Visiting Whistler is an easy day trip from the international airport in Vancouver BC, and can provide a nice reprieve from the grind of the city. A picturesque 1.5 to 2 hour drive along the scenic sea to sky highway, Whistler is easily accessible by car, or shuttles from Vancouver like Epic Rides. Arriving in the main village in the winter, you’ll find a pretty, well laid out village stroll with snow capped mountains looming overhead. As ski villages usually are, Whistler can be very expensive, but there are deals to be had for every budget.
The real draw for Whistler is the world class ski/snowboard runs, made famous from the showcase of the 2010 Olympics. The ski area of whistler contains 2 mountains and 2 separate village areas, so there’s an endless combination of activities to satisfy all personalities. Let’s say you’re visiting Whistler in the winter and you’re benched from skiing because it’s just too cold or you’re tired of competing with the other skiers, what do you do? No worries, there’s a plethora of non cold weather activities to be had. Aside from the abundance of restaurants and bars to visit, there’s shops and free experiences you can do instead. If you want to stay close to the village, here’s a few notable shops, cafes and free experiences to pass the time:
Or actual shopping! The possibilities are endless, but here’s a few with notable selection.
Although warm weather may seem like a lifetime away when going on a winter vacation in Whistler, The Beach store can remind you that summer is coming. This boutique store carries swim and lifestyle clothing from brands all over the world, for both men and women. Need a cute top for going out? They’ve got it. Need a swim suit for the hot tub? They’ve got that too. I could spend hours looking through their modern accessories to match my outfit.
There’s 2 location for this store, one in the Fairmont hotel in the upper village whistler and one in the South Village. This store provides a boutique experience for seasonal fashion. They have wares to accommodate your whole outfit, for both men and women.
Spend Time Munching at Cute Cafes
I love just looking at the mouth watering sweets and savories, baked fresh daily from their Whistler location. If there wasn’t a glass separating me from the freshly baked pastries, I would surely face plant into a mouthful of heaven. Oh and there’s coffee too!
This Whistler outpost of the Pemberton original, makes hand crafted coffee beverages and smoothies. A favorite among the locals, they care about the craft of coffee making. Helps that they make a killer latte too!
Free Places in Whistler (whoo hoo!)
Just off the main village stroll is the modern building that houses the Whistler library. Everyone is welcome, so long as you obey the library rules and shhhh. There’s even a roaring fireplace with a view of the forest, just beckoning you to sit with a favorite book. Judging by the patrons on their laptops, this is a popular place to work or browse while you wait for your loved ones on the mountain.
This museum is open by donation (suggested $5) and chronicles the history of Whistler ski area, from its start as a rugged BC outpost, to the crowning achievement of hosting the 2010 Olympics and beyond. As you move through chronologically, you’ll be viewing artifacts and photos of times past. There’s even kids activities focused on the natural flora and fauna of the area. I especially enjoyed the short propaganda videos from the 1980’s, where neon ski suits and Burt Reynolds mustaches are on full display.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of things to do in Whistler in the winter. It’s really a world class ski destination with snowmobiling, mushing, ziplining…you name it! What do you like to do in Whistler in the winter?
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