Top 20 Winter Activities for the Non-Skier in Whistler
For the non-skier, there are many Whistler winter activities to get involved in. So whether you are searching for a high-energy, high-adrenaline excursion or a more family-friendly option, there is a lot to do in our beautiful mountain town.
Whistler is breathtaking in winter with its snow-capped trees and mountains, and this landscape can be explored even if you don’t ski or snowboard.
We’ve chosen our top 20 Whistler winter activities in four categories: family-friendly activities, outdoor activities, laid-back activities, and extreme activities. For more information about what to expect winters in Whistler to look like, check out our in-depth Winter guide.
5 Family-Friendly Activities for Non Skiers
1. Dog Sledding
Keen to explore the forested landscapes of Whistler while doing something quintessentially Canadian? Book a dog sledding tour with Canadian Wilderness for a thrilling (and very cute) journey through the trees.
No effort is required as you sit back and enjoy the trip or try to ‘mush’ your own canine team. Canadian Wilderness tours are based in the Callaghan Valley, where you’ll have a rest at an abandoned trapper’s camp on Totem Lake. Here you will learn about the history of Canadian fur trappers. You’ll also get the chance to learn the commands and how to handle a sled.
2. The Thrill of Tubing
An affordable and delightful family-friendly Whistler winter activity is tubing at the bubly™ Tube Park. Here, you can slide down 1000 feet on a specially made tube. Once at the bottom, a unique conveyor lift brings you right back to the top, where you can slide to the bottom again.
You have two options of a one-hour or two-hour ticket, and the pricing is broken into age categories. For children (seven to 12), tickets are between $20 – $25; for teenagers and seniors; $24 – $36; adults (ages 19 to 65), $26 – $39, depending on whether you book online or at the tube park. Minis (three to seven years) have their own lane to tube in, starting at $16.
3. Vallea Lumina
A unique Whistler winter activity, the Vallea Lumina is a magical self-guided, 45-minute experience that sets you on a multimedia adventure through an enchanted forest. You will be captivated by the pathway left by two long-ago hikers who were in search of a hidden valley and found beautiful mysteries along the way.
Adult prices are $29.99, youth (six – 15) are $24.99, and children five and under are free. As the Valle Lumina is located on Cougar Mountain, a short 15-minute drive north of Whistler, you can also add transportation from Whistler Village for $10 per ticket.
4. Treat The Family to a Fun Fondue at the Fairmont Chalet
Not just for cheese lovers but also for those who love to immerse themselves in a culinary experience, the Fondue Dinner at The Chalet is one of Whistler’s most magical winter dining experiences. You will be amazed at twinkling lights and crackling fires as you treat your tastebuds to sweet and savoury fondues, artisan charcuterie platters, and finish off with a selection from the schnapps wagon.
Children under five eat free, and for those aged from six to 12, they have the choice of a special Whistler kids menu or 50% off the regular adult menu. Opening hours are 6 pm to 9 pm, Tuesdays through to Saturdays.
5. Outdoor Ice Skating at Whistler Olympic Plaza
It is hard to miss all of the fun as you walk by the Whistler Olympic Rings and see the large outdoor covered skating rink at Whistler Olympic Plaza. With views of the surrounding mountains and twinkling lights, and surrounded by snow, you and your family can enjoy one of Whistler’s most iconic family-friendly activities.
For general admission, it will cost you $2, or if you are looking to rent, it will be $8, which includes your general admission. Don’t worry if you are a beginner or first-time skater—helmets and skate aids are free of charge.
For non-skiers visiting Whistler, this can be the perfect activity if you are still looking to get outside and make lasting memories with your family.
6. Super Canadian Outdoor Activities That Don’t Need Skis
6. Forged Axe Throwing
Axe-throwing is not your typical tourist town activity. In fact, it’s not most people’s typical activity, full stop. That’s why Forged Axe Throwing is such a spot-on option for your next adventure in Whistler. They take safety seriously, which means your family is in safe hands with their entertaining staff.
And if your family is anything like ours, you’ll know a good, healthy dose of competition is almost a prerequisite to a solid trip. A bonus is that Forged HQ is indoors, and, let’s face it, Whistler gets pretty icy in winter. Plus, imagine what the next Christmas card could look like…
7. Snowmobile Tours
Take your family adventure to the next level with a guided sled tour through the dramatic mountainous landscape in and around Whistler. Blackcomb Snowmobile offers family tours that last between two to three hours.
Mini-snowmobiles are provided for kids (they are adorable), and for the two-hour tour a hot drink and snack is included. For the three-hour tour, a light lunch at a backcountry cabin is prepared. If that isn’t enough to persuade you, kids between the ages of five and 12 go free.
Tobogganing at Whistler’s Olympic Park is a delightful and affordable option for all the family. No need to purchase tickets online beforehand—just show up at the park entry gate and pay the $15 fee for access per vehicle. This is cheaper on Wednesdays at $7 per vehicle.
Sled and helmet rentals are not available so remember to bring your own tobogganing equipment. Once in, expect both kids and adults to revel in sliding down the sledding hill on saucers, carpets, or toboggans. All children should be under the supervision of a parent or guardian, and helmets are recommended for all.
Post-sliding, make your way to the Day Lodge for some hot chocolate, eat some hot food, and make s’mores by the bonfire.
9. A Snowshoe Adventure
Snowshoeing offers visitors a gentler way to explore the mountains surrounding Whistler. For the non-skiers in Whistler, like those of us whose knees need a break from skiing but still crave being away outside amongst snow-capped trees, snowshoeing is a beautiful and affordable way to get out into the mountains.
While you aren’t required to have a guide, it’s recommended that people unfamiliar with the terrain or new to the sport use one of the tour services available in Whistler. Canadian Wilderness Adventures has a selection of tours.
The Medicine Trail, for example, takes you through an ancient forest-scape for three hours, where you learn about traditional plant medicine as you go. Healing teas can be sampled during the journey, made from plants that grow along the trail.
10. Try Your Hand at Ice Fishing
Perfect for those trying to get away from the crowds and enjoy the tranquillity of nature, ice fishing is one of the most unique Canadian winter activities Whistler has to offer. We are surrounded by lakes in Whistler, with three options for keen anglers: Lost Lake, Nita Lake, and Alpha Lake.
Parking is only available at Alpha Lake, and Lost Lake has a few rules anglers must abide by. For example, signing an agreement at the Ski Hut, purchasing a snowshoe day ticket or paying a $5.75 access fee, wearing snowshoes or ice cleats, using the designated snowshoe trails, and having a freshwater ice fishing licence.
11. Visit Callaghan Valley Whistler Olympic Park
This one isn’t just a Whistler winter activity for non-skiers; the Callaghan Valley Whistler Olympic Park is great for those who need a day off from the slopes. We recommend spending a day there so you can experience all there is to offer.
Enjoy tobogganing, snowshoeing (self-guided and tours available), cross country skiing (a lot more laid back than downhill skiing), or if you want to feel like an Olympian, you can try your shot out and give biathlon a go or relax and take in the serenity of being in the Whistler backcountry.
The Callaghan Valley is located 25 minutes south of Whistler and offers an excellent experience for exploring more than just Whistler Village.
5 Laid Back Whistler Winter Activities
12. Scandinave Spa and More
Close your eyes, take a breath through your nose—breath out. Then, open your eyes: You’re in a hot tub amongst snow-capped trees as far as the eye can see. If this makes you wish you weren’t at your computer or on your phone but instead submerged in warm, bubbling water, why not pop into one of the many highly rated spas available in Whistler?
Scandinave Spa is the most well known due to its breathtaking location in north Whistler. There, you can hop into hot tubs, cold plunge pools, and saunas, have massages, and more.
The Vida Spa at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler is also a highly rated spa experience just waiting for you to indulge yourself. A spa experience for the Whistler non-skier is a great way to make your ski bunny friends who are exhausted from hurtling down the slopes jealous. For more on spas, have a read of our guide here.
13. Peak 2 Peak Gondola
Riding in one of the bright red Peak 2 Peak Gondolas is one of the best laid-back Whistler winter activities. This feat of engineering takes riders between Blackcomb and Whistler mountains. It has the longest unsupported lift span globally at 3.024 km (or 1.88 miles) and is the highest lift of its kind in the world at 436 metres (or 1,427 feet).
A trip on the Peak 2 Peak gives riders 360-degree views of Whistler and its magnificent surroundings. In winter, the snow makes these views genuinely spectacular.
14. Browse Artisan Goods
The Whistler Winter Artisan Market runs throughout winter and is hosted at The Westin Resort & Spa from noon to 5pm. Local artisans display and sell their handmade wares.
It’s great to browse and people watch, but if you’re one to last-minute shop for Christmas, this market could be your best friend. Expect fine art, jewellery, pottery, clothes and artisanal foods.
15. Hot Chocolate Around the World at Bradenwood Tavern
Just because you are not venturing up the mountain to ski doesn’t mean you can’t reward yourself with a delicious hot chocolate. So why not make it more than just a hot chocolate? Whistler in winter for non-skiers can be tiring with all the activities available, so nestle up with hot chocolates from around the world.
The Bradenwood Tavern offers inspired spiked hot cocoa from the North Pole, a smoky Mexican mezcal hot chocolate, and a Canadian-styled whisky and maple cocoa. Located in the Four Seasons, you will soon realise why this cute and cosy tavern is one of Whistler’s favourite local spots.
16. Escape into Nature at the Whistler Train Wreck
Take a step away from the Whistler Village Stroll and make your way to Cheakamus to start your easy route into the forest. On your way, you will have a photo opportunity of snowy trees and a fast-flowing river as you cross a suspension bridge guiding you above the Cheakamus River.
From here, adventure down into an array of wrecked train carriages covered in murals. The bright colours and bold designs reflect the snowmaking for stunning photos.
Phone service is excellent during the duration of the trail, and snowshoes are only recommended during weeks of heavy snow. The trail is also dog friendly, so feel free to bring along your four-legged best friend.
4 Extreme Whistler Activities
17. A Brisk Wintertime Zipline
It may surprise you to learn that ziplining is not only a summer activity. If you’re looking for an adrenaline-filled experience while in Whistler, there are two fantastic companies that offer excellent value ziplining adventures. Ziptrek Ecotours has the longest zipline in North America at over two kilometres long.
Booking on the Twilight Tour with Ziptrek means you can fill your daytime with other activities (be they non-skiing activities or on the slopes), and then you can fly through the valley in the early evening. This three-hour adventure is a unique way to spend your winter evenings.
Superfly Ziplines is also open year-round, and if you mention Forged Axe Throwing when you book a tour directly with them, you’ll get a discount! We’ve written a more extensive guide on ziplining in Whistler here.
18. The Rush of Bungee Jumping Above an Icy River
Whistler Bungee is open all year and in all weather (except lightning storms—the bridge is metal). This is a super high-adrenaline activity to take your winter trip to Whistler to the next level.
Costs for first-time jumpers come to $130 per person, and then if you get hooked, future jumps are $80 per person (there is an additional fee for transport there should you need it).
If you’re looking to really test a friendship or relationship, why not jump tandem (when the two of you jump together)? Cue the hilarious GoPro footage.
19. Snowmobiling for Those Looking for a Challenge
Experience deep powder turns and 360-degree views of Whistler as you are guided on a real big mountain adventure with Canadian WIlderness’s Backcountry X tour. Their very experienced and professional team will guide you on a four-hour round trip.
On this excursion, you will conquer one of Whistler’s most famous snowmobile climbs, the staircase, and reach up high into the alpine filled with rolling hills. This tour is designed to push your limits and challenge your skills while keeping a smile on your face the entire time.
Running from Monday to Friday, twice a day, and costing $365 plus tax with a $25 collision coverage, the Backcountry X tour is one of the most extreme things a non-skier in Whistler can do.
20. Splurge on a Heli Sightseeing Tour
As the engine warms up and the propellers start to rotate, strap yourself in and take deep breaths as you realise that you are about to fly into the sky. The experience of sightseeing from a helicopter is breathtaking.
Blackcomb Helicopters has a handful of tours that will cater to everyone. Ranging in price from $500 to $2595 plus taxes, you can choose to take a 20-minute flight into the Whistler skies and through the backcountry, or splurge and pass through glaciers, crevasses, and frozen waterfalls on a 40-minute Blackcomb Signature tour.
Are you looking for an unforgettable Whistler proposal? They have the perfect tour for you.
Whistler Is not Just for Skiers
The options for activities available in Whistler during winter for non-skiers are continuously growing. If you are a non-skier, be assured that there are plenty of Whistler winter activities to choose from.
Enjoy everything from axe-throwing with the family to jumping off a bridge (with a harness!) towards a glacially cold river—there’s something for all types of groups and all types of preferences. In winter in Whistler, one constant thing is the cold, so why not pop into Forged for some warmth and some good times?
We look forward to seeing you!