8 Things to Do in Whistler (Other Than Skiing)
Featured destinations: Whistler
Published 31 May 2017
Think Whistler is only for skiers? Think again! In fact, this beautiful mountain resort is open all year round for hiking, biking and scenery watching, and with plenty to do that doesn't involve going anywhere near a set of skis, it makes a lovely addition to any west coast Canada itinerary. Here are our top eight things to do there, other than skiing:
If you've never tried snowshoeing before, then why not? Suitable for all ages and abilities, this is basically walking with some rather large shoes strapped to your feet, stopping you from sinking into the snow. Whistler's trails are easy to follow, so you don't need a guide. Instead, take your time exploring the winter forests, spotting animals and birds as you go. This activity couldn't be easier; you can even take the dog!
This really should just say drinking, because the après ski in Whistler often involves beer and wine too. You are on holiday after all. That said, Whistler’s dining scene really is excellent, with a wide choice of restaurants, diverse menus made with fresh ingredients, and many dining rooms offering delightful mountains views too. With plenty of cafés here too, there’s always time for a steaming hot morning cappuccino. Mmm.
Whistler has no shortage of hiking trails, with paths ranging from short and flat to steep and challenging. Just like snowshoeing, routes are well marked, and you do not need a guide, just a good map and a sense of fun. Be sure to wear good walking boots, take lots of layers and plenty of water, and keep your eyes open for chipmunks. You could even take the Peak 2 Peak Gondola to Blackcomb to access even more trails. Wherever you go, the views are sure to be stupendous.
For snowmobiling you will need a guide, as this is a little more technical. But don’t worry, no experience is required as you take to the slopes and follow the pathways through the trees. Some snowmobile tours include a meal in a cosy fireside mountain lodge, or take place at night so you can zip about by moonlight, underneath a blanket of stars.
image credit: Sandinave Spa
There’s no shortage of spas in Whistler, with many of the more upmarket hotels, such as the Fairmont and the Four Seasons, having their own onsite. For something a little more magical, you could try the lovely Scandinave Spa, which features various steam baths, saunas and waterfalls, set in the heart of nature surrounded by peaceful forest. They offer a full range of treatments too, so if your legs are weary after all the hiking and snowshoeing, this is the place to come.
Believe it or not, there’s plenty of wildlife to be found in and around Whistler, from bears and deer to hares and birds. The smaller creatures can often be spotted as you walk or snowshoe through the forests, but you’d have to be incredibly lucky (or unlucky, depending on how you look at it) to see a bear. For your best chances, try one of Whistler’s bear viewing tours, which take you to the bears’ natural habitats by 4x4 and allow you to get pretty close. Just don’t forget your camera.
For a shot of adrenaline like no other, why not try zip-lining? You’ll be strapped into a harness and gloves, tied to a metal rope and off you go, sliding along across the valleys, flying like a bird. Zip-lining tours give you a great aerial view of Whistler’s forests and streams, and take place in both winter and summer. One zip line is 731m long and descends over 30 storeys – dare you try it?
Kayaking and canoeing
Canoeing and kayaking are great ways to explore Whistler’s lakes and rivers. Popular spots include the lovely Lake Garibaldi (pictured) and the wonderfully-named River of Golden Dreams, both of which offer superb mountain views. If you want to try something a little different, you can even try stand-up paddle boarding, although do be prepared to get wet.
Head to Whistler in summer or winter with Round the World Experts' Whistler Holidays.