Ski slopes on Blackcomb Mountain in the winter

Explore Blackcomb Mountain’s trails on skis or bike. (Photo: Getty Images)

Weekend Getaways

Discover Year-Round Mountain Fun in Whistler, British Columbia

Synonymous with epic powder days and world-class spas, Whistler lives up to the high-end hype. From shopping and dining in the sweet Swiss-style Whistler Village to carving your way down the slopes at North America’s largest ski resort, the area just two hours north of Vancouver makes an impressive impact.

Activities like ice-fishing, snowshoeing, skating, dog sledding and snowmobiling give Whistler a well-deserved reputation as a winter wonderland (it did play host to the 2010 Winter Games, after all).

But this magical mountain town offers endless adventures even after the ice melts. In summer, you’ll be zip lining, jet boating through whitewater rapids, biking or paddleboarding — and hiking boots, sneakers and flip-flops are the only footwear you’ll need. Just be ready — you’ve got a lot to fit in and only a few days to do it.

As always, check for travel restrictions and closures before planning your trip.

Friday: Hit The Slopes (or Trails)

Mountain biker in Whistler during the summer
Mountain biking is a great way to tackle the ski trails in the summer. (Photo: Getty Images)

Start by grabbing some breakfast at Elements. Tucked away behind Whistler’s Marketplace and known for its ridiculously tasty potato tartlet, fresh smoothie shots and brilliant eggs Benny (British Columbia smoked salmon, anyone?), it’s a great place to get fueled up for a day on the mountain.

Summertime in Whistler is all about kicking up dirt on your mountain bike. Those famous ski trails transform into a maze of epic downhill mountain biking paths in the summer months — but down in the valley, cross-country biking is where it’s at. Head to the Zappa Trails by Lost Lake and tackle the rolling dirt trails.

If it’s winter, you can follow the same trails on cross-country skis or snowshoes.

All of that activity is bound to make you hungry for lunch. Head to the casual Mongolie Grill, where you choose your meats and toppings buffet-style, then watch them get stir-fried in a sauce of your choosing. Then it’s back to the mountain to finish out the day hiking or skiing Blackcomb, with an extra stop at the Blackcomb Glacier Ice Cave if it’s wintertime.

It’s time to quench your thirst. The Whistler Brewing Company whips up some mighty fine après-bike or -ski suds, like the Whiskey Jack Ale.

And feel free to stay for dinner, too. The taphouse has a menu filled with hearty favorites with fun names like the “Crazy Canuck,” a pizza with mushrooms, pepperoni and bacon. And who could resist “Nachos As Big As Your Face”? The dish is served with all the fixings: tomatoes, red onions, black beans, jalapeños and cheese.

If you’re on the search for a nightcap, make your way to the Brickworks Public House back in Whistler Village, where they specialize in gin cocktails.

Saturday: Zip Through Town

snowy Whistler Village at night
Whistler Village is a charming mountain town. (Photo: Getty Images)

After a fitness-fueled Friday, you deserve a bit of a later start. Have brunch at Stonesedge Kitchen, which serves up Pacific Northwest cuisine (think breakfast poutine). And if you’re up for it, try a belly-warming pick-me-up like an iced Jägermeister, Baileys and coffee with cinnamon and vanilla syrup.

Ready for a little action? All of the Whistler zip lines offered by Ziptrek Ecotours are an adventure, but if you really want to take it to the next level, there’s no substitute for the Sasquatch in the warmer months. The route will send you soaring over 7,000 feet, while you dangle 600 feet above the ground and clock in at more than 60 miles per hour.

Winter tours send riders flying above the snowpack on slightly less extreme routes.

If you want to catch your thrills on solid ground, check out a bear-viewing tour from October through May — there’s a population of more than 60 black bears in the area. You’ll still get to experience the rainforests and glaciers in the region, but with the added thrill of visiting a bear den.

Calm down from a morning of thrills with a healthy lunch at Naked Sprout Café, where you can get lighter fare like organic smoothies, vegan ramen bowls and homemade soups. Then it’s time to explore the town. Luckily, a couple of museums are within a five-minute walk.

First, stop at the Audain Art Museum to see the private art collection of Michael Audain. All 200 pieces highlight coastal British Columbia, with works from the 18th century to the present day. Then pop over to the Whistler Museum, where you can check out exhibits detailing the origins of this modern resort town, as well as relics from the 2010 Winter Games.

After all the artful excitement, it’s time for dinner. Whistler may be home to dozens of world-class fine dining restaurants, but your best bet is to follow the locals to La Cantina. These teeny tacos are easy on the wallet, so go ahead and order a bundle.

Lastly, scoot around on the dance floor at Garfinkel’s Whistler. The buzzy nightclub has DJs that keep the party going until 2 a.m., if you can stay up.

Sunday: Zen Out

Woman getting Swedish massage
Partake in a little apres ski while in town. (Photo: Marriott International)

Take in a final morning of alpine scenery at Moguls Coffee House, a local and visitor favorite for 20 years. Nosh on a fresh-baked muffin before making your way to Scandinave Spa Whistler.

Although just a six-minute drive, the nature-focused spa feels a world away. Relax in the Scandinavian baths with mountain vistas and get a Swedish massage if you really want to indulge before lunch.

In the warmer months, Sunday is Farmers’ Market day in Whistler’s Upper Village, by the base of Blackcomb. Sample your way through Whistler’s finest vendors, and bring enough change to nab a fresh cone of locally made Lucia gelato to enjoy with any lunch offering that strikes your fancy.

If it’s winter, opt for a meal at Hunter Gather that has a menu for both meat and veggie lovers, meaning you can order either a barbecue pulled-pork or pulled-jackfruit sandwich; both are drool-worthy.

Then it’s time to hit the trail — the Valley Trail, that is. Follow this paved pathway to Lakeside Park, where you can explore Alta Lake on a stand-up paddleboard. If it’s winter, make your way to Whistler Mountain to get in a few final runs, and be sure to stop at the Photo Platform to snap a photo in front of the iconic colorful rings left from the Winter Games.

Shower up at the hotel before heading back out for one final dinner at Araxi Restaurant & Oyster Bar. It’s been named the best restaurant in Whistler for a decade thanks to dishes like Quebec foie gras parfait. Stay after to enjoy a specialty cocktail like the “Rhubarb + Strawberry Old Fashioned” at the Bar at Araxi. Cheers to a great trip!