4 Seasons in 1 Day | Whistler in the Low Season
“Spring adds new life and new beauty to all that is.”
— Jessica Harrelson
What if there was a place where you could carve your way down pristine, snow-covered slopes in the morning followed by a ride through world-class mountain bike trails in the afternoon?
There’s a place where you can do all of the above and so much more… Welcome to Whistler in the spring.
Often referred to as the ‘Whistler slow season’, you’ll be thrilled to hear that even during the quieter spring months, the adventure never stops in this unique part of the world.
As the weather warms and the days get longer, the lingering daylight means that there’s even more time for outdoor fun (and more open activities). And trust us, there’s so much you can do in Whistler in the spring, you’re going to need those extra daylight hours just to fit it all in.
To make sure you make the most of this unique time of year, we’ve compiled a list of must-do activities for an action-packed ‘not-so-slow’ season in Whistler this spring.
What to Expect in Spring – Weather:
Spring — it’s the season where winter and summer converge. And when it comes to the springtime in Whistler, expect a taste of all four seasons.
The spring temperatures in Whistler can range from about 0 °C to 16°C on average, however, temperatures have been known to dip below zero and into the high twenties between the months of April to May.
The takeaway? Come prepared for rain or shine.
Pack your heavier jacket and beanie along with lighter active clothing just in case the temperatures rise. And of course, always pack a rain jacket. After all there aren’t many places you can experience four seasons in one day!
What to Expect in Spring | What’s Open
Although there’s no shortage of things to do during the Whistler slow season, you may find that a handful of Whistler attractions will change their spring hours of operation as they amp up for the busy summer season.
Here’s a quick breakdown of opening and closing dates for some of Whistler’s main attractions:
- PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola:
- Closes April 22, 2019
- Re-opens on May 25, 2019, for summer sightseeing
- Blackcomb Mountain
- Closes April 23, 2019
- Reopens for the 2019/20 winter ski season in November
- Whistler Mountain
- Closes May 27, 2019
- Reopens for the 2019/20 winter ski season in November
- The Whistler Mountain Bike Park
- Opens for the 2019 season on May 20, 2019
What You Need to Know: Spring Skiing in Whistler
If you haven’t tried spring skiing in Whistler then this is one activity you’ll have to add to your bucket list.
With an average annual snowfall of over 10 metres, Whistler has a solid snow base that’s guaranteed to stick around long after spring has sprung.
Although Blackcomb Mountain’s ski and snowboard season come to a close on April 23, Whistler Mountain remains open for snow-enthusiasts until May 27. You can catch a lift up the mountain via the Whistler Village Gondola or the Creekside Gondola. From Apr 23 – May 27, the lifts open from 10 AM to 4 PM — that means six blissful hours to carve your way through the last snow of the season.
Even though you’ll likely be leaving the epic winter powder days behind you, you’ll still be able to squeeze in a few more ‘pow’ days in March before the spring temperatures begin to rise.
Spring skiing in Whistler during April and May means you’ll be basking in the glory of blue skies and sunshine as you work on your goggle tan. Added bonus to spring skiing? You can often ditch the heavy winter jacket for a lighter one (or even go sans-jacket on the days where the thermometer hits the higher teens and beyond).
Insider Tips for Spring Skiing in Whistler
Here are a few tips to ensure our spring skiing/snowboarding adventure is a success:
- Check the Live Lift Status or speak to the mountain staff for updates. Lifts are subject to weather and can sometimes close without notice.
- Take advantage of reduced lift ticket rates by purchasing Epic 10 Day Tickets for skiing Whistler between April 23 and May 27
- Make sure you’re equipment is up to scratch. Milder weather can mean icier and/or slushier slope conditions, so give your board and skis get a good sharpen and wax before you head out. If you’re a skier, opt for wider skies as they tend to perform better in the slushy-stuff.
- Slap on the sunscreen. A slight goggle tan is ‘charming’, but nursing an unexpected burn is painful and uncomfortable – so lather on that SPF.
- Choose darker goggle lens or sunglasses. The snow can reflect more than 80% of the sun’s UV rays which in some cases can cause snow blindness, particularly in the sunnier spring months. The darker the lens the better for eye protection.
- Dress in layers. Mountain conditions can change in the blink of an eye especially as the elevation increases. Wear something that allows you to add or shed layers as the temperatures rise and fall.
- Give yourself a moment to ‘take it all in’. Spring skiing in Whistler offers an abundance of clear skies and bluebird days and the views at the top are ‘hashtag breathtaking’. Snap a pic or take a few minutes to simply stop and to take in the natural beauty all around you.
What You Need to Know: Early Season Mountain Biking In Whistler
As Whistler’s ski season winds down, mountain biking in Whistler is just ramping up.
The Whistler Mountain Bike Park opens on May 17 and remains open until mid-October. The lift hours of operation in spring are as follows:
- Fitzsimmons Zone – Access via Fitzsimmons Express – Open from 10 AM – 8 PM
- Fitzsimmons Zone – Access via Whistler Village Gondola- Open from 10 AM – 5 PM
The Whistler Bike Park is arguably one of the top lift-accessible bike parks in the world and offers something for every level. With over 70 expertly-designed trails that range from beginner (green), intermediate (green), to advanced (black and double black) there’s no shortage of areas to explore on two wheels.
Just like the spring skiing and snowboarding, mountain bike riding conditions in spring can be just as unpredictable (we’re still talking four seasons in one day). So in addition to protective gear, make sure you come prepared to dress for both warm and cool temperatures.
As you ride up to higher elevations, there may still be patches of snow, as well as plenty of full creeks carrying heavy water runoff from the melting snow at higher altitudes. Spring mountain biking can (and will) get muddy, so prepared to get dirty (which is actually all part of the fun).
What to bring:
- Active clothing
- Full-finger gloves
- Water bottle
- Protective gear (helmet, knee pads, armour, etc.). If you don’t have your own, you can rent gear at a number of venues in Whistler Village.
What to Do in Whistler in the Spring
Spring skiing, snowboarding, and mountain-biking might be at the top of your Whistler activity list – but the fun doesn’t end there.
If you’re wondering what else you can do in Whistler in the spring, here are more ideas that will guarantee your visit to Whistler your most memorable experience yet.
Whistler RZR tours
Buckle your seatbelts because Whistler’s RZR tours are sure to have you bouncing and smiling your way over creeks, rocks, and dirt as you reach new heights and take in breathtaking views. As you twist and turn your way through lush West Coast rainforest, you might even catch a glimpse of the local wildlife like as you zoom by!
Tip: Bring a change of clothing. Spring RZR tours can get muddy, especially during the springtime. Plus, you’ll want to swap the dirty clothes for some clean ones when heading to one Whistler’s many sunny patios for a post-RZR tour beverage or two 😉
Bear watching in Whistler
Speaking of wildlife, the coastal mountains of the Whistler region are home to a huge variety of animals including deer, black bears, and eagles (just to name a few).
Although you don’t want to get too close to some of these creatures, viewing them in their natural habitat (from a distance) is a magical experience. Spring is the peak season for bear watching in Whistler. In fact, in early May to August, you have about an 80% to 95% chance of seeing a black bear as they will be wandering the forest for food after waking from their long winter nap.
Tip: Remember – “A fed bear is a dead bear”. Coming across wildlife is a gift and a privilege. Please admire them from a distance. Take as many photos as you like, but never feed or abruptly approach a bear, even if they appear friendly.
Hiking in Whistler
A spring trip to Whistler isn’t complete without a trip into the heart of Whistler’s wilderness. Whistler offers a wide range of hikes for every type of explorer – whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or a heart-pumping trek.
Spring is a unique and enchanting time to take a walk in the woods. As winter sheds its skin, the sights and sounds of spring emerge taking on the sound of singing birds, the scent of blossoming flowers, and glimpses of snow-capped mountains on the horizon.
Tip: Before you head out on a hike, check trail updates and weather conditions first. Snow lines can vary in the spring so it’s generally best to stick to lower altitudes when it comes to hikes in April and May. Either that or come prepared to wear your crampons or even snowshoes in you plan on heading to the higher altitudes.
Whistler Whitewater rafting
British Columbia experiences some of the more milder winters in Canada, which means you don’t have to wait until June for the lakes to defrost. Most rivers and lakes remain free of ice and snow for most of the winter – which means when spring hits, it’s fair game for water activities.
If you’re looking for a more adrenaline-inducing water-adventure, then Whitewater rafting might be your answer. You can paddle your way through pristine waters on Class 1 to Class 4 rapids while taking in the stunning scenery all around you.
Tip: Bring the whole family! The rafts fit up to six people so bring along the whole crew for a day of fun. Note however that all participants have to be at least 7 years of age, so plan accordingly
Golfing in Whistler
Whitewater rafting not quite your thing? You can choose to trade in your paddle for a set of golf-clubs instead.
The Whistler region boasts some of the world’s top golf courses including the Nicklaus North Golf Course, Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Club and the Whistler Golf Club. Most of the courses open early May, so might need a few extra days in Whistler to check them all off of your spring activities list. Explore Whistler’s green’s with us!
Tip: Most golf courses offer lower rates on green fees during the low/opening season. Spring is the perfect time to take advantage of these offers. Keep an eye on the course websites for more upcoming spring promotions.
If you were wondering what to do in Whistler in the spring, we hope we’ve answered your question. From skiing, to mountain biking, to whitewater rafting – and beyond, there’s an activity for every type of visitor to enjoy.