offers the ultimate experience of luxury with their spacious rooms, hot tubs, saunas and world class dining options.
Located in the Upper Village, the Fairmont Chateau offers convenient ski in/ski out rooms located at the base of Blackcomb. The Fairmont is within walking distance to some of Whistlers best attractions – 5 minutes from Lost Lake Park, the Lil Wat Cultural Centre and a 5-minutes bus ride from the main Whistler Village.
How To Get To Whistler
Drive: Driving will be the best way to get to Whistler. Not only can you go at your own pace but you can also experience the Sea to Sky Highway – one of the most scenic routes in British Columbia!
Shuttle/Bus: There are several bus routes that go to Whistler. Epic Rides leaves from downtown Vancouver and runs several times per day to Whistler for $25 one-way or $35 return. The Skylynx and Whistler Connection shuttle buses both leave from Vancouver international airport and cost approximately $55
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