In Travel

24 Hour Guide To Whistler: Slopes, Helicopters & More

All aboard to ‘Whistralia’. Jokingly referred to as such for its inordinate population of Australian expats, Whistler tears away from the rest of North America with its incredibly distinct atmosphere, most famous for its winter activities.

But while outdoor adventure and pristine wilderness are the area’s signature draws, a visit to this refreshing part of the world doesn’t have to be all rough and rugged.

Make the essential stopover during winter when the village springs to life with skiers, snowboarders, luxury travellers and budget backpackers. Spend the day here mixing luxury experiences with thrilling adventures in nature.

Here are a few ideas to help you do just that.

8am: Catch a snowmobile to your traditional Yukon breakfast

Yukon Breakfast snowmobile tour ventures through the remote backcountry of the Yukon. Image: ‘Yukon Breakfast’ snowmobile tour / supplied

The Yukon, a wild and rugged territory in northwest Canada, is one of the country’s finest seats of fresh produce, renowned across North America for its abundant agriculture industry.

Chase the flavours of this beloved region by starting early and hopping on a ‘Yukon Breakfast’ snowmobile tour, which combines your morning meal with some rewarding outdoor activity.

The winter experience ventures through the remote backcountry of the Callaghan Valley, breezing through the remarkably crisp mountain air before arriving at a private log cabin on Sproatt Mountain where a true Canadian breakfast awaits.

12pm: Hit Whistler’s world-famous slopes

Whistler guide

Choose from over 200 marked runs on Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. Image: Justa Jeskova / Tourism Whistler

You’ve got over 200 marked runs to choose from between the side-by-side Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, the two heroes of what is widely considered the best ski resort in the world. The peak-to-peak gondola, a destination in and of itself, makes for easy access between both mountains, so don’t stress too much over the choice.

Blackcomb is where you’ll want to be if you consider yourself ready for intermediate or expert runs, tackling its steeper, tree-lined terrain, and numerous Black Diamond (the highest ranking for skiing difficulty) runs.

Over the other side, Whistler is the smarter option for beginners and is usually sunnier with plenty of wide-open spaces and show-stopping views.

2pm: Upscale après-ski at Christine’s

You should have already had your fill of adventure by now, so make sure to end up on Blackcomb for a fancy après ski session at Christine’s. The fine dining chalet, 1,860 meters up the mountain, boasts cinematic views over Whistler and has long been a local favourite for special occasion lunches.

Order the keralan fish curry with sablefish, roasted cauliflower and basmati rice. Rumour has it Woody Harrelson loved the dish so much he ordered it four days in a row.

3pm: Lift off on a quick helicopter tour

Blackcomb Helicopters’ ‘Whistler Epic’ tour features 45 minutes of airtime and a landing on a 10,000-year-old glacier. Image: Blackcomb Helicopters / supplied

Blackcomb Helicopters operate tours out of Rendezvous Lodge, which is where Christine’s is located. Stroll over after lunch and choose from either the brief $200 ‘Glacier Tour’, or the significantly more expensive and exclusive ‘Whistler Epic’.

The latter features 30-45 minutes of airtime plus a scenic cruise over expansive meadows, reflective glacial lakes, and inactive volcanoes. Weather permitting, you might even get the chance to land on a 10,000-year-old glacier.

4pm: Browse the Audain Art Museum

Audain Art Museum houses a personal art collectionist that traces from 18th Century to today. Image: Justa Jeskova / Tourism Whistler

Opened in 2016, the stunning Audain Art Museum has fast become one of the village’s most charming and peaceful spots.

Shaped with sloped natural timber and dark metal, it houses the personal art collection of home-builder and philanthropist Michael Audain and traces British Columbian history from the late 18th Century to the present day, alongside a renowned collection of First Nation masks.

5pm: Rejuvenate at the Scandinave Spa

Scandinave Spa is a surprising slice of Europe just north of Whistler Village. Image: Scandinave Spa / supplied

Framed by towering spruce and cedar trees, Scandinave Spa is a surprising slice of Europe hidden just north of Whistler Village. After the busy day you’ve had, treat yourself to some peaceful pampering on the edge of Lost Lake.

Built on Finnish design and philosophy, the spa focuses on hydrotherapy treatments, and is completely tech-free. a Eucalyptus steam bath, different kinds of traditional Finnish saunas, cold plunge pools, Nordic showers, and a waterfall also feature on the line-up.

Bring a good book with you and soothe away your stresses.

7pm: Dine like royalty at Bearfoot Bistro

Bearfoot Bistro is a playground for local gourmands and wine connoisseurs. Image: Mike Crane / Tourism Whistler

Eatery Bearfoot Bistro, a superstar in British Columbia and a massive presence at Whistler’s annual Cornucopia food festival, is a playground for local gourmands and wine connoisseurs.

The theatrical fine dining restaurant also boasts a dedicated Champagne lounge, stunning outdoor area, and the unique Ketel One Ice Room, which is the world’s coldest Vodka tasting room with more than 50 types from around the world.

Choose between a sit-down, opulent seafood dinner, set to a resident jazz pianist. Or head down to the underground wine cellar to participate in a Champagne sabering class with 20,000 shelves bottles as a backdrop.

9pm: Spend the night at Four Seasons Resort

The Four Seasons is a luxury boutique ski ludge in Whistler’s Upper Village. Image: Four Seasons Resort / Tourism Whistler

The Four Seasons is a luxury boutique ski lodge in Whistler’s calm Upper Village. Plenty of heated outdoor areas are spread through the property, so if you’re not yet ready to retreat to your immaculate suite then go for a nighttime soak in the heated outdoor pool or any of its three spas.

Afterward, check out the multisensory cocktail collection at Sidecut Bar for a nightcap or two.

(Lead image: Blackcomb Helicopters / supplied)

Published 10 April, 2019