Weekend warrior guide last updated February 2024.

Guest Author: Vince Shuley

We often talk about the advantages of visiting mid-week and embracing the “mid-week warrior” lifestyle. That’s all well and good but the reality of most city dwellers (and many mountain dwellers too) is that from Monday to Friday work needs to get done to keep the world turning. You may get away with the occasional sick-day pow fest, but for most of the snow season, your on-hill enjoyment will take place during weekends of the winter.

Unfortunately most of the working world is on the same schedule, so it’s crucial to know how to make every minute count before the drive down the Sea to Sky Highway back to work. Check out a few local tips in this guide to Whistler Weekend Warriorism:

Beat the traffic

Come in to work at 7 AM on Friday morning. Bring your boss their favourite flavour of matcha-latte, beg, lie, steal, just do whatever it takes to leave early on Friday afternoon. If you can roll into Whistler before 5 PM, you’re laughing. Alternatively, get to bed early on Friday night and start your drive in the wee hours of Saturday and you can be standing at the lifts waiting for them to open just like a die-hard local.

Keep up to date on road and snow reports by listening to Mountain FM on your way up and follow GoWhistler on X (formerly Twitter) for updates on weather, events and conditions. If there is a big snowfall the local snow fiends will be coming out of the woodwork so arriving early is integral. We shouldn’t have to tell you but, YES from October to March you need snow tires!

Better yet, check out the shuttle and bus options that can get you to Whistler without having to think about driving, parking, snow tires, or filling up on the way. You can catch up on sleep or generally zone out during the trip, and there’s plenty of room for your gear in the storage areas.

The Sea to Sky Highway in winter.
The Sea to Sky Highway is a beautiful route, so consider taking a shuttle to lessen traffic and better enjoy the views. PHOTO: MIKE CRANE


You made it, now you’ve got to find a place to park and boot up. The Creekside parkade is convenient for getting a quick upload on the Creekside Gondola, but can get congested at the end of the day (a good reason to stay for more après or an early dinner).

The Day Lots next to Whistler Village are a popular choice for uploading in the Village, or keep driving up to Base 2 on Blackcomb for a quick walk to the Excalibur Gondola.

Easier option: Get a hotel when you arrive Friday night and walk to everything you need all weekend long.

First Tracks

Ever wanted to be that person cruising down the runs, leaving visible first tracks for everyone just heading up the gondola?

Not only can you be that person, but you can also make the most of your mountain time with a First Tracks ticket. These tickets are $28 each and give you early access to the mountain between 7.30 AM and 8 AM (ahead of everyone else).

As an added bonus, your ticket also gets you a $17 voucher to spend on light refreshments up top. This early start and early breakfast is a must for any dedicated weekend warrior, and they also lead nicely into our next tip . . .

Meal Times

Similar to the 9-5 world, the lunchtime rush between 12 and 1:30 PM can be hectic at the on-hill restaurants. Solve that by taking a lap down to Dusty’s, Merlin’s or the GLC where there is plenty of seating earlier in the day or take your lunch early at the Roundhouse, Glacier Creek or Rendezvous by 11 AM. For more early bird tips check out The Insider post Early Bird gets the Pow: Whistler Truisms Revealed.

When après rolls around, the slopeslide patios at the GLC and Longhorn can get busy but just shoulder your skis and walk down the Village Stroll a few hundred metres for an equally satisfying après experience without waiting for a table. The Beacon Eatery and Stonesedge serve great food, cocktails and excellent selections of B.C. craft beer. There are plenty of other dining options all over Whistler Village.

Four people sit down at a table for a ski break in the mountains in winter.
Lunch time in the mountains – sometimes best not at lunch time. PHOTO: MIKE CRANE

Go Back to Snow School

You may think that you’re too good for lessons, but did you ever consider joining a small group of like-minded skiers for the privilege of ducking lift lines all day long? Whistler Snow School offers instruction for anything from a 1/2 day lesson to multi-day specialty camps allowing you to gain valuable coaching and increase your vertical mileage to the level of weekend warrior stardom.

The same goes for the kids, after all, they would probably rather ski with a group of kids their own age and a cool instructor dressed in a Pokemon costume anyhow. Club ski programs are incredibly good value and free up your time to get the maximum amount of shred time on your weekends.

Even if you’re already a black-diamond ripping, pow slaying, true Weekend Warrior that thinks you know all the hidden stashes on the mountain, think again. The very experienced coaches at Extremely Canadian will get you the goods and make sure you are up to the task with their Steep Clinics. This experience will send you home with stories of how you descended some of Whistler and Blackcomb’s most technical terrain, perfect for the Monday morning water cooler chats.

Children take ski lessons in Whistler.
Put yourself and the kids in ski school to make the most of everyone’s limited time! PHOTO: VINCE EMOND

Plan Your Exit

You may be in the mood to party on Saturday night, but if you want to get the most out of your Sunday hit the slopes early so you can call it a day early and beat the Sunday afternoon southbound exodus, which starts to get hectic around 3 PM.

If you feel like après is absolutely necessary (it often is) then stay longer in the Village for dinner and you’ll have a congestion-free drive home after about 8 PM. Obviously, someone has to abstain from drinking in order to drive the vehicle but the best option is to simply stay another night and call yourself a long weekend warrior. Sick Days are a constitutional right aren’t they?

Find out everything you need to know about Whistler, including good last-minute accommodation deals, at Whistler.com


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