Whistler is undoubtedly Canada’s, and arguably one of the world’s premium ski resorts. And it is not just the skiing on offer that places the resort amongs the best in the world – it is the fact that every single Whistler-Blackcomb employee pride himself/herself on providing a truly world class experience.
Whistler is the largest ski resort in North America and consists of the interconnected Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain. There is an incredible 8,171 acres (3,307 hectares) of terrain, a vertical drop of 1,609 metres, and there are over 200 marked trails. Off piste options are plentiful as well!
However Whistler is so much more than just the skiing and snowboarding as it offers an abundance of off-slope activities. The car-free Whistler Village is full of restaurants, bars and plenty of shops.
The ski season in Whistler-Blackcomb runs from late November until early June and snowfall averages over 33 feet (more than 10 metres) per year, supplemented by extensive state-of-the-art snowmaking facilities over the main runs and the ski outs. The resort boasts excellent ski schools, exclusive family areas, a wide range of lodgings to suit every taste and budget as well as a vibrant atmosphere with a lively apres scene.
December – April
Westin Resort and Spa, WhistlerFacilitiesSleep CapacityThis accomodation sleeps 4-10...
Tantalus Resort Lodge, WhistlerFacilitiesSleep CapacityThis accomodation sleeps 4-10...
Listel Whistler Hotel, WhistlerFacilitiesSleep CapacityThis accomodation sleeps 4-10...
Hilton Whistler Resort, WhistlerFacilitiesSleep CapacityThis accomodation sleeps 4-10...
Four Seasons Resort and Residences, WhistlerFacilitiesSleep...
Fairmont Chateau Whistler, WhistlerFacilitiesSleep...
Crystal Lodge, WhistlerFacilitiesSleep CapacityThis...
There are two fantastic beginner zones – one at the base of Blackcomb and the other at mid-mountain level on Whistler. The latter is possibly better as it suffers less from the rain that can sadly plague the lower slopes during warmer spells. Whistler’s ski school has an excellent reputation, attracting the best instructors from around the world each winter and comes highly recommended. Progression on to longer greens and gentle blues is then possible across both mountains.
Just over half the trails you’ll find are graded for intermediates and many are quite long. On Whistler Mountain, we suggests that intermediates visit Marmot Trees near the Emerald Express area. This is a new run after the clearing of some trees For adventurous intermediates, the Symphony Amphitheatre is a great place to get introduced to powder and tree skiing. Blackcomb has some great cruising in around the Solar Coaster, Crystal Chair, and 7th Heaven Express. Ridge Runner from the top of Crystal, and Panorama off 7th Heaven are also brilliant mid-level runs.
Whistler’s Peak chai, in good weather is the place to be. From there, head to the Big Red chair through Frog Hollow, West Bowl or Doom and Gloom. West Bowl offers some of the toughest skiing on the mountain with double black diamond trails like Monday’s and Cockalorum. The Peak to Creek, the longest groomer in North America at 5.5km (1,530m vertical) is a musts, as is the Dave Murray Downhill. If you don’t mind hiking, Flute Bowl just gives and gives all day long. Please note howeber that all backcountry skiing in this area requires a ski out along the hazardous Singing Pass hiking trail and hiring a certified guide is recommended. As for the Blackcomb Mountain side, we suggest heading to the Glacier express – from here you have countless options; including, but not limited to the Horstman T-Bar up to 7th Heaven, Couloir Extreme (home to the former Saudan Couloir Race) and Spanky’s Ladder (guide recommended). For bumps, look no further than Davies Dervish and Trapline above the Glacier Creek Lodge.
The resort is sheer powder heaven when it dumps, which is often with its Pacific Northwest climate. Natural hits spring up all over both mountains which both have amazing tree runs, marked and unmarked. On Whistler, try Peak to Creek via the Peak Chair and Bagel or West Bowl. Even better, get a local to point you to CBC trees, Million Dollar Ridge or Khybers for a ‘Clearcut’ BC forest experience. The whole Harmony area is awesome, with open bowls, cornices, chutes and pillow lines galore and backcountry hiking easily accessible via Symphony Chairlift (or Glacier Express on Blackcomb). Both mountains have pristine terrain parks (Nintendo named and sponsored), with Blackcomb’s beauty continually rated no. 1 in Transworld Snowboarding alongside Mammoth, CA (also Whistler-Blackcomb owned).
Hike some of the Whistler Snowshoeing Trails
You don’t have to strap skis or a board to your shoes to have fun on the snow! While summer hiking season offers one type of landscape, snowshoeing in Whistler and the Callaghan Valley offers something different (and arguably even prettier!). There are tonnes of snowshoeing trails and it’s one of my favourite activities to do in Whistler. Some of my favourites snowshoe trails in Whistler are Alexander Falls in the Callaghan Valley and Lost Lake in Whistler. If you want to go further afield and are looking for things to do around Whistler you can head to Joffre Lakes north of Pemberton and Whistler, or into Garibaldi Provincial Park for snowshoeing. But ALWAYS check the avalanche rating here before you go. You can rent snowshoes from many shops in Whistler, we rented from Cross Country Connection.
Try the bobsleigh at the Whistler Sliding Centre
As a legacy of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, the Whistler Sliding Centre allows visitors to Whistler to try the bobsleigh. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like, now’s your chance. The Whistler Sliding Centre is on the side of Blackcomb Mountain and is a world-class bobsleigh, skeleton and luge facility. It’s a training venue for athletes from all over the world and also hosts races each season. This year it’s hosting the Viessmann Luge World Cup in December in Whistler. No previous experience is required as you hop into a 4 person bobsled (led by a trained pilot) and ride down the track. You’ll go through 10 twists and turns at speeds of over 125km! It’s the only place in Canada you can try the bobsleigh like this!
Watch the ski jumping
Head to Whistler Olympic Park and watch the ski jumping at Whistler. This sport is next level intense as skiers head to the top of a huge jump and speed down the slope towards the drop. In 2019, Whistler hosted the 2019 FIS North American Ski Jumping competition which we went to watch. Even if there’s no jumping happening during your Whistler vacation, just looking at the ski jumps is impressive enough and one of my favourite things to see in Whistler since it’s a bit different.
Chill out at Scandinave Spa
This is the place to go to in Whistler if you’re looking to relax and definitely the best Whistler spa. The Scandinave Spa is gorgeous, peaceful and completely and utterly relaxing. You’re not allowed phones and the saunas, steam rooms, hot tubs and cold pools are all accessed from the outside. In the winter there are patches of snow around the spa which makes it even more magical as you relax under the soft lights and the stars.
Visit the Whistler art galleries
You don’t usually think of ski resorts as having art galleries but that’s not the case with Whistler. And, in fact, Whistler has more than 1 art gallery and a great museum all of which make great places to visit in Whistler. The Audain Art Museum is housed in a beautiful building and has a permanent collection showcasing the art of British Columbia from the late 18th century to the present, as well as changing exhibitions. Some of the best galleries are the Whistler Contemporary Gallery and the Adele Campbell Fine Art Gallery both of which are among the top places to see in Whistler.
Go ice skating in Whistler
Ice skating is a Canadian past time so you simply have to try it if you’re visiting Canada in the winter. One of the best places to go ice skating in Whistler is at the rinks in the Whistler Olympic Plaza. Here you are surrounded by mountains, the Olympic Rings and thousands of twinkling, festive lights. Alternatively, you can try skating at some of the local lakes when the weather conditions allow.
Try axe throwing
Looking for unique things to do in Whistler in winter? Head out axe throwing. This makes a great activity in Whistler that isn’t skiing and I can attest to the fact it’s great fun. Forged Axe Throwing is the place to go in Whistler and you can pay by the hour – bring your friends and prepare to have fun!
Go tubing in Whistler
If you’re looking for what to do in Whistler with kids then check out the Whistler Tube Park. This park gives kids all the fun of sliding on snow with no skills required. Simply grab a tube and slide down the hill, there’s even a conveyor belt to take them back to the top so there’s no walking uphill required with this Whistler tubing! Plus, it’s one of the best cheap things to do in Whistler (which is a pretty expensive resort on the whole!).
Enjoy the views from the Peak 2 Peak
The Peak 2 Peak Gondola joins Blackcomb and Whistler Mountain so that you can ski on both without having to ski to the bottom and get a gondola up. However, it’s not just skiers that can take a ride on it. It’s actually one of the top Whistler attractions for non skiers. At 4.4km long, the Peak to Peak Gondola takes 11 minutes to ride. You can get a sightseeing ticket to ride the gondolas from Whistler Village to the Peak 2 Peak and journey between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains while enjoying the incredible surrounding views. If you’ve got time, you can also wait to bag one of the cabins with the glass floor so you can really take in the scenery from all angles.
Take a snowmobiling tour in Whistler
In the winter you can head into the backcountry on a snowmobile with a guided snowmobile tour. There’s everything from an introductory 2-hour tour, to snowmobiling adventures where you’ll head out to frozen alpine lakes and hidden bowls. You can also take a tour where you ride them to a restaurant for a mountain top fondue or steak dinner.
Canadian Wilderness Tours and Adventures do a great Yukon Breakfast snowmobiling tour. On this tour you make your way through the remote backcountry of the Callaghan Valley to a cabin where you’re treated to a full Canadian Yukon breakfast which consists of Canadian back bacon, Yukon gold potatoes, scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese, sauteed onions, and bell peppers along with pancakes, real maple syrup and cowboy coffee. YUM! After this, you head to a frozen lake of back into the alpine before returning to base.
The Whistler Zipline park is home to the longest zipline in Canada AND the USA called The Sasquatch. While the Sasquatch doesn’t operate in winter, there are several other ziplining routes to try. It’s got to be one of the best things to do in Whistler at night as you can ride the zipline with only a headlamp as you zoom through the old-growth rainforest of Whistler.
Shopping in Whistler
If you love shopping you’ll have a great time in Whistler. Whistler has A LOT of shops ranging from boutique stores to Whistler ski shops and high-end fashion and it’s one of the top things to do in Whistler Village. Popular Canadian brands such as Roots and Lululemon have Whistler specific clothing which makes great souvenirs. Be sure to check out Armchair books which has a great range of bestsellers, adventure books and books on the local area.
Snowcat rides at Whistler
Ever wondered what it’s like to groom the pistes in a ski resort? Wonder no more with a snowcat tour. On a tour, you can experience the serenity of the high alpine with the twinkling lights of Whistler Village below. The snowcat for the tour is heated and takes you up the mountain to Crystal Hut where an alpine dinner awaits!
Fire and Ice Show
Still wondering what to see in Whistler, or wondering what to do in Whistler on a Sunday night then enter the Fire and Ice Show. Every Sunday night one of the best free things to do in Whistler, Canada in winter happens. The top skiers and riders in Whistler spin and twist through burning hoops from 7 pm at the Skiers Plaza in Whistler Village (and practice starts at 6.30 pm). It’s really quite something to watch!
For more awesome Whistler activities, consider dogsledding. We went dogsledding in Revelstoke a few years ago and I loved it. The dogs were clearly well looked after and just LOVED running. Dogsledding is a great activity in Whistler for non skiers. On a dog sledging tour in Whistler you’ll be pulled through the old-growth forest with the musher at the helm. You’ll get a chance to meet the dogs and help harness and stage them. It’s an exhilarating experience and a great activity for families in Whistler, as well as couples. It’s such a fun Whistler winter activity!
View the live snow report for Whistler here
Whistler Blackcomb is one of the very best ski resorts for families. It has a great mix of terrain and kid-friendly features on the mountains, along with a great ski school and village that everyone will love. To sweeten the deal, they frequently run a “kids ski free” program that’s a great bargain for skiing families.
They have a great mix of beginner runs spread across both mountains, making Whistler a great choice for young families who may be just learning. It also means families won’t get bored skiing the same beginner slopes over and over. The family areas on the mountain such as the enchanted Tree Fort and Magic Castle are great places to explore. They offer a great escape from the crowds.
Great Ski Schools
If you’re looking to take some lessons, Whistler offers an amazing array of programs for all skill levels. They offer kids’ camps, family lessons, group lessons, and MAX4 group lessons. It doesn’t matter what your age or skill level, Whistler has you covered.
Whether you’re skiing or not, an absolute must for families is a ride across the valley on the Peak to Peak Gondola. This feat of modern engineering boasts two Guinness World Records – one for covering the largest unsupported span, and the other for being the highest lift of its kind. Kids love the ride on the glass-bottom cabins, so be sure to wait the extra few minutes for one of those to come by. It’s worth it! This is easily the best way to get from one mountain to the other at the resort.
For a bit of a break during meal times, Nintendo has sponsored gaming lounges where kids can pull up a stool and play games for free. They have three lounges located on-mountain at Rendezvous Lodge on Blackcomb, Roundhouse Lodge on Whistler, and off mountain at the Wizard Grill at the Base of Blackcomb.
Lots of Family Friendly Accommodation
Everything about Whistler seems larger than life, and that includes the chalets, lodges, and hotels around the resort. They have a good mix of budget accommodation all the way up to 5-star luxury chalets. Regardless of where you stay, many of the hotels offer a ski valet that will help you with your ski and boot fittings when you arrive, and then collect your gear each day after you’re done skiing. This is an amazing perk for families, The next morning, visit the valet before you head out to pick up your skis and nice, warm boots that have been dried out for you overnight.
Lots of Non- Ski Activities
Please see our ‘Activities’ Tab.
Westin Resort and Spa
Tantalus Resort Lodge
Listel Whistler Hotel
Hilton Whistler Resort
Four Seasons Resort and Residences
Fairmont Chateau Whistler
Transfer time from Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is around two and a half hours by road or about four hours 30 minutes from Seattle. The route follows Highway 99 North, known as the ‘Sea to Sky Highway’ for its panoramic views of Howe Sound and the Coast Mountains, as it curves northward from Horseshoe Bay to Whistler.
Vancouver International Airport – 115 km / 70 miles
Seattle Airport -340 km / 215 miles
Perimeters Whistler Express runs a daily scheduled shuttle service between Vancouver International Airport and Whistler, with several pick-up and drop-off points at Vancouver hotels and Whistler hotels (by reservation). Private charters are also available for up to 55 people.
If your car is equipped with a GPS device, you can use the address for the Whistler Visitor Centre as a central location to program your route: Whistler Visitor Centre4230 Gateway DrWhistler, BC V8E 0Z8Directions from Vancouver Airport are provided by Glacius to all guests driving.
The new Whistler Mountaineer train offers a scenic 3 hour journey from Vancouver in comfort and style. Although more expensive than by car or bus, the views along the ocean fronts, canyons and valleys are not to be missed.