The best winter experiences in Whistler
Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a foodie, looking for a party or a spa getaway, Whistler has it all. It’s a world-class ski resort with plentiful back and side country, a glacier, and a pedestrian village full of restaurants, bars, and boutiques. Here are some of the most memorable Whistler winter experiences.
Ski or Ride Whistler Blackcomb
Whistler Blackcomb has the most skiable terrain in North America, consisting of two incredible mountains, both with unique personalities. Whistler generally has longer lines, due to the name, but Blackcomb is famed for its glacier and 7th Heaven alpine area. On a powder day, it’s all about timing. Head for the alpine of either mountain, which often doesn’t open until later in the day, thanks to extensive avalanche control. Stay up to date on lift status by downloading the app. Watch for the green lights on 7th Heaven and Glacier chair on Blackcomb, Harmony, Symphony, and Peak chairs on Whistler. Whistler Peak chair is the highest point on either mountain and excellent on a powder day, expect long lines when it opens. There is also extensive back and side country, for experienced skiers with the right safety gear, looking to get out of bounds. Whistler offers free mountain guides to show you around.
Heli or Cat Ski
Try Heli-skiing and take your experience to another level! Whistler Heli-skiing is world-renowned for amazing terrain and conditions. There are quite a few companies to choose from, including Powder Mountain, who also offer cat skiing, another way to get untracked powder turns all day. Heli starts at $1000 per person, while cat-skiing starts at $500 per person.
Eat & drink your way around Whistler
Whistler has a lot to offer when it comes to your palette, including some of the best Apres Ski on the continent. For food, they have everything from fine dining to burger bars, and the nightlife is excellent. You can find underground clubs, world-renowned DJs and packed dive bars. In Whistler people are eating and drinking all day, every day.
For quality food while skiing, Steeps Grill on Whistler and Christine’s on Blackcomb boast the best views at a premium price. The rest of the food up on the mountain is average and overpriced, save your appetite for apres ski in the village. The firelit patios will be pumping by 3 pm, so be sure to stake out your seat early! If you’re looking for a lively apres spot check out the Longhorn, GLC, Merlins or Dubb-Linh Gate. For more sophisticated tastes try Basalt, Araxi, Braidwood, or The Mallard Lounge at the Fairmont.
For dinner, you can’t beat Sushi Village, which is an institution. Be prepared to wait over an hour, have a drink in their lounge, or next door at Blacks while you wait. Araxi, Bearfoot Bistro, Red Door, Il Caminetto, and the Rim Rock are excellent fine dining restaurants. Araxi and Barefoot have half-priced oysters for apres ski. Bar Oso has tapas and world-class cocktails, Creekbread and Antico serve the best pizza, and Sidecut at the Four Seasons is the top steakhouse.
For bars, the Furniture Warehouse is a fun dive bar that’s always packed, and there are lots of clubs depending on the night of the week and music preference. Some long-standing nightclubs include Garfinkle’s, Buffalo Bills, Max Fish, Moe Joes, and Tommy Africas.
Snowmobiling is a great way to get the adrenalin pumping without having to hit a double black diamond. Canadian Wilderness Adventures offer a few tours to rip around the forest, including one to a cabin for breakfast and another that includes fondue! If you’re interested in learning about the backcountry and have a sense of adventure, try the BackcountryX tour.
Experience the beauty of the mountains accompanied by canine friends with Blackcomb Dog Sledding. The dogs are gorgeous and well cared for. The sleds fit two adults and one child. Get your reservation in early, especially for weekends.
Scandinave Spa is an award-winning hydrotherapy and relaxation experience that combines hot and cold plunge pools, relaxation rooms, hammocks, steam rooms, and saunas. They offer massages, but be sure to make a reservation. Entrance costs $75 and entitles you to a robe, slippers, and entry. It’s very peaceful, bring a book and stay all day!
Snowshoe or Cross Country Ski
There are lots of great snow-shoe and cross-country trails around the area, especially in the Whistler Interpretive forest. Some good trails include Cheakamus Trail, a 5km flat loop, Lost Lake loop, or Rainbow Falls, which is under an hour return. If you’re looking for something more structured, Canadian Wilderness Adventures will take you on a guided snowshoe tour. There are many places to rent snowshoes and cross country skis in Whistler, including Spicy Sports in the upper and main village.
Shop in the village
The pedestrian village has all kinds of great stores, from unique boutiques to large brands. Some of the most memorable include Rocks and Gems, who sell fossils, and Fathom Stone Art Gallery. The Upper Village has a farmers market on Sundays and Wednesdays, with produce and handicrafts. If you’re looking for new ski gear, end of season deals start in March or April.
Visit the Whistler Olympic Park
Whistler and Vancouver hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics. The Whistler Olympic Park is a cool area to check out, and you can even do a bobsled, biathlon or go for a cross country ski on the Olympic trails. If you’re looking for a thrill, try skeleton or bobsledding at the Whistler sliding centre.
Whistler is a winter wonderland with some of the world’s best skiing, hiking, dining, and adventure experiences.