Insider’s Guide to Making Whistler Your Home for the Holidays

Insider’s Guide to Making Whistler Your Home for the Holidays

Guest Author: Andrew Mitchell

Whether you celebrate Santa, Saints, Seders or snow, Holy Nights or Ho-Ho-Hos, Whistler is where you want to be for the holidays – a real-life winter wonderland for all ages with a never-ending list of things to do, eat, drink and experience.

It’s hard to find a tree in the Village that isn’t lit up for the season, and there are adventures to be had in every direction – and most of them are free! This event calendar has all of Whistler’s holiday magic in one place but here are some Insider highlights for the last days of 2015.

Daily Activities

Free Public Skating

Starting Dec. 12, 2015 — Whistler Olympic Plaza

Whistler’s indoor/outdoor facility offers free public skating seven days a week, 11 AM to 2 PM, 3 PM to 5:30 PM and 6:30 PM to 9 PM with temporary closures for resurfacing. Skate and helmet rentals are $5. There’s also hot chocolate on tap to get warm and the area around the rink also has a lot to do, including the Snow Zone sliding hill, a fire pit, and Family Après events on set days.

The Whistler Holiday Experience

December 19 to January 2, 2016 — 10 AM to 6 PM—Whistler Conference Centre

If the weather outside is frightful the Whistler Conference Centre is so delightful, with lots to do for families. There is a room full of bouncy castles, a mini putt course, a selection of table games, a lounge where families can enjoy a bite to eat and a cup of something warm, videos games, and special events like performances, and arts and crafts. Closed on Christmas Day and on Dec. 31 to prepare for Whistler Presents: New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Whistler Trees of Hope Charity Art Auction

Until January 6, 2016 — Fairmont Chateau Whistler Lobby

In November the Chateau Whistler hosted a group of local and visiting artists and asked them to paint on the theme of “Trees of Hope.” The stunning artwork is displayed in the hotel lobby and is all being auctioned online to raise funds for Canuck Place, a Vancouver children’s hospice. More great art can be viewed in the Mountain Galleries downstairs and The Fairmont is always a very festive place this time of year, stop into the Mallard Lounge and see Fred about a Spiced Sidecar or a Champagne Cocktail.

Left: “Trees of Hope” artwork by Andrea Moore. Right: Trees and the Fairmont Chateau Whistler

Special Events

The Chairlift Revue Christmas Special

December 17-18, 2015 — 7 PM — Maury Young Arts Centre (formerly known as Millennium Place) 

Local acting and writing talents collaborate to produce a series short plays taking place entirely on chairlifts, drawing from their own hundreds (thousands?) of hours spent riding Whistler’s flying people movers alongside interesting people from around the world. Doors open 7 PM, tickets are $22 at The Whistler Arts Council.

Dress Like Santa Day

December 19, 2015 — 8:30 AM— Fitzsimmons Express Chair, Whistler Village

Starting to feel a lot like Christmas? Why not look like Christmas as well? The first 100 people to show up at the GLC dressed like Santa or Mrs. Claus will get free lift tickets for the day. The minimum dress code includes red or black pants (or a skirt for Mrs. Claus), a red jacket with white trim, a black belt, a beard for Santa, and a Santa/Mrs. Claus hat. Clauses will participate in a group run under the chair before being set loose on the mountains to spread good cheer. (And check out this Insider blog if you need to explain to your young child while there are 100+ Santas in one place.)

Holiday Saturday Crafternoon

December 19, 2015 — 3:30 to 4:30 PM — Whistler Public Library

Because when was the last time you hit up a Crafternoon? Parents with young kids are invited to come by the library to get hands-on with a fun holiday craft, meet other families and of course peruse the bookshelves.

King of the Rail Season Opener

December 19, 2015 — 7 to 9 PM — Whistler Village, Base of Whistler Mountain

Young ski and snowboard talents session a variety of rails at the base of Whistler Mountain for two hours, with the athletes voting for the best at the end of the night. Spectators are welcome. There’s music and some great course commentary.

Skate with Santa at the Plaza

December 20, 2015 — 3 to 5 PM — Whistler Olympic Plaza

On Dec. 20, Santa Claus will make an appearance to skate with kids, be available for photos and for listening to some some wish lists. There will be hot chocolate, cookies and holiday crafts to celebrate.

Carols & Holiday Cheer

December 20, 2015 — 3:30 to 4:30 PM — Whistler Public Library

Grab a warm beverage and join in on the carol singing with the Whistler Singers and Whistler Children’s Choir. Bonus points if you know all the words.

Fire & Ice Show

December 20 and 27, 2015 — 6:30 PM — Village Base of Whistler Mountain

Top local skiers and snowboarders put on a big air show, accompanied by live DJs and fire dancers. A flaming hoop makes an appearance, and the whole shebang is capped off with a fireworks display – a great way to get into the spirit of the resort. More info or check out this Insider blog for some Fire & Ice history.

Family Après at Whistler Olympic Plaza

December 21, 23 and 28, 2015 — 3 to 6 PM — Whistler Olympic Plaza

The municipality has sculpted an incredible playground out of snow to create some winter fun in the plaza. Family Après continues the theme on set days with a variety of activities and entertainment for families to enjoy, including snowman building contests, tobogganing, roving characters, music, mini hockey, snacks, hot beverages and more. Details here.

Christmas Eve Carol Service 

December 24, 2015 — 6:30 PM — Westin Resort & Spa

This annual Christian event features the Whistler Singers and Whistler Children’s Choir, and features renditions of traditional carols, choral music and select readings. Entry is by donation.

Whistler Presents: New Year’s Eve Celebrations 

December 31, 2015 — 6 PM to Midnight — Whistler Village

Whistler Presents puts on an amazing family-friend New Year’s Eve celebration, with a wide range of indoor and outdoor events and activities taking place around the village. There’s live music and performances, a special Fire & Ice Show at the base of the mountain, a midnight fireworks display, a youth dance, arts-and-crafts tables, and more. Kids two and under are free, kids 3-12 are $10, and kids and adults 13 and over are $15 in advance, or $20 on Dec. 31. For more information and tickets visit

This event guide barely scratches the surface of all the things to do in Whistler over the holidays. There’s an astonishing array of winter activities to do as well. There’s a tube park. There are two cross-country trail networks (Lost Lake and Whistler Olympic Park). There is tobogganing. There is snowshoeing. There are snowmobile tours, day and night. There are adventure tours like zip lines and dog sledding. There are places to eat, club nights and live performances, including a wide range of ticketed New Year’s Eve events. And, last but never least, there’s the biggest ski area in North America to play in all day, every day.

As always, you can do all of your holiday accommodation, travel and entertainment planning here at

Feet Banks

Feet Banks

Feet Banks moved to Whistler at age 12 so his parents could live the dream and ski as much as possible. He ended up living it too. After leaving home Feet did a few good stints in warmer climates and 4 years of writing school before returning to the mountains to make ski movies, hammer out a journalism career and avoid the 9-5 lifestyle as long as possible. He’s been a hay farmer, a hole digger, a magazine editor and has a jump named after him on Blackcomb Mountain, Feet’s Air. It’s tiny.