Sparkling snow drifting through the air delivers the kind of cold chill you've been looking forward to all year long. With that first breath, you know you've arrived in Whistler, British Columbia. With the sight of snowcapped mountains, the excitement is hard to hold in. When fresh powder days lie ahead with cozy afternoons aside a fireplace, there's never been a better time to sojourn in a winter wonderland.
Whistler holds the kind of magic that makes British Columbia a truly special place. It feels wild, untouched, and intentional. All the while, everything one could ever want is at their fingertips. A bustling ski village that has shopping, bars, and restaurants alike, means that any time off the mountain will be well spent. Hotels are plenty, providing cozy retreats for the end of the day.
The beautiful blend of both the outdoors and indoors comes together in distinctive ways. In one breath you are walking along a trail thick with snow, then in another you're inside a design-forward tapas bar ordering world-class food. Coming down the slopes of North America's largest ski resort, you can spend the day exploring endless terrain. Afterwards, a soak in an expansive spa with views over trees.
It's all of this that makes Whistler both equally charming and exceptional. With winter here, take a look at what's on offer in this adventure guide to Whistler.
The Winter Adventure Guide to Whistler
Good to Know:
- Direct flights into YVR (Vancouver) are available out of many US cities, and Whistler is reachable by car or bus transfer from the airport. VIP Whistler offers luxury transfers and greets you in the arrivals hall at YVR and takes you door to door.
- Staying with a hotel that offers complimentary shuttles will save you from needing a car rental, and most activities are close in Whistler.
- Whistler Blackcomb is a two-peak mountain, and provides an opportunity to ski or snowboard for all ages and skill levels.
- It is cold and appropriate layers are needed.
- For all adventure destinations, I highly suggest travel insurance for international trips.
Where to Stay in Whistler
- Fairmont Chateau Whistler: Situated alongside the slopes of the mountain, the Fairmont Chateau Whistler is an ideal choice for those wanting to be in the heart of the action. Walking distance to most things, it's comfortable rooms and onsite amenities are suitable for all ages.
Read the full Fairmont Chateau Whistler Review.
- Nita Lake Lodge: Nestled alongside a lake, the Nita Lake Lodge is a peaceful retreat with mountain views. Around the corner from the Creekside Gondola, this boutique hotel is an intimate stay with many amenities available.
Read the full Nita Lake Lodge Review.
Where to Eat/Drink in Whistler
- Bar Oso: A favorite dining experience in Whistler, this modern Spanish-inspired spot is a sure hit in the village. Offering fresh tapas, a Gin-inspired menu, and craft cocktails makes Bar Oso a true gem.
- Araxi Restaurant & Bar: From the sea to land, local ingredients come together in a fine dining experience in a lively space.
- Portobello Deli & Cafe: Located in the lobby of the Fairmont, this eatery offers fresh food and to-go sandwiches for those look to grab something quick or slow.
- The Grill Room: The star of the show at the Fairmont, this fine dining restaurant delivers a service-driven experience. An extensive wine menu, creative starters, and game-driven entrees are staples of a dinner here.
- Christine's on Blackcomb: For those wanting to experience alpine views and enjoy incredible cuisine, look no further. Their winter menu features appetizers like fresh hamachi to burrata, and entrees like fried chicken and confit lamb shoulder.
- Rim Rock Cafe: Known for seafood, this quaint restaurant is set in a charming chalet. With a menu focusing on game, the options for either fresh seafood or local meat is plentiful.
- Function Junction: Head to this neighborhood to grab coffee at Camp Lifestyle + Coffee and a healthy meal at Green Moustache (also a location in the village.)
- Aura Restaurant: Located in the Nita Lake Lodge, this buzzing restaurant attracts both locals and visitors for its fresh ingredients and an incredible view over the lake.
- Grab coffee in the village at Purebread or Mount Currie.
- Crepe Montage: Head here for all things French, like crepes, fondue, or raclette.
- Whistler Brewing Company: Checkout a local brewery, and taste a variety of beers here.
(Photos in order: Rim Rock Cafe, Christine's, Bar Oso, Mount Currie, Purebread, Araxi, Camp Lifestyle, and Aura).
What to Do in Whistler
- Snowmobile with The Adventure Group (TAG) Whistler: An incredible adventure set out in the middle of pine trees and views, I could not recommend more highly a tour with The Adventure Group. Smooth riding and approachable for all skill levels, snowmobiling with TAG is a memorable way to experience Whistler.
- ZipTrek Ecotours: For those looking to set out for a thrill, a walk along the canopy on suspended bridges and boardwalks, a treetop tour is the perfect fit. Learn about the local rainforest and the continued effort to preserve it. ZipTrek Ecotours also offer zip-lining all year, so those wanting to fly through the trees can!
- Ski two mountains at Whistler Blackcomb: I was beyond thrilled with the kind of snow and terrain available at Whistler Blackcomb. The largest resort in North America, it often feels like you have the mountain to yourself. You can ski two different mountains, and explore endless trails with incredible snow.
- Scandinave Spa: One of the best ways to unwind in the mountains is through a spa day, and the expansive facilities at Scandinave Spa are perfected. Multiple hot baths and cold plunges, paired with steam rooms and treatment rooms, allows for the perfected relaxation.
- Peak 2 Peak Gondola: If you want the view of the mountains, grab a visitors pass to expereince the longest unsupported span for a lift of its kind. Afterwards, I suggest dining at Christine's before heading back down to the village.
- Audain Art Museum: For an afternoon indoors, head to the museum for a diverse collection of exhibitions.
- Read: 7 experiences for the non-skier in Whistler.
(Photos in order: ZipTrek Tour, Scandinave Spa, Snowmobiling, Audain Art Museum, and Peak 2 Peak).
For more information on Whistler, be sure to checkout the official destination page.
*Bon Traveler was welcomed as a guest of Tourism Whistler. As always, all opinions are own.