Just a couple hours north of Vancouver is the beautiful town of Whistler, which is spectacularly located in the Coast Mountains. It is one of Canada’s premier year-round destinations as during the winter it offers some of the best skiing and snowboarding conditions in North America, while in the summer there’s lots of hiking trails and other activities to try.
You can book your flights to Vancouver to get to Whistler and if you’re planning on just staying a couple of days in the town we’ve recommended some of the best things you can see and do in the area.
Our suggested itinerary
Morning – Visit the Whistler Sport Legacies venues
Afternoon – Relax at the Scandinave Spa
Evening – Taste the local cuisine at the Grill and Vine
Morning – Enjoy a round of golf (summer) or hit the slopes (winter)
Afternoon – Learn about Whistler’s fascinating history
Evening – Toast a successful trip at one of Whistler’s top restaurants
Morning: Visit the Whistler Sport Legacies venues
Experience the thrilling feeling of staring down a target in the 2010 Winter Olympic biathlon range.
Great for all ages, groups, individuals (and couples with a competitive streak): https://t.co/sibfyKJRo6
— WhistlerOlympicPark (@whistlerolympic) March 3, 2018
Whistler Sport Legacies manage the three 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic venues that are based in the town; the Whistler Sliding Centre, the Whistler Olympic Park and the Whistler Athletes’ Centre.
Either in the winter or summer these three venues are a great place to come and visit. The Whistler Sliding Centre was the venue for bobsleigh, skeleton and luge, the Olympic Park was the venue for cross-country skiing, biathlon, Nordic Combined and Ski Jumping and the Athletes’ Centre was part of the Olympic Athletes Village.
Both the Olympic Park and the Sliding Centre offer winter Olympic sports for the general public throughout the season, which usually takes place from the end of November to early April. Both venues also offer lots of summer activities, making both year-round attractions.
The Olympic Park is located just 30 minutes south of Whistler village and offers more than 90 kilometres of cross-country ski trails (both for skate and classic skiing), the chance to try biathlon, snowshoeing, tobogganing as well as offering lessons for all levels. During the summer months, from 29 June to 2 September, there are also lots of attractions to visit in the Olympic Park.
A spokesperson for Whistler Sport Legacies, says, “Visit iconic Olympic landmarks, impressive First Nations art pieces and enjoy spectacular mountain vistas, old growth forests, lakes and waterfalls. Interpretive signs along the way give insights into the venue’s history as host of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, Nordic winter sports and the Callaghan Valley. Catch a glimpse of wildlife – Whistler Olympic Park is one of the most likely locations in the Sea to Sky Corridor to see bears! Try summer biathlon at the Olympic shooting range, or discover the park at your walking leisure on an Olympic sightseeing tour, rent an electric assist mountain bike to explore further, or embark on one of the featured hiking routes!”
The sliding centre is located above Whistler Village on Blackcomb Mountain and it is regarded as being the fastest ice track in the world. You can ride in a 4-person bobsleigh that’s steered by a trained pilot or can try riding solo on a skeleton sled head first. During the summer at the Whistler Sliding Centre you can try bobsleigh on wheels and 12-18 year-olds can slide free when accompanied by a paying adult.
The Olympic Village will give you an opportunity to look at where the athletes lived and prepared during the games. Tours offer a fascinating insight into the life of athletes at the pinnacle of their careers.
Afternoon: Relax at the Scandinave Spa
The Scandinave Spa in Whistler has been designed in the style of a typical Scandinavian spa and after an active morning, enjoying this unique hydrotherapy experience is the perfect way to kick back and relax.
The spa has combined an age-old thermal tradition of cutting-edge facilities, contemporary design and natural integrations.
At Scandinave Spa Whistler you can enjoy traditional Scandinavian baths in a peaceful and relaxed environment as the rustic spa is nestled on the edge of the Lost Lake Park in a cedar forest. Jen Girardi, sales and marketing manager at Scandinave Spa, says the spa is a haven for guests looking for a peaceful and relaxing break.
“We are constantly connected to technology these days from social media to work emails it is hard to truly disconnect. The Scandinave Spa provides a haven of peace and quiet where guests can lock away their devices to have a digital detox and embrace silence while experiencing the profound relaxation that hydrotherapy provides.”
Evening: Taste the local cuisine at the Grill and Vine
If you’re looking to enjoy the local cuisine during your stay in Whistler you should head to the upscale yet casual Grill and Vine restaurant. Its focus is on sustainable and locally-sourced produce and the restaurant offers an extensive collection of wines from Canada and the rest of the world.
The restaurant was launched in December 2013 and its Neapolitan-style pizzas and the finishing touches to specialty seafood and meats are cooked using their WoodStone oven by Vancouverite chef Bradley Cummings.
Talking about the dishes he’d recommend you try during your visit, Jeff O’Brien, the Food & Beverage Manager, says: “Most of our guests coming from overseas always want to try British Columbia Salmon, AAA Angus Prime Steaks, B.C. Sablefish or one of our thin crust pizzas. Our menus rotate seasonally and chef will put whatever is best at that time of year on the menu. One of our top selling dishes has been our Sakura Farms Pork Tomahawk, served with locally-crushed fingerling potatoes and seasonal garden vegetables with an apple glaze.
“We are always trying to source the best our area of the world has to offer. If we can’t find the top quality ingredients locally then we will source the best the world has to offer.”
The Grill and Vine is located at the base of the Whistler and Blackcomb mountains and diners can enjoy expansive views of Sproat Mountains from Whistler’s best patio.
Morning – Enjoy a round of golf or hit the slopes
During the summer months you should enjoy a round of golf, as Whistler is rated as Canada’s number one golf destination by Golf Digest. Even if you’re a beginner the views you will experience whilst playing will blow you away.
Golf Whistler says that there are four championship courses around the town and each one offers an unparalleled mountain golf experience. The Nicklaus North Golf Course was created by the great Jack Nicklaus and the par 71, 18-hole course is located along a valley floor that is home to a stunning emerald-coloured lake. The Whistler Golf Club is also created by another golfing great in Arnold Palmer and this 18-hole course is home to sprawling fairways that are surrounded by some stunning mountains.
The Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Course is famed for offering classic mountain golf and is carved into the side of the Blackcomb Mountain. It offers amazing views of the Whistler valley and with mountain ledges, lots of wildlife and waterfalls, you’d be forgiven for not fully concentrating on your golf!
The Big Sky Golf Club is 20 minutes north of Whistler, but the short drive is definitely worthwhile as the course is renowned for its magnificent setting at the foot of the snow-capped Mount Currie. The 18-hole course is challenging, with sand bunkers and lakes just some of the hazards to avoid.
In the winter it might be a bit too cold to play golf so instead you should go skiing at Whistler Blackcomb, one of the biggest and best ski resorts in the world. The twin peaks of the Whistler and Blackcomb mountains make the ski area a hugely popular destination and with the annual snowfall often more than 11m the ski conditions are great. Beginners will be able to attend the excellent ski school and there are lots of green runs making it perfect for beginners and families.
Talking about skiing in the winter Tourism Whistler, says, “Consistently ranked one of the best ski destinations in the world, the resort offers world-class winter vacations in a uniquely Canadian atmosphere. Whistler won the hearts of millions when it was the site of the alpine, Nordic, and sliding events for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
“Dependable yearly snowfall means Whistler enjoys one of the longest snow seasons in North America, with a record-breaking annual average of 11.7 meters or 38.4 feet of snow. Two side-by-side mountains spanned by the world record-breaking PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola give access to Whistler Blackcomb’s renowned alpine terrain: 16 alpine bowls, three glaciers, over 200 runs and 8171 acres of playground for all levels and abilities of skiers and snowboarders. Serious snow enthusiasts can access even more terrain by heli-skiing, cat-skiing and backcountry ski touring.”
Afternoon- Learn about Whistler’s fascinating history
The town has a fascinating history and at the Whistler Museum there are lots of stories from pioneers, to the creation of the Whistler Blackcomb ski resort, to the incredible 2010 Winter Olympic Games. There are lots of interactive exhibits and there are some great displays on Whistler’s wildlife, especially the most famous resident – the black bear.
Located in the heart of the town you can easily spend an afternoon here and look at artefacts from Whistler’s natural environment, ski racing history, hippie and squatter history and the different Winter Olympic bids.
Evening – Toast a successful trip at one of Whistler’s top restaurants
— The Mexican Corner (@MexicanCorner) February 11, 2018
The food scene at Whistler is well-known and to toast the end of your stay you should celebrate it with a delicious meal. The Beacon Pub and Eatery offers local beer and cuisine with the eatery proud of the fact it makes all its soups, sauces and burgers from scratch on a daily basis, using the best seasonal ingredients.
If you fancy a more international experience then the Mexican Corner Restaurant may be the best choice for you. The restaurant serves premier Mexican cuisine and it has been given a number of awards as a result of its dining experience.
There are the classic ceviche, quesadillas, enchiladas, and fajitas, tostadas, and tacos dishes on the menu as well as speciality dishes like the restaurants Pre-Hispanic Mixote, Chile en Nogada, Pork Belly and Scallops in Pipian.
If you’ve been tempted to visit this popular destination, then make sure you look at our different holidays to Whistler to book your trip.
Image Credit: C. Chomlack (Scandinave Spa), Tourism Whistler/Justa Jeskova.