Whistler is one of those places where winter and summer sports collide in spring. Snow sports, bicycling and other outdoor adventures can all pack into the same getaway with low off-season rates on lodging.
Springtime vacations to Whistler can be cheaper than winter or summer with lower lodging rates for hotels and condos. Plus, you can get into three- to five-star accommodations with even bigger discounts by checking online with Central Reservations for last minute deals. Even luxury properties will heavily discount unsold rooms with their name not advertised. While you won’t be able to choose the exact hotel, you can choose the type of hotel by its rating.
For a multi-sport getaway to Whistler, make the trip easier by leaving all your equipment at home and renting skis and bikes. But do pack essential clothing to contend with all kinds of weather for the appropriate sports. British Columbia’s Coast Mountains can bring erratic shifts between warm bluebird days akin to summer and snowstorms fuming at the tail end of winter.
Here’s how to plan a multi-sport spring three-day getaway to Whistler. Due to shifts in spring weather, you may need to swap your schedule around to suit the day.
Spend the day skiing or boarding the corn snow. Warm sunny days balanced by freezing night temperatures transform the snow into soft turning. Whistler Blackcomb’s spring schedule extended the season to May 26, 2014, with the Peak 2 Peak Gondola open through April 22, 2014.
Spring freeriders can work the rails on Blackcomb Mountain.
Copyright: Chad Chomlack/Tourism Whistler
Ski to the Seventh Heaven Lift to reach Horstman Hut for a barbecue lunch on the deck with the biggest views from the highest restaurant at the resort.
Toward late afternoon, the snow in lower elevations may mutate into heavy slush, so stay high as long as possible. Enjoy Seventh Heaven runs and Horstman Glacier. Finish the day in Whistler Village on the deck at Garibaldi Lift Company for nachos, beer and people watching. Retire to your hotel’s hot tub before heading out to Sachi Sushi for dinner followed by bar hopping in the village.
Spend the day flying like Peter Pan. Head to Carleton Lodge in the morning to check in with Ziptrek Ecotours for their Mammoth Tour. A quick van ride leads to the zipline site tucked on Fitzsimmons Creek in between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. With instruction from your guides, you’ll strap into your harness and climb a series of stairs to observation and launching platforms.
Before flying on the first steel cable, the guides will teach you how to slow down in the starfish position and how to streamline into the landing position. Gravity feeds the flight, so you can just hang out and enjoy the thrill. If gravity does not take you all the way to the dismount tower, guides can pull you in by rope. You won’t be left dangling from the cable.
Guests enjoy Ziptrekking through the treetops above the waters of Fitzsimmons Creek.
Copyright: Joern Rohde
Throughout the day, you’ll tour 10 ziplines. Access to some zips requires climbing cedar steps to large platforms and walking across Indiana Jones-style suspension bridges, only much more sturdy. You’ll need to banish any fear of heights as a couple of towers hug huge old growth tree trunks 200 feet above the ground.
Midway through the tour, you’ll stop for lunch, but soon be back zipping along the lines, the longest of which stretches 2,200 feet. As you drop off the platform, the whine of the zipline whirs higher and higher as you pick up speed to sail through the treetops and across Fitzsimmons Creek. Despite the length, the ride is over far too soon.
After the zip tour, head to Merlin’s in the Upper Village for après and music at the Kokanee Kabin. Dine at La Bocca in Whistler Village on local food and B.C. wine.
Spend day three on two wheels. Rent a bike from one of several bike shops around Whistler Village. Late spring travelers can explore Whistler’s Mountain Bike Park after it opens on May 18. Before then, you can warm up with the paved Valley Trail. It links lakes and Whistler communities with more than 30 kilometers of flat to rolling multi-use trail. Pedal to Alta Lake and explore the connecting trails to Nita and Alpha Lakes.
A mountain biker explores the singletrack around Creekside in Whistler.
Copyright: Steve Rogers/Tourism Whistler
Loop back to Creekside between Nita and Alpha to stop for a late breakfast or an early lunch at Dusty’s Backside
. You’ll need the fuel to explore some of Whistler’s singletrack.
In the afternoon, continue south towards Function Junction and turn left to find the Riverside Trails. The forested singletrack loop runs for about eight kilometers, touring along the Cheakamus River that will be roaring with spring runoff. You’ll cross the river on a suspension bridge and can add on side explorations. But leave enough steam for the return ascent back to Whistler Village.
On the tour back up valley, stop in Creekside at the Fix Café in Nita Lake Lodge for an afternoon pastry and cappuccino. The pick-me-up should get you back to Whistler Village, where you can celebrate the getaway with fine seafood at Rimrock Cafe and Oyster Bar.
Once you return home, you might need a vacation to recover. But you’ll leave Whistler feeling like you’ve done it all.