While Whistler is best known as a winter ski destination and summer hotspot in British Columbia, the spring “shoulder season” is something of a gem in the Whistler calendar.
The spring season in Whistler takes place from mid-April to mid-June and while visitors can expect quieter streets and a more laid-back feel, there’s still an abundance of outdoor adventure opportunities to be enjoyed.
Here’s our guide to spending spring in Whistler.
Four Seasons in One Day
Arguably one of the greatest advantages to visiting Whistler in spring is the ability to experience every season all at once. During May, mornings can be spent alpine skiing wearing a sweater, while afternoons can be spent basking in spring sunshine playing a round of golf, hiking in Whistler, rock climbing or heading out on a bike ride. Switch things up in an instant, exploring the rugged backcountry on an ATV trip or fishing on the lake during an early June evening.
Whistler: The Home of Axe Throwing
British Columbia is the home of competitive axe throwing, a tradition started by woodland lumberjacks. Today, axe throwing is a fun sport and pastime, and is one of the best things to do in Whistler. The team at Forged have created an indoor space where you can try your hand at axe throwing and even compete against your friends. Hugely popular with bachelor and bachelorette parties, you’ll be instantly hooked as you perfect your aim and chase the elusive bullseye.
Biking in Whistler
The Whistler Bike Park is usually up and running before the ski season is finished, making for some epic double-adventure days. Alternatively, hire a mountain bike and head off along the valley trails taking in the sights. As the thaw progresses, new trails open up and you’ll be able to check out some of the most breathtaking sights along the way. There’s a trail adventure for every skill level – just don’t forget your camera!
Bear Watching in Whistler
Get up close – but not personal – with Whistler’s most beautiful resident, the black bear. Under the watchful eye of an experienced guide and the safety and comfort of a Land Rover, you’ll observe black bears as they roam through the woods in search of food. The best time to see these creatures is from late May to early August and this is one of the best (and safest) ways to view the bears in their natural habitat. Don’t worry, the experienced guides will ensure you’re far enough way so as not to disturb the bears.
Spring sees an action-packed calendar of festivals and events, sure to offer something for everyone. The infamous World Ski and Snowboard Festival takes place in April, and is something of a curtain closer on six months of snow-filled action. The all-adventures GO Fest in May is a celebration of the great outdoors, music, arts and culture, and is one of British Columbia’s best outdoor festivals.
After a busy winter season and six months of bruising winter sports, spring is a time to slow down and relax at one of the many spas in Whistler. Choose from a treatment or massage, or wind down in one of the oh-so-inviting hot tubs. The Scandinave Spa comes highly recommended, and the wood burning sauna and eucalyptus steam baths are the perfect place to release tension.
There’s something hugely exhilarating about swinging and swooping through the spring air, strapped on to Whistler’s ever popular zip line. Explore a network of trails and boardwalks before taking in the views from Cougar Mountain. Zip lining in Whistler provides a truly unique perspective on the old growth forests and rugged valley, just don’t forget to look down.
If you’re still hungry for a little action on the slopes, we’ve got good news. You can generally still enjoy skiing until the last week of May, although the last few weeks often see a reduction in the number of slopes available. On the plus side, cheap ticket deals are readily available at this time and there’s also the option to enjoy skiing on the glacier from mid-June to mid-July – perfect for those who aren’t ready to give up on winter just yet.
If You Visit Whistler
Where to Stay in Whistler
As you’d expect for North America’s biggest ski resort, the winter months can get a little pricey in Whistler. The good news is that spring is much more affordable, with many of the area’s best hotels offering rooms at competitive rates. This makes Whistler a great destination for a quick weekend getaway or trip with the guys or girls.
The following hotels come highly recommended:
Westin Resort and Spa
This award-winning hotel right next to the Whistler gondola comes complete with a fireplace and flat-screen TV, as well as an in-house restaurant and some of the best views found anywhere in the village.
Renowned for its quirky decor and comfortable suites, the Summit Lodge is located close to some of Whistler’s finest restaurants and is just a few minutes’ walk from the mountains.
Fairmont Chateau Whistler
For a true taste of luxury at an impressive price, head for the Fairmont during spring. Everything about this hotel is simply exquisite, from the spacious suites to tantalising cocktails, and the hotel is conveniently located at the base of Blackcomb Mountain.
Where to Eat in Whistler
The Whistler food scene shows no sign of slowing down, and spring cuisine is arguably the most delicious and varied of all the seasons. Famous names like Araxi, the Rimrock Cafe and Nagomi Sushi are must-visits, with internationally renowned chefs sourcing the best ingredients British Columbia has to offer. Don’t forget to stop by the smaller local eateries too, like Hunter Gather, where an impressive craft beer and wine selection will keep you refreshed on those warmer days.