Whistler, BC is world-renowned for its amazing slopes and perfect powder. But I don’t ski. I did try to snowboard once, and that didn’t turn out so well. But Blackcomb and Whistler mountain are still gorgeous winter destinations, and there’s plenty of things to do in Whistler if you don’t ski.
Now you if you come in the winter, do be warned that you’ll be spending your vacation on a mountain. So it is cold. I know that may sound obvious but it’s really, really cold. I knew it would be cold, but that bitter breeze still hit me. HARD. So come prepared.
So if you’re headed up the mountain and you’re not planning to hit the slopes here’s 7 things to do in Whistler if you don’t ski or snowboard.
This one is a must do. Period. Trust me, you will have an amazing time and the scenery is over the moon incredible. It was by far our favorite activity that we did while in Whistler. Snowmobiling is the perfect mix of adrenaline rush, winter wonderland and perfect photo ops.
For our trip we joined The Adventure Group (TAG) for a tour of Whistler outback. They were great because they cater both to newbies and experienced riders. If you don’t have any experience on snowmobiles they offer the Cruiser tour for new riders, but if you’re ready to race around the trails you can do the BC tour.
TAG also provides you with all the gear you need, so even if you come to Whistler completely ill prepared they got you. And, I loved that they offered helmets equipped with GoPro attachments so you could film yourself whizzing through the slopes.
If you’re not going to ski, this is absolutely the best way to see and experience Whistler.
Eat delicious food
Touristy places usually have a lot of touristy food (aka not good food) but I was pleasantly surprised by the options in Whistler. Whether you want fine dining or more homey fare, there a great restaurants and a number of them are really affordable.
If you’re in Whistler Village you’ve got to hit up PureBread to just see the amazing spread of breads, pastries and desserts they offer. It’s bananas. (photo)
Of course since this is the Pacific Northwest you’ve got lots of great seafood options. Fresh shucked oysters, anyone? One of my favorite spots was Araxi, their oysters and venison were top notch.
For more check out my story on the best things to eat in Whistler.
Check out the museum
For more of a cultural excursion, you should check out the Squamish Lilwat Cultural Centre in Whistler. The museum showcases the culture, stories and arts of the Sea to Sky’s true locals, The Squamish and Lil’wat First Nations.
My favorite part of the cultural center is the Thunderbird Cafe. The indigenous inspired café has a menu inspired by traditional First Nations foods, like the Bannock Taco, which is made with a native bread.
The museum also offers tours and craft workshops, where you’re serenaded by drumming welcome song and shown how to create your own Salish hand drum or a buckskin medicine bag. And a bonus it’s just a short walk from the Whistler Village.
Relax at the Scandinave Spa
Another one of my favorites from our weekend in Whistler was the Scandinave Spa. After spending a couple days braving the cold and trekking through the snow we were excited to just sit and be pampered.
You can schedule a massage or just enjoy their Nordic style pools. The waters are supposed to have deep healing and rejuvenating powers, and I actually noticed that I not only felt relaxed after, it also reduced inflammation.
We wanted to get the authentic experience so we went through the whole process they recommend: 10 minutes of a hot therapy, then 10-20 seconds of cold therapy followed by 15 minutes in a neutral zone. No big deal, right? MY GOD! The 10 seconds in that icy pool literally took the breath out of my lungs! And we went through that cycle 4 times!!!!
I love that Scandinave Spa is also coed. So if you bring a partner of the opposite sex you can still hang out with your boo while enjoying the spa.
Try out Snowshoeing
Snowshoeing allows you to get away from all the bustle of town and the tourists, so you can explore the true magic of Whistler. Snow-capped trees. Babbling brooks. Panoramic views. It’s really a winter wonderland.
Plus it’s super easy. If you can walk, you can snowshoe (Probably. I fell down a lot). And the crazy thing is that you can quickly work up a sweat. You’ll get a nice little workout in, and you’ll be surrounded by mesmerizing views of the forest and mountains.
You can follow a trail or just head off into the unknown and make your own way. We joined a tour, but I think you’re best bet is to just rent some snowshoes and check Whistler Hiatus for a nearby trail.
Lounge at the Fairmont Chateau
If you prefer to stay warm and just lounge around in regality, there’s no better place to do that than the Fairmont Chateau. The resort is absolutely stunning. We just sat by a crackling fire in their beautiful chairs and let all our cares melt away.
For Christmas, it was made over with hundreds of lights, baubles and trees. Throughout the winter, they also have a spa, sauna and evening live music, plus they have great restaurants and shopping onsite.
As an added bonus during our visit there were not one but two complimentary dogs hanging out in the lobby. They were laying on luscious dog beds awaiting all the pets and cuddles, and every few seconds someone would oblige. I believe every hotel should have complimentary cute dog service!
Go ice skating
I love ice skating even though I’m terrible at it. The season isn’t complete until you slip on ice and fall on your bum, right? Jk! Whether your like me and need an ice walker to keep upright or you’re the next Kristi Yamaguchi, there are tons of places to go ice skating around Whistler.
There’s a tiny rink in Whistler Village for the kiddies as well as the indoor rink at Meadow Park. For a classically Canadian skating experience (and if Mother Nature cooperates), you can skate on the nearby Green Lake or Alta Lake. You’ll need to bring your own skates and make sure to ask locals or call a local fishing tour operator to check on the conditions for skating.
I'm Natasha Ho, a trained chef and avid traveler. I've studied culinary traditions from cuisines around the world, and I help food lovers learn how to cook a wide variety of meals that are consistently delicious so they can have more fun, ease and joy in their kitchen.