The Canadian resort of Whistler is the epitome of a winter wonderland and there’s arguably no better time to visit than during the holidays. While the mountain is packed with skiers and snowboarders, the village is brimming with festive cheer. When it comes to festive activities, there’s fun for all the family and events take place throughout December.
Here’s our tempting guide for those considering a last-minute festive trip to Whistler.
What better way to take in the stunning scenery of British Columbia than with a winter sleigh ride? Starting December 15th, sleigh rides in Whistler take place from 5 pm-8 pm daily and leave from Base 2 of Blackcomb Mountain. Cozy up on a sleigh for an hour and let your trusty steed guide you through the snowy woodland. The tour stops at a cabin along the way so you can warm up with a cup of hot chocolate. Just don’t forget your camera.
Another Whistler must-do during the holiday season is dog sledding. Starting December 1st, Canadian Wilderness Adventures offers this traditional method of transportation to all. Climb aboard the sled and watch as these super dogs charge their way across the fresh snow. You’ll learn about these special dogs and learn some of the commands used by mushers to guide the dogs through the landscape.
The magic of Christmas isn’t just reserved for kids. Moment Factory and The Adventure Group have teamed up to present a twilight expedition perfect for big kids and little kids alike. The Vallea Lumina night walk follows an illuminated trail retracing the footsteps of two bold travelers who uncovered the secret legends and wonder of the woods. Between the trees, in the shadows of mountains, legend says there’s a hidden valley where stardust falls from the sky and filling all living things with light. You’ll enjoy spectacular illuminations and light displays as you go in pursuit of this local legend.
Axe throwing might not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of Christmas. But this fun alternative to darts is hilariously good fun for those traveling with older kids or groups of adults. Forged Axe Throwing has brought this raucous activity to Whistler and they know how to celebrate the festive season. Forget charades and try your hand at this quintessential Canadian activity instead. The team will help you get started and even teach you a few trick shots along the way.
Ziplining in Whistler is perhaps one of the most exciting forms of sightseeing you’ll ever experience. You’ll negotiate a labyrinth of trails and boardwalks on your way to the top of Cougar Mountain from where you’ll take in the stunning mountain vista. After a moment to catch your breath, you’ll be strapped into a specially designed harness before plummeting down the mountain high above the snow-covered treetops and the valley below. Superfly has designed their harnesses to allow two thrillseekers to experience the thrill side by side. Zipline tours are available for children aged 7 years and up.
After a busy day on the slopes, Whistler knows how to apres. Starting December 9th, family apres takes place at the Whistler Olympic Plaza on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3 pm-6 pm. Rent a pair of skates and take to the rink before enjoying warm beverages and delicious food all served nearby.
While Christmas-themed fun runs throughout the month of December, those lucky enough to be in Whistler on Christmas Eve should head for the carol service at the Westin Resort & Spa. Now in its 35th year, the event sees the Children’s Choir and Whistler Singers perform traditional choral music and readings before Santa arrives. The event runs from 6.30 pm until 7.30 pm.
New Year’s Eve in Whistler is pretty special too. The fun starts early on December 31st at 12 pm, with plenty of family-friendly activities taking place on both the Whistler Olympic Plaza and Skier’s Plaza. The village puts on an 8 pm fireworks display for those with young children ahead of the grand finale fireworks and special Fire & Ice Show from 11:30 pm.
Whistler has plenty of accommodation options ranging from budget to super-luxurious. Of course, the holiday season is a busy time so it’s best to shop around and be flexible when it comes to booking your trip.
So, there you have it. Whistler is one of North America’s ultimate winter wonderlands and the perfect place for a festive break. Getting there is easy too with flights to Vancouver departing daily from most major airport hubs. Frequent shuttle buses depart directly from the terminal building too and the journey takes around two hours.