5 Days in Whistler
Spring getaway? You can do it all in Whistler. It’s a place where, thanks to the temperate West Coast climate, you can famously ski in the morning and golf in the afternoon. Here’s your five-day itinerary for the best of the best in this mountain getaway.
Day 1 - Ski and snowboard
For fans of downhill and riding, this is it. Whistler Blackcomb is North America’s largest ski resort, with two mountains connected by the record-setting PEAK2PEAK gondola — the longest and highest in the world. You’ll want to spend at least a day or two covering Whistler’s mile of vertical over 8,100 acres. In addition to alpine and snowboarding, there’s backcountry, heli, cat, and Nordic skiing. Squeeze the very most out of your day with the Fresh Tracks deal (December to April). Basically, you ride the gondola up early (7:15 to 8 am), power down a buffet breakfast at the Roundhouse Lodge, then hit the untracked slopes an hour before nearly everyone else. You’ll beat the crowds and be treated to the 360-degree view lit up by the pastel sunrise.
Day 2 – Get into arts and culture
First, browse the Village art galleries, then stop in for an elegant lunch or cocktail to see the art and objects in the lobbies of the Fairmont Chateau Whistler and Four Seasons Resort Whistler. If you want to delve even deeper, join a Whistler public art tour. After that, there are two other must-sees. One is the Audain Art Museum, opened in 2016 as a philanthropic gift to BC. The building itself is noteworthy, a $30 million, 56,000-square-foot structure of angular modern lines, wood, metal, and glass, melding with the forest setting. Inside is a private collection of 200 pieces of BC art spanning the 18th to 21st century, noted for First Nations art and Emily Carr works.
The second is the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, celebrating the area’s First Nations people, history, and culture in an interactive format. The dramatic contemporary great hall with its high ceiling and glass, is spacious and bright, attractively spotlighting First Nations masks, hand-hewn cedar canoes, traditional garb, and towering totem poles. There are drumming and singing demos, crafts workshops, outdoor exhibits, and a cafe showcasing indigenous fare. Outside is a traditional longhouse. Take an engaging guided tour, offered free every hour.
Day 3 – Ski + R&R
You’ll want at least one more day on the slopes, and if you like being in the middle of the action, consider visiting during April’s Telus World Ski & Snowboard Festival to watch a few competitions and get into the scene. After a day of going hard, pause to refuel at one of five restaurants up top. Then pack it in early for an hour or two at mountainside Scandinave Spa Whistler. Soaking in the Nordic-style outdoor pools is the optimal conclusion to a high-energy day. Detox in the saunas and steam rooms, or just relax in a sun-filled atrium or in one of the al fresco lounging nooks warmed by outdoor fires.
Day 4 – Play outside
Not a skier? Whistler offers tons of snowy outdoor fun until late April like snowshoeing, snowmobiling, tubing, sliding, ice climbing, ice fishing, horse-drawn sleigh rides, dogsledding, and ice skating. Year round, you can zipline 7,000 feet above old-growth forest and river canyons — the 1.2-mile Sasquatch is the longest in North America at 1.2-miles — or in early spring go on a backcountry snowmobiling-ziplining adventure.
Beginning in May, golf at one of four championship courses and hike the many trails in the valley. Through late March, try the bobsleigh, skeleton or luge track at Whistler Sliding Centre, which reopens in July for summer sliding. This is the site of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games’ Whistler events and the world’s fastest ice track, reaching speeds of about 56 mph. Try your hand at shooting a .22-caliber biathlon rifle or take a self-guided tour.
Day 5 – Explore the Village
Car-free, European-style Whistler Village at the base of the mountains is lovely. The winding paved walkways are designed for people on foot, lined with manicured trees and flowerbeds, bridges and ponds, stylish boutiques, galleries, cafes, bars, and restaurants. There’s often a festival on and nearly always a free concert in the plaza or live music somewhere nearby. Spend a day in the Village shopping and eating out at one of 100 restaurants. Consider yourself a real foodie? Take a restaurant tour with Whistler Tasting Tours for a delicious overview of five top spots.
After dark, you’ll want to sample the famed nightlife. Favorite watering holes are rowdy Merlin’s Bar and Grill, the outdoor gas fire pit at Longhorn Saloon & Grill, and traditional Irish-style Dubh Linn Gate Irish Pub & Restaurant. Dance at Tommy Africa’s on Mondays; Buffalo Bills Bar & Grill on Wednesdays and Saturdays; Thursdays at Garfinkel’s; or Sundays at Moe Joe’s Nightclub. If you’re looking for a more relaxed evening, pull up a seat on the spacious patio at Brewhouse craft beer maker or by the crackling fire at sophisticated FireRock Lounge.
Plan your vacation at the Tourism Whistler website now.