Going to Whistler Blackcomb in winter is the ultimate big mountain experience for skiers and snowboarders. And there are plenty of reasons why Whistler Blackcomb is Canada’s top ski resort. After all, the host of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games is world famous. But should you go to Whistler if you’re not a good skier? The answer is yes! Besides learning to ski, there are so many other things to do in Whistler in winter.
Whistler has a huge list of off-slope activities such as a lively Après ski scene, international five-star dining, spas and wellness experiences, shopping, nightlife and a host of fun winter adventures. Here are 20 things to do in Whistler in winter when you’re not skiing or snowboarding. How many have you ticked off your Whistler wish list?
Things to do in whistler in winter
1-Ride the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola
Connecting Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains, the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola is a 4.4 kilometre (2.7 miles) one-of-a-kind experience. The 11-minute journey allows skiers and snowboarders to access both mountains. The gondola is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest unsupported span between two cable car towers and the highest cable car lift.
2-Whistler Apres ski
You won’t be disappointed at Whistler’s thriving après ski scene. Whistler Blackcomb’s outdoor terraces and slope-side bars pulse with energy at the end of the ski day. Whistler Blackcomb is a great spot to meet and hang out with other Aussies too as this top Canadian ski resort is a magnet for Aussies who love the snow.
3-Chill out in the Bearfoot Bistro Ice Room
Dining at Bearfoot Bistro is an experience to remember, for its outstanding menu and after dinner activities. Bearfoot Bistro has one of the largest wine cellars in British Columbia. You can attempt the centuries-old Champagne Sabering tradition and chill out in Kettle One Ice Room, which is apparently the world’s coldest (-32C) vodka tasting room.
4-Scandinave Spa soothing soak
Scandinave Spa tops the list of Whistler’s wellness offerings. Scandinave Spa’s enchanting forest setting delivers the wonderful Finnish tradition of soaking in soothing outdoor baths. If you haven’t experienced soaking in a hot pool after a snowfall, this is the place to do it.
5-Watch the Fire and Ice Show
Cheer and clap as Whistler’s expert skiers and riders flip, twist and jump through a burning ring of fire. The atmosphere is electric as entertainers dance and spin fire sticks to the electro beat. The fireworks finale draws plenty of oohs and ahhs. Whistler’s Fire and Ice show is a free winter spectacular worth rugging up for on Sunday nights. Watch the show while you dine on the outdoor patio at the Garibaldi Lift Company (GLC), which has outdoor heaters and blankets to keep you warm. There’s usually a queue to book ahead.
6-Tubing at Whistler Blackcomb Tube Park
Take the kids on a tubing adventure. The Whistler Blackcomb Tube Park has seven tube lanes ranging from gentle slopes to fast lanes. There’s even a special lane for kids that don’t meet the minimum adult height requirement.
7-Whistler Village shopping spree
With over 200 shops, you won’t have to try too hard to give your credit card a workout in the shops. Of course, Whistler has plenty of winter sports shops where you can stock up on fashionable ski outfits or get fitted for boots. But you’ll also find galleries with an impressive display of art, jewellery stores and gift shops.
8-Bridges, boardwalks and ziplines
Whistler Tree Adventure Tours offer fun adventures for adults and children all year round. You can explore the forest on bridges, boardwalks and platforms suspended in the trees on the TreeTrek Tour. Or for an adrenaline rush, whizz through the woods and glide over creeks on an adrenaline-charged high wire zip line.
9-Dog sledding adventure
Feel the surge of canine excitement and watch the snow laden trees rush past as you whizz along the tracks in a dog sled. Dog sledding is a quintessentially Canadian way to experience the landscape. Dog sleds were a historic means of transport for traders and trappers.
Invented in Canada, the skidoo or snowmobile is a fun way to explore Canada’s backcountry. Whistler Blackcomb has a huge range of snowmobile tour options. There are tours for all levels of riders, from moonlight snowmobile tours to extreme adventure snowmobile tours for experienced riders to cruisy family snowmobile tours. For a memorable experience, try the Backcountry Dining Pinnacle Dinner. It’s a journey to a remote log cabin in the backcountry, with a private chef to prepare your meal.
11-Horse-drawn sleigh ride
Rug up in a horse-drawn sleigh and ride along the snow-covered trail through the forest. A horse-drawn sleigh ride is an experience the whole family will enjoy.
12-Winter bungee jumping
Yes, you can go bungee jumping in winter! It’s a heart-in-your-mouth experience and a 50 meter (160 ft) plunge over the Cheakamus River.
Ice skating is a classic Canadian winter activity, so it’s not surprising that Whistler Blackcomb has both outdoor and indoor options. You can try skating on one of the local lakes or at Whistler’s outdoor skating rink in Whistler Olympic Plaza. There’s also an indoor skating rink at Meadow Park Sports Center.
14-Bobsleigh and Skeleton
Experience the rush of sliding down the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games bobsleigh, luge and skeleton tracks. The four-person Bobsleigh is a piloted experience through 10 twists and turns at speeds of over 125 km/hr. Not for the faint hearted! The Skeleton is a daring winter thrill where you launch yourself head-first down the fastest sliding track in the world at speeds up to 100 km/hr.
Whistler has ice fishing adventures for all experience levels, from beginner anglers to pros. An experienced local guide will show you rivers, lakes and secret fishing holes. Drilling a hole in the ice is the easy part.
Snowshoeing is a fun, low-impact activity for anyone who can walk. But it’s not a walk in the park. Snowshoeing is good exercise and an excellent way to explore the wilderness. Whistler Blackcomb has over 40 km of wilderness snowshoe trails.
Imagine sliding down a slope, head first, while hanging on to an aerodynamically designed body board. Sounds wild? If you like body boarding in the ocean you might want to give Bromley Baseboarding a try. Whistler is a leader in Bromley Baseboarding, a new activity that has the potential to become a competitive sport. Whistler’s Bromley Boarding Park has a 1,500m (5,000-foot) run.
Get a workout along the trails at Whistler Olympic Park while riding a fat bike. Or try the new electric bikes for easy cruising.
Climb Whistler Blackcomb’s spectacular ice formations with the help of expert guides. There are ice climbing locations between Whistler and Lillooet. In summer, Whistler’s Via Ferrata (Iron Way) is a vertical pathway of metal rung ladders and fixed cables to the top of Whistler Mountain.
20-The Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre
The Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre in Whistler shares the culture of the Squamish Lil’wat First Nations people.
21-Whistler Tasting Tour
Not sure where to eat? Fancy an Amuse-bouche at Bearfoot Bistro, a Cajun crusted tuna at Hy’s, some wild salmon at Quattro and an Icewine truffle at the FireRock Lounge? Why not try four restaurants on a progressive Whistler Tasting Tours. It’s a multi-course dinner where each course is served up at a different restaurant and guides add to the experience with local knowledge and tips.
Getting to Whistler
Pacific Coachlines YVR Whistler SkyLynx has frequent daily bus services between Vancouver Airport and Whistler.
Are you planning a trip to Canada in winter?
A couple of great places to stay while in BC are Fort St James and Barkerville. Check them out here.
Check the latest prices for Whistler Blackcomb here