Most of you know that I prefer my weather hot and my drinks cold, but I’ll reverse that for Whistler, Canada!
Whistler while you work!
Whistler sits just north of Vancouver and is well known for hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics. Tobogganing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing might be some of the town’s popular past times, but Whistler is best known for Whistler Blackcomb, one of the largest ski resorts in North America. It has all of the style of St. Moritz but with more and longer ski runs! Prior to winter sports, Whistler was a busy logging town, and during the first half of the 20th century, the mountains surrounding the town were targeted for clear-cutting. The pristine white slopes you’ll find today were once home to endless pine trees and a rugged landscape.
Here’s a Pro Tip: The currency used is the Canadian Dollar. About two Canadian Dollars is equal to one British Pound, though the rate regularly fluctuates.
The closest major airport to Whistler is Vancouver International Airport which sits just over a 2.5-hour drive south of the mountain town. From Vancouver airport, most travellers rent a car and drive the spectacular Sea to Sky Highway or hop aboard one of the shuttle bus transfers. The YVR Whistler SkyLynx shuttle bus is the most popular mode of transport and departs Vancouver Airport several times a day.
Santa would feel right at home here!
Here’s Another Pro Tip: Whistler’s village centre is completely pedestrianised so if you’re arriving by car, you’ll have to park on the outskirts of the village. Thankfully, there’s plenty of secure parking lots offering single to multi-day stays.
My list of things to do in Whistler in the winter months covers activities for the non-skiers, the novice skiers, and the professionals! Check out these fun activities:
I found the Lost Lake!
- Scandinavia Spa Whistler – After a day on the slopes retire to this 20,000 square foot outdoor spa for a little R&R! This Nordic-style spa is surrounded by a cedar forest and offers rejuvenating spa treatments, hydrotherapy and yoga classes!
- Backcountry Snowmobiling – Follow tree-lined trails through the mountains as you navigate a snowmobile!
This adrenaline-fueled activity allows you to whizz through the magical snowy landscape without breaking a sweat.
- Whistler Blackcomb Skiing – No trip to Whistler would be complete without strapping on your skis and tackling some of the 200 marked trails that wind their way down the mountains. The routes range from beginner trails right up to experts, and there’s plenty of trick routes too.
- Dog Sledding – Learn about the history of dog sledding with a local expert before hitting the trails with your pack. A company called Blackcomb Dogsledding is a Whistler pioneer when it comes to this sport, and I particularly loved that they train rescue dogs to run!
- Zip-lining – Join a Ziptrek Ecotour, and you’ll be swinging through the trees! Ziptrek pride themselves on offering sustainable excursions which makes swinging through a winter wonderland even more enjoyable.
There’s plenty of bars and restaurants in Whistler’s busy town centre, so to help point you in the right direction I’ve listed my three favourite places:
- Araxi – This is one of Whistler’s oldest restaurants, and it’s as classy as they come. Order the cheese fondue with gruyere to start and follow with a delicious plate of roasted duck with sesame seeds.
- Bar Oso – Tuck into tapas in the mountains! Bar Oso serves authentic Spanish dishes and has an impressive wine list to match.
The best thing about Poutine is Putting it in your mouth!
I always order the charcuterie board for the rabbit rillette and pheasant pate, paired with a glass of Tempranillo.
- Barefoot Bistro – The five-course tasting menu at the Barefoot is truly a delight. Choose between dining in the restaurant, at the chef’s table, or in the romantic cellar surrounded by thousands of bottles of wine. Don’t be alarmed if someone sabres a champagne bottle in front of you.
You’ll know as well as I do that when a destination is renowned for its skiing, it’s also going to be renowned for its nightlife. From mountain-side après ski bars to late-night dance clubs, here are my favourite places to hang out in Whistler:
- Ketel One Ice Room – As the worlds coldest vodka tasting room, the Kettle One Ice Room really is quite cool. Temperatures at the bar drop as low as -32 degrees Celsius, so you’ll be handed a thick thermal coat and invited to sip quickly!
- Garibaldi Lift Co. Bar & Grill – The very best of Whistler’s après-ski seems to begin at GLC, a funky bar located just above Whistler Village Gondola. Beers here flow by the jug, and you can expect 20-somethings to be dancing the afternoon away, spirits flying high. It’s a real buzz!
- The Mallard Lounge – For an evening of sophisticated cocktails and casual entertainment, make your way to the Mallard Lounge found at the Fairmont Chateaux Whistler.
When it comes to accommodation in Whistler you’ll be choosing between staying in Whistler Village, Upper Village, and Creekside. Check out my three favourite hotels below:
- Fairmont Chateaux Whistler – This 5-star ski-in/ski-out resort is a fairy-tale come true. The hotel sits at the base of Blackcomb, nestled amongst pine trees, and is a landmark resort offering guests utmost luxury.
I love Whistler snow much!
- Summit Lodge Boutique Hotel – This quirky, award-winning, Whistler hotel is perfect for those looking for an edgier stay. Guests enjoy the use of the onsite pool, hot tub, sauna and spa.
- Sundial Boutique Hotel – The sundial is an affordable 4-star hotel that hasn’t compromised on the little things like attention to detail or quality amenities. My favourite part about this particular hotel is the rooftop hot tub!
Whistler isn’t just another Canadian ski-town, it’s a small village with a heart and soul. You’ll have a great time playing in a winter wonderland even if, like me, you’re normally found relaxing on the beach!