Our Whistler expert on the best things to do in this world-renowned resort is Craig Burton, MD of Ski Solutions. Craig joined Ski Solutions over 20 years ago after falling in love with skiing on a season in Whistler, Canada. Craig has been witness to Ski Solutions growing from Britain’s original high street ski travel agency to a team of highly knowledgeable ski experts.
Just two hours’ drive from Vancouver, Whistler is one of North America’s largest ski areas, and a multi-award winner too: it recently topped the SKI Magazine Resort Survey for the third year in a row. It comprises two mountains, Whistler and Blackcomb, that are joined by a charming modern village.
When you’re not tackling the slopes, get the most out of your holiday with five of Craig’s must-do activities.
Ride the PEAK 2 PEAK gondola
The world’s longest and highest ski lift, the PEAK 2 PEAK gondola, joins the Whistler and Blackcomb mountains and forms the backbone of the resort. This Guinness World Record-breaking lift stretches for 2.7 miles and sits 1,427 feet above sea level – so it’s not for the fainthearted. Skiers and snowboarders can use it to quickly hop between mountains, while the view across British Colombia and the snowy peaks of the Rocky Mountains is worth the ride even if you’re taking a day off.
Indulge in the legendary après-ski
Whistler’s après-ski scene is world-famous, with open-air terraces and live music bringing an energising feel to winter nights. When it’s time to refuel, you’ll have 90 international restaurants to choose from. The longest-standing spot is Dusty’s, which has been going since 1965 – it was the resort’s first après-ski bar. Rumoured to have the sunniest patio in Whistler (as well as the world’s best Caesar salad), this laid-back barbecue joint is perfect for low-key evenings.
Craft beer fans should pull up a stool at Brewhouse. The beer, lager, ale and bitter is made on-site, with weekly tours of the in-house distillery available for those who want to learn a bit more about what they’re sipping on. If a lively evening is on the cards, head straight to Merlin’s. Karaoke, themed parties and good old dancing on the table are the order of the day.
Go off-piste into Whistler back country
If you’ve had your fill of the official slopes, pick up your skis and head into the Garibaldi Provincial Park. It’s a paradise of varied and unpatrolled terrain, with guaranteed powder: this part of Canada averages 11.7 metres of snow each year – the most of any major North American resort. You can head out alone with a pass, but it’s best to take a guide. One of the most exciting off-piste trails is the Musical Bumps, which can be reached from Whistler’s Flute Summit. They’re fairly protected from the worst of the weather, and involve some fun pitches up and down Oboe Basin and the Singing Pass trail.
The instructors at the Extremely Canadian company have tours for all levels, from beginners going off-piste for the first time to experienced skiers with an eye on some bucket-list slopes.
Tuck into the fresh tracks breakfast
Start the day the right way and hop on the Whistler Village Gondola for a breakfast buffet up at the Roundhouse Lodge. Watch the sun rise over the resort as you tuck into eggs and bacon, pastries, fruit and hot coffee. Once you’ve had your fill, tear up the fresh powder before anyone else has a chance. As well as giving you the satisfying feeling of being the first to leave tracks, it also gives you a head start on the lunchtime crowds (and the chance to squeeze in a few extra laps).
Unwind the Swedish way at the incredible Scandinave Spa
If your body’s aching after hours on the slopes, treat yourself to a day at the Scandinave Spa. It specialises in hydrotherapy, a Scandinavian tradition which involves a hot-cold-relax cycle designed to release muscle (and mental) tension. Start by basking in the wood-burning sauna or eucalyptus steam baths before plunging into the icy Nordic waterfall. Finish your cycle by resting in a hammock or deckchair around the outdoor fireplace. There’s also a multi-purpose yoga studio to stretch out those aches and pains, and a variety of soothing massages.
About Ski Solutions
Ski Solutions is Britain’s original and largest specialist ski travel agency and tailor-made tour operator, with over 30 years’ experience in creating memorable ski breaks in the mountains. Their expert team can select from thousands of ski holidays offered by a wide variety of reputable, fully bonded tour operators, or package something tailored to you. Whether you’re looking for a large chalet in France for a celebration with friends over New Year, a romantic luxury hotel in Switzerland for a short break or a two-week bespoke trip to some of North America’s more remote resorts, Ski Solutions can help.
+44 (0) 20 7471 7700