Whistler

4 Takes on Things to Do in Whistler for Non-Skiers

There’s something about Whistler. No matter how many times you’ve visited before, you can’t help but be overwhelmed by the scenery as the Sea to Sky Highway climbs in altitude and the Whistler and Blackcomb mountains loom large.

Arrive during the winter months and you’ll find Whistler in the icy grip of winter. The perfect winter wonderland for snow worshipers and adventure lovers, it’s the Christmas card scene perhaps most associated with this mountain resort. On the other hand, show up in the summer and you’ll find a playground designed by mother nature herself – a lush landscape waiting to be explored, brimming with wildlife and offering some of the most spectacular views you’ll find anywhere in the world.

Though there’s no doubt that Whistler is a world-renowned ski resort, non-skiers and summer visitors are more than well catered for with so much on offer at any time of year. There really is a Whistler for everyone, no matter the occasion or travel style.

For the Budget Traveller

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Cross the Sea to Sky Highway and you’ll find yourself in the heart of Function Junction. Once dismissed as an industrial and rather mechanical space of Whistler, Function Junction is now a flourishing neighbourhood buzzing with a number of new businesses and a thriving social scene. Head to the Re-Use It Centre to indulge in a little antique treasure hunting before stopping by the Olives Community Market, where you’ll find local produce aplenty. Further along Millar Creek Road, you’ll find a couple of galleries showcasing the work of various local artists. Afterwards, stop for tea at the Wild Wood Cafe. Often overlooked in the Whistler travel guides, Function is well worth a visit.

It goes without saying that the great outdoors is one of the best free activities there is. It also goes without saying that Whistler has an overabundance of outdoor possibilities that suit any ability level. From a quiet loop around Lost Lake to undertaking a multi-day excursion into Garibaldi Park, there’s something for everyone. Floating down the River of Golden Dreams in the summer sun is highly advised, whether you opt for an inner tube or a canoe. Alto Creek, to give the river its official name, is a refreshing way to pass a warm afternoon. With epic views around every bend, the shadows of the imposing Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains offer welcome relief from the heat. Keep your eyes open as you pass through the lush forests and flower-lined banks – you might just catch a glimpse of the wildlife that calls this place home, such as otters, deer, beavers and even bears. Don’t forget to always put safety first by packing water, snacks and a life jacket.

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For a comfortable night’s sleep that won’t break the bank, look no further than the HI Whistler. This hostel was originally part of the athlete’s village for the 2010 Winter Olympics and quickly became one of the best budget options in town. With hiking trails, brewery tours and a wealth of other fun options on its doorstep, it’s an ideal summer choice for those looking to immerse themselves in the great outdoors. Thanks to its proximity to the lifts, it’s also a great choice for those looking to get up the mountain. You’re treated to an impressive view of the mountains no matter where your room is located.

HI Whistler

Whistler
8.2 Very good (1273 reviews)

For Going All Out

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For total relaxation, you might want to try the unique European experience at the Scandinave Spa. Spend the whole day drifting from pool to lounge chair to steamy sauna and back again, with cozy fireside stops and luxurious treatments in between. It costs $70 to get bath access and you can also sign up for a massage. They start at $175 and are well worth it.

If you’re into something a little more adventurous, a helicopter ride promises jaw-dropping fun from start to finish. Get unbeatable panoramic views of the mountains and surrounding scenery, and watch heli-skiers slicing through untouched world-class terrain with snow up to their knees.

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From the minute you walk through the doors of the Four Seasons Resort, it’s hard not to be impressed. The hotel is an absolute must for anyone wanting to live the high life during their visit, and a warm and friendly Whistler welcome is assured. In fact, the Four Seasons Resort is the only hotel in the area awarded the Forbes five-star service award. For those who find it impossible to travel light, you’ll love the walk-in closet that easily fits in enough outfits for every conceivable occasion during your stay (and way beyond). End your day with a toasted marshmallow on the deck during winter or a refreshing cocktail in summer.

Four Seasons Resort And Residences Whistler

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Whistler
9.1 Excellent (1962 reviews)

For a Romantic Getaway

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For an adrenalin hit, snowmobile up to 6,000 feet and enjoy a candlelight dinner at the rustic Crystal Hut with Canadian Wilderness Adventures. For a more passive way to embrace the scenery, take the Peak Chair on Whistler Mountain for a cuddly selfie and glass of champagne.

If you’re here in winter, head for a romantic dog sled ride through the Whistler wilderness. Blackcomb Dog Sled is the quintessential romantic Whistler experience. After all, a sled is the perfect size for two.

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Whistler lends itself ideally to any romantic occasion, whether it be a honeymoon, engagement or just a romantic weekend away. Nita Lake Lodge in particular knows a thing or two about romance. This intimate lake-side haven is a well-established wedding venue and it’s not hard to see why. Comfy king-size beds, cozy décor, a double soaker tub and dreamy views across the mountainous landscape all come as standard. All you need is love – Nita Lake Lodge will take care of the rest.

Nita Lake Lodge

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Whistler
9.2 Excellent (2143 reviews)

For Groups

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Quintessentially Canadian, there’s no better way to bond with friends than by hurling axes at a bullseye in a little friendly competition. Head to Forged Axe Throwing in Function Junction, Whistler’s only indoor axe throwing venue, to unleash your inner lumberjack. The out-going Forged team will introduce you to the art of axe throwing, as well as providing a safety talk and tips. There’s nothing more satisfying than hitting your first bullseye.

Spend the day outside climbing through trees, flying through the air or racing down rapids. If you can think of an outdoor activity, The Adventure Group has at once beat you to it and bundled them all into a day-long excursion. It’s advisable to spend at least one day on Cougar Mountain; they offer bungee jumping, whitewater rafting, zip lining, heli-sightseeing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling, just to name a few.

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Whether it’s a weekend with the girls or a bachelor party with the guys, Whistler is the ideal destination for group travel. When it comes to finding a place to stay, the Aava is a crowd pleaser. Situated just a stone’s throw from Whistler Village yet still enjoying peace and quiet, the hotel boasts comfortable rooms, a heated outdoor pool, dry sauna and on-site fitness centre. They even offer free GoPro hire, just in case you want those laughable moments to be immortalized forever.

Aava Whistler Hotel

Whistler
8.3 Very good (5530 reviews)

For Arts and Culture

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With festivals in Whistler taking place throughout the year, it’s always worth checking what’s on while you’re visiting. During September, check out the Hear and Now Festival, showcasing some of the local musical talents Whistler has to offer. It’s totally free and takes place in the main Village Square. In August, the Crankworx festival showcases a spectacle of gravity-defying stunts on two wheels.

If yoga is your thing, head to the Whistler Wanderlust Festival during August to surround yourself with insightful and skilled yogis in impressive mountain surroundings. The festival has a whole host of yoga classes, musical events, workshops, delicious food and a meditative opportunity to help you connect with your best self. Of course, there are plenty of places to practice yoga in Whistler at any time of year

Make sure not to miss the Squamish and Lil’wat Cultural Centre to try on some traditional regalia, play a drum and discover the interactive exhibits of the Squamish and Lil’wat nations.

STAY & DINE

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Walk a few steps off Main Street and you’ll arrive at Whistler’s iconic boutique hotel, Summit Lodge. This quirky hotel has won numerous awards and it’s not hard to see why. The colourful rooms are warm and inviting, and there’s a number of dining options on site — ideal if you’re too tired to venture far after a day of adventure.

The Eighty One café is a great place to stop for a smoothie or enjoy an expertly-made espresso hit, while the Elements Urban Tapas Parlour and Sachi Sushi restaurant serves up a host of highly recommended tasty specials.

Summit Lodge Boutique Hotel

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Whistler
9.1 Excellent (5754 reviews)