Posted by: Feet Banks
LEFT: Chris Charlebois at The Sk8 Cave Nicholas Dubeau Photo RIGHT: Ripping the Pow. Mike Crane Photo.
Teenagers are interesting creatures—half child, half utterly-irresponsible adult— and yet keeping a teenager happy can be the make-or-break point of any vacation. Of course, many teens will be plenty stoked to just ride the mountains all day and then hunker down in the hotel with an open tab for room service and pay-per-view movies/video games but Whistler actually has quite a few options for teenagers looking to get away from the "old folks", flex their independence, and have a bit of fun this spring break.
The Sk8 Cave
New this winter, The Sk8 Cave is an indoor mini-ramp and skate shop down in Function Junction. Owner Chris Charlebois is a lifelong skater turning his passion into a career, and providing Whistler with its only indoor public skate ramp.
"Skateboarding is one of the most rewarding activities I've ever done," Chris says. "I've played team sports played hockey, was a pro snowboarder, but with skateboarding... no one is telling anyone when, how, where or why to do it. It's just freedom."
A true "core" shop, the Sk8 Cave has a beautifully constructed mini-ramp with a wall-ride extension on one wall and and a granite tombstone on the other. Two hour sessions are $12 and Chris offers lessons for all skill levels. Helmets are required for anyone under 18 and alcohol, drugs or creepy behavior is not tolerated. Open 1-8 PM but check the Sk8 Cave Facebook Page for more details or call 604-932-1818.
Although some teenagers lag around the house a lot don’t be fooled—they actually have lots of energy they’re just very specific about when and how to unleash it. Whistler Bounce is an indoor trampoline park located in Function Junction with padded walls, a foam pit, and instructors ready to teach your kid how to bounce, flip and twist like a pro. They also have good music and tons of the local pro skier and snowboarders drop in to train. This place is teen Shangri La. Bounce is open 11 AM-9 PMdaily. Drop in is $15 and kids aged 10 and under require adult accompaniment. Check out their video.
Meadow Park Sports Centre
First of all, Meadow Park has a rope swing at the pool and every teen loves a rope swing (there’s also a slide for those with less upper-body strength, and probably some pool noodles too).
Speaking of strength, Meadow Park also features a full gym, squash courts and an NHL-sized skating rink with daily public skating sessions. Whistler Transit stops right out front and if the valley snow has melted there are also a couple fields in back for running around and tossing/kicking a ball or hucking a frisbee.
Ice Skating at the Olympic Plaza
Free is key when you have a kid and free ice skating at the Whistler Olympic Plaza is a really fun way to kill a couple hours and enjoy a bit of Canadiana. Open daily from 11AM to 9 PM (with an hour closure for ice maintenance from 5-6 PM) the Plaza rink also has a rental shop in case airport security confiscated your kids’ ice skates. The rink will be gone at the end of March so get there while you can.
Indoor Rock Climbing at The Core
The Core is a full-on fitness facility but bored teens will probably have more fun on the climbing wall than the elliptical machines. The Core offers kid-specific camps as well as a climb-and-dine evening program (which is perfect if you want to ditch your teens and get into some of Whistler’s more romantic fine dining spots.)
Whistler Youth Centre
Can your teens cook? The Whistler Youth Centre offers "dinner and a movie" nights on Fridays. The dinner costs three bucks but Youth Centre staff will teach your kids how to prepare their own food (and maybe even convince them to eat a bit healthier.) The Youth Centre is open from 3:30-11PM on Fridays.
On Saturday they’re open from 6-10 PM and teens can come rock out on the skateboard mini-ramp or get busy on the pool tables, ping pong, x-box, movies and more. It’s a good way to meet local teens and talk about how to become a pro skier or snowboarder and stay young forever.
The Youth Centre also offers free yoga on Wednesday nights from 5:30-7 PM. Call 604-935-8187 for details on any of the above.
Whistler Blackcomb’s Tube Park is open from noon-8pm daily until April 22. It features over 1000 feet of sliding surface with green, blue and black lanes. Best of all, there is no skill or equipment required so anyone should be able to rip it up. Kids under 12 need adult supervision, however.
Fire and Ice
Most teens love explosions and fire so watching skiers and riders huck through a flaming ring at the weekly Fire and Ice show is a pretty safe bet. It all starts at 8 PM on Sunday night at the base of the Whistler Gondola until April 17. And best of all, it’s free.
Check out the Whistler Insider blog post about a 12-year Fire and Ice veteran.
Whistler Public Library
Aside from being a beautifully awesome building with a green roof the Whistler Public Library is also one of the most-used libraries in British Columbia (and yet it’s closed on Sundays, go figure).
Regardless, the library has a Teen Lounge full of Young Adult books, magazines, movies and computers for teens to “do homework” on. The Library also often organizes special events like the Youth Café, which offers games, socializing, book talks and writing workshops.
Village 8 Cinemas
Want to buy yourselves two hours for a romantic dinner? Drop the kids off at the Village 8 Cinemas, located right in Whistler Village, and enjoy the freedom.
Geared primarily towards younger kids, this local website/family resource guide features events and ideas that some teens may be into. From Saturday “Craft-ernoons” to Japanese Drumming Performances Whistler4kids always has something fun on the go.
Even if you forgot to pack your chauffeur hat your teens can still get to and fro via Whistler Transit.
And if all else fails, start a snowball fight! But most importantly, whatever you end up doing with your teens, have fun and enjoy the family time. They’re only young once and the nicer you are to them now the better they will treat you when you’re old and far-less-mobile.