The Winter Olympics host is famed for its abundant snow, bustling village and scenic location—which happens to be just a five-hour drive from the Seattle metro area. And while it’s always a dependable place to strap on a pair of skis or shred on your snowboard, the Coast Mountain spot is constantly evolving. Here’s what’s new this season:
SKI, SNOWBOARD & SLIDE
With an annual average of 38 feet of snow, Whistler is the kind of place where you want to maximize your run time. This season, the new eight-passenger cabins on the Whistler Village Gondola will help you do just that, given that the improved loading efficiency promises to increase the uphill skier carrying capacity by 12 percent. The $6 million cabins join last year’s new additions, the $18 million Harmony 6 Express high-speed six-pack chairlift on Whistler Mountain and the Crystal Ridge Express high-speed quad on Blackcomb Mountain. Plus, all lift tickets and season passes will now be equipped with RFID technology that automatically opens the access gates to the lifts, no digging for your card required.
Off the slopes, Whistler Sliding Centre will stay open later than usual this season, giving you the chance to live out your Cool Runnings dreams until April. Try the bobsled or the skeleton (that’s the one where you’re hurtling headfirst down the track). If your adrenaline levels just aren’t up for that kind of thrill, take a self-guided tour of the facility—you can stand on the Olympic podium, take a photo in an Olympic sled and walk down the famed Thunderbird Corner to the finish dock.
There are 10,000 bedrooms in Whistler, including 19,936 pillows within 500 meters of the ski lifts (give or take a few, we’d guess), which give you plenty of options for resting between runs.
In honor of its 10th anniversary, Four Seasons Resort Whistler is rolling out several experiences, including a 10-course tasting menu, helicopter rides and dog sledding. For those feeling particularly adventurous, the winter “glamping” package will transport you to the Pemberton Ice Cap, where you’ll swing by some ice caves on your snowmobile en route to your own private glamping enclave. A “snow hotel” may not sound cozy, but with prewarmed down duvets, gourmet meals and hot tubs, this one certainly is.
For a more traditional accommodations experience, the Delta Whistler Village Suites were recently renovated and now feature a modern design; plentiful, easily accessible outlets; a built-in luggage rack; a large-screen TV with input audio, video or data from your device to the TV; larger-than-average undermount sinks; and other convenient amenities.
Opened this past summer by a husband-and-wife team with nearly 40 years of combined food-and-beverage experience, Stonesedge Kitchen aims to bridge the gap between fine dining and pub food. The result is a comfortable space with reasonable prices and creative offerings, including falafel bites and bacon-infused Caesars served with a bacon straw. Located in Whistler Village, the restaurant is conveniently open from morning till late night.
Also new on the scene is Chef Paul Moran at Nita Lake Lodge. After stints cooking in Dubai, Montreal, Paris, Mexico City, and beyond, Chef Moran decided to bring his talents back to his home province of British Columbia. Although still just in his 20s, his world travels inspire the vegetable-forward, local-ingredients-driven menu.
For casual fare that’s a hit with locals and tourists alike, La Cantina—Urban Taco Bar serves up everything from classic street tacos (such as chicken tinga, fish and brisket) to burritos and salads. Given the gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian options, everyone in the group should be able to find something to fit their dietary preferences and restrictions.
So experience something new at Whistler this year, or just stick with the tried-and-true standbys—either way, you’re guaranteed to have a wonderfully wintry time.