From scenic snow-covered vistas to charming village shops to thriving culture and cuisine, Whistler offers the perfect mountain escape.

Photography Stacey Putman / Alamy Stock Photo

Consistently ranked one of the world’s top ski destinations, the resort town of Whistler in the Southern Pacific ranges of the Coast Mountains is also home to unique First Nations culture, world-class shopping, and a healthy mix of casual and fine dining options. To help you learn the secrets of Whistler, we asked Hana Lynn, Chef Concierge at Four Seasons Resort and Residences Whistler, to share her tips and recommendations for the best things to do year round in Whistler—from glacier golfing and lake fishing in the summertime to a variety of snow activities in the winter.

Powder heaven

Whistler glows during the wintertime, transforming into a snow-covered wonderland as temperatures drop.

Photography Lucas Brentano

The Peak2Peak Gondola (the longest and highest lift in the world) takes only 11 minutes to cross from Blackcomb Mountain to Whistler Mountain, so you can explore both peaks in one day.

For an intense experience, the West Cirque on Whistler and Couloir Extreme on Blackcomb are the most epic “runs of a lifetime” in the region. For up-to-the-minute expert advice on the best runs and recommended terrain of the day, visit the Ski Concierge at the base of Blackcomb. You can also try snowmobiling, snowshoeing, dogsledding or cross-country skiing in Whistler Olympic Park.

Winter adventures in Whistler

The Wilderness Wellness Extraordinary Experience begins with a helicopter ride, followed by a soak in natural hot springs and a private dinner in the mountains.

Photography courtesy Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

The Resort offers unforgettable winter excursions if you want to explore Whistler in a different way. The Ice Cap Adventure & Exploration begins with a helicopter ride over expansive ice fields, after which you explore the vast, breathtaking Ice Caves with a private guide and enjoy a gourmet mountain-style lunch prepared by chefs at the Resort.

For adrenaline junkies, the Heli-Snowmobile & Snowbike Adventure offers the chance to explore via state-of-the-art snowmobiles and snowbikes. Expert guides will teach you about the terrain as you race through the wilderness at 8,000 feet (2,438 metres) above sea level. The snowmobiles can also be outfitted with ski racks if you want to partake in back-country glacier skiing.

Summertime fun in Whistler

White water rafting in the summer is another way to get your adrenaline pumping and see the spectacular natural landscape.

Photography courtesy Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

Although Whistler’s peak season is from December to March, there’s no shortage of activities during the warmer months. In the summer, Whistler Olympic Plaza hosts a free outdoor concert nearly every weekend, as well as movie screenings, yoga events, Canada Day celebrations and other festivities.

If you want to get your heart pumping, the Resort is just across the street from the beginning of the Lost Lake trails, which are excellent for running, walking and biking. Visit Loggers Lake for trout fishing, or choose to travel south to Squamish, or north to Pemberton or Anderson Lake, for salmon. In Whistler, Alta Lake is great for swimming, kayaking, canoeing or paddleboating, and its Wayside Park offers paddleboard yoga classes.

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Distinctive arts and culture

If you’re looking to dive into the culture of British Columbia, you’ll appreciate a tour through the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, led by a guide who is a member of either the Lil’wat or the Squamish Nation. Explore the differences between the two Nations through art and crafts, traditional clothing, and stories and legends.

Art aficionados will love Art Gallery Row in the heart of Whistler Village. There, Fathom Stone Art Gallery and Studio offers daily stone-carving classes that are suitable for all ages. Film fans should visit in December, when Whistler rolls out the red carpet for the Whistler Film Festival. More than 80 films are shown during the event, which is one of Canada’s leading film festivals.

Canadian flavours

Home cooks should take advantage of the SIDECUT’s signature Therein Lies Your Rub, a “blending session” class, where you’ll learn the art of combining herbs and spices to bring out flavour in cooking, as well as make and bottle your own signature dry rub to take home.

Photography courtesy Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

To get a true taste of Whistler, look no further than the Resort’s SIDECUT Modern Steak + Bar restaurant, which offers a variety of locally sourced cuisine, an exclusive selection of wines from British Columbia’s premier vineyards and micro-greens grown on site.

Near the Resort, Whistler Village’s pedestrian-only stroll is lined with restaurants, many of which have patios so you can enjoy the fresh mountain air. A bit off the beaten path is Alta Bistro, a modern French eatery committed to using locally sourced produce, meat and seafood.

If you don’t mind making a reservation, head to Rimrock Cafe, long considered the treasure of the Whistler dining scene due to its rustic ambience, contemporary cuisine and flawless service. Or try a “trio” at Bearfoot Bistro, where Executive Chef Melissa Craig offers three different preparations of one ingredient, such as Japanese Kobe, Wagyu beef or venison.

Mountain-style fashion

Whistler is a prime place if you want to look stylish on the slopes. In the Upper Village and just steps from the Resort, Can-Ski carries a selection of exclusive lines that marry high fashion with functionality, such as Luis Trenker, Bogner and Kjus. Yogis will love the lululemon store, in the heart of Whistler Village. Nearby, L’Occitane offers a wide range of his and hers cleansers and moisturisers to help heal skin that’s sensitive to the mountain air.

Skip the typical souvenirs for friends and family back home and pick up cultural gifts at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre—think dreamcatchers, cosy slippers, or beautifully decorated salt and pepper shakers.

Alpine relaxation

There’s no better way to relax in a new environment than to indulge in locally inspired spa treatments at the Resort’s Spa. The Indigenous Wildflower Compress massage uses deep heated compressions and herb packs to melt away muscle tension and rejuvenate the skin, and a stone crop lotion seals the medicinal botanicals into the pores.

The Sea-to-Sky massage, inspired by the scenic highway visitors take to Whistler, incorporates long, flowing massage strokes with warm river rocks, soothing aromas, hot towels and a cleansing, pure seaweed back exfoliation. The BC Glacial Clay Wrap treatment features a sea kelp and salt exfoliation, as well as a vitamin-enriched combination of indigenous heated clay and organic seaweed in its detoxifying body wrap.

There are also unique offerings at the Spa. The Mountain Men Bar features a host of unique treatments that are specifically designed for men, while the Glacier Kids spa menu has treatments catered to children.

Whistler family adventures

Whistler is an ideal destination for active and fun family vacations, filled with adventures, explorations and challenges. Bond as a family while conquering a Treetop Adventure Course, or hike the mountain and meet the local marmots from which the mountain received its name.

The summer brims with exciting activities as the Village comes alive with street entertainers, dancers, magicians and the local favourite Balloon Guy, who can make just about anything from a balloon.

Embark in a 4×4 vehicle excursion in search of bears native to Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. This excursion is best taken at the end of May and throughout June, when you’re more likely to catch sight of young cubs and adults.

For a relaxing moment with the family, take part in one of the Resort’s most popular winter activities: roasting marshmallows around the courtyard fireplace.

A perfect day in Whistler

A premiere skiing location, Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains make up the largest ski resort experience in North America, offering plenty to explore.

Photography Robert Morton / Thinkstock

During ski season, start the morning skiing on expertly maintained ski fields and enjoy the vast terrain that Whistler and Blackcomb have to offer, followed by lunch on the mountaintop with panoramic views at Steeps Grill & Wine Bar.

Afterwards, unwind at the Spa at Four Seasons Resort and Residences Whistler with a massage, and then enjoy a dip in one of the three hot springs–style hot tubs by the pool. The Hotel Library, just off the main lobby, offers a quiet retreat with a cosy fireplace; ask the Concierge for a selection of board games to enjoy while lounging.

In the evening, take in the lively après-ski scene at SIDECUT Bar, and enjoy a signature cocktail and live music, followed by an amazing steak dinner at SIDECUT Modern Steak + Bar.

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