Help! I’m in Whistler and I Don’t Ski!
There are more Whistler activities than we can shake a stick at. Yes – the biggest draw for visitors is snow sports. As North America’s largest ski resort, it’s to be expected. But the truth is that people travel to Whistler for other reasons too.
If you’re not familiar to life on planks, don’t be disheartened. A winter trip to Whistler will open your eyes to a wealth of other mountain activities. In next to no time you’ll feel like a true lumberjack. Here’s our guide to Whistler Village activities for the non-conformist
Why Visit Whistler If You Hate Skiing?
Good question. We can think of a ton of reasons to push Whistler to the top of your travel bucket list. As a host venue for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games, the resort is literally made for winter activities
From snowshoeing and ice skating to dog-sledding and ice climbing, there’s a new and exciting activity for everyone to try.
If you’re hoping for less adrenaline and more relaxation, Whistler has you covered too. Let’s delve straight in and discover something low octane in the mountains.
Check Out These 3 Low Key Activities
- Scandinave Spa
Just north of Whistler Village, nestled among old-growth cedar and spruce, you’ll find Scandinave Spa. This incredibly relaxing experience follows traditional Scandinavian spa practices. Visitors are encouraged to refrain from speaking as they make their way through an invigorating hot/cold/relax cycle.
$72 gets you baths access. There’s eucalyptus steam rooms, traditional cedar saunas, fire pits, and solariums. Plus, if you want to upgrade your experience a massage can be booked too. We love to take a book and chill in a hammock. After an afternoon at Scandinave Spa, we guarantee you’ll leave feeling as though a weight has been lifted.
- PEAK2PEAK Gondola
Minimum input; maximum adventure! The PEAK2PEAK 360 Experience has got to be on your Whistler itinerary. Aside from being one of the most popular Whistler Village activities, the PEAK2PEAK gondola is also a record-breaker!
Recognized as the world’s longest and highest unsupported span, it’s a feat of engineering that has to be seen to be believed. Ride the gondola as a sightseer for as little as $64 when you book online. You’ll reach the top of one mountain before embarking across the valley to the peak of the other
For the ultimate experience, we recommend waiting for a glass-bottomed gondola. Now, don’t be alarmed – the whole floor isn’t glass but rather just a central panel. It provides a breath-taking view of the valley as it passes 1,427 feet below. It’s a must-do
- Sleigh Ride
Yes, before you ask, it is just like the movies. A sleigh ride in Whistler will make you feel like you’re inside a postcard as you get cozy under the blankets of your horse-drawn sleigh.
We recommend booking this one in the height of winter for full Winter Wonderland effect. We would say that this is typically mid-December to mid-March. Expect dreamy mountain vistas, and pillows and pillows of snow. Make sure you wrap up warm and don’t forget your camera for those picture-perfect views.
The ultimate romantic activity – but equally as fun for families – a sleigh ride in Whistler is sure to get you in the festive spirit.
Pick Up The Tempo With These 3 Activities
If you prefer to hit the ground running, you may wish to try your hand at one of these supercharged Whistler Village activities:
- Whistler Sliding Centre
A legacy of the aforementioned Olympic Games, Whistler Sliding Centre is your go-to for skeleton, luge and bobsleigh. The centre holds drop-in sessions where you can truly feel like an olympian with expert guidance from the pros.
If you prefer not to be in the driving seat, there is also an opportunity to accompany a pilot. Experience the thrill of Bobsleigh and tear down the course at lightning speed in this once-in-a-lifetime activity.
- Axe Throwing
If you’ve never tried axe throwing before then you don’t understand what you’re missing. This ultimate Canadian activity pits your lumberjack skills against your friends as a guide teaches you the ways of the axe. Learn how to not only throw an axe the regular way, but underhand too. Want to try two axes? Yep – they’ll let you give that a go too. Try axe throwing today.
- Zip Lining
Gain a new perspective and take to the skies with an incredible zip lining tour! One of our favourite Whistler Village activities, zip lining brings the child out in even the most “grown up” grown-up.
Superfly Ziplines are based on Cougar Mountain – a hop, skip and a jump from Whistler. Far enough removed to feel like your in the backcountry, their lines include two of Canada’s longest!
The beauty of Superfly is that their lines are tandem. Which means you can fly with a loved one, share the experience with a friend, or even race each other reaching speeds up to 100km/h.
Other Notable Whistler Village Activities
Sometimes the most interesting activities are the everyday ones that you stumble upon by chance. We thought we’d steer clear of the beaten path and have a think about how we would spend our time. If you find yourself in Whistler with an afternoon to fill, here’s our top 10 recommendations:
- Head to Purebread for baked goods. This bakery is the stuff of dreams are made of. We particularly love their gluten-free brownies.
- Browse the wares at Three Singing Birds to stock up on souvenirs. They stock locally-crafted goodies from soaps and prints to candles and clothing.
- Ice skate at Whistler Olympic Plaza. Rentals are very reasonably priced and they play some great music.
- Grab coffee from Blenz. The Whistler store is very light and airy. The staff are super friendly and their drinks list is varied.
- Check out the latest fashions at Jonathan+Olivia in Whistler Village. They’re home to an original Banksy, which makes it worth the walk!
- Spend some time chatting with a Village Host. These volunteers know where all the deals are in town and have great recommendations.
- Learn about Whistler’s origins and local legends at the Whistler Museum. It’s super interesting and entry is by donation.
- Leave the Village and head north to discover the peace and serenity of Lost Lake. It’s walking distance from the Stroll but feels worlds apart.
- Get ice cream from Cow’s Parlour. It’s pretty cliché but absolutely worth it.
- Catch après at the Mallard Lounge. They often host live acoustic performances on their patio with fire pits and free hot chocolate. Bliss.
Learn To Ski Or Snowboard At The Best Resort On The Planet
Now, we know the point of this piece was to help those that don’t ski, but we feel like you’re missing out on something pretty special. Which is why we’re going to recommend a ski or snowboard lesson.
Now, hear us out. If you’re going to ever learn how to ski or snowboard, it should be at a world-class resort, right? Whistler Blackcomb is the ideal place to begin sliding and here’s why:
- A Dedicated Learning Area
The Olympic Zone on Whistler Mountain is easily accessible by Gondola. It provides a large, dedicated to begin your skiing or snowboarding experience. The beginner slopes are very approachable and linked perfectly by a series of magic carpets (conveyor belt-like lifts).
- Achievable Progression
It’s easy to advance your skills to the next level with a dedicated learner chairlift included in the Olympic Zone. It means there’s no queues of people hovering around, which can be daunting at the best of times. You’re free to take your time and learn at your own pace. Moving forward, with 8,171 acres of skiable terrain accessed by 17 lifts there’s plenty of space to get to hone your newfound talents.
- World-class Instructors
Whistler Blackcomb is home to fantastic snow sports teachers. Lessons can be booked in advance and packages exist to save you money on rentals and lift tickets. You may choose a private lesson or decide to be grouped up with skiers/snowboarders of a similar ability. Expect expert tuition and advice to progress your skills.
So there you have some Whistler Village activities to inspire you. If skiing or snowboarding still isn’t your thing, rest assured that you won’t feel out of place visiting Whistler, BC.
We hope that you’ll agree that there’s an activity for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a low-key, relaxing vibe, or a full-throttle adventure, Whistler has it all.