*Featured image from Shutterstock By Adam Melnyk
Are you looking for things to do in Whistler in winter for non-skiers? I can help you out.
As a local who lives in Vancouver and has often been to Whistler but also does not ski, Whistler provides many winter activities and experiences that you can do without hitting the slopes.
Here is a list of all the things to do in Whistler in winter for non-skiers.
Things To Do In Whistler In Winter For Non-Skiers
There are many events and activities that you can do in Whistler in the winter for non-skiers. Activities during operating dates and hours are weather-permitted. They may be subject to change, so watch for the weather.
The Bubly Tube Park in Whistler, near the Excalibur Gondola, is a fun-filled winter activity for non-skiers, families with younger children, and all ages seeking snowy adventures.
At the Bubly Tube Park, you will find a dedicated area to slide down the slopes on specially designed inflatable tubes. The park offers seven lanes with varying intensity levels, from the gentle kid’s lane to faster and longer lanes, ensuring everyone can enjoy the thrill at their own pace.
There is also a Tube Lift, so you do not have to carry the inflatable tube up the hill for another slide. The area has a sound system so you can enjoy music during the day or a fully lit-up area for tubing at night.
Snowshoeing is an excellent winter activity for all ages and fitness levels. Explore the snowy landscapes through serene forest trails, enjoy stunning mountain views, and stroll through snow-covered trees and frozen lakes.
Guided tours are available for those who want to learn about the area’s nature and history while enjoying an outdoor adventure. Or you can explore through the many networks of hiking trails on your self-guided tour. Some trails are only sometimes fully maintained, so signage may be minimal, so be prepared.
Renting snowshoes is available in Whistler if you do not own any of your own. There are also dog-friendly snowshoe trails. However, they are not allowed in Lost Lake Park.
An adrenaline-filled activity suitable for everyone, snowmobiling in Whistler is an exciting way to explore the snowy wilderness of the backcountry.
Guided tours offer options for all skill levels, letting you ride with the many tour options through the wilderness, mountains, fresh tracks, and more incredible options.
With equipment and safety gear provided, you can enjoy the thrill and capture stunning views on this memorable adventure. There are even Mini-Z snowmobiles for kids to use during family or beginner tours.
4. Bobsleigh & Skeleton
While the bobsleigh and skeleton track in Whistler was initially built for the 2010 Winter Olympics, after the Olympics, it was adapted to offer the public the chance to experience the thrills of these high-speed sports.
Whistler’s bobsleigh experience involves riding with a trained and professional pilot in a four-person bobsleigh. In contrast, the skeleton experience lets you slide solo (in winter only). Skeleton is riding head-first down the track!
Ziplining in Whistler during winter is an exciting and scenic adventure that lets you glide through snow-covered landscapes. Whistler’s winter ziplining provides a unique perspective above snowy treetops and views of the surrounding mountains.
Remember that ziplining tours are weather-dependent, so checking with tour operators before planning your adventure is a good idea. Also, specific ziplining tours in Whistler are open only during winter or summer.
6. Dog Sledding
The Inuit who live in northern Canada were the ones who invented dog sledding thousands of years ago. Many Arctic countries are still using dog sleds in rural areas of Canada, Alaska, and Greenland. Dog sledding is often used to transport hunting supplies and moving camps.
Dog sledding in Whistler is a remarkable winter adventure where you become part of a sled dog team led by you and experienced mushers or sit back and relax and enjoy the ride by an expert musher.
The unique way of transportation takes you through stunning snow-covered landscapes, offering breathtaking views of mountains and forests. You will learn about their personalities, teamwork, physiology, and incredible skills while participating in the journey.
7. Snowcat Tours
Snowcat tours in Whistler provide a comfortable and exciting way to explore the snowy backcountry. These tours use specialized Snowcat vehicles to navigate deep snow, granting access to remote areas that offer stunning winter vistas.
The three-and-a-half-hour Snowcat tours are excellent for those who want to travel in warmth and comfort in the snow. One of the tours will take you to a remote, heated log cabin to enjoy a delicious fondue dinner or pinnacle main course meal by a private chef.
The other tour will take you 6,000 feet on Blackcomb Mountain, where you can enjoy a fondue dinner at the Crystal Hut.
8. Outdoor Skating
One of the most Canadian things to do is ice skating. The outdoor Whistler Olympic Plaza is open during the winter in the middle of Whistler Village. You can bring your skates, and helmets are encouraged, or a rental option exists. It is a first-come, first-serve rink with a capacity limit.
If you would rather be indoors, the Meadow Park Sports Centre is an NHL (National Hockey League) size rink open to the public. You may bring your skates and helmets or rent them at the skate shop.
9. Ice Climbing
Ice climbing in Whistler is an adventurous winter sport where climbers scale frozen waterfalls and ice walls using specialized gear like ice axes and crampons. It is an unforgettable experience learning how to scale an icy wall.
Taught by experienced guides, ice climbing does not have to be only for the physically fit. The challenging vertical climbs offer a mix of routes suitable for beginners and experienced climbers.
10. Ice Fishing
If you are into fishing or know of someone who is into fishing, ice fishing in Whistler is an excellent fishing experience where you drill holes in frozen lakes to catch fish beneath the ice.
Depending on the winter season, there is an opportunity to catch various fish species like rainbow trout, bull trout, salmon, or steelhead.
Guided tours are available for beginners, providing instruction and safety guidance. They will take you to their favourite spots, such as a lake or river.
11. Ride Peak 2 Peak
Connecting Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains is the Peak 2 Peak Gondola with an impressive gondola ride. Peak 2 Peak Gondola holds three world records:
- The world’s unsupported span for a lift at 3.024 kilometres (1.88 miles)
- The world’s highest lift at 1,427 feet (436 metres)
- The world’s longest continuous lift system connecting three high-speed gondolas
Also, with large 360-degree viewing windows on clear days, the gondola offers breathtaking views of the mountains, coastal rainforest, and ancient glaciers. The gondola provides an excellent 11-minute scenic view ride between the two mountains for those riding it.
The gondola operates year-round for skiers and snowboarders in winter and mountain bikers in summer. However, it is accessible to everyone and provides opportunities for mountain-top dining, exploration, and capturing incredible photos.
12. Helicopter Tours
Helicopter tours in Whistler provide an exciting way to experience Whistler and surrounding landscapes from the air. These tours offer a chance to soar above the mountains, pristine lakes, and snow-covered forests, offering breathtaking aerial views.
During the winter, there are two tours. One is a 12-minute flight that takes you over Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains, a birds-eye view of Whistler Village, and Peak 2 Peak Gondola.
The second tour is experiencing a remarkable 24-minute helicopter tour with a complimentary 15-minute Glacier Landing. Enjoy a breathtaking bird’s eye view of the Whistler Resort, Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains, and the stunning Cheakamus Glacier and Black Tusk. Afterward, step onto a 12,000-year-old glacier on Rainbow Mountain.
A helicopter tour in Whistler is also an excellent idea if you are looking for somewhere to propose to Whistler.
13. Vallea Lumina
Vallea Lumina in Whistler is a 1.5-kilometre (0.93 mile) pathway that offers an enchanting winter adventure that takes you on a night walk through a forest illuminated by captivating lights and multimedia effects.
This unique experience combines storytelling with nature, immersing you in a magical world where you can interact with interactive elements and uncover hidden surprises along the snow-covered trail.
14. Bungee Jumping
Bungee jumping in Whistler is a dare-devil adventure where you jump from a high bridge with a secure bungee cord attached. This heart-pounding experience offers an adrenaline rush in a stunning natural setting, surrounded by rugged landscapes and rushing rivers at the bottom.
Safety is a priority. With professional guides providing instructions and secure harnessing, bungee jumping is perfect for adventurers seeking an extreme experience and not for the faintest of hearts.
15. Scandinave Spa
The Scandinave Spa in Whistler is a destination that embraces the silence in digital detox and relaxation. The spa promotes relaxation and well-being using the Thermal Journey of hot and cold stages. It features hot baths, cold plunges, saunas, and steam rooms. Remember to book one of the many massage options the Scandinave Spa offers.
Axe throwing in Whistler is a thrilling activity where you aim axes at wooden targets, channelling your inner lumberjack. It is excellent for families and team bonding events.
17. Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre
First of its kind in Canada, The Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre is on shared traditional territories of the Squamish and Lil’wat First Nations. You can explore their traditions, art, and history through exhibits, interactive displays, and cultural demonstrations.
The centre’s architectural beauty, guided tours, and cultural exchange opportunities provide a respectful and engaging way to gain insights into the Indigenous communities.
It is a chance to appreciate their heritage, contributions, and artistic expressions while supporting their cultural preservation efforts through your visit and purchases from the gift shop.
18. Audain Art Museum
The Audain Art Museum in Whistler is where you can see various artworks, from Indigenous creations like Haida Chief James Hart, Emily Carr, and many other talented artists.
19. Whistler Tasting Tours
Whistler Tasting Tours is a delightful and culinary-focused experience that allows you to explore the vibrant food and beverage scene of Whistler, British Columbia.
The tasting tour features tours such as four of Whistler’s best local restaurants, known as the Hidden Gems Dinner Tour. Or the Finer Things Dinner Tour, a four-course dinner tour that explores four award-winning restaurants while learning about the area’s culinary culture. There is also a lunch tour option if you rather explore the culinary scene during the day.
20. Whistler Core Rock Climbing & Fitness Gym
While you cannot rock climb during the winter, you can hone your skills at the indoor Whistler Core Rock Climbing Gym. It is a fantastic place in Whistler Village to train with expert trainers. It is also an excellent location for children to learn or experience rock climbing.
If you are not into rock climbing, other fitness classes such as yoga, pilates, HIT, and other fitness classes are available.
21. Christmas Season In Whistler
Celebrate the holiday season in Whistler with the many activities and events around the holidays and New Year’s Eve. You can get into the fun holiday spirit during Wintersphere by meeting Santa Claus, Wintersphere’s signature holiday maze, a kid’s craft, and more.
Festival of Trees is held in the Four Seasons Hotel to support the BC Children’s Hospital. The lobby is transformed with decorated pine trees to make you feel like you are walking through a Canadian pine forest.
22. Whistler Film Festival
The Whistler Film Festival is a yearly celebration of films that brings filmmakers, professionals, and film fans together to showcase various films, from independent works to premieres and unique presentations. And give Canadian films global exposure.
With a focus on diverse genres and international cinema, the festival offers a chance to watch a range of films while also providing opportunities for networking, industry insight, and workshops.
23. Whistler Pride & Ski Festival
The Whistler Pride and Ski Festival annually celebrates 2SLGBTQIA+ diversity and unity. You do not need to ski; you can enjoy the festivities. However, the festival offers a week of skiing, socializing, and entertainment in Whistler.
The festival provides a safe and inclusive environment where 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals and allies can unite and share experiences.
24. Whistler Blackcomb Fire & Ice
The Fire and Ice Show in Whistler is a weekly winter event every Sunday that blends ski and rider performances with breathtaking fire displays and fireworks. Top Whistler skiers and riders, including instructors, showcase their talents by jumping and spinning through a burning hoop.
The traditional event of Fire and Ice offers a family-friendly atmosphere free for everyone to watch in the village at the base of Whistler and Excalibur Gondolas.
Best Months For Visiting Whistler In Winter
Suppose you are looking for the best months to visit Whistler during the winter, and you are not skiing. In that case, it will be December, January, February, and March, and most of the winter events and festivals will happen during those months.
How To Get To Whistler
Getting to Whistler is relatively easy from Downtown Vancouver or Vancouver International Airport.
From October 1st to March 31st, winter tires are required to drive along the Sea to Sky Highway.
The most flexible option is to drive. Take Highway 99, the Sea-to-Sky Highway, North of Vancouver. The drive offers stunning scenic views, including the ocean and coastal mountain views.
The distance is approximately 121 kilometres (75 miles), and the drive takes around one to two and a half hours, depending on traffic and road conditions.
There are shuttle services that operate between Vancouver and Whistler. These services offer convenient transportation with the benefit of not driving yourself. Some options include Skylynx, Epic Rides, and Whistler Shuttle.
If your goal is to reach Whistler as quickly as possible, consider the efficient option of flying with Harbour Air, a float plane company located in Coal Harbour, Downtown Vancouver. Their float planes can transport you to Whistler in 45 minutes.
If you are wondering, is the drive from Vancouver to Whistler safe? Especially in winter, it usually is; yes, they plow the road often for the winter season. Still, accidents are inevitable, so be cautious, especially during the winter, because of the possibility of slippery roads in areas from black ice or limited visibility.
How Many Days In Whistler Is Enough?
Depending on what you plan to do in Whistler, many people like to spend a day or weekend.
Where To Stay In Whistler
These are some of the best hotels for you if you are looking for where to stay in Whistler.
💎 Best Luxury Hotel — Four Seasons Resort Whistler
The Four Seasons Resort Whistler stands as a haven of luxury. It presents exquisite rooms and suites with panoramic mountain views, excellent dining choices, a world-renowned spa, and a host of family-friendly amenities.
Guests at this luxury resort can relax by the outdoor pool and hot tubs or maintain their fitness routines at the fitness center. The attentive concierge services are readily accessible to all guests staying at the Four Seasons.
⚖️ Best Mid-Range Hotel — Crystal Lodge
Crystal Lodge’s strategic placement allows easy access to the Whistler Village. A range of room selections, some providing scenic mountain views. The Crystal Lodge has amenities like an outdoor pool and a well-equipped fitness center.
The hotel prioritizes comfort and convenience, making it a welcoming option for families. Additionally, pet owners will find that The Crystal Lodge goes the extra mile to pamper their four-legged companions during their stay.
🎯 Best Budget-Friendly Hotel — Pangea Pod Hotel
Pangea Pod Hotel is a budget-friendly accommodation choice. It features individual sleeping pods that prioritize comfort and privacy despite their compact size. These cozy pods have comfortable mattresses, linens, and storage space.
Beyond the pods, the hotel provides communal areas for mingling, including a lounge, bar, and rooftop patio. With a contemporary and urban design, the Pangea Pod Hotel offers budget-conscious travellers who want an exceptional experience while staying in the heart of Whistler.
These are some of the best ski-in ski-out hotels in Whistler if you are looking for a hotel that will cater to someone looking for a well-equipped ski hotel while you are relaxing. Or some of the best dog-friendly hotels in Whistler if you are bringing a furry friend along.
What To Wear & Pack In Whistler Winter
Even if you are not skiing at Whistler, it is a good idea to pack and wear certain items in the winter.
Warm Clothing: Insulating or base layers like sweaters or fleece to trap heat. A waterproof and insulated winter jacket to protect against cold and wet conditions. Insulated pants or snow pants to keep your legs warm and dry. Thermal socks to keep your feet warm.
Accessories: Cover your head with a warm winter touque (a Canadian word for beanie). Waterproof gloves or mittens to protect your hands. A scarf or neck gaiter to shield your neck and face from the cold. Hand and foot warmers for extra warmth on cold days.
Footwear: Waterproof and insulated winter boots with good traction for walking on snowy or icy surfaces. Ensure they are warm and comfortable for long walks.
Things To Do In Whistler In Winter For Non-Skiers – FAQs
These are frequently asked questions people have for things to do in Whistler in winter for non-skiers.
Is Whistler Worth Visiting If Not Skiing?
Is Whistler Worth Visiting? Even if you are not skiing? Yes, Whistler is worth a visit, even if you are not skiing. Many activities are listed above for non-skiers.
Can You Ride The Gondola In Whistler Without Skiing?
Yes! You can ride the gondolas in Whistler if you plan on not skiing. Sightseeing tickets are available at the mountain base at the Whistler Visitor Centre. They do not sell out, so do not worry about purchasing tickets in advance.
Do You Need A Car In Whistler?
No, you do not need a car in Whistler. Whistler is a walkable village, so you do not need to worry about driving around. You will, however, need some transportation to and from Whistler from Vancouver.
Public buses operate through Whistler Village and neighbourhoods in the area — as well as Whistler Creek, an older part of Whistler with the Whistle Creekside Mountain.
Conclusion: Things To Do In Whistler In Winter For Non-Skiers
As you can see, Whistler offers many activities and experiences beyond skiing. From the excitement of snowshoeing through serene forests to the thrill of ziplining over snow-covered landscapes, whether you seek relaxation or adventure, there are many things to do in Whistler in winter for non-skiers.
Have a good day 🙂