Guest Author: Andrew Mitchell
Once upon a time, spring was a boring time in Whistler – a greyish-greenish gap between all the winter insanity and all the summer fun. The visitors that came were either here for a conference, or for off-season deals rather than outdoor fun.
But while there are still great rates for accommodation, and Whistler’s restaurants still offer amazing deals, things have changed a lot in recent years. Spring is a great time to visit, no matter what the weather is doing.
For one thing, spring skiing or boarding is in full swing until April 17 on Whistler and May 30 on Blackcomb. Ask any local – sunshine and soft snow are second only to powder days, and we can still get fresh snow in the alpine through the end of May. And even if it’s cloudy it’s still fun – the lift lines are short, rub-on waxes will keep you ripping, and there’s nobody there to watch you try out the features in the park. If you dress for the weather and ride with a smile there’s simply no way you can have a bad day up there.
If you’re done with skiing, no problem. The mountain bike season also gets going in the valley right about now. It takes a while to clear out the fallen trees and you might hit the odd patch of snow, but most of the lower trails should be good to ridesoon. Trail running is also fun on dirt or mud, especially when there’s a hot tub and heated pool at the end of the route.There are bigger adventures out there too like combo ATV-Snowmobile tours, the fishing tour season is getting into the swing of things, river rafting companies are gearing up to enjoy the spring melt, and there’s a wide choice of ziplines and wilderness tours out there. Throw in an après session after any of these and you’ve got the perfect formula for shaking off the winter blues.
If it’s an inside adventure you’re seeking, the Audain Art Museum and its impressive collection just opened its doors to the public. Or you can get a group of friends and see if you can find your way out of one of the themed rooms at Escape Whistler. You can catch all the latest movies at the Whistler Village 8, check out the latest restaurant deals and nightlife listings, go shopping for off-season deals along the Village Stroll, drop by the library to pick up a book, or just hang out in your comfy hotel room or the nearest spa and do absolutely nothing at all.
As if that wasn’t enough, there’s also a full slate of events to keep things hopping through the spring months:
April 1 – Outdoor Eats Mini Food Truck Festival. It’s that fantastic time of year when you can dine outside again and to celebrate there will be a host of food trucks rolling into the Upper Village at the base of Blackcomb. It’s a chance to sample new food and learn more about the new food truck program rolling out in Whistler’s parks this summer. More Info
April 1-3 – The Whistler Cup Presented by Mackenzie Investments. Young skiers from over two dozen countries will wrap up their alpine race seasons in Whistler. Over the past 23 years this event has played host to some of the top World Cup racers on the circuit today. More Info
April 2 – The 19th Annual Showcase Showdown sponsored by Burton and Vans is an annual celebration of snowboarding. This year the theme is “Family Reunion” and the main attraction will be a retro snowboard jam outside the Roundhouse Lodge with a beer garden and barbecue on site. Tickets are $30 for adults, $15 for youth and children. More Info
April 6-9 – The North American Junior IFSA Championships are a big mountain contest open to skiers and snowboarders aged 12-18. Athletes are judged on style, control, technique, fluidity and line choice. More Info
April 8-17 – The World Ski & Snowboard Festival is one of the longest running spring skiing festivals in North America, featuring a wide range of arts, music and sports events. Some of the highlights include the Monster Boarderstyle (a combination of snowboardcross and slopestyle) on April 15-16, the now annual Roller Derby – dubbed Splatterday Night Fever – On April 9, and the Gibbons Style Session at the base of Whistler Mountain on April 16. More Info
April 14 – The Mum’s Mountain Classic – This is a fun ski race and day out on the mountain for all the moms out there. More Info
May 5 – Mountain bikers of all ages and abilities are welcome to come out for the first WORCA Toonie Ride of the season. WORCA hosts rides every Thursday through the spring and summer months, with over 20 weekly rides/races on the calendar. As well, the club hosts guided Monday night rides that are a great place to go to meet local riders, learn new skills and new trails. More Info
May 13-15 – Every WOMAN: This women’s only weekend is packed with health and wellness workshops, tours, speakers and social events. It’s a great place to meet other like-minded women, and try out that new fitness class. You can sign up for everything as part of a package, or pick and choose what workshops you’d like to take. More Info
May 20 – This is typically opening day for the Whistler Mountain Bike Park, although the park has been known to open a bit earlier if the conditions permit. More Info
May 20-23 – This is the third year for Whistler’s Great Outdoors (GO) Festival, with three days of events packed into the Victoria Day long weekend. The itinerary for this year’s event is still being finalized, stay tuned for the latest releases. More Info
May 22 – The Bici Gusti Gourmet Ride sponsored by Four Seasons Whistler is a fun new event for road riders. More than 70 riders will follow a course of around 70 km that features regular stops for gourmet food and drink sourced within a 70km radius. More Info
June 2-5 – The North Face Whistler Half Marathon has grown into a three-day event, with a 10km race, 5km race and kids run to round things out. More Info
June 11 – The Helly Hansen Comfortably Numb Trail Running Race offers 24 km of incredible off-road adventure, following a winding and sometimes technical singletrack trail that starts north of Whistler and finishes close to the village. More Info
June 18-19 – Tough Mudder Whistler takes over, with thousands of athletes working together in teams to navigate a tough obstacle course – up to 20km and over 20 obstacles – at Whistler Olympic Park. More Info
June 25 – New this year is the Tough Mudder Half, which is a good introduction to the growing sport of obstacle course racing. It’s still challenging, but the obstacles are a little easier and the course a little shorter for those wanting a sneak peek into the Tough Mudder world. More Info
New events are added to the calendar all the time. To stay on top of everything Whistler has to offer, check out the event calendar at Whistler.com.