With below-zero temperatures, blowing snow and shortened days, everyone needs a little pick-me-up in winter. Whistler, one of the world’s premier ski and snowboarding destinations, is just the spot. The town is practically made for the winter: nestled within the Coast Mountains, it has some of the best downhill skiing and snowboarding in the world, on top of incredible hikes, great places to skate, and pristine powder for snowshoeing. Of course, it’s not all about the outdoors, and when you’re ready to warm up, Whistler Village is renowned for its dining options, vibrant nightlife, incredible shopping and more. Here’s how to spend the winter months in Whistler.


Main Winter Activities in Whistler

Of course, the most well-known thing to do in Whistler is hit the slopes. Take a look at a detailed run-down of the runs below, and once you’ve planned your itinerary, save time for the apres by booking into a convenient, stylish, very cozy ski in ski out rental



Whistler and Blackcomb mountain – two side-by-side mountains in Whistler – make up Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort, the largest ski resort in North America. Between the two, the mountains have more than 200 marked runs, plus 3 glaciers and 16 alpine bowls. 

On Whistler Mountain, the runs are a 20-55-25 split of beginner, intermediate and advanced runs; On Blackcomb, the runs are split 20-50-30. Downhill skiers who love to cruise will enjoy the long, meandering runs, like Harmony Ridge, while those looking to enjoy some of the area’s fauna can take tree runs like Where’s Joe and the aptly named Watch Out.



While Whistler is best known for its downhill runs, there’s no shortage of cross-country ski action to be had. There are more than 30 kilometres of Nordic ski trails to explore, including runs at Whistler Olympic Park in Callaghan Valley, which hosted cross-country events during the 2010 Games. The surrounding Callaghan Country or nearby Lost Lake Park in Whistler Village also provide great opportunities to ski. 



The incredible terrain and stunning landscapes of Whistler make the region bucket list-worthy for its backcountry skiing. Via Garibaldi Provincial Park, backcountry adventurers will find no shortage of thrill on the powder. Access is often limited, though, and backcountry tickets must be booked. 


Heli ski

Looking for a real skill? Book a heli ski adventure. Taking a helicopter will unlock an additional 432,000 acres of big mountain terrain, including 173 glaciers and 475 runs.



In Whistler, where you can ski, you can snowboard. Strap in and head down one of the mountains’ amazing runs – or, if you’re a seasoned skier looking for something new, consider taking a snowboarding lesson and experiencing big mountain terrain in a whole new way! 

Discuss the primary attractions such as skiing and snowboarding on Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, detailing options for all skill levels and information on lessons. Incorporate other popular winter sports like cross-country skiing, providing insights into trails, difficulty levels, and ski-in/ski-out rental options.


Alternative Outdoor Activities in Whistler

Want to stay outside but ready to go beyond the slopes? There are plenty of great ways to enjoy the season. 



A great way to explore the beautiful forests of Whistler – and maybe do some animal tracking or birdwatching along the way – snowshoeing is family-friendly and easy: just strap on a pair of shoes and get going! Self-guided tours are available through the trail networks of Lost Lake Park and the Callaghan Valley, and guided tours can also be booked in advance.


Ice skating

Don’t stick to the rink: ice skating outdoors in Whistler is a quintessentially Canadian way to enjoy a few hours in town, no matter the weather. The outdoor rink in Whistler Olympic Plaza offers a beautiful place to skate for couples, families, or groups, nestled within the stunning Rocky Mountains. Outdoor skating is available on Whistler’s various lakes, but be sure to check conditions ahead of time.



Hop on board and take to the trails! Snowmobiling tours in Whistler are an amazing way to get a taste of high-octane adventure while also appreciating the area’s incredible forests, trails, and the surrounding mountains. Riders of all ages and skill levels can ride in Whistler, with many rentals and guided tours available.


Activities for Non-Skiers

If you’re into a more laid-back approach to wintertime activity, there are many options for you to enjoy in Whistler.

Hiking in Whistler



Zoom down the hill at Bubly Tube Park, where all you need to get a taste of big mountain adventure is to hold on tight! The Tube Park is suitable for all ages, and there’s no skill required to have some of the best fun of the season.


Sleigh rides

What could be more unforgettable than a leisurely sleigh ride through snow-dusted evergreens, nestled within the iconic Rocky Mountain Range? A postcard-perfect way to take in the scenery, sleigh rides are available on Blackcomb Mountain. You’ll know the horse-drawn carriages by the sound of jingle bells, all year round!



You may picture zip-lining as an activity done in tropical forests, but it’s just as fun – and maybe a little more adventurous! – in the Rocky Mountains of B.C. Bundle up and soar over old-growth forests and majestic creeks, with no experience required.



Whether you’re looking to work up a sweat or take a more leisurely trail walk amongst the pines and mountains, there’s a hiking trail for you in Whistler. Hiking trails can be accessed via the Whistler Village Gondola and Blackcomb Gondola, and hiking tours – from more gentle nature walks to intense backcountry hikes – can be booked in advance.


Gondola rides

You don’t need to be a skier to ride a gondola! Whistler’s iconic Peak 2 Peak gondola, which connects the Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, is a must-do when you’re in Whistler. The view is a once-in-a-lifetime look at some of the most stunning scenery in the world. It’s such an incredible view of the mountain peaks; you may want to do it more than once!


Indoor Relaxation and Culture

During your winter visit to Whistler, there will certainly be days when you want to step out of the cold and warm up with some indoor activities.

what to do in whistler winter

Take a spa day

Kick back, relax, and get pampered at one of Whistler’s many luxurious spas. Many of the area’s high-end hotels, like the Fairmont Whistler, have their own spas that can be booked even if you aren’t a hotel guest, and there are plenty of other options throughout the village, including the hot- and cold-plunge experience of Scandinave Spa Whistler. Book your visit and treatments in advance for a day of pampering that will have you feeling restored and rejuvenated.


Go shopping

Whistler Village has some of the best shopping in the province – if not the country. From well-known chain stores to independent boutiques and souvenir shops, you’ll want to set aside some time to peruse the options.


Check out a museum

There are a number of museums and cultural centres in Whistler that will help you better understand the area’s history. Start at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre to learn about the area’s Indigenous history and culture, and visit a full-sized outdoor longhouse. At the Whistler Museum and Archives, you’ll get the chance to learn how the town has developed into one of the world’s most premier ski destinations. Architecture and sustainability buffs will love a visit to Passive House at Lost Lake, which uses 93% less energy than a traditional home.


Take in some art

Audain Art Museum, built in 2016, is the latest addition to Whistler’s gallery scene, and it’s a must-visit. The Audain is home to a number of Indigenous carvings, as well as paintings from iconic Canadian artists, including Emily Carr, Jack Shadbold and E.J. Hughes. The museum itself, a modern, angular building, is a sight to see as well. Be sure to also pop into Adele Campbell Fine Art and the Whistler Contemporary Art Gallery to take a look at a rotating roster of exhibitions from contemporary Canadian artists. Whistler is also dotted with 55 pieces of public art found around the village and beyond!


Enjoy a meal

From satisfying breakfasts to memorable fine dining, Whistler is a foodie paradise. Start your day with a cup of coffee from one of the town’s incredible cafes, like Provisions, Bred or Forecast, and work up an appetite at one of the area’s dozens of stylish restaurants, bistros or gastropubs. There’s something for every taste, from savoury sushi to perfect pasta to elevated, experimental bites – and with new restaurants regularly opening in Whistler, there’s always something tasty just around the corner.


Special Events and Festivals

Beyond Whistler’s many permanent fixtures, the town also plays host to a number of markets, sporting events and festivals worth taking time off the slopes to check out.


Whistler Olympic Plaza

Whistler Olympic Plaza

There’s always something going down at Whistler Olympic Plaza, a stunning outdoor space built for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. From live performances to outdoor markets, the Plaza is a great place to gather.


Whistler Christmas Markets

Christmas markets are a great way to check names off your holiday shopping list while at the same time supporting local makers, artisans and craftspeople. Around the holiday season, there are a number of Christmas markets that take place across Whistler, including the Creekside Village Christmas Market, Arts Whistler Holiday Market, and the Whistler Christmas Market, which is held at the Audain Art Museum. Dates for these markets for 2024 are yet to be announced.


Whistler Film Festival

Since 2001, this film fest, which takes place in the first week of December, has screened films for all tastes, from future Oscar nominees (last year’s roster included Oppenheimer, Maestro and American Fiction, among other titles) and movies from local talent.


Wintersphere Whistler

This annual celebration sees the Whistler Conference Centre turned into a festive extravaganza, with something to see, do – and buy – for visitors of all ages. Kids can check out the bouncy castle or visit with Santa, while parents and adult visitors will enjoy live music and snacks from the on-site cafe.


Fire And Ice Whistler

There’s skiing, and then there’s skiing through a flaming hoop. Fire and Ice is an awe-inspiring spectacle featuring incredible stunts on skis, fire-spinning and a world-class fireworks display, plus Indigenous hoop-dancing, delicious food and drink, and more.


Whistler pride and ski festival

Show your pride on the slopes! In January, the Whistler Pride and Ski Festival is one of the largest queer-focused ski events in the world. The event, which was founded in 1992, now features youth-focused events, drag parties and – of course – a slalom parade!


World Ski and Snowboard Festival

Whistler’s reputation as a world-class destination for ski culture gets a weeklong celebration at this festival, on since 1996. At the World Ski and Snowboard Festival, alpine aficionados will find everything from seminars to ski-focused yoga to film screenings and parties. And, of course, the highlight: the events, from races to ski jumps and more!


Making Your Stay Cozier

Best time to visit

If you’re visiting Whistler in the winter, it’s best to schedule your visit between December and March. That way, if you’re hitting the slopes, you’ll have a high likelihood of good snow cover – plus, most of the town’s great winter activities happen during this time!


Where to stay

Choose your accommodations based on what you plan to do when you’re in town. If your trip will involve more skiing and snowboarding than sightseeing, pick a hotel, condo, cabin or townhouse that’s near the mountains – there are many that offer ski-in-ski-out access. If your visit will revolve around sightseeing, spas, arts and culture and events, you may wish to stay closer to the village. Where to stay is largely dependent on your itinerary – but if that changes when you’re in town, Whistler’s small size means you’re never too far from the fun. Check out a list of Whistler rentals to find the right one for you.


How to get there

While there is no airport in Whistler, the town is very close to Vancouver International Airport. It is then easy to book a transfer via shuttle bus, taxi or rideshare, or to pick up a rental car and drive the roughly 130 kilometres (about 90 minutes) from Vancouver to Whistler.


How to get around

No car? No problem. Whistler is served by the Whistler Transit System, a public bus system that covers the village and surrounding areas, and will bring you to the slopes. Taxis and rideshare options are also available in Whistler, and since the village is so small, you may find it just as easy to walk from one spot to another. Be sure to download or pack a map to decide the best way around for you and your group.



Whistler’s beautiful ski slopes and incredible apres scene are what makes the area so well-known. But because of its popularity in the winter, Whistler has built up an incredible cold-weather scene, from festivals and hiking trails to Christmas markets and luxurious spas, that offer an unforgettable getaway in pristine, world-class surroundings. Book your visit today.

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