I can’t remember the last time I constantly smiled so much whilst abroad. There is something about Whistler which just makes you happy. Everyone you meet, from the airport to the village, is friendly and welcoming and their happiness is contagious. I had a fantastic couple of days in Whistler, where there is simply so much to see and do. To help you get the most out of your stay in Whistler, I have put together a quick beginners’ guide to ensure that you fit in all the best activities and adventures while on vacation.
DO Take advantage of the free mountain host guided tours, starting every day at 11:30 on both Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains from the top of the gondolas. These will help you get your bearings; you will be shown the trails that are the real ‘hidden gems’ and are not as busy as the others.
DON’T Stop for lunch at the same time as everyone else. Steer clear of the restaurant rush between midday and 1pm and max out on the emptier slopes.
DO Give Fresh Tracks a try. The chance to be the first up the gondola and down the slopes before anyone else is priceless. (Even the locals purchase the fresh track ticket just to beat the crowds on a powder day!)
DON’T Arrive late for Fresh Tracks. Get in line early so that you can get stuck into the incredible buffet breakfast first and then be ready to ski the minute the horn goes off, signalling that the slopes are open. Our tip is to arrive at least 45 minutes early at the bottom of the Whistler Village Gondola with a coffee to pass the time.
DO Try backcountry skiing. Let us arrange a backcountry guide for you to learn how to read the conditions, use an emergency beacon, dig someone out of an avalanche and enjoy unforgettable powder skiing.
DON’T Backcountry ski without experience. There is a very real danger of avalanches and getting lost. If you have never backcountry skied before stay in bounds – danger never takes a day off!
DO Book a family night out at the Chalet at Fairmont for an evening of fondue and adventure, arriving on a horse drawn sleigh. Children under five eat free and there is a special kids menu for those aged six to 12 years.
DON’T Don’t forget the camera for this one as it will be the highlight of your children’s vacation!
DO Get off the slopes and explore the resort. There is so much more to do in Whistler than just ski. I would definitely recommend having a go at the Olympic Sliding Centre where you can follow in the footsteps of our Golden Girls, Amy Williams and Lizzy Yarnold, by trying the skeleton and reaching speeds of 100km/h (not for the faint hearted!). A little more laidback (literally!) and good for families are the Ziptrec Eco Tours, here you can take a walk in the treetops and whizz along some of the world’s longest zip wires.
DON’T Just think that Whistler is a ski resort and miss out on the fantastic non-skiing activities. I would even recommend having a day off skiing just to experience other activities, such as following a guide through the back trails of Cougar Mountain and Fitzsimmons Valley on either a snowmobile, by husky or on snowshoes. These are great Canadian traditions and should definitely be on the Whistler bucket list. And DON’T forget to check the weather forecast before making plans, as the last thing you want to do is miss out on a powder day.
DO Watch the Fire and Ice show at 6.30pm on Sunday nights (7.30pm from March) from the Dublin Inn Gate Pub. This is THE spot for the best view in town, with a great atmosphere and fire pits to keep you warm. And whilst you’re enjoying a drink, grab a Hot Dog or Poutine (chips with cheese and gravy) from Zog’s Dog’s just next door for the children.
DON’T Turn up too late or you will miss out on the best views and the warmth of the fire pits. And don’t leave going to Zog’s Dog’s until your last night or you will regret it!
DO Take the Peak2Peak Gondola – even if you are not a skier, this is a great 12 minute ride which will offer you the very best views in Whistler. It is the highest lift in the world with a mere 436m down to the valley floor. Make sure you jump in one of the grey gondolas as these have a viewing glass in the floor and are a real treat.
DON’T Go on the grey gondola of the Peak2Peak if you are afraid of heights, otherwise 12 minutes is a LONG time!
DO Ask your hotel concierge for restaurant recommendations as there is such a variety to choose from. Better still, join one of the Whistler Tasting Tours – these take in a number of restaurants throughout the resort with a local guide/food/wine connoisseur. I would suggest doing this earlier on in the week as you may want to return to some of the restaurants.
DON’T Wear high heels on the Whistler Tasting Tour as this involves a fair amount of walking throughout the resort, along with some great wine consumption throughout the evening.
DO Pamper yourself. Most hotels have hot tubs and spas and after a day on the slopes, make sure to take advantage of this. There is nothing more relaxing than enjoying an outdoor spa surrounded by snow looking up at the stars. If you want to take it one step further, try out the Spa Scandinave located five minutes from the village.
DON’T Forget to ask us here at Scott Dunn for our favorite recommendations at Whistler Resort, and remember to tell us about your favorite adventures in Whistler.
For more information on Whistler, give one of our North America Ski Consultants a call on 020 8682 5050 or visit scottdunn.com