10 of the Most Canadian Activities in Whistler
So, you’ve booked your trip, and you’re starting to look up the best activities to experience local culture. Like the seasoned travellers say, the best way to do that is to do what the locals do!
There are many activities and foods that define what Canada is, and Whistler is the best place to find out what those are. If you’ve ever been told that Canada is oversaturated with Americanised culture, we’re here to beg to differ.
The most Canadian activities in Whistler are found predominantly during the colder months. Luckily, Whistler happens to have one of the longest periods of reliable snowfall in North America. With the ski season running from November through to May, you’re bound to experience at least one of these activities on your trip. Here are 10 of the most Canadian activities in Whistler that should make it onto your itinerary.
If you’re a sucker for those puppy eyes, you will love this Canadian pastime. Taking a dog sledding tour in Whistler is a great way to explore the hundreds of trails that are weaved through the snow laden forest. Your sled will be pulled by specially-bred Arctic sled dogs with incredible skills that will have you in awe. A musher will show you how the dogs are harnessed, staged and commanded to whisk you away like a pro. While taking a winding ride through the Callaghan Valley, you also have the chance to stop at an abandoned trapper’s camp before continuing your Winter adventure; a true Canadian experience in Whistler.
One of the most popular Winter activities in Whistler, and a treasured Canadian must do is snowmobiling. This one is right down the alley of the adrenaline seekers out there. By opting for a snowmobile, you will be able to venture through parts of Whistler that aren’t reachable by skis or snowshoes. Tours take you on a thrilling ride around the Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. If you feel like indulging, make it a true Canadian experience and add on a mid trip full Yukon breakfast on Sproatt Mountain. Alternative tours also include a night ride, a visit to a rustic cabin, historical Northair Goldmine and many more. If a wild ride is too much for the young ones in your group, children are able to ride mini-mobiles through their own more leisurely route.
Lounge in a Hot Tub
After a full day out on the slopes, you must wine down the Canadian way – in a hot tub! If you’re not accustomed to the harsh Winter that is so familiar to the locals, you will love nothing better than thawing out and lazing in that warmth. At Whistler, your accommodation is bound to have its own hot tub, but even if it doesn’t, most of the local spas are open late into the night. After a night out on the brews, snow or ice, you will be washing that exhaustion or hangover right off. Are you keen to be the first in line for the lifts the next day? Then get recuperating in a hot tub, just how the locals do it.
While ziplining is a fairly new activity in Canada, it has become iconic to Whistler and thus deserves its place in this list. Back in the day, ziplining was simply a mode of transport used to travel across hard to pass areas. Now, it’s the best way to soar through the air and see Whistler’s magic from above. With some of the best ziplining in the world being found in British Columbia, it is a must when visiting the region regardless of the season. At Superfly, they have built four side by side ziplines amidst the mountain wilderness. As you can imagine, in Winter, the frosted tree tops and snowy terrain are more than easy on the eye. If the fast lane isn’t your thing, Superfly also have their treetop adventure courses for those that prefer a challenge.
Making a visit to Whistler’s resident fur family is of course a big part of seeing the real Canada. While most of the activities in this article are reserved for the colder months, bear watching is a tour to be taken in the warmer months. With around 50 black bears living in the area, you are sure to see at least one. Though if you want to get up close, without putting yourself in danger, you can book a bear watching tour to be guided by a knowledgeable local. Your guide will be familiar with Whistler’s bear feeding patterns, and will know where to find the bears as they shift across the area. Jump into a 4×4 and not only cross paths with many black bears, but also learn about all of Whistler’s flora and fauna along the way.
Go Ice Fishing
Have you even been to Canada if you haven’t been ice fishing? Heading out on the ice to throw in a line is as Canadian as it gets. British Columbia is renowned for being one of the best places to do just that. In the icy waters of Whistler, you can expect to catch mainly Rainbow Trout, but you may also reel in Dolly Varden, Cutthroat, Kokanee and Bull Trout. While ice fishing is a fun activity for when you’ve gotten a bit tired of the slopes, it’s a chilly one at that. Dress for sub zero temperatures and you will be fine. Besides, the stunning surrounds will make you forget about how cold your toes are just as quick.
At any age, if you’re in Whistler in Winter, it’s time to lace up those skates and get out onto the ice. Heading to the ice skating rink will make for a day full of clumsy falls, a lot of laughs and just as much fun. Whistler has two rinks worth hitting with your group. Whistler Olympic Plaza is like something you would see on a movie, found in the heart of the picturesque Village and surrounded by mountain views, it’s certainly a magical sight. If the weather doesn’t permit, then there is also Meadow Park. Meadow Park is an indoor rink where you can also play a game of hockey and teach the kids how to skate by using the push bars.
While many do ski on frozen lakes in Canada, it can be very risky. As long as you take the right precautions and adhere to the safety tips given by locals, skating out on the lakes will be an incredible true Canadian experience.
Skiing and Snowboarding
Skiing and snowboarding is the reason most people visit Whistler in the Winter. With some of the best reliable snowfall in the world, it’s no wonder it has become a renowned Canadian activity. As the resort spans over an enormous 8,171 skiable acres, there is a trail fit for every skill level. Even though such a large area sounds quite intimidating, it is made easy to navigate thanks to the many lifts and the Peak to Peak Gondola that connects you to the slopes. If you’re just starting out in the snow, there are plenty of ski school classes that you can join to get you moving in no time.
Regardless of whether you’re skiing or not, you should definitely take a ride on the Peak to Peak Gondola. At 436 metres high, stretching from Whistler Mountain to Blackcomb Mountain, it makes for some postcard worthy 360˚ views.
Ice Caves Tours
Something you won’t experience in many other places in the world is the ice caves that are found at Whistler. The largest and southernmost ice cap in Canada is waiting for you to be explored. Booking a Heli Ice Tour will fly you above Whistler to the entry of the cave. Walk through a cavern of ice formations that reflect a kaleidoscope of colours through the swirling walls of the cave. As you’re guided deep into the ice cap, you will be walking through a labyrinth of surreal ice walls. While walking through caves formed with ice sounds quite daunting, it is comforting to know that there are glaciologists monitoring the ice to ensure the caves are safe to access.
Hit up a Festival
While many people across the globe tend to believe Winter is a dreary time in life, it is no doubt one of the most exciting times in Canada, especially in Whistler. It’s certainly not out of the ordinary to catch your Canadian friends partying it up in their snowsuit. Don’t get us wrong, as the warmer weather arrives, Whistler plays host to its fair share of Summer festivals as well. Just know, the fun doesn’t stop at Summers end like it does in other corners of the world! In Canada, we love a good brew and good music. If you visit Whistler at the right time, check out Whistler Pride and Ski Festival, Wanderlust Whistler Festival, Whistler Village Beer Festival, Cornucopia, World Ski and Snowboard Festival and many, many more!
Whistler is the perfect destination if you’re up for some thrilling outdoor fun year-round. To experience the most Canadian activities there is, book your Winter getaway and you will be working your way down this list in no time.