Maybe you’ve heard of Whistler because it’s home to a resort with one of the longest ski seasons in North America, or you remember watching your favorite ski and snowboard events take place during the 2010 Winter Olympics. There’s also a chance it came across your radar due to the news that Whistler Blackcomb will be getting two new lift upgrades this season.
While a trip to Whistler does involve amazing skiing and riding on their expansive terrain (the largest in North America), there are many other activities to enjoy during your visit. Whistler is known for some of the best snowmobile tours in the world and the mountain offers everything from trips for families to intermediate levels and even advanced backcountry tours. Canadian Wilderness Adventures also has two elevated dining options to pair with a snowmobile tour. There’s the Sproatt Steak Night option and Mountain Top Fondue tour. Both take you up one of the mountains where you stop for dinner in a cabin and then head back down after overlooking the beautiful lights of the village on the way.
Another non-skiing activity is the Vallea Lumina walk, perfect for all ages. Described as a multimedia walk, Vallea Lumina involves holograms, music and lights through a winding path in the woods just a quick shuttle ride from the village. The walk is self-led and lasts from 30-45 minutes and is accessible to guests all year round in the evenings when the lights can truly sparkle.
Whistler is also known for its heli-skiing adventures. The local guides are experts well-versed in safety and fun, plus there are packages based on ability level and if you have enough members in your party, personalized groups for just you and your friends up in the helicopter. Book your own heli-adventure with Whistler Heli-Skiing. The outfitter boasts 432,000 acres of classic, mountain terrain, 173 glaciers and 475 runs. Explore the untracked backcountry on Garbaldi Mountain for some of the best views, and memories, you’ll ever make on a ski vacation.
For the advanced skiers interested in taking their skills to the next level, Extremely Canadian specializes in “redefining boundaries” when it comes to the snow sport. They cater to what clients are looking to improve upon with everything from private lessons, snowboard free ride camps and steep skiing clinics. The company’s goal is to provide backcountry skiers with the skillset, confidence and discretion required when taking on extreme terrain for everyone from kids to seasoned skiers and riders. They also offer backcountry tours and organized trips around the world for legendary skiing wth guides equipped to ensure you have a rad (and safe) time.
Getting to Whistler is also extremely convenient when flying into the Vancouver airport or YVR. Depending on the property you stay with, there are private and scheduled shuttles to bring you from YVR and downtown Vancouver up to the resort which is only a 2.5-hour drive. You’ll get through city limits and head past scenery including forests, glaciers and ocean sights. A pro tip is to get a seat on the left side of the bus when heading to Whistler and one on the right side on the way back to get the best views.
With everything Whistler already has going for it, our favorite aspect is how family-friendly it is both on the slopes and with activities in the village making après fun for all ages. We’ve mapped out a few resorts that are on the top of our list for our own vacations to Whistler, and as far as what we recommend to families who are looking to have their own Canadian adventure.
Fairmont Chateau Whistler: Sitting at the base of Blackcomb Mountain, start your mornings off with complimentary yoga classes to boost your Zen in a stunning mountain atmosphere. Storage for skis is available to guests on the property, making it easy to spend more time on the mountains and less time in transit. Along with the high-end accommodations, this resort is one of the few located on the Blackcomb Mountain side but still offers easy shuttle access over to Whistler Mountain so you can easily ski both.
Listel Hotel Whistler: Only steps away from Whistler Village, guests will enjoy the convenience of the ski and snowboard valet service along with the property’s location just in walking distance from the lifts. This 3.5-star accommodation also allows select pets to stay in specific rooms, so guests can bring along their four-legged friends rather than leaving them behind. Indulge with dinner at Barefoot Bistro, a high-end luxury experience specializing in nitro ice cream that’s made at the table and a trip to the wine cellar to saber champagne bottles. A visit to the Ketel One Ice Bar is also a must for a taste of the coldest vodka around while outfitted in special parkas for the frigid and fun excursion.
Aava Whistler: During the summertime, a stay at Aava Whistler is a no-brainer for mountain bike enthusiasts considering it’s known as the bike-friendliest hotel in Whistler. Guests can utilize the bike valet, vault, wash and tool station in between their trail exploration during the warmer months. The winters offer just as many amenities, however, with free snowshoe rentals, ski boot dryers and ski lockers to minimize your time gathering your gear and maximize turns on the mountain. This hotel-room-style stay is a great choice for those who don’t need a lot of space and are just looking for a resting point in between trips on the mountain and exploring the village.
Crystal Lodge: Relax in a modern, mountain lodge suite or multi-room hotel unit that’ll immerse you into the ‘soul of Whistler.’ The 24-hour fitness center is available to all guests during their stay, along with access to the hot rock sauna and year-round outdoor pool and hot tub. A stay at Crystal Lodge has you right in the heart of après and food and beverage options in the international feel of Whistler Village. You’ll love the downtime in a room perfectly catered to the size of your group along with the promotions available by booking early to save more on your stay.
Westin Resorts and Spa: Cozy up to your personal fireplace during your visit at the Westin in any one of the studio suites or loft units on their property. The luxury stays also offer kitchenettes for easy access to meals midday when you’re ready to take a break from the slopes. What sets Westin apart are the local specialties at the restaurants on-site, enjoy world-class dining like Canadian Beef Tenderloin or Wild Mushroom Ravioli at Grill and Vine after an après at the FireRock Lounge. You’ll also want to carve out time for a visit to the Spa at Whistler for holistic and revitalizing treatments.
Delta Hotels by Marriot Whistler Village Suites: The upscale suites at this Delta location provide you with a spot right next to the heartbeat of Whistler. Non-skiers will be able to peruse the various boutiques and restaurants around the village during the day or stop by the Scandinave Spa about an 8-minute taxi ride outside of the village for some therapeutic water treatments rotating between saunas, hot tubs and cold plunges. After a day on the mountain, you’ll be able to warm up in your room after dropping your gear at the ski lockers and boot warmers on site, then head downstairs to The Brickworks Public House in your slippers for après beers. Don’t feel like leaving the hotel for dinner? Just saunter over to Hy’s Steakhouse, their attached restaurant which happens to be one of the top dining options in the village. Hy’s sets the standard for steakhouses throughout Canada and you can expect ice-cold martinis, steaks cooked to perfection and trademark hospitality.
Wherever you end up staying for your Whistler vacation, our Mountain Travel Experts are here to guide you to a property that suits all your needs. Booking a trip with us is easy and leaves you with more time to anticipate all the culture, flavor and powder Whistler has to offer.