Whistler is a beautiful, wintery town that every snow-lover will enjoy. To help you go on the vacation of your dreams (and not break the bank), here are 8 affordable winter activities the whole family will love.
Catch a Fire and Ice Show
This is a must-do if you visit Whistler during the winter. The shows run every Sunday night once winter is in full swing, and usually start from mid-December until end of March, 6.30 – 8 p.m. Dates and times for this year’s Fire & Ice Show are yet to be announced.
Dress warmly, grab a hot drink and gather in Skier’s Plaza with the whole family to watch as some of Whistler Blackcomb’s best skiers and riders spin tricks through a burning ring of fire. Combined with fire-spinners, fireworks and a DJ, this is free entertainment for the whole family.
If you get there early enough, grab a table on the Garibaldi Lift Co Bar & Grill patio for prime positioning and then the decision of ‘where to go for dinner tonight’ will be made! Waffle fries are a must! Bonus: the staff will give you a blanket to keep you warm during the show.
Skating in the Village
It wouldn’t be a winter adventure in Canada without hitting the ice on a pair of blades. Bring your own pair with you and skate for free, or rent a pair for only $5, and visit Whistler’s very own Outdoor Skating Rink!
In a unique and magical setting by the Olympic Rings with a majestic mountain backdrop, amidst a thousand twinkling lights, you will feel like you are skating through your own winter wonderland. And never fear: all skill levels are welcome and the whole family can join in the fun. They even have a hockey game set for the kids to enjoy!
Be sure to check operating times beforehand, as the rink does close for maintenance throughout the day. Dates and times for skating in 2016/17 are yet to be announced, but usually operations begin in early December until late March
Family Après in Olympic Plaza
Sometimes you don’t want the fun to end once you come off the mountain. Whistler hears you. That’s what Family Après is for! Visit Whistler Olympic Plaza on select evenings throughout winter for free family-friendly activities and entertainment brought to you by the Resort Municipality of Whistler. Activities and entertainment vary each week, and some include tobogganing, snowman building competitions, music, dancing, hot beverages and more.
Dates: Monday December 19, 2016 until Wednesday March 29, 2017
Times: December and January 4 – 6 p.m. and February and March 3 – 6 p.m.
Free Mountain Tours
The Whistler Blackcomb Mountain Host Program provides daily free orientation tours for anyone wanting to get to know the mountains a little better, and discover the sweet spots.
Skiing/Riding Tours are offered for intermediate and expert skiers and riders for Whistler and Blackcomb, meeting at the Guest Satisfaction Centre on either Whistler or Blackcomb mountains.
Dates: Dec 13, 2016 – Apr 16, 2017 Meeting Time: 11:15 a.m. Departure Time: 11:30 a.m.
For those wanting to explore on-foot, there are 2-hour sightseeing tours which include both mountains and a trip between the two on the impressive and world-renowned PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola. When weather permits, you will also be taken for a ride on the Solar Coaster and Wizard chairs to end the tour at the base of Blackcomb Mountain. Meet at the base of the Whistler Village Gondola by the sightseeing sign.
Dates: Dec 13, 2016 – Apr 16, 2017 Meeting Time: 11:15am Departure Time: 11:30am
Avalanche Awareness Whistler Blackcomb also offers free Avalanche Awareness Courses conducted by Ski Patrol. The 2.5 hour tours cover: safe travel, terrain evaluation, avalanche phenomenon, control measures within boundary, avalanche safety equipment and rescue techniques. The tour meets at the Avalanche Hut on the top of Solar Coaster and leaves at 12:30 p.m. daily.
Visit a Museum or Art Gallery
There’s more to Whistler than just skiing and ice skating! Check out our list of top museums and art galleries in the area to take in the culture and local feel of the area.
Whistler’s Lakes and Parks Hike
Whistler’s 40km of valley trail network from Function Junction to Emerald, is not only a great way to get from point A to point B, but also is an authentic way to experience Whistler’s breathtaking mountain landscape, snow-covered trees and frozen lakes. The municipality of Whistler maintains the trails and performs snow clearing to ensure that many sections of the trails are fit for walking, running and fat-biking.
Please note: Maintenance may be delayed on days of heavy snowfall and not all sections of the trail are regularly maintained.
Our suggestion is to take a stroll on the valley trail, and visit either Lost or Alta Lake, where you will see their transformation from a swimming mecca in the summer to a frozen winter wonderland with beautifully snow-capped mountains in the background.
Snowshoeing and XC Skiing at Lost Lake
At the Lost Lake Passivhaus, which is only a 10-15 minute walk from the village, you will find Cross Country Connection where you can rent snowshoes or cross-country skis and then head out to explore the 13km of snow-covered and groomed trails surrounding Lost Lake.
Snowshoe rental is $15 - $20 and for cross-country skis rental prices range from $15 - $30. The trail pass ranges from $5.25 for a child to $21 for a family pass.
Lined with beautiful restaurants, coffee shops and retail shops, the village stroll embodies the magic that makes Whistler so unique: its intense sense of community and continuous displays of authentic mountain life. Take a stroll through the village from one end to the other; watch skiers as they reach the base of the mountain, stop off at the Olympic rings and get a photograph, and then stop in at Purebread for a decadent treat, or taste the incredible coffee of Mount Currie Coffee Company. Make sure to take the kids with you so they can play at the playground in Olympic Plaza.
Ready to plan your stay in this winter wonderland? Check out these Whistler vacation rentals.