What to Do in Whistler Besides Skiing

Whistler is a town north of Vancouver, British Columbia, that is known for their skiing. People come from all over the world to experience Whistler Blackcomb, one of the largest ski resorts in North America. Their Olympic Park was even a venue for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. But not everyone is interested in skiing and snowboarding, tobogganing and ski jumping. So what is there to do in Whistler besides skiing?

Peak to Peak sightseeing. Photo courtesy of Tourism Whistler/Mike Crane.

Whistler PEAK 2 PEAK 360 Experience

Take in the breathtaking 360-degree views of Whistler Village, mountaintops, lakes, forests, and wildlife in the Peak 2 Peak Gondola. The tri-cable gondola lift links Whistler Mountain‘s Roundhouse Lodge with Blackcomb Mountain’s Rendezvous Lodge. The lift joins the two mountains and transports skiers in the winter as well as sightseers year round. In the summer, the Peak 2 Peak also provides guests with access to over 31 miles of hiking, running, and walking trails.

The two-mile long cable is about a 15-minute journey over one thousand feet above the valley between Whistler and Blackcomb. Riders have a high likelihood of spotting bears on the ride, as there are approximately 60 black and brown bears that run wild in the area. The views are spectacular. The gondola ride is great. The view is amazing at top. If you go to the peak, you can get a 360-degree view of all the mountains. I saw my first Marmot at the top!

Website: https://www.whistlerblackcomb.com/discover/360-experience

Photo courtesy of Tourism Whistler/Mike Crane.

Whistler Snow Walls

Every summer, Whistler Blackcomb carves an astonishing trail with breathtaking views using the left over snow from the winter to create what’s known as the Whistler Snow Walls. The snow walls tower above Pika’s Traverse on Whistler Mountain and provide a unique route and hike for guests to reach the alpine. The snow walls make the perfect backdrop for some unforgettable pictures, but they don’t last long. Depending on the amount of snowfall and how long the snow takes to thaw, the walls typically last from May to June. The walls can reach up to 30 feet in height. The 4.3mile round trip hike takes approximately 60-90 minutes. It may seem like an easy hike, but that doesn’t mean your legs won’t feel the burn the next day.

Website: https://www.whistlerblackcomb.com/events-and-activities/activities/snow-walls

Photo courtesy of Tourism Whistler/Mike Crane.

Train Wreck

The Train Wreck is one of Whistler’s most popular and unique places to visit. The Train Wreck is actually the site of several-abandoned box cars left from a crash in the 1950’s. This must-visit spot is a hike, art museum, and mountain biking trail all in one! The attraction was technically off-limits (due to hikers walking on the railroad tracks) until 2016 when the suspension bridge was built.

The new(ish) bridge connects the wreck to the Sea to Sky Trail and other popular hikes in the Cheakamus Crossing area. Stare in awe at the roaring waters in the canyon below as you cross the bridge, which connects trails on the east and west side of the Cheakamus River. Once you arrive at the Train Wreck, keep your eyes peeled for all the artwork by local graffiti artists, photographers, trail runners, bikers, and hikers. Don’t forget to bring a camera to capture the bike ramps and box cars that will bow your mind! Best part about this activity is that it’s free!

Scandinave Spa Whistler in winter. Photo by Justa Jeskova.

Scandinave Spa

It’s time to unplug and unwind. Experience the ancient Finnish tradition of soaking in relaxing outdoor baths at Whistler’s most unique spa. There’s a strict no talking, no wifi, and no kids allowed policy at this spa. The Scandinave Spa Whistler offers a traditional Scandinavian baths experience that is based around nature. This spa is set against the backdrop of nature at its finest, nestled in the forest with pine trees, flowing water, mountain views. Your experience and ambiance of the spa changes depending on what time of year it is. The spa has eucalyptus steam baths, a wood burning sauna, a Finnish sauna, hot baths, a Nordic Waterfall, Nordic Showers, cold plunge baths, solariums, hammocks, outdoor fireplaces, and even a yoga studio.

The Scandinave Spa Whistler is a big proponent of hydrotherapy. The staff recommends starting off with a hot bath for 10-15 minutes, followed by submerging yourself in an ice bath for 10 seconds, and then relaxing for another 10-15 minutes and repeating the cycle.The hot portion consists of either a steam room or sauna. The ice bath is either submerging yourself in a very cold pool or going under a ice cold man-made waterfall. The relaxation portion can include sitting in front of a fire, swinging in a hammock, relaxing with a book, or getting your zen on in a yoga studio. Be prepared to lose track of time at the Scandinave Spa, come out relaxed, and ready to take on the world!

Website: https://www.scandinave.com/whistler/en/

Photo courtesy of Tourism Whistler.

Axe Throwing 

Some people throw darts for fun. Others go paint balling. But in Canada, it’s all about axe throwing! Forged Axe Throwing is Whistler’s first-ever indoor axe throwing venue. For the quintessential Canadian experience in Whistler, every visitor should stop by! Located right next two popular local breweries (Coast Mountain Brewing and Whistler Brewing) in Whistler’s Function Junction neighborhood, axe-throwers can learn a new skill and drink some of Whistler’s most popular microbrews.

Although North American First Nations have been throwing axes for thousands of years, co-founders Brett, James, and Matt have taken the sport to a new level in Whistler making it more fun and more accessible to those of all ages and abilities! And they are legit, too. Did you know that Forged is part of the National Axe Throwing Federation? The guys coach each participant until they are ready to take on their newfound skill. Be prepared to learn how to throw an axe one handed, two handed, two axes at once, and also with a super size axe. The sport is a lot of fun and makes for a great team building exercise as well. The session ends with participants competing with each other to win the title of ‘Best Axe-Thrower’. With Forged’s training, you’ll be ready for the zombie apocalypse.

Website: https://www.forgedaxe.ca




Whistler, BC; May 30, 2016: Nita Lake Lodge Cure Lounge cocktails and summer menu for Aura Restaurant. Photo: Joern Rohde/www.joernrohde.com

Stay and Eat:

For those unsure about where to stay, Nita Lake Lodge is Whistler’s only lakeside property. Nestled on the shores of a glacier-fed lake in Whistler BC, Nita Lake Lodge is only a 5-minute shuttle ride from the heart of Whistler. It is also located minutes away from popular tourist destinations like Whistler Mountain and the Creekside Gondola. It also doesn’t hurt that Nita Lake Lodge has manu awards under its belt. It was named in the top ten resorts in Canada by both Travel + Leisure 2016 World’s Best Awards and Conde Nast Traveler’s 2016 Readers Choice Awards, as well as being named in the Top 25 Hotels in Canada by TripAdvisor.

Food wise, Nita Lake Lodge’s Executive Chef Dean Hossack has a special that is worth trying for any foodie. In celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, Chef Dean is featuring a ‘Best of Canada’ menu that will take diners on a four-course culinary journey across the Canada from coast to coast. Each dish is inspired by a different region of Canada. Expect innovative, sustainable, and local dishes from Nova Scotian lobster salad with radicchio, fiddleheads, tarragon emulsion and yam chips, to Quebec cheese mousse with Granny Smith apple sorbet, toasted hay Anglais, rhubarb jam and maple walnut tulle. This four-course menu costs $59 per person and has a Canadian wine pairing option.

Website: http://www.nitalakelodge.com

Kristie Hang is a jet setting freelance food and travel journalist featured in LA Weekly, LAist, Gothamist, MSNBC etc. She has a Masters in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Journalism and a B.A. from UCLA. Find her online on Instagram @kristiehang

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