There are loads of fun things to do in Whistler in Winter for families. From skiing to skating, from zip lining to snowmobiling, we’ve got the best ideas right here.
Winter in Whistler is magical. The snow-covered mountains create a picturesque backdrop to vibrant Whistler Village, and you’ll find a wide range of activities here that cater to skiers and non-skiers alike.
We recently spent ten days in Whistler, and we fell in love. We loved it so much that we have already booked to return next year.
We were here for the skiing, but there are loads of other fun things to do in Whistler with kids beyond the ski slopes.
From ice skating and snowshoeing to zip lining, snowmobiling, bob sleighing and more, there are plenty of activities to enjoy.
Whistler Winter Activities
Here we’ve rounded up some of Whistler’s best things to do during the winter months. Whether you’re a seasoned skier or a first-time visitor, we’ve got you covered.
So, grab a warm drink, bundle up, and get ready to explore all that Whistler has to offer during the most wonderful time of the year.
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Skiing and Snowboarding
Whistler Blackcomb is the largest ski resort in North America, so of course, skiing and snowboarding are the top activities here.
With over 8,000 acres of skiable terrain, 16 alpine bowls, three glaciers, and 200+ marked trails, there’s something for everyone, from beginners to experts.
In other words, it’s huge! We spent six full days on the slopes and covered not even half of it.
Slopes are divided between the two mountains: Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain. It doesn’t really matter which side of the resort you stay on; it is easy to ski between the two mountains.
The Peak to Peak Gondola connects the two mountains at the top of the slopes and is a must-do: it offers sensational views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
You’ll find plenty of cruisy blue runs on both mountains, as well as lots of diamond and double diamond runs for more experienced skiers.
If you or the kids are beginner skiers, then no worries – around 35% of the runs are green runs and no matter which mountain you are on, there is always an easy green run option to bring you back to the village.
We signed our kids up for ski lessons with Whistler Kids. The ski school is excellent, and our kids improved hugely over their four days of lessons.
Be warned, though, that lessons here are the most expensive we have ever paid for lessons anywhere in the world. Prices do vary, but if you are visiting during peak season, be prepared to shell out plenty of $$$.
If you want to rest your weary ski legs, exploring the countryside by snowmobile is awesome fun.
We did a morning backcountry tour in the Callaghan Valley with Canadian Wilderness Adventures.
No previous experience is necessary as you get full training at the beginning of the snowmobile tour. You just need to be over 19 with a full driving licence.
Our tour began with a lesson on how to drive the snowmobile, practising stopping safely and making turns, and then we set off through the countryside. Seriously good fun.
And the best thing is that kids aged 5-12 ride for free – so you just pay for the adult driving, making this a pretty good value family tour.
Another fun non-skiing activity in Whistler is Snow Tubing, and you’ll find a dedicated snow tubing park, bubly Tube Park.
There are seven lanes for some tubing fun, graded from a gentle kids’ slope to faster lanes for the more adventurous. Both kids’ and adults’ tubes are available, with a few double tubes too.
The park is open 11 am-6 pm during the week and 10 am-6 pm at weekends, and you can buy tickets for one or two hours of tubing.
To get here, ride the Excalibur Gondola from Whistler Village and jump off at the first stop. Kids need to be three years old and 91cm to ride.
Tip: Book ahead online during peak periods as tickets do sell out.
If you’re looking for a more relaxed way to enjoy the winter wonderland of Whistler, snowshoeing is a great option.
This allows you to explore the beautiful snowy landscape at your own pace without the adrenaline rush of downhill skiing.
No experience is necessary – they say if you can walk, you can snowshoe!
Whistler has an extensive network of cross-country ski and snowshoeing trails, including:
Snowshoes are available to hire, and you can also take a guided snowshoeing tour through the forests and wilderness areas surrounding Whistler.
If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, head to the Whistler Sliding Centre, where you can ride an Olympic bobsleigh. How cool?
The Passenger Bobsleigh is one of Whistler’s most unique experiences. Here you can ride as a passenger in a bobsleigh driven by a trained pilot.
There are two types of bobsledding experiences on offer here:
- Passenger Bobsleigh
- Public Skeleton.
The Passenger Bobsleigh allows you to ride as a passenger in a four-person bobsleigh with a trained pilot. You’ll experience acceleration up to 4 g-forces and reach speeds of 125+ km/h.
Although the ride lasts only 60 seconds, the activity, including orientation and the safety briefing, lasts 1.5 hours.
For the Public Skeleton, you’ll ride solo along the last six turns of the track, reaching speeds of up to 100 km/h. Note that this activity has limited availability on various Saturdays and Sundays during the winter season.
Note: Riders must be at least 14 to participate in the Passenger Bobsleigh and 16 to participate in the Public Skeleton.
Not enough adrenaline for you? How about zip lining? The Ziptrek Ecotours office is located right in the heart of Whistler Village, and they have a couple of zip-lining tours available:
- Ziptrek Eagle Tour – This tour features five different ziplines, including a 2400 ft zipline with a 30-story descent and four treetop bridges. The first zipline is side-by-side so you can zip next to a friend, and the last zipline brings you right back into Whistler Village.
- Ziptrek Bear Tour – includes four zip lines that take you through old-growth forests and over Fitzsimmons Creek, zig-zagging from the Blackcomb to Whistler mountains.
No matter which tour you choose, you’ll be surrounded by stunning mountain views and have the opportunity to experience Whistler’s winter wonderland from a unique perspective.
Make sure to dress warmly and wear sturdy shoes, as you’ll be hiking and climbing stairs during the tours.
Taking a helicopter tour is a unique and thrilling way to see the stunning scenery of the mountains. There are several tours, lasting from 14 minutes to several hours.
Here are a few options:
- Sea to Sky Helicopter Tour and Glacier Landing – a 42-minute flight takes you over Whistler Blackcomb Resort, the turquoise green Cheakamus Lake, Garibaldi Lake, and views of Black Tusk Peak. Includes a 15-minute glacier landing.
- Whistler Scenic Helicopter Flight – this 24-minute flight gives you views of Garibaldi Lake and Cheakamus Lake, with their turquoise green waters. You’ll fly over Whistler Blackcomb Resort Provincial Park and enjoy views of Black Tusk Peak.
- Wedge Mountain & Glacier Helicopter Tour – enjoy fantastic views of Wedge Mountain, the highest mountain in the Garibaldi Mountain Range, during a 14-minute flight.
It wouldn’t be winter without ice skating! Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned skater, ice skating is a great way to enjoy the winter scenery and get some exercise.
There are several places to go ice skating in Whistler, including:
- Whistler Olympic Plaza: This outdoor skating rink is in the heart of Whistler Village. They charge just a $2 entrance fee to skate with your own skates or $9, including rental. It is typically open from late November to mid-March.
- Meadow Park Sports Centre: This indoor NHL-sized skating rink offers public skating sessions at set times – refer to their website. Skate rentals are available too. Keep an eye out for Disco Skate sessions, held on the last Saturday of the month during winter.
Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre
This excellent cultural museum is a joint venture of the Squamish Nation and Lil’wat Nation, the two First Nations communities in the Whistler area.
It is dedicated to preserving and sharing the cultures, traditions, and history of these two First Nations communities through various exhibits, displays, and artefacts. You’ll learn about the art, music, dance, and traditions of the Squamish and Lil’wat people.
The best way to visit the centre is to join one of the hourly guided tours. These are held on the hour from 10 am – 4 pm and include a 15-minute introductory film and a guided tour by one of the Cultural Ambassadors from Squamish Nation and Lil’wat Nation.
Ask at the ticket desk for a scavenger hunt worksheet for the kids.
Day Spas in Whistler
If your legs have had enough skiing, why not head to the spa while the kids are at ski school?
There are several amazing spas in Whistler, with facilities including outdoor hot tubs, heated swimming pools and saunas that are perfect for easing out those weary limbs.
Here are a few of the best places to check out:
- Scandinave Spa Whistler: The most famous spa in Whistler offers a unique outdoor hydrotherapy experience, “the Thermal Journey”, with hot baths, cold plunges, saunas, and relaxation areas surrounded by nature. It is a kid-free zone, and silence is mandatory!
- Vida Spa at Fairmont Chateau Whistler: This spa is handily located at the base of Blackcomb Mountain and offers a variety of treatments, including massages, facials, and body treatments. Vida Spa guests can also access the hotel’s indoor and outdoor Jacuzzi and pools, eucalyptus steam rooms and saunas.
- Spa at Four Seasons Whistler: As you would expect from the Four Seasons, the spa offers a range of treatments, including massages, facials, body treatments, and salon services. It also features a eucalyptus steam room, outdoor hot tubs and a heated outdoor pool in a beautiful setting.
Other indoor activities in Whistler:
Whistler offers plenty of other indoor activities to keep the family entertained when the weather outside is too cold or wet. Here are a couple of options:
- Whistler Escape: Challenge your family to solve puzzles and unravel mysteries while working together at these fun escape rooms in the heart of Whistler Village.
- Axe Throwing: Test your aim and release your inner lumberjack at Forged Axe Throwing, around a 15-minute drive from Whistler Village. Kids need to be 10+ to join in the fun.
Family-friendly restaurants in Whistler
Looking for great food and a fun atmosphere? Here’s our pick of the best restaurants in Whistler for families.
Definitely book ahead if you are heading here during peak times. Some restaurants are walk-in only; if you opt for these, turn up early or be prepared to wait for one or more hours for a table.
Want more recommendations? Check out my list of the 13 Best Restaurants in Whistler here.
- Teppan Village – an absolute favourite with families, you can expect lots of fun, entertainment and high flames at this Whistler Teppanyaki restaurant.
- Mexican Corner – All the usual Mexican favourites and delicious handcrafted margaritas are on the menu at this convivial, relaxed Whistler restaurant.
- Crepe Montagne – the kids will probably want to head here for the crepes, but they also serve up fondue, raclette, French onion soup and other French mountain favourites. It’s small, so be prepared to queue.
- Chalet at the Fairmont – the closest you’ll get to a Swiss mountain lodge in Whistler. Expect French onion soup, rosti, schnitzel and more. But the highlight is definitely the Cheese Fondue.
- Sushi Village – something for the whole family, with sushi, sashimi, udon noodle soups and hot food items such as chicken kaarage, gyozas and tempuras… all dished up in a fun atmosphere.
- 21 Steps – generous portions of hearty Canadian dishes, including Braised Beef Short Rib and Lamb Shanks, steaks, salads and pasta dishes.
- Joe Fortes – famous Vancouver seafood and chop house in a Whistler setting. Excellent steaks, oysters and seafood. The Miso Marinated Sablefish is divine.
- Il Caminetto – an upmarket Italian restaurant dishing up all your favourite Italian dishes with an excellent wine list to match.
- Beacon Bar – lots of hearty pub food in generous portions. It’s also a great place to come for a drink when waiting for a table at nearby walk-in restaurants.
- Pizzeria Antico – Neapolitan style pizza, fresh pasta and salads, plus a large selection of BC craft beer, all served in a casual setting, perfect for groups and families.
- Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory – it’s not a restaurant, but you can’t visit Whistler with kids and not stop in here. You’ll find a mouth-watering array of chocolate-based delights, including homemade fudge, hot chocolate, cookies and more.