Spending a winter weekend in Whistler means you’re in for an adventure. I mean, you can’t avoid it in this town. We spent this past weekend in Whistler and it was incredible – still can’t believe I live two hours from here! I have another guide you can read with travel tips for spring/summer travel to Whistler right here. This travel guide is specifically written about a winter weekend in Whistler. No matter the time of year you visit, Whistler is always bustling with fun things to do and I know you will enjoy your time here!
getting to whistler
If you’re from outside of BC, you will likely fly into Vancouver International Airport. From there, you have an adventurous road ahead. Literally. That’s right, just getting here seems to be an adventure. You take the Ski to Sky Highway, a windy road swirling around the edges of mountains and overlooking the ocean and islands of BC’s coast, straight into the village.
You’ll be shaking from the thrill of the curvy road while also gaping in awe at the beauty. Just make sure you call dibs on shotgun so you can take in the view without focusing solely on the road. Don’t fret, even if you’re driving you’ll get full-on mountain and ocean views.
There are various lookout points along the way and you’ll pass through the fascinating town of Squamish (another outdoorsy, adventurous place). This highway leads straight into the village and without stopping or too much traffic will take about an hour and 45 minutes from Vancouver. The Sea to Sky highway can be hit or miss when it comes to its conditions. In winter it can get pretty sketchy with the snow and on our drive up it was very foggy. Remain alert and drive safe.
staying in whistler
There are a couple options when you visit Whistler that are pretty straightforward: stay in the village or stay outside of the village. There are so many options between hotels, condos, or renting a home. Last time we were in Whistler we stayed at Nita Lake Lodge, a hotel a few minutes outside of the village.Nita Lake Lodge has its own shuttle that drops guests in and out of the village 24/7, so you never feel like you’re missing out on the action of the village. However, this time to get the “full Whistler experience” we stayed right in the village this trip at the Delta Marriott Whistler Village Suites.
At check-in we found out we got upgraded to the two-bedroom suite. Not too bad for starting out our winter weekend in Whistler! A two-bedroom suite at the Delta includes its own kitchen and fireplace in the first room and then a bedroom in the next. The private balcony has a table and chairs that overlook the village below.
skiing or snowboarding in whistler
Skiing in Whistler is on any snow lover’s wish list; the 2010 winter Olympics were held here and it is consistently rated one of the best mountains to ski in the world. A day lift ticket is about $120 before tax (you actually save ~$20 if you book more than three days in advance). There are tons of places to rent equipment if you need to. Seriously every other shop has equipment and everyone is very knowledgable and helpful to help suit you up with the equipment you need. For a ski set (boots, skis, poles) and a helmet, it came out to about $100 CAD. That seemed like it was the average price throughout the village.
Tyler and I woke up early on Saturday to get a full day of skiing in. Overnight Whistler received 10 inches of snow! Everyone was thrilled about all of the fresh powder up on the mountain. The mountain actually closes by 4 pm, so you need to start as early as possible to get your full money’s worth. We got as many runs in as we could before our legs couldn’t handle anymore. Overall, skiing was the main highlight during our winter weekend in Whistler.
For those who would rather drink hot chocolate than ski down the Whistler Blackcomb mountains, you can still experience the Peak2Peak gondola, zipline, go dog sledding, ice skate, etc. Visit the Whistler Tourism site to learn more about what you can experience during a winter weekend in Whistler.
relaxing in whistler
After skiing, I wondered if I was paralyzed. My body isn’t used to using those leg muscles for skiing and wow was I sore! When I went Night Skiing on Grouse Mountain a few weeks ago, I was a little sore; this was another level! Fortunately, we thought ahead and planned some pampering for our second half of the day: The Scandinave Spa. Um wow. Talk about luxury. If you find it hard to rationalize $350 for a massage (like me), don’t turn around and leave just yet! For a much more reasonable $65 you are granted access to the Scandinavian baths. We were here for about four hours and definitely got our money’s worth! The baths were crazy. Crazy good. It’s called hydrotherapy and while I honestly don’t even know what that means I think it worked for me.
how the scandinave spa works
You start by warming your body and have four options to do so: the steam room, sauna, thermal waterfall, or hot bath. You stay in this for about 15 minutes. Then, you rinse in the cool water for 20-30 seconds. In reality, it was about 2-3 seconds for me since this is freezing cold water. I was proud of myself for dunking 1 of the 3 times and felt like I was risking my life doing so since I could barely breathe from the shock. But don’t let my story deter you, because after the cold dunk you have 15 minutes of relaxation. Find a solarium and sit in a big, comfy chair while relaxing music fills the air. You repeat this three step process at least 3 to 4 times for as long as you’d like.
This Scandinave Spa focuses on overall well-being, so you’re not allowed to bring your phone or talk excessively. I thought this was great. You’re truly focused on being present and enjoying the overall experience. I was slightly skeptical on if I would actually “feel” a difference and, to be honest, I did! I felt rejuvenated and mentally re-charged. It’s pretty hard not to feel a mental change when you’re immersed in the mountains in a spa fantasyland. I will be back again because I can only imagine how wonderful this place is in the summer (with fire pits and hammocks, oh my).
eating in whistler
I swear there is an incredible restaurant every three feet in Whistler. There is also a huge variety – from sushi to Mexican to Italian to tapas – there is anything and everything. Also, just because this town oozes winter luxury doesn’t mean you can’t find affordable options. The Whistler Tourism website has a great breakdown of dining that you can filter on meal and price; check it out here. Double-check which restaurants take reservations (many don’t) if you want to make one. The restaurants in the village get crowded during dinner and many may have you waiting over an hour for a table if you get there at a busy time.
shopping in whistler
I was pleasantly surprised at the shopping scene in Whistler. It is definitely catered more to active, outdoor lifestyles, but the stores in Whistler get an A+ in my books! There is Lululemon, Aritzia, The North Face, Roots, Patagonia, L’Occitane, Eddie Bauer – I shouldn’t have even started naming them, there are so many! There are also sooo many stores if you need some good winter gear – from snowboards to ski boots to gloves to jackets.
Anything you could possibly need is here and very high quality. Be careful thought because with high quality comes the high price to match. Seriously. Don’t forget to pack something simple like gloves or you’ll be out at least $60. I had to have one shopping splurge when I was in Whistler, though! It came from none other than Arc’teryx, though.
Arc’teryx is a Canadian outdoor brand known for their high-quality gear. I purchased the Imbur jacket in the Boxcar color. It looks so chic – I instantly fell in love with it when I laid eyes on it. Even more of a bonus is that it is made of GORE-TEX® fabric, making it waterproof, windproof, and super lightweight! It folds up to completely fit in the hood, which makes it ideal for packing. So, while it was a bit of an investment, I really need this as a new rain coat for Vancouver. I could not be more obsessed with this jacket.
Another successful winter weekend in Whistler. The village is a fairytale setting and there is so much to do for all ages. Enjoy a winter weekend in Whistler!