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A Long Weekend in Whistler | Get the Most Out of Your 3 Days Off

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Who doesn’t love a long weekend?! A whole extra day to play outside, hang with friends and ignore the emails in your inbox. And here in Whistler, we know how to do a long weekend properly. 

Two chairs beside a lake, long weekend

What does the long weekend in Whistler me to you?

That’s because we’ve got into the habit of celebrating both Canadian and American holidays. And why not – there’s always something to celebrate here. So as well as classic Canadian holidays like Labour Day, Victoria Day and BC Family Day, you’ll also find us partying on Martin Luther King Day, President’s Day and Memorial Day weekend.

Twice as many holidays, twice as much fun.

Each long weekend has its own particular feel in Whistler. There are always tons of events, parties and activities on offer, whether you’re here with friends, family or your better half. And because lots of long weekends fall outside the main holiday periods, you can often find some great deals too.

There are few downsides to using that extra day of holiday to come and explore all that Whistler has to offer. So to help you choose when to visit, we’ve pulled together everything we know about some of the most popular long weekends in Whistler.

Victoria Day Long Weekend (May)

Why You Should Come 

Look, we know you might have heard some stories about the May long weekend in Whistler. And yes, you might see the odd teenage Vancouverite who’s had a few too many roaming around the village looking worse for wear. But there’s much more to the “May long” than the headlines might suggest.

As we’ve said before, the shoulder seasons are a great time to visit Whistler. Prices are lower, the village is quieter and there are some killer deals on some of the best restaurants in town. While the long weekend is busier than the rest of the month, it’s still much quieter (and more affordable) than the peak season.

Best Activities 

RZR from The Adventure Group

A side-by-side or an ATV tour? Both offer backcountry Whistler experiences

The classic Whistler multi-sport day. Ski in the morning, bike in the afternoon, and really earn your Apres. If gravity isn’t your thing, try an early season ATV trip, or get a birds-eye view of the changing seasons from a zipline tour. May in Whistler has something to please everyone, which is why it’s such a great time to visit. If you’re really ambitious (and have some good gear), you could even try an early season camping trip to one of the nearby lakes.

Best Deals

Grab the 10-day Spring Skiing Pass for only $259 and ride any 10 days in the last month of the season. That’s one of the best deals you’ll even get at Whistler Blackcomb and a great excuse to come and visit every weekend in May!

Don’t Miss These Events

If you’re the outdoorsy type, then the best reason to visit Whistler on the May long weekend is GO Fest. The Go Outdoors Festival has a packed schedule of events, classes, free tasters and live music, with something for everyone. From yoga to stand-up paddleboarding, biking to skateboarding, however you like to play outside you’ll find inspiration and adventure buddies here.

Be Ready for the Weather 

While it’s common for temperatures to reach 25°C by the May long weekend, it’s probably worth bringing your rain jacket too. You may well be treated to three glorious days of sunshine. But the odd rain shower might creep up on you, and it pays to be prepared. That way there’s nothing stopping you spending the entire weekend outside playing in the beautiful Coast mountains.

Labour Day Long Weekend (September)

Why You Should Come

The Labour Day long weekend in Whistler is often the last great hurrah of summer. First of all, you can bask in the last of the glorious summer sunshine. And secondly, the biggest crowds of the summer have left, with international visitors back at work. But there’s still tons to see and do in Whistler at this time of year.

September is one of the best times to hike because the snow has melted in the high alpine, leaving stunning views and accessible trails. It’s also a great time to hang out by the lakes, which have been warming up nicely for you all summer. Whistler is the best place to say a reluctant goodbye to the summer (and start dreaming of the ski season).

Best Activities 

Peak to peak gondola

Want to see everything but only have a day, the Peak 2 Peak makes it easy.

Hiking and trail running are at their absolute best over the Labour Day long weekend. If you have a vehicle, venture a few minutes north of Whistler and challenge yourself with the steep trek up to Wedge Mountain. It doesn’t give up the goods easily, but you’ll forget your stiff legs once you’ve set eyes on the stunning Wedgemount Lake and glacier. If you don’t fancy exerting yourself that much, enjoy the views from the Peak 2 Peak gondola instead. Labour Day weekend is one of the last time you can ride the gondola before it closes for the season, so get in there while it lasts.

Best Deals

For the foodies among you, Labour Day weekend is the last time you can enjoy the Mountaintop Summer Feast. Grab a ticket for just $45 per person ($18 for kids) and enjoy an all-you-can-eat buffet to die for. And do it all at 1800m, soaking in the sun on the patio of the Roundhouse Lodge on Whistler mountain.

Don’t Miss These Events

Lots of visitors seem to enjoy pushing themselves to achieve ludicrous challenges. By September we’ve already seen hardcore athletes tackle the Ironman, Tough Mudder and the Red Bull 400. Labour Day is no exception, with trail runners flooding here to take part in the North Face Peak to Valley race.

Exactly as gruelling as it sounds, competitors run from the valley to the top of Whistler mountain – a whopping 1600m vertical climb. But the route takes in some of the best views over Cheakamus lake, following technical singletrack through the forest and into beautiful alpine meadows.

Be Ready for the Weather

Labour Day weekend in Whistler is normally hot, hot, hot. Bring plenty of sunscreen, take lots of water on all your adventures and keep an eye out for signs of dehydration. And we’d recommend carrying a swimsuit and towel with you everywhere you go because you never know when you’ll get the chance to take a dip in the lake to cool off.

Martin Luther King Weekend (January) 

Why You Should Come  

MLK Whistler

MLK In Whistler is when we open our doors to our southern neighbours

Okay we know Martin Luther King Day isn’t a Canadian holiday, but trust us, it’s one of the biggest long weekends in Whistler. Especially with an, ahem, certain crowd. We’re not quite sure how it happened, but somewhere along the way, American college students worked out that Whistler is a pretty good place to party. Who can blame them: there are few better ways to celebrate a holiday than dancing in your ski boots on a patio swigging a jug of beer.

So yes, “MLK weekend” is a pretty great time to visit if you’re American and between the ages of 19 and 21. But it’s also prime skiing time in Whistler, with January bringing some of the best conditions. And if you’re intrigued by Whistler’s party scene, well, there are few better times to experience it for yourself (find out what you’ve got yourself in for with our guide to partying in Whistler.)

Best Activities

If you’re here in January, you have to be skiing or snowboarding. Cold temperatures, the end of the Christmas holidays, and consistent snow make MLK weekend a great time to ski. Plus, let’s be honest, drunk college students only manage one or two laps (if that), meaning short lift queues and empty pistes.

For the non-skiers among you, this is a great weekend to check out some of our other great winter activities, like snowmobiling, snowshoeing or a dog-sled tour. You’ll feel a million miles away from the business of the village when you’re exploring the Whistler backcountry with your own dedicated guide.

Best Deals

To experience Whistler’s legendary party scene for yourself, grab a Gibbons All Access Pass. You’ll get complimentary entry to all of their infamous venues: from apres at the Longhorn, to locals favourite sports bar Tapley’s, to a late night at Buffalo Bills. We can’t claim you’ll feel great the next morning, but we can guarantee you’ll have a pretty great night.

Be Ready for the Weather

January is deep winter in Whistler, so come prepared for plenty of snow and some chilly temperatures. You can grab extra warm layers and ski gear in the village if you need to. If you’re heading out to party, follow the locals lead and rock jeans, boots and a plaid shirt. It’s the Whistler look, plus you’ll be thankful later when you can dance for twice as long without your heels. Oh, and bring a coat please – stumbling home at 2am in -10°C is no joke and we want you to live to party another day!

A Whistler Long Weekend – More Than a Party

Like we said, a long weekend is the perfect excuse to jump in the car and drive the Sea to Sky highway to Whistler. Whether you’re looking for world-class outdoor adventure, exciting events, or some of the best apres in the world, you’ll find it here. Plan ahead to get the best accommodation in town, choose some items from your Whistler bucket list and prepare for a long weekend you’ll never forget.

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