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Whistler is not just one of the most iconic, bucket list winter destinations in Canada, but the entire world. Rising above Whistler, two mountains, Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain, beckons skiers and snowboarders with more than 10,000 feet of vertical and 8,000 acres of skiable terrain between them. Connecting them is the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola, the first and only gondola of its kind to connect two adjacent mountains. At the base, Whistler Village welcomes skiers and riders after a day of skiing, with more than 200 restaurants, bars, shops, and more.
Off the slopes, unique experiences, one-of-a-kind adventures, culture, and world-class dining calls skiers and non-skiers alike. Needless to say, you’ll need more than just a weekend to experience the best of Whistler in the winter. As you’re planning an epic winter trip to Whistler, use the following travel guide to help.
Whistler Travel Guide
You’re not going to find more ski terrain and vertical at a single destination in North America than at Whistler Blackcomb. Whistler Blackcomb’s numbers speak for itself—more than 5,000 feet of vertical at each mountain, 200-plus trails, 16 alpine bowls, 5 terrain parks, and 3 glaciers. Whistler on average receives more than 400 inches of snow annually, and enjoys a long season, which kicks off by early December and continues well into April, and beyond.
Skiers and snowboarders of every ability have it all here. Learning to ski? Whistler Blackcomb’s Snow School offers group and private lessons from world-class instructors. Whistler Blackcomb guarantees you’ll be skiing green runs by the end of your third lesson with its Green Run Guarantee. Skiers and riders that have at least solid intermediate/blue abilities can take advantage of the Whistler Blackcomb CIBC Mountain Host program, offering free orientation tours around the mountain.
If you’re ending your day at Whistler Mountain, cap it off on the Peak to Creek run, which at 7 miles long, is the longest consistent run in North America. The top-to-bottom run ends in Creekside Village, the original base of Whistler Mountain, which features a laid-back village vibe that’s a favorite among locals. If ending on Blackcomb Mountain, take Green Road down Easy Out, which will cap out at 7 miles by the time you reach the bottom. By then you’ll have earned après-ski.
Whistler’s snow globe-inspired Village is your après-ski basecamp. The Longhorn Saloon, which we named one of the top après-ski spots in Canada, boasts that “no one does après better than The Longhorn Saloon.” We can’t argue with that. Their après patio party is complete with Djs, champagne showers, dancing, drink specials, and more. You’ll hear the Longhorn Saloon before you see it.
Other notable Whistler après-ski spots include Garibaldi Lift Company, aka GLC, located beside the Whistler Gondola. GLC has a great patio, where guests can watch skiers ripping down the mountain while enjoying pub favorites paired with a Mountain Mimosa or GLC Caesar. Families who want an elevated après-ski experience should check out Braidwood Tavern, located inside the Four Seasons Resort Whistler. It has an extensive craft beer program and unique cocktail creations.
Whistler is home to some of Canada’s top dining experiences, such as Wild Blue, recognized as one of Canada’s 100 best new restaurants. For a unique Whistler experience, look no further than Bearfoot Bistro. Here, guests can do everything from champagne sabering to enjoying a sub-zero flight of vodka in the Ketel One Ice Room to dining in an underground wine cellar. Finally, the reimagined Bar Oso has recently reopened. This Whistler favorite is known for its elevated experience featuring Spanish-influenced small plates, charcuterie, and craft cocktails.
This is just a taste of the après-ski experience in Whistler. Guests won’t be left wanting thanks to the abundance of food and drink spots in Whistler.
Off the slopes, Whistler has a plethora of adventures and things to do that you can’t just experience anywhere. The Whistler Sliding Centre, where Olympians slid down at high speeds during the 2010 Winter Olympics, is open to guests for bobsleigh and skeleton rides from December to April. For a different way to experience Whistler Blackcomb, go ziplining through old growth rainforest. Or, if you’re traveling with kids, take a snowshoe tour or visit the Whistler Blackcomb bubly Tube Park, featuring 1,000 feet of snow tubing lanes.
In between skiing and exploring all of Whistler’s outdoor pursuits, experience its culture that you won’t just find in any ski town. Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre (SLCC) is the first destination of its kind in Canada. Located on the shared, traditional territories of the Squamish Nation and Lil’wat Nation, the center celebrates and shares their cultures with the world through permanent and rotating exhibitions. Just down Blackcomb Way from the SLCC is Audain Art Museum, spotlighting British Columbia’s most celebrated artists. A Whistler Cultural Pass provides access to both at a reduced price.
Whistler’s unique mountain culture is celebrated with great events happening all season long. From annual signature events like the World Ski & Snowboard Festival, to weekly entertainment at Whistler Blackcomb’s Fire & Ice Show, there’s always something on the go.
Last, but not least, cap off a day of adventure at Scandinave Spa Whistler. Surrounded by old-growth rainforest, this Scandinavian-inspired spa invites guests to unplug in complete silence and enjoy a thermal journey through a cycle of hot, cold, and relaxing therapies.
Plan your trip
Fittingly, a destination that offers so much in the way of skiing, outdoor adventures, and food and dining, would offer a lot of incredible accommodations. Whistler is dotted with 5-star resorts in the heart of Whistler Village, chalets, cozy lodges, ski-in and ski-out cabins, and much more.
With so many accommodations in and around Whistler Village, travelers don’t even need a car. As such, many travelers take advantage of the Whistler Shuttle, which travels to Whistler from Vancouver International Airport and downtown Vancouver. The approximately two-hour ride traces the Sea to Sky Highway, named one of the best scenic drives in the world by National Geographic readers.
Start planning your trip at whistler.com/winter.
Header image ©Tourism Whistler/Guy Fattal