Whistler Village is a modern upscale resort with all the luxury amenities, packaged as an old-fashioned European town with plazas and pedestrian-only thoroughfares. Whistler Blackcomb is consistently rated as one of the top ski destinations in North America. Ski Magazine rated it No. 3 in the 2018 “Best in the West,” a reader-ranked survey. But there is so much more than skiing at Whistler. Tour museums you would expect in much larger cities, enjoy an eclectic dining scene on a culinary tour, try winter ziplining or relax at a Scandinavian-style spa.
Tourism Whistler offers a Visitor Centre in Whistler Village (604.932.3928), as well as an informative website to help you plan your trip at Whistler.com.
Skiing – Whistler Blackcomb’s reputation as a top ski destination is well deserved with an average snowfall of 461 inches and one of the longest ski seasons in North America. Whistler and Blackcomb mountains are connected by the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola, which is the longest and highest lift in the world. There are more than 200 marked runs accessed by 37 lifts with a capacity of almost 70,000 skiers per hour. Both mountains’ longest run is 7 miles. Combine that with terrain parks, family play areas and 17 mountain restaurants, and there truly is something for everyone.
For more information on vacation planning to include lodging, lift tickets, lessons, rentals and activities, visit WhistlerBlackcomb.com or call 888.403.4727.
Winter Ziplining – For an exhilarating adventure, check out Ziptrek Ecotours. The company offers a choice of three guided zipline tours during the winter on Ziptrek’s network of ziplines, which are suspended between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains over Fitzsimmons Creek and through old-growth temperate rainforest. Their tours combine the adrenaline of ziplining with an educational component that delivers awareness and appreciation of the natural environment of the area. With the winter air crisp and cool and trees blanketed in snow, it’s a completely different experience as you zip across the creek than taking a warm-weather tour.
For those who prefer not to zipline, take the TreeTrek Canopy Walk. It is a fun, informative, guided trek across suspension bridges, suspended stairways, boardwalks and trails with breathtaking scenery. You’ll learn about the ecology of the area and may even hear and see the whirl of zipliners overhead as you climb high into the old-growth trees.
Scandinave Spa – As you wind your way from the parking lot on a snow-covered trail with cedar and spruce trees towering above you, there is a sense that this is going to be something special. The Scandinave Spa’s architecture blends seamlessly into the natural surroundings. Upon entering, a warm lobby welcomes you with a crackling fire and cozy seating areas. Plan to allow at least two hours—or even more—as this is not an experience you want to rush. This is not a beauty spa but one focused on health and wellness. Scandinave offers massages but not beauty treatments. After checking in and changing in the locker room, head outside to begin your hydrotherapy experience.
Your experience starts at the top, which overlooks the 20,000-square-foot outdoor day spa, overlooking a mountain vista and surrounded by a scenic forest. The first thing you notice is the silence, which is strictly enforced. The lack of chatter and electronic devices forms an oasis of calm. The spa consists of cycles of hot/cold/relax. The rotations are designed to relax and soothe tired muscles, eliminate toxins and improve circulation. A eucalyptus steam room, a wood-burning finish style sauna, a dry sauna and outdoor hot baths are available for the hot cycles. The cold cycles are really cold—as in icy—but are a necessary step in the hydrotherapy process. The bracing cold is pleasantly packaged as a gushing Nordic Waterfall, rain showers and cold pools where guests tend to plunge in and out versus swim. The final stage of each rotation is relaxing. There are quiet rooms gently warmed with comfy chairs, an outdoor fire pit and a solarium. It is easy to find yourself drifting off. Your body will let you know when it is time to leave.
Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre – This is a must-see venue when visiting Whistler. The Squamish and Lil’wat Nations came together to create this 30,400-square-foot complex to share their living cultures with the world, not the Hollywood stereotypes. The guides are very knowledgeable and share personal accounts of their culture. Guide Travis Billy, his colonial name, and A7xwil, his ancestral name, begins his tour with a song. “It is the dearest song I treasure and was taught to me by my father who would sing it for 20 minutes when he would take me fishing. It is a prayer and represents the beating heart of the animal who gives up his life for us,” he said. It is a very moving experience to observe such a personal narrative. The tour shows how both the Squamish and the Lil’wat tribes lived and examples of clothing, artwork and other cultural information. The centre has a café and a well-stocked gift shop with beautiful offerings of tribal art.
Whistler Tasting Tours – As you walk through Whistler Village, restaurant after restaurant comes into view, and it can be a challenge to select one, especially with so many highly rated options. That’s where Whistler Tasting Tours comes in with the option to explore the best restaurants in Whistler with each course at a different dining establishment.In 2012, the company was officially designated a Canadian Signature Experience by the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC). The CTC rates these as once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences that show the world what Canada’s tourism brand is all about. Tour options include two different guided dinner tours, a dessert tour and both a guided and self-guided lunch tour option.