Since Whistler, BC is only 4 hours from Seattle, we try to visit at least once a year…and in varying seasons. The activities are limitless year round, but fun to discover as they change through the months.
This trip was actually our first in January…just a few days after New Years so the holiday festivities were still bustling and beautiful in the village.
To provide a thorough review of winter in Whistler with the family, we filled our 4 days with skiing, tubing, amazing food…and even a little date night. So to make things easy for your planning purposes, I’ll be sharing 10 reasons to add Whistler to your family bucket list…which also includes a secret tip we’ve used on previous trips that I highly recommend!
First and foremost…accommodations…
One of our favorite hotels, especially for families, is the Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre. It’s located in the village, within walking distance to all shops, restaurants and even the slopes. They offer a deluxe complimentary breakfast buffet, along with daily afternoon aprés (free cocktail for adults and hot cocoa for the kids) and snacks for all.
Pan Pacific also has an outdoor heated saltwater pool, hot tub, fitness center and day spa.
A few other family-friendly perks include high chairs, children’s robes, cribs, swim diapers, family games, fireplace screens and baby monitors upon request.
And they’re pet-friendly!
The next reason to visit Whistler is the TreeTrek EcoTour which includes a canopy walk over 9 suspension bridges, stairways, boardwalks and trails where you’ll explore the magnificent Pacific Temperate Rainforest. The all ages tour takes about 1.5-2 hours, goes year-round and is free for kids 5 and under!
If you’re feeling adventurous, make sure to also check out their Zipline!
The TreeTrek Tour was definitely one of our best highlights of the trip…and allows you to understand how this unique, pristine ecosystem thrives.
The next reason to visit Whistler in the winter is, of course, the skiing (or snowboarding if that’s your preference)! We rented our gear from the Salomon Store in the Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside which is conveniently located at the base of the Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. As a guest of either Pan Pacific hotels, you can utilize their snow gear storage room with a complimentary locker (this is a HUGE perk so you don’t have to haul your gear around!).
Whistler and Blackcomb are two side-by-side mountains stretching over 8,000 acres of terrain, a mile-high vertical, 200 marked runs, 37 lifts, 16 alpine bowls, and 3 glaciers…and named #1 Ski Resort in North America.
Whether you’re a novice or expert, you’ll find your spot on the slopes. Since the girls are still working on their ‘pizza,’ we had them take a 2 hour private lesson, allowing them to warm up to the mountain and gain a bit of confidence before we headed out as a family. I seriously recommend lessons…which they offer for any age at any level. Something to look into for sure.
After a morning of skiing, one of the best rewards is Family Aprés at Whistler Olympic Plaza. Available on Mondays and Wednesdays until March 28th, you’ll find free kid-friendly activities and entertainment, while parents enjoy a warm beverage.
Craving lunch? Swing by Garibaldi Lift Company for nachos – one serving will feed a family of 4!
Once dinner rolls around, I have the PERFECT place for everyone in the family – The Chalet at Fairmont Chateau Whistler Hotel. Located in the Chateau Whistler Golf Clubhouse, The Chalet offers a winter menu of savory fondues and artisan charcuterie platters…and of course rich chocolate fondue for dessert.
Kids 5 and under eat free and those ages 6-12 have the choice of a special Whistler kids menu or 50% off the regular adult menu.
When you first walk in, the lights are low, the fire is crackling and you get the feeling kids should not be allowed…but then you look around, and notice families at almost every table…along with coloring supplies immediately offered. The Chalet has perfected the balance of relaxed, luxury dining, while creating an entire experience meal sure to keep everyone entertained. For a dinner to remember, definitely reserve a table at The Chalet during your stay in Whistler.
Another favorite activity to do on the mountain is tubing at the Coca-Cola Tube Park! Located in the Base 2 Zone on Blackcomb Mountain, the park has 6-8 lanes from beginner to difficult (slow to fast). You grab your tube (they have small ones for the littles) and then take a carpet-style lift to the lanes. And the best part, you can hold onto each other’s tubes while going down (great for Mila and I).
You can get to the tube park via the Excalibur Gondola located in Skiers Plaza (there’s a big sign so you won’t miss it). It’s open Weekdays 12-8pm and Weekends 11am-8pm. Such a fun activity and another reason to visit Whistler!
Next up is one of my favorites…The Scandinave Spa. This one’s for my mamas…let dad take the kiddos to the hotel pool and enjoy ultimate relaxation at one of the most unique spas in the world.
Scandinave Spa is a digital-free zone where you experience 2 hours of hydrotherapy in traditional Scandinavian baths following a hot, cold and relaxation sequence. The entire facility is silent, allowing inner stillness and complete relaxation.
I was a bit nervous at first since I’m a talker, but it was actually incredibly refreshing and I made it without saying one single word!
One thing I did notice is that it was mostly couples…seeming to be an intimate experience silently shared with your partner. I really loved this idea and plan to visit with Ben, as well.
Utilize your hotel shuttle or Whistler Taxi to get to and from the Scandinave Spa since it’s a few minutes outside of the village.
The next reason to visit Whistler is the Audain Art Museum, which showcases the art of British Columbia from the late 18th Century to the present. The architecture alone with take your breath away. “The feeling is that the museum will be quietly inserted into a void within the forest,” explains architect John Patkau. “It will be recessive and restrained in its visual presence.”
On the first Friday of each month, the museum offers programs and hands-on activities relating to their Permanent Collection and changing exhibitions. The tour takes place at 5:30pm. A great way to engage the entire family.
And last but not least, my #1 tip if you’re traveling as a family…utilize Babysitting Whistler one evening for a date night! So often we get carried away with keeping the kids busy that we forget to capture a little vacation romance! We’ve used Babysitting Whistler a few times and have had a great experience. The kids enjoy playing games and eating pizza with someone young and fun…while we head to drinks and dinner just the two of us!
This list is a drop in the bucket of all the things you can do in Whistler…but it’s a good start and the beautiful thing is…you can return year after year and keep on discovering new adventures in this sweet Canadian resort town.
*The girl’s hoodies are from Bubbles Made In Korea
*Our jackets are from UNIQLO and are linked below with a few other travel style favorites
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*Photos by Alanna Govenlock | StolenStill Photography
Disclosure: Tourism Whistler and their partners graciously hosted our family. The opinions expressed here represent my own, which I take great pride in providing pure honesty…because I’m OBSESSED with sharing the Good!