Top 12 Winter Activities for the Non-Skier in Whistler
For the non skier in Whistler there are many Whistler winter activities to get involved in. Whether you are searching for a high energy, high adrenaline excursion or a more family friendly option, there is a lot on offer in our beautiful mountain town. Whistler is breath-taking in winter with its snow-capped trees and mountains and this landscape can be explored even if you don’t sky or snowboard.
For the non-skier out there, we’ve chosen our top three choices of Whistler winter activities representing 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.
Family Friendly Activities
Keen to explore the forested landscapes of Whistler whilst 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 likewise based in the Callaghan Valley where you’ll have a rest at an abandoned trapper’s camp on Totem Lake where you’ll learn about the history of Canadian fur trappers. You’ll also get the chance to learn the commands and how to handle a sled.
The Thrill of Tubing
An affordable and highly enjoyable family friendly Whistler winter activity is tubing at the Whistler Blackcomb Coca-Cola Tube Park. Here you can slide down 1000 feet on a specially made tube. Once at the bottom a special conveyor lift brings you right back to the top where you can slide all the way down again. Prices for children (twelve and below) are between $17 – $18 and for teenagers $20 – $21 depending on whether it is regular or peak season prices (peak season is the Christmas period: usually around December 23rd – January 7th).
Super Canadian Outdoor Activities
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. We take safety seriously, which means your family are in safe hands with our 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…
Take your family adventure to the next level with a guided sled tour through the dramatic mountainous landscape in and around Whistler. Blackcomb Snowmobile offer family tours which last between 2-3 hours. Mini-snowmobiles are provided for kids (they are… adorable) and for the two hour tour a hot drink and snack is included, whilst for the three hour tour a BBQ lunch at a backcountry cabin is prepared. If that isn’t enough to persuade you, kids between the ages of five and twelve go free.
Tobogganing at Whistler’s Olympic Park is a highly enjoyable 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 Wednesday’s at $7 per vehicle. Entry payment includes rentals (although you can also bring your own) and access to the toboggan hill. Once in, expect both kids and adults to revel in sliding down the sledding hill on saucers, carpets or toboggans. All sliders under the age of 18 must wear CSA approved helmets, although 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.
A Snowshoe Adventure
Snowshoeing offers visitors a gentler way to explore the mountains surrounding Whistler. For the non skier in Whistler, like those of us whose knees need a break from skiing but still crave being away from buildings and amongst snow-capped trees, snowshoeing is a beautiful and affordable way to get out into the mountains.
Whilst 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 on offer in Whistler. Canadian Wilderness Adventures have a selection of tours on offer. 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.
Laid Back Activities
Close your eyes, take a breath through your nose. Breath out. 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 phone but instead were submerged in warm, bubbling water then 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, 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 with. 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.
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 to partake in when in Whistler. This feat of engineering takes riders between Blackcomb and Whistler mountains. It has the longest unsupported lift span in the world at 3.024 km (or 1.88 miles) and is the highest lift of its kind in the world at 436 meters (or 1,427 feet). A trip on the Peak 2 Peak gives riders 360’ views of Whistler and its magnificent surroundings. In winter the snow makes these views truly spectacular.
Browse Artisan Goods
The Whistler Winter Artisan Market runs throughout winter and is hosted at The Westin Resort & Spa. Local artisans display and sell their handmade wares. It’s great just to browse and to people watch, but if you’re one to last minute shop for Christmas this market could be your best friend. Expect things such as fine art, jewellery, pottery, clothes and artisanal foods.
Extreme Whistler Activities
It may surprise you to find out that ziplining is not only a summer activity. If you’re looking for an adrenaline filled experience whilst in Whistler there are two fantastic companies which offer great value ziplining experiences. Ziptrek Ecotours has the longest zipline in North America at over two km long.
Booking on the Twilight Tour with Ziptrek means that you can fill your daytime with other activities (be they non-skiing activities or you are 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 extension guide on ziplining in Whistler here.
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 $140 per person, and then if you get hooked future jumps are $80 per person (there is an additional cost 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 Go Pro footage.
Whistler Peak Suspension Bridge
New this year the Cloudraker Skybridge is located beside the top station of Peak Chair on Whistler Mountain. If you were already considering going on the Peak 2 Peak Gondola then you might be interested in checking out this breath-taking suspension bridge experience whilst you’re in the area. The views from the bridge are stunning, and it gently sways as you walk along it.
Whistler is Not Just for Skiers
If you are a non-skier visiting Whistler there are plenty of Whistler winter activities to choose from. 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. One thing that is constant in winter in Whistler is the cold, so why not pop into Forged for some warmth and some good times? We look forward to seeing you!