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Sun & Snow: A Bucket List Guide to Whistler’s Peak Seasons

Ideas for an Unforgettable Whistler Vacation

The Vacationeer
Peaceful mountain lake during summertime, sunset painted skies overhead, Whistler, Canada.

Tucked in the mountains just north of Vancouver, is Whistler, a popular resort town offering more than just shredding the slopes. Dozens of trails cut through rugged mountains, across alpine forests and around serene lakes to provide hours of year-round outdoor fun. Its world-renowned location has welcomed some of the world’s best athletes and weekend warriors alike, offering all visitors opportunities to get lost in the whimsy of Whistler’s wild surroundings.

Some folks come for the slopes, while others stay for the spa. No matter why you’ve arrived in Whistler, you won’t want to leave without checking these winter and summer activities off your bucket list.

Close up shot of beautiful wild flowers with snow capped mountains in the distance, Whistler, Canada.    

Summertime in Whistler: The Hottest Bucket List Ideas

With the warm summer sun shining through the lush alpine forests and glinting off of the glacier-fed lakes, you’ll realize why many visitors spend summertime in Whistler. You don’t need snow to have a good time; Whistler’s championship golf courses, hiking and biking trails, and majestic wildlife are set against a stunning backdrop soaked in sunlight.

A Whistler, Canada, summer vacation is more memorable with these five activities.

Treat Yourself to Whistler’s Finest Attractions

If your luggage includes a sun hat, sunglasses and sunscreen, then you’re ready to soak up summer in Whistler. Unpack and kick back at the Aviva Wellness Massage Spa, the number one spa in Whistler according to TripAdvisor travelers. A traditional Swedish massage is an ideal way to loosen up after a round of golf at one of Whistler’s four championship courses. Streams and Cedar trees feature in Whistler Golf Club, while Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Club is carved out of the slopes of the Coast Mountain range. Consider trying the Fine Dining Dinner Tour, which is top rated for showcasing a taste of Whistler’s finest flavors — all you have to do is bring your appetite.

Get a New View of Whistler from Above

Stunning aerial view of verdant mountains and waterfall, Whistler, Canada.    

Whistler’s stunning scenery greets you around every corner, though you’ll find some of the best views of British Columbia’s natural landscape above ground level. The Whistler Train Wreck Trail is a favorite among hikers and mountain bikers. You’ll find a little more slack on the line at Whistler Bungee, and an upside-down glimpse of the glacial-fed Cheakamus River. One of the longest zipline routes in Canada is awaiting your family at Whistler Superfly Ziplines, while a ride with Whistler Air can whisk you over waterfalls, alpine forests and rugged mountain peaks in a cozy seaplane.

Immerse Yourself in Local Life, History and Culture

Whistler is much more than a resort town. Long before the skiers and day spas filled the mountainside, two native Aboriginal peoples called this territory home. You can learn all about the Lil’wat and Squamish at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, which celebrates the area’s history, culture and archaeology. Whistler Museum can give you a quick lesson in the area’s unique mountain culture. For a more contemporary look into the town’s arts, the Audain Art Museum has rotating exhibits throughout the year and is a favorite of travelers.

Gorgeous mountain vista with Pine trees a lake and snow capped mountains in the distance, Whistler, Canada.    

Spot Whistler’s Wildlife

Summer is a prime time for viewing Whistler’s wildlife. Grouse are known to startle hikers on the trails and beavers are often seen wherever there’s a shoreline. Black bears also call these parts home and they’re not shy about dining out during the summer months. Whistler is home to various tours for a safe yet exhilarating way to spot native animals in the wild.

Tackle Whistler’s Trails

One way to stumble upon Whistler’s wildlife without going on a safari is to venture out alone. The Valley Trail is a paved, car-free trail ideal for families, four-legged friends and low-impact activities like cycling or roller skating. Big Mountain Bike Adventures amps up the speed, offering riders of all guided heart pumping excursions. Give four wheel drive and and off road through Whistler’s backcountry. Rugged mountain trails and relaxed forest trails cater to riders of different thrill levels without compromising on the stunning views.

Whistler in Winter: A Wonderland of Travel Bucket List Ideas

Picturesque snow-covered mountains dotted with downhill skillers, Whistler, Canada.    

Whistler in the winter is so picturesque that you’ll find every opportunity to immerse yourself in its dazzling, snow-covered wilderness. Winter sports and Whistler go hand-in-hand, though you won’t feel left out in the cold if you choose a less-athletic activity. From heart pumping fun on thrills on the slopes to calm walks under twinkling lights, you can enoy Whistler’s wonderland with these winter activities.

Light Up the Night

Whistler’s nights are filled with vibrant lights, when the sun fades behind the snowy mountains. The town takes on a festive spirit with thousands of colored lights adorning the pathways in and around Whistler Village. Self-guided walking tours allow you to bask in their beauty at your own pace. Grab a cup of hot cocoa and check out the Vallea Lumina multimedia night walk.

This immersive light show will lead you through the old-growth forests surrounding Cougar Mountain, granting you approximately 60 minutes of an almost magical, sensory experience. 

Stunning snowy scene of ski lift with snow-covered Evergreen trees on either side, Whistler, Canada.    

Embrace Wintertime with Style

Whether your must-do list includes skiing, shopping or warming your feet by the fire, Whistler welcomes you to vacation as you please and finish your day with style. And if that includes happy hour, you’re in luck.

Walk through Whistler Village and you’ll have your pick of pubs and restaurants.

Sip your way through the craft beer scene on the Whistler BC Ale Trail or stir a cocktail infused with sustainably sourced local ingredients at one of Whistler’s popular watering holes.

Wander Through Whistler’s Winter Wonderland

Getting your steps in during the day is just as enjoyable as the night light walks. With the proper attire, you can spend hours exploring every corner of Whistler. Snowshoeing is an easy and accessible activity for visitors of all ages and budgets. You can give your feet a rest and hop on a snowmobile tour to cruise BC’s breathtaking views or trade the motors for mutts and race through the snow behind a pack of Arctic sled dogs. Those who really want to get to the core of Whistler’s beauty won’t be able to resist an afternoon exploring an ice cavern that transforms a backcountry cave into a majestic memory.

Book a Private Powder Trip

Idyllic winter mountain scene, snow covered trees, fresh powder, Whistler, Canada.    

Heli-skiing and heli-snowboarding are worthy additions to any Whistler vacation bucket list. A helicopter can take you and your crew to the alpine backcountry, where fresh powder waits with zero lift lines. This ultimate experience is designed for experienced and advanced skiers and snowboarders who yearn for an adrenaline-filled adventure like no other in Whistler.

Outdoor Fun Worthy of a Gold Medal

Whistler Olympic Park once hosted events for the 2010 Winter Olympics, though you don’t need to be a world-class athlete to get in on the action. This TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice seal recipient welcomes visitors of all ages and abilities to cross-country ski or snowshoe across nearly 100-miles of trails, including dog-friendly trails.

If it’s your first time traveling internationally since the start of the pandemic, read our breakdown of what to know when traveling with your vaccination record card.

 

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Vacationeer

The Vacationeer

The Vacationeer is a collective of Hilton Grand Vacations storytellers whose goal is to inspire travelers to go further. We're always on the lookout for new destinations to explore, useful travel tips, and unique ideas to help you plan the most memorable vacations possible.

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