Shoulder Season Deals in Whistler | Why it Pays to Wait
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While Whistler might be most famous as a winter skiing and summer mountain biking destination, did you know it’s all an epic holiday destination in the spring and fall too? Known as the shoulder seasons, when the village quietens down and locals take a breather from throwing themselves down hills, spring and fall still have a huge amount to offer to visitors.
There are two shoulder seasons in Whistler – from mid-April to mid-June, and from late September until late November. As the resort slows down, expect quieter streets, deals on accommodation, and still tons of outdoor adventure opportunities. Plus, the weather is very agreeable, not too hot or cold (although do prepare for the odd downpour – we are in the rainforest after all).
We’ve put this guide together to help you make the most of everything the shoulder seasons have to offer here in Whistler. If you want to know more, read our detailed guides on both spring and fall too.
Five Great Reasons to Visit Whistler in the Shoulder Season
- Steal amazing deals on accommodation, activities and restaurants
Being the biggest (and best) year-round mountain resort in North America, we know Whistler can get a little pricey at times. Which is why visiting Whistler in the shoulder season is such a great idea! There are some killer deals available on everything from fancy hotels to hardcore adrenalin activities, to some of the fanciest restaurants in town. Do your research, book in advance, and you’ll feel pretty smug when you get to enjoy the adventure holiday of a lifetime – on the cheap. Keep reading to find out about some of our favourite shoulder seasons deals to take advantage of.
- Avoid the crowds and enjoy the quiet
It seems like the world is catching on to how awesome Whistler is. And we can hardly blame them. There are few places that combine adventure with luxury and comfort so well. The only downside is that it means our little town can get kinda busy at times. But not so in the shoulder season. Visit us then, and you’ll be surprised by the chilled out vibes in the village, how easy it is to get a reservation at your favourite restaurant, and how few people you’ll see on a hike in the surrounding mountains. If peace and quiet is your thing, shoulder season is the time to be here.
- Get inspired at epic festivals and events
We’re never short of ways to have a memorable day in Whistler. But the shoulder seasons are totally packed with awesome festivals and events that are sure to please everyone. In spring, we’ve got the infamous World Ski and Snowboard Festival, and the all-adventures GO Fest in May. In the fall, sample the best craft beer in BC at the Whistler Beer Festival. Or indulge in the delicious food and wine available at Cornucopia, catch some of the best films of the year at Whistler Film Festival, or get creative at the Whistler Writer’s Festival. For even more festivals throughout the year, check out our rundown of the best Whistler events.
- Play in four seasons in one day
One of the coolest things about the shoulder seasons in Whistler is that you can experience every season at once. In May, you can spend your morning skiing in the alpine in a sweater, then head down to the village, switch your gear and head back up Whistler with your mountain bike. Or if that’s not your thing, fit in an early evening round of golf, a quick ATV trip, or enjoy fishing one of our stunning lakes. Likewise, in the fall you can expect stunning alpine hikes, often in the first snowfall of the winter, while in the valley people are still swimming in the lakes and enjoying craft beers on patios. Just make sure you bring all your outdoor adventure gear and be prepared for any possibility.
- Slow down and relax
It can be very tempting to fill every day in Whistler with adventure. And who could blame you – there’s simply so much to choose from. But one of the great things about shoulder season is that the pace of life slows down a little. Days are long, lift lines are short, and locals have more time to share their insider tips and even a beer with you. You won’t feel guilty if you aren’t spending every second up the mountain. Instead, make time to visit the local breweries, sample one of many luxurious spas, or come and visit us at Forged on a rainy afternoon for some laughs (and a bit of axe-throwing too).
Shoulder Season on Whistler Blackcomb
If you’re planning to head up Whistler Blackcomb – whether for skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, or sightseeing, it’s best to check their opening hours ahead. You can access the mountain most days of the year, but there are times when things close up to get ready for the next season.
- Skiing – Late November to late May
Generally, there’s public skiing open from the last week of November until the last week of May, although for the last few weeks not all the slopes are open. This can work to your advantage though, as there are often cheap lift ticket deals available. There’s also skiing available on the glacier from mid-June to mid-July – although this is mostly geared towards park skiers and snowboarders.
- Mountain Biking – Mid-May until early October
They don’t mess around getting the bike park open on Whistler mountain. It’s normally up and running before skiing is finished for the year, making for some epic double-adventure days. Hours and lifts are reduced at the beginning and end of the season, so keep an eye on the specifics so you know what to expect.
- Sightseeing – Late November until late April, and late May until mid-October
If you’re planning a trip on the record-breaking Peak 2 Peak Gondola (and you should), remember it closes for a couple of months each year for maintenance. But there’s still plenty of chances to see the epic views for yourself: just check the exact dates of operation here before you book your trip!
Shoulder Season Deals on Accommodation
There are tons of amazing accommodation opens in Whistler, from rustic log cabins to luxury high-end hotels, youth hostels and even a Japanese-style pod hotel. In fact, there’s so many that we wrote a guide to some of our favourite hotels to help you pick. And the great thing about shoulder season is that your budget will stretch a whole lot further. Our top tip? Get organized, do your research now and book early. While Whistler is quieter in shoulder season, deals don’t last forever, and you won’t want to miss out.
Here are a few of the best deals we found, comparing prices in the middle of the ski season (March) with shoulder season (May). All prices are for one room for two people for one night and were accurate when we did our research. So book them today!
- Westin Resort and Spa – $188 (High Season $720)
The award-winning Westin hotel right next to the Whistler gondola is an absolute steal in the shoulder season. Expect cozy suites with a fireplace and flat-screen tv, a great in-house restaurant and the best views in the village.
- Hilton Whistler Resort and Spa – $183 (High Season $562)
Another classic Whistler hotel with a killer location in the heart of the village, the Hilton Whistler offers luxurious rooms, world-class restaurants and one of the best spas in Whistler. It’s also a stone’s throw from both the mountains and the golf course, making it the perfect base for that all-adventure day you’re planning.
- Summit Lodge – $132 (High Season $408)
This boutique hotel is one of our favourites, for its quirky decor, modern and comfortable suites, and the treats often on offer in the lobby! For something a little different, the Summit Lodge is the perfect choice, located close to some of Whistler’s best restaurants and only a few minutes’ walk from the mountains.
- Fairmont Chateau Whistler – $269 (High Season $501)
The ultimate in luxury, the Fairmont Chateau needs little introduction. Live the high-life here for a few days, staying in a beautiful suite, sampling their killer cocktails and relaxing in the outdoor pools. Located in Upper Village, right at the base of Blackcomb mountain, it would be a crime not to take advantage of the amazing shoulder season deals at one of the best hotels in Whistler.
Whistler’s Best Restaurants: Shoulder Season Deals
Once you’ve got your bargain accommodation sorted, it’s time to start planning what you’re going to eat. Most of Whistler’s best restaurants offer shoulder season deals. It’s a chance to sample some of the award-winning cuisine here, for a fraction of the price. Famous names like Araxi, the Rimrock Cafe and Nagomi Sushi are must-dos. And the deals are good.
For example, Rimrock Cafe, the premier seafood restaurant in town, normally offers a three-course menu for only $50 per person. Even smaller local eateries like Hunter Gather offer some killer deals too. Last year, all their meals were just $9.99! Basically, you’ve got a great excuse to try somewhere new every night of your stay, and not feel bad about the cost!
Where to find Whistler Restaurant Deals
You can normally find a full list of specials available for the It’s a Spring Thing deal online. Most restaurants offer a similar menu in the fall too. You can always give the restaurants a call to check exactly what’s on offer. Or check out Whistler Bites, a great website that’s always updated with the deals of the week. You certainly won’t be leaving Whistler unsatisfied.
A shoulder season trip to Whistler combines all the best of our outdoor adventure, with a chance to live the luxury lifestyle at an affordable price. So get planning, book your bargain accommodation, and we’ll see you for some axe-throwing in a few months time!