Posted by: Feet Banks
Before my son was born I remember being super annoyed at all the baby books and random advice-givers who would say, “Oh, congratulations! Now kiss your life goodbye!” or “Talk to ya in 18 years.”
Certainly young children require plenty of attention and energy (sometimes more than I have to give) but the idea that we must sacrifice our rich and enjoyable lifestyles if we want to have kids is not the Whistler way. Up here in the mountains we do stuff outside and if we have small children who are unable to walk, we tow them along. It’s about integrating your kid into your lifestyle and showing them how amazing it can be to get outside and have fun.
So this holiday season The Whistler Insider presents a “List of Stuff to do with Little, Little Kids.” Enjoy.
There is an old traditional Canadian proverb that goes like this— “If you can talk you can sing, if you can breathe you can laugh, and if you can walk you can skate.”
Whistler has no shortage of frozen lakes and ponds but this will be our first winter with ice skating in the Village. Olympic Plaza is being transformed into a sheet of glorious ice which will open free to the public starting December 20 from 11am-9pm every day (hours change on Dec 25 and 31.) The Skate Shop will be open from 11am-2pm and 6-9pm. Rental skates and bobskates are available for 5 bucks and even if your little one can’t walk parents are welcome to bust off a few laps while pushing the stroller (the smaller the stroller the better however, the rink is brand new and should be very popular this season.) There will be a few helmets on site for borrowing but it’s best to bring your own.
For folks looking for a larger ice surface and or a chance to get a stick and puck into play, head down to Meadow Park Arena for Parent & Tot skate or public skate. The good folks at Meadow Park even have a few loaner strollers for parents who couldn't fit one in their luggage. You can even skate with Santa on Dec 20. Get times and details at their website.
The Whistler Holiday Experience
While it may not be totally ideal for the pre-toddler aged kids, the Whistler Holiday Experience will give new parents and idea of what they’re in for. A few hundred excited children swarming all over a bunch of bouncy castles, video games, air hockey and a mini-putt course should get anyone’s blood pumping. The Holiday Experience is a Shangri-Las for kids aged 2 and up though and a great place to burn off some energy. Crafts tables are available for the artistically inclined or you ca relax and sip on hot chocolate or coffee while watching the fun.
Admission to the Whistler Holiday Experience is totally free and it runs December 15 to Jan 2.
Fire, Ice and All Things Nice
Kids love fire, it’s a primal instinct, especially in the winter. So it’s not much of a stretch that kids love the Fire and Ice show which sees skiers and boarders hucking through a ring of fire at the base of Whistler Mountain every Sunday at 6:30pm, starting December 18 (note that the December 25th show will happen on the 26th.)
People who like their fires with less adrenaline and a bit more intimacy should head out to the Callaghan Country base lodge for their Weekend Family Bonfires. Bring your own weenies (they provide the sticks) and enjoy an old-fashioned hot dog lunch while the kids play on the giant snow pile or just stare at the flames in total awe. Details and contact info are on their website.
And if putting your little tater tot around an open flame makes you nervous you can still blow their minds (and retinas) at the Festival of Lights and Winter Wonder Land Art Exhibit going on at Millennium Place from December 19 – January 19.
With custom made lanterns, light sculptures and cool wintery artwork everywhere this also gives parents a chance to practice their tonal inflections when saying “don’t touch!” sixty or seventy times in a row.
The Whistler Arts Council is also hosting a series of Lantern Decorating workshops for older kids.
XC skiing with a sled
“XC” is just a hipper way of saying “Cross Country” but nothing is cooler than pulling your little baby bunting along behind you in a sled while taking in the marvelous winter vistas of the Callaghan Valley and the site of the 2010 Winter Games. XC ski gear, child carriers and sled rentals are available out at the Whistler Olympic Park and they have a small toboggan run set up near the day lodge if you want to let Junior experience a little gravity on his/her own.
No, you are not allowed to just randomly toboggan on the ski hill. Instead, pick up a cheap flying saucer or crazy carpet from the Whistler Village Hardware store (right across from Araxi) and head down to Myrtle Philip or Spring Creek schools for some downhill exhilaration. There is also a small mound set up near the Whistler Olympic Plaza skating rink that could make for a second or two of tobogganing good times.
While not as exhilarating as bombing downhill on a crazy saucer, you don’t need to be a laser scientist to understand that every child could use a few more books in their life, especially as technology looms over everything else. The Whistler Public Library has books galore and also offers lots of drop-in programs like “Singing with Babies” or “Toddler Story Time” to keep your tot entertained while you read the latest Vanity Fair to see how Angelina and Brad are doing with their six kids.
Go up the mountain
Who says junior can’t get up on the ski hill? Strollers and toddlers are welcome on the Whistler Village Gondola and chances are you will meet a whole gaggle of parents with children having lunch in the roundhouse and taking turns doing laps. This is a great way to enjoy the scenery, meet other parents, and just get the kid up above the hustle of it all. Bonus points if you do the PEAK 2 PEAK gondola.
Baby’s On the Go
This is pretty genius. A Whistler company that will rent you almost anything baby-related (from cribs to strollers to toy kitchens to snowsuits) so you don’t have to lug it all the way from home. Everything to make life with an infant easier and more relaxing this holiday season.
Hit them up at their site for a full list