Miss the 2010 Whistler Olympics? Experience the Whistler Olympic Park
Ten years too late to experience the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Whistler? Not to worry – there’s still tons of Olympic opportunities to be had at the Whistler Olympic Park.
Thanks to the Olympics, this extraordinary park has been left to the town of Whistler for both locals and visitors to enjoy in the summer and winter. Come see why the Whistler Olympic Park may just be the best experience you had during your trip to Whistler British Columbia.
History of the Whistler Olympic Park
The Whistler Olympic Park was the location for Nordic sports during the 2010 Winter Olympics and hosted biathlon, cross-country skiing, nordic combined, and ski jumping events. Over $119 million dollars was spent on the facilities in the Callaghan Valley which couldn’t have been done without the Olympics.
Today, the Whistler Olympic Park is operated by Whistler 2010 Sport Legacies – a non-profit organization that honours the spirit of sport from the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. All proceeds from the park’s offerings go to support Nordic athletes and growing the sport.
How to Get to Whistler Olympic Park
The Whistler Olympic Park is located outside of Whistler Village in the Callaghan Valley which is beyond walking distance and public transit routes. The only way to get to the park is by driving yourself, hiring a taxi, or taking the shuttle.
From the main Whistler Village, drive south on Highway 99 towards Vancouver. After fifteen to twenty minutes (or fifteen kilometres), turn right onto Callaghan Road.
From there, it’s another twelve kilometres to your destination at the Whistler Olympic Park. There will be a large red sign stating ‘Ski Callaghan’ but you will want to continue straight towards the Whistler Olympic Park. You will reach a toll booth where you will pay for your day pass and continue to the large free parking lots.
During snowfall, Callaghan Road is paved often but as with driving along the Sea to Sky Highway, winter tires are required from October 1 to March 31.
From December 6 to March 29, Whistler Olympic Park offers a shuttle from Whistler Village or Creekside to the park. There is only one shuttle per day which departs Whistler Village at 9:30 AM (Creekside at 9:45 AM) and arrives at Whistler Olympic Park at 10:15 AM.
The return shuttle back to Whistler Village and Creekside departs at 2:15 PM. Bookings are required for the shuttle and can be made by phone or email to Whistler Olympic Park.
The cost for the shuttle is $10/person or a family (two adults and two youth) is $20 total. Packages can also be purchased for a self-guided adventure which includes a day pass for the park, rentals (cross-country ski or snowshoe), and shuttle starting from $35/person.
There is also the option for lessons and tour packages that include a guided tour or lesson, rentals, and shuttle starting from $65/person. Taking the shuttle is a great option if you’re not feeling confident driving in the snow or if you’re without a car during your trip to Whistler.
You really don’t need a car when you’re in Whistler and with the shuttle, you can get out to the Whistler Olympic Park quickly and easily.
It may seem like a long day, but arriving at 10:15 AM and departing at 2:15 PM leaves lots of time to explore the trails, warm up in the day lodge with lunch and a beverage, time to burn off your lunch, then head for the shuttle.
All the Whistler Olympic Park Essentials
Whistler locals love to get out to the Whistler Olympic Park to take a break from the crowds on the mountain and enjoy a bit of solace and exercise in the Callaghan Valley. It’s less busy during weekdays but is still very quiet on weekends. With ninety kilometres of scenic cross-country trails and forty kilometres of marked snowshoe trails, it’s easy to break away and find your own area of peace and quiet.
What are the Hours (Year Round) at the Whistler Olympic Park?
Summer Hours: June 28 to September 1 the park is open seven days a week from 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM.
Winter Hours: November 22 to April 5 the park is open on weekdays from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM, weekends from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM, and Wednesdays (mid-winter) from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM.
Tickets at the Whistler Olympic Park
For cross-country skiing, the rate for adults (aged 19-64) is $28.50 for the day. For youth (aged 7-18) it is $15.75 and children aged six and under are free. Seniors (aged 65+) pay $28.50 on weekends and $14 on weekdays. This rate does not include rentals.
For snowshoeing, the rate for adults (aged 19-64) is $16.50 for the day. For youth (aged 7-18) it is $8.75 and children aged six and under are free. Seniors (aged 65+) pay $16.50 on weekends and $10 on weekdays. This rate does not include rentals.
For general park access (includes tobogganing, sightseeing; no skiing or snowshoeing) the rate is $10 for the first adult (aged 19-64) and for any extra person in the vehicle aged 7+ it is $5/person. Children aged six and under are free.
Tickets for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing can be purchased online on Whistler Olympic Park’s website whereas general park access can only be purchased at the gate only (no online purchase available).
Whistler Olympic Park Rentals
The rental shop in the Day Lodge at the Whistler Olympic Park has everything you need for a great day exploring, whether it’s classic or skate skis, snowshoes, or chariots for the little ones. They also rent toboggans and helmets. They rent Rossignol skis and Atlas snowshoes, and also offer tune-ups and waxing services.
- Cross-country ski rentals include skis, boots, and poles and cost $31 for adults (aged 19+), $20 for seniors (aged 65+), $18 for youth (aged 7-18), and $10 for children aged six and under.
- Snowshoe rentals include snowshoes only and cost $16 for adults (aged 19+), $10 for seniors (aged 65+), $14 for youth (aged 7-18), and $10 for children aged six and under.
- Chariot child carriers (for cross-country skiing) cost $17 for a two-hour rental. This is only recommended for experienced cross-country skiers. For those with little ones, consider snowshoeing and bringing along a child carrier or backpack (can be rented in Whistler through Baby’s on the Go).
- Toboggans and helmets are free with a credit card deposit, though there is limited availability.
On Site Amenities
The Day Lodge is located up the stairs from the main parking lot and has everything you’ll need before, during, and after your visit to the Whistler Olympic Park. It contains Guest Services, the Rental Shop, Retail Shop, a fully licensed cafe, an outdoor deck with heaters, an outdoor bonfire area (s’mores can be purchased at the cafe), washrooms, change rooms, lockers, showers, a microwave, and ski patrol.
The cafe is operated by Whistler Cooks – a catering company that also runs the Whistler Village restaurant, Hunter Gather. They are open daily during the season and create delicious food. The menu includes locally-inspired meals, drinks, and warming treats perfect for fueling up after a day in the park. They also cater to gluten-free and vegan diets.
Things to do at the Whistler Olympic Park in Winter
The Whistler Olympic Park opens for the winter season at the beginning of December and ends at the end of March. These dates are subject to conditions and may be open later in the year if the snow sticks around or vice versa if summer wants to arrive early.
There is a lot to do at the Whistler Olympic Park in the winter that you may need to come back several times during your visit to Whistler to experience it all!
- Cross-country skiing
Whether if it is your first time or if you are an avid skier, the Whistler Olympic Park is a great place to learn or hone your skills on trails used by Olympians! As the 2010 Winter Olympic nordic venue, you will be following in Olympian’s ski tracks as you explore close to ninety kilometres of well-marked trails ranging from green (easy), blue (intermediate), and black (advanced).
Explore trails through old-growth forests and meadows, or work your way to different viewpoints of the surrounding mountain ranges. Cross-country skiing is an easy sport to learn for all ages and fitness levels and rentals are available for all sizes from toddler to adult.
Lessons are also available for the two disciplines of cross-country skiing – classic and skate skiing. The difference between the two is that classic you’re in the carved out tracks in the snow whereas skate skiing is where you ski outside of the tracks.
Lessons are a great way to learn the techniques before taking off on the trails by yourself. Introductory lessons are one and a half hours long and teach the fundamentals of cross-country skiing and are offered on the weekends only. There is also the option for private or group lessons at the Whistler Olympic Park that are available for both children and adults.
Bringing your pooch along for the ride? Whistler Olympic Park also has thirty-kilometres of dog-friendly trails so that you can both get exercise while skiing. The cost to bring your dog is $6/dog and passes can be purchased at the gate. There is a special parking lot for those with dogs which is just before the Day Lodge (a sign points to ‘Dog Parking’) and other than in the parking lot, dogs can be let off leash though must stay under control.
Shooting guns and skiing fast – is there any other sports this unusual and cool? The Whistler Olympic Park is the perfect place to try your aim at the sport of biathlon. Booking a lesson is required to get your hands on a rifle and shoot in the Olympic range.
The thirty-minute lesson takes place at the range only (no skiing portion) and runs on weekdays, weekends, and holidays. So long as you’re aged ten plus, biathlon is open to all abilities and might be Whistler’s most unique experience.
- Olympic Sightseeing
Witness the Whistler Olympic Park’s history and legacy from the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games! More than one-third of the Olympic medals were awarded at the Whistler Olympic Park, making it an extremely important venue for Nordic sports along with ski jumping.
Check out the giant ski jumps and imagine skiers launching off the massive structures into oblivion. Read interpretive signage at the cross-country and biathlon stadiums and of course, see the notorious Olympic rings in all their glory. New this season, head to the Day Lodge and explore the Whistler Olympic Park exhibit to get a close look at memorabilia such as the Olympic torch, bibs, podiums, biathlon rifles, and more.
If you can walk, you can snowshoe! It’s a refreshing, low-impact activity that all ages and abilities can enjoy – from toddlers to seniors, snowshoeing is a great introduction to winter. The Whistler Olympic Park has more than forty-kilometres of marked trails, almost twenty of which are dog-friendly, that weave you through old-growth forests, mountain vistas, and Olympic monuments.
Two-hour long tours are also available if you wish to learn more about the park’s sports, legacy, natural history, and enjoy numerous photo opportunities of Olympic monuments and scenery. Tours run daily at 10:30 AM from the Day Lodge and are for ages eight and up with no experience necessary.
The whole family will love tobogganing on the Whistler Olympic Park’s dedicated sledding hill. Bring your own saucers, carpets, or toboggans or borrow from the park for free. Rentals and access to the tobogganing hill are free with admission to the park, and the slope features multiple lanes varying in steepness. Afterwards, enjoy a cup of hot cocoa in the Day Lodge or purchase a smores pack to toast marshmallows on the outdoor bonfire.
Things to do at the Whistler Olympic Park in Summer
The fun at the Whistler Olympic Park doesn’t end in the winter – it’s now open in the summer for visitors to experience a variety of activities! From June to early September, guests can go hiking, e-biking, shoot a rifle in the biathlon range, sightsee, play disc golf, or go on a bear viewing tour.
- Biathlon Tour
From June to September, feel like an Olympian with a hands-on introduction to the sport of biathlon! Tours are offered daily at 10:30 AM, 1:00 PM, and 2:30 PM for ninety-minutes of adrenaline-pumping fun.
Learn about the Whistler Olympic Park’s sports and history, stop at photo-worthy Olympic monuments, and of course fire a twenty-two calibre rifle. No experience is necessary for this tour, and the cost for adults is $55/person and youth (aged 8-18) is $40/person.
Summer hiking at the Whistler Olympic Park is available from the end of June to September with many different options to get your blood pumping. Try the “Ski Jump Scramble” by hiking up the Olympic ski jump from the bottom to the top, or take a meandering stroll on the “Top of the World” trail.
- Bear Viewing
Bears thrive in the Whistler Olympic Park and many call the park home during the summer. If you see a bear during your trip, give it lots of space (think the length of a football field), walk away slowly and consider taking another route. Whatever you do, do not approach to take a photo or feed it!
For those looking to learn more about bears, Whistler Photo Safaris offers Jeep tours in the Whistler Olympic Park and will pick you up from your hotel in Whistler Village and take you on a bear viewing tour in the park. Bookings must be made before you get to the park.
Cover more ground on an electric bike (e-bike) by renting or going on a tour in the Whistler Olympic Park. These comfortable electric-assist bikes have wide tires for traction, suspension for a smooth ride, and an electric motor that will boost you up the hills with ease. Rentals are in two hour increments and cost $50/person. You can also opt to do an E-Bike & Biathlon Tour at the Whistler Olympic Park that will have you exploring trails on bikes and shooting guns – is there anything more fun? The tour cost is $95/person and includes e-bike rental, helmet, guide, and twenty shots at the biathlon range.
- Disc Golf
Weave through the forest and on ski trails to sink the perfect shot during a game of disc golf. The goal is to get your disc into the basket in the least amount of throws. Discs can be rented through the Whistler Olympic Park or bring your own, and enjoy hanging out in the outdoors with friends and family during a friendly match.
The course opens at the end of June to early September and access is free with your park access fee. Disc rentals are $5/disc or $15/family.
All Year Long, There is Always an Adventure at the Whistler Olympic Park
There’s a little something for everyone at the Whistler Olympic Park – would you choose to spend the day snowshoeing amongst giant trees or flying down the tracks on cross-country skis? Or perhaps hanging out next to the bonfire drinking hot chocolate is more your speed as you wait for the kids to finish tobogganing. Whatever you decide, come experience a truly Canadian outing during your trip to Whistler on a trip out to the Whistler Olympic Park in the Callaghan Valley.