Whistler is undeniably a wonderful all-year-round resort destination. Since serving as the Host Mountain Resort of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, Whistler has attracted even more winter sports enthusiasts to its 2 scenic mountains. Every year, over 2 million visitors descend on Whistler to experience alpine skiing, snowboarding, and mountain biking.
However, you don’t have to love skiing to enjoy your stay in Whistler. There are many other fun activities for you and all your family this winter.
If you enjoy the exhilaration of motorcycling in summer, you should try riding a snowmobile in winter. In fact, why not bring the whole family along?
The beautiful backcountry of Whistler provides a diverse terrain over which to ride your snowmobile. If you opt to join a guided tour operated by local experts, you can enjoy gentle rides that are fun for all the family or experience an adrenaline-pumping ride suitable for more experienced snowmobile enthusiasts.
Follow carefully groomed trails or cut your own path through virgin snow. Whistler boasts a vast variety of trails suitable for snowmobiles. Along the way, pause to appreciate frozen alpine lakes and stunning views of Whistler’s two famous mountains.
Every year between November and February, salmon swim upstream toward their spawning grounds through the Brackendale and Squamish area. This seasonal event attracts around 1,300 eagles to congregate within this small area only a 40-minutes’ drive from Whistler.
If you find the right vantage point, you can observe eagles swooping from the sky to feast on their favorite food. This is a great way to teach your children about the cycle of life. Take your camera along for some amazing wildlife shots.
The best way to explore the area is on a guided tour organized by locals who know all the best spots and have authorization to access private land. The footpaths in this area pass through ancient forests and provide unique views of beautiful scenery. Squamish is also steeped in local history due to its association with the Squamish Nation, who are indigenous to this area of southwestern British Columbia.
Whistler boasts a broad network of hiking trails, and during the winter months, you can explore them wearing snow shoes. If you enjoy hiking in summer, you’ll love snowshoeing through a winter wonderland. Scenic routes that you’ll enjoy include the Train Wreck Trail, the Cheakamus Trails, and the Sea to Sky Trail. There are plenty of snowshoe-dedicated trails around Lost Lake Park and Ski Callaghan, though an entrance fee is payable.
Snowshoeing is suitable for all ages. Just ensure you prepare with suitable clothing, a reliable map, and essential equipment for emergencies, such as a first aid kit and a cell phone to call for help. Tell a friend or relative where you’re going, when you plan to get back, and arrange to check-in upon your safe return.
If you’re a little nervous about snowshoeing on your own or would benefit from instruction, you can opt to join a guided tour or take lessons. Some of the alpine survival courses taught around Whistler include lessons in how to use snowshoes safely in more severe or hazardous conditions.
If you’re fascinated by Arctic environments, you’ll be interested to learn that Whistler features 3 glaciers. These natural phenomena are fascinating to explore. For safety reasons, you should only visit one of Whistler’s glaciers as part of a local-guided tour or survival course.
Wannabe adventurers can enroll on glacier exploration and crevasse rescue courses to learn how to survive in inhospitable environments and help climbers or skiers who have stumbled into trouble. Backcountry skiers and snowboarders can learn essential skills that may one day save their lives or someone else’s life. Some courses include the knowledge and skills necessary to ascend and rappel into a crevasse to rescue un-roped casualties.
In summer, mountain biking is a popular summer activity around Whistler. During winter, this is replaced by fatbiking. A fatbike is an off-road cycle with oversized tires specially designed to propel riders across soft and unstable terrain, like snow.
Fatbiking was first developed in Kamloops, a city that is a-hours’ drive from Whistler. If you decide to drive over there, you’ll find trails that traverse a rugged landscape of volcanic debris and ancient lava flows. However, you don’t need to leave Whistler to experience winter biking. The same hiking trails open to mountain biking in summer can be used for fatbiking in the snow.
Or you could ski or snowboard!
As you can see, there are plenty of exciting winter activities in Whistler for visitors who don’t want to enjoy the ski slopes or experience snowboarding. But don’t forget, with over 8,100 acres of slopes, Whistler Blackcomb is one of the world’s best skiing and snowboarding winter resorts in the world!
Article Author: Robert Baker
Author Bio: I had the good fortune to be born in a first-world country at a time when fast international travel became possible for average people. Having shared meals with families in huts with no electricity and dirt floors, I appreciate the “little” things that my fellow Englishmen take for granted. Over the years I’ve worked in many different fields. I’ve been an archaeologist in the Scottish Hebrides, an accountant in London, and taught English in China. However, I’ve never enjoyed any other job as much as writing.