365 in Whistler | A Roundup of Epic Adventures
Ask a local, ‘when’s the best time to visit Whistler’ and you’ll hear a whole host of different answers. With four diverse seasons and so many options for adventure in each one, deciding when to book your vacation for can be an overwhelming decision!
We’ve outlined Whistler month-by-month to show you that there’s no definitive best time to head to Whistler. It just depends on what you’re looking for!
- If it’s peak skiing conditions that you’re after, come and stay between December and February.
- If you’re a fan of spring skiing, sunny patio beers and warmer weather March and April are your best bets.
- May and June are the perfect months to visit if you’re on a smaller budget, want to explore the great outdoors and like a quieter pace of life.
- The peak summer months of July and August promise hot, adventure-filled days.
- September is a hikers paradise, and October and November are beautiful months where the leaves turn golden orange, the village slows down and you can find deals galore all over the town!
January: Whistler Pride and Ski Festival
From January 26 to February 2, 2020, join us for the magnificent Whistler Pride and Ski Festival – one of North America’s largest and greatest gay and lesbian ski weeks. With comedy, pool parties, apres and events galore, the town takes on a whole new personality during the eight-day festival.
Don’t miss the annual pride ski parade! Starting at Whistler’s mid-station, watch as a colourful crowd of skiers and snowboarders descend the Olympic Run. The fancy-dress clad group, carrying a huge Pride Flag, then walks from the base of Whistler Mountain to the Olympic Rings at Whistler Olympic Plaza. Come join the party!
February: Winter Adventure
Even if you don’t ski or snowboard, Whistler is still a great winter holiday destination. There are lots of alternative ways to enjoy our winter wonderland! Head out on an enchanted snowshoe tour and tread through the old growth forests on Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. The Natural Mystic Tour (a 1.5 hour round trip) is perfect for first-time snowshoers, while on an intermediate Winter Wonderland Tour (a 2.5 hour round trip) you’ll upload the gondola and then descend all the way back down to the village by snowshoe.
If you’re searching for a winter adventure to give you an adrenaline rush, then snowmobiling is the one for you! The Adventure Group’s snowmobile tours range from their slow-paced Family Tour (where kids can even try riding their own mini-snowmobiles!) to their intense Trailblazer Tour, where you’ll be guided deep into the pristine backcountry.
March: Let It Snow!
If you think the ski season is nearly over in March you’d be wrong! Surprisingly we actually see a lot of snowfall during this month, and it’s not unusual to get great powder. Combine that with increased temperatures and sunny days and you’re onto a winner! And the fun doesn’t have to stop after a day on the mountain. Why not continue the winter adventure on a Blackcomb Sleigh Tour?
The 50-60 minute rides depart at 5 pm, 6 pm and 7 pm daily. For a cost of $69 ($40 for children aged three to 12) board the horse-drawn sleigh and ride up to a cosy cabin, where you’ll be offered a cup of delicious hot chocolate (with a splash of Bailey’s if you desire!). This is a great one if you’ve got youngsters in your party. The kids will love meeting and petting the horses!
April: The World Ski & Snowboard Festival
The World Ski & Snowboard Festival (WSSF) is a heady mix of arts, sports and culture. From April 10 to April 14, 2019, throw yourself into this five-day, high-energy extravaganza! Watch the nail-biting Saudan Couloir Race Extreme (the steepest ski race in the world!), listen to acclaimed musicians and DJs at the Outdoor Concert Series, and lose yourself in some epic films at the Swatch 72hr Filmmaker Showdown.
It’s a jam-packed schedule! April also represents the best of apres season. So after a day of sunny laps, head down to Longhorn Saloon & Grill, grab a beer and settle in for a night of entertainment on the open air stage.
May: We’re Going On A Bear Hunt
The month of May is one of Whistler’s best-kept secrets. It’s a month filled with excited anticipation. Summer is creeping in, the days are getting longer, wildflowers start to bloom and there are a few weeks where the village is a little quieter than usual as it gears down from the ski season and gets ready for the bikers to arrive. Although you can’t rely on glorious weather, if the last few years are anything to go by you’ll probably be blessed with some spectacularly hot days!
May is also one of our favourite months because it’s the time of year when our big furry friends wake up from hibernation and crawl out from their dens. Black bears! And to add to the magic, mother bears will often be accompanied by their tiny cubs! Head out on a bear tour with a knowledgeable local guide and keep your eyes open for our wild foragers. May is a great time to go in search of bears because lots of them are down in the valley looking for food.
June: Bike In The AM, Lake In The PM
Still wondering when’s the best time to visit Whistler? Whistler is a pretty unique place, where you can be riding in a world-class bike park for a few hours at the start of the day and then pedal straight to a stunning lake to cool off at the end of it, and June is a great month to hit this combination up. If you don’t fancy the technical runs in Whistler Bike Park, just hire bikes and explore the valley at a more leisurely pace! You’ve got more than 200 trails to choose from.
When it comes to lakes in Whistler, you’ve got heaps of choice. There are five main lakes in the valley – Lost Lake, Alta Lake, Alpha Lake, Nita Lake and Green Lake, and they all have something different to offer. Our personal favourite is Alta Lake. Cycle round to Wayside Park, where you can rent a stand-up paddleboard, kayak or canoe.
Don’t forget that Father’s Day also falls in June. If you’re thinking of heading to Whistler for the weekend, check out our guide for our top recommendations on how to treat your Dad!
July: Activities Galore
July is peak summer and during this month the list of activities to choose from is endless. The Adventure Group runs out of Cougar Mountain and from their base camp you can participate in a number of exhilarating activities. Ziplining is one of our personal favourites. On their tandem lines, you’ll zoom down four ziplines which are sure to make your heart race. This is a great one for the whole family – the kids in your crew just need to be seven years old and weigh at least 60 pounds (the maximum weight limit is 250 pounds).
If ziplining has given you an appetite for more thrills, check out RZR tours. Run out of the same base camp as ziplining, you can go straight from one adventure, onto the other. The two-seater or four-seater off-road vehicles speed through even the sketchiest of terrain. You’ll follow a guide deep into the backcountry and tear through the beautiful unused logging roads on Cougar Mountain. Hold on tight!
If you’re in Whistler at the beginning of August, you’ll notice that the village suddenly changes pace. There’s a shift in gear, as many bodies excitedly prepare for one of the biggest weeks in Whistler’s calendar. From August 9 to August 18 the world-famous festival, Crankworx, returns to Whistler. Crankworx is the biggest mountain bike festival in the world and over the course of nine days expect to see spectacular competition, epic events, and pro riders aplenty.
Red Bull Joyride is the crux of the festival, where some of the best riders on this planet compete through an immense course with colossal, man-made features. Be sure to get a viewing spot early because thousands of people pour out to view this event! Even better, book a room at the Pan Pacific Mountainside hotel and you’ll have the best view in the town.
September: A Hiker’s Haven
Although we begin to see rain in September, the start of the month usually boasts perfect conditions for hiking. The heat has subsided a little, there are less bothersome insects around and by this time of the year, the snow has melted even at those high elevations to reveal hiking trails that might have been inaccessible throughout most of the summer
If you’re up for a challenge, one spectacular hike that you can do in the area in September is Panorama Ridge. This 30km trek isn’t a stroll in the park, but once you reach the summit the panoramic views over Garibaldi Lake will make you instantly forget your aching legs. The landscape is spectacular and varies as you wander through it – from forests of Western Red Cedar and Douglas Fir trees to alpine meadows scattered with wildflowers. Do it all in one (very long and very tiring!) day, or make an overnight camping trip of it.
October: Killer Deals
Shoulder-season, as it is known by the locals, bridges the gap from the closure of the bike park to the opening of the ski hill. Although you can expect a lot of rainfall and damp, dreary days in the month of October, this time of the year is great for living the high life and dining at world-class restaurants that you might not usually be able to afford.
Most of the fanciest restaurants in town (Rimrock, Araxi, Bearfoot Bistro, Quattro to name just a couple) offer killer deals on their exquisite dishes. One of our favourites is Il Caminetto – last year they offered a four-course menu for just $36 during dead season. So be sure to take full advantage of these dining bargains!
November: Time to Relax
If you’re anything like the Whistler locals, you’ll be feeling pretty exhausted by November from a summer jam-packed with adventure. Before the winter season begins and the village once again becomes bustling with holiday-makers, take advantage of the tranquil pace of village life in November and rejuvenate at the Scandinave Spa. The rustic installations set back in the forest make this outdoor spa the ultimate relaxation haven.
For just $79 you can access the baths and stay for as long as you like. Reap the benefits of hydrotherapy by unwinding in the steam room, sauna or hot pools, plunging yourself into an icy cold pool, and finally reclining into a chair in one of the many solariums. Three or four hours of this hot-cold-relax cycle is recommended.
December: Whistler Film Festival
Although you can easily fill your days with winter sports during the cold months, evenings on those dark nights can be more dreary. What better way to spend a winter’s evening than by settling down to watch a great film! Whistler Film Festival returns this year from December 4 to December 8 for its 19th edition.
Choose from over 90 epic films, shown over five action-packed days in a number of locations around town, including Village 8 Cinemas, Whistler Conference Centre and the Maury Young Arts Centre. From shorts to feature-lengths, documentaries to comedies, you’ll be spoiled for choice. If you’re hoping to see the opening or closing night films be sure to book your tickets in advance. These are always a sell-out!
Best Time To Go To Whistler? It’s Totally Up To You!
So now you know, there’s no best time to visit Whistler. With a skiing season that lasts from late-November to the end of May and hot summers that you can enjoy from June to early September, it just depends on what you’re looking to do here. There are epic adventures, events and activities to do during all 12 months of the year, so you really can’t go wrong!