It takes more than a single visit to get to truly discover Whistler.

Working out which lifts to ski and when, finding those hidden patios, tapping into the best moments of the season the way the locals do – discovering these things takes time. And there’s an essential undercurrent of mountain culture running through this place that you may have missed… or only just dipped your toes into on your first trip.

We’re inviting you to change it up, to come back to Whistler and see it with fresh eyes – you’ll be glad you did. Here’s seven ways to rethink time here that will challenge your perception of the place and help you really discover Whistler.

Sunset by Alta Lake in Whistler
Whistler is full of jaw-dropping hidden views. JUSTA JESKOVA PHOTO

1. Switch seasons

‘I came for the winter, stayed for the summer…’ is a common refrain among Whistlerites. You may have seen Whistler as a winter wonderland, but have you been here on a warm summer day, sitting on a dock under brilliant blue skies watching paddlers cruise past? Watched the autumn leaves dance? Skied, biked, golfed and apres-ed all on one perfect spring day?

The weather changes, the outdoor offerings adjust accordingly –  but that essential Whistler energy remains.

2. Flip the Script or Add an Adventure

With a list of activities a mile long in warm and cool months, it’s easy to think outside the box and try – or add – something new. Switch biking for hiking, pedaling for paddling, downhill skiing for nordic skiing. Or you can theme your whole trip differently – explore the peak or the valley, switch outdoor adventure for culinary adventure, adrenaline rush for cruisy retreat. Think timing too, because a simply switching the weekend for midweek lets you take advantage of off peak conditions through the year.

Nordic Skiing in Whistler
Downhill isn’t your only skiing option in Whistler. DAVID MCCOLM PHOTO

3. Level Up

With big mountains, a ton of terrain and trails for all levels and attracting people passionate about their chosen sport be it skiing, downhill mountain biking, tennis or biathlon, Whistler is a great place to perfect techniques and move into higher skill levels. Come for the green runs, move to the cruisers and graduate with steep skiing clinics or backcountry expeditions. More skills = more enjoyment.

4. Learn Something New

Vacations are an investment in time and money – isn’t it worth going home with more than when you left? Book in for a beginners golf camp, an art workshop, that yoga class you’ve been promising yourself. Reach for the menu items you haven’t tried (Caesar? Have a Caesar). Check out an edifying presentation or exhibition. And plan time off the slopes to visit some of the venues where you might just walk away enriched, with neurons firing – like the Whistler Museum, Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre and the Audain Art Museum.

5. Go Beyond the Village

Whistler Village is no doubt the core of the town, offering all the necessary items like amenities, entertainment and ski lifts. Stay there the entire time, however, and you completely miss the chance to discover the other sides of Whistler. Upper Village, Creekside Village and Function Junction all deserve a visit, not to mention checking out the lakes, beaches and trailheads found along the Valley Trail (unbeatable for self-propelled travel). You don’t need a car to get around – in fact, we recommend leaving the car behind for a greener, healthier and all-round more awesome vacation.

Lakeside park in spring, Whistler, BC
Lakeside park in spring. JUSTA JESKOVA PHOTO

6. Take an ‘activacation’

That’s an active vacation (clever!) one where you pick a race or challenge, set a fitness goal and work towards it. Sure, you’ll spend part of your holiday running, on the mat or being a triathlete – but you’ll have a beautiful place to race, and an even nicer place to wind down and recover post event. There’s everything from entry-level to pro races here, so check out the signature events, running events, nordic events and more on the event calendar.

7. Do Whistler like a Local

Getting local advice is one of the smartest ways to connect with the real culture and vibe of a place. We put out a Local’s List each month with a quick rundown of what’s happening in nature, on the mountains and in town for short-term plans, and The Whistler Insider archives are deep and choc full of good info. Plus, the folks at the Whistler Visitor Centre and at live work and play here, so they’re great places to go for advice and trip ideas any season of the year – hit ‘em up online or by phone.

Whether you’ve been once or a million times. you may think you know this town but with 4 seasons, 2 mountains with 200+ ski runs, hundreds of kilometers of hiking, biking and nordic trails, 5 lakes, over 100 places for food and drink, multiple neighbourhoods and an ever changing array of events and activities, there’s a fair chance you haven’t seen it all.

Ready to change it up and truly discover Whistler?

Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains

Pip has somehow worked her way around from being a snow-and-bike bum to holding a real job while also being outdoors as much as possible. She’s collected scars, bikes for (almost) every occasion, a small trail dog and a love of craft beer plus a rudimentary understanding of skiing, snowboarding, sketching, and the art of chairlift conversations. She currently believes a combination of gravity, snow, dirt and rad people are what make Whistler tick but investigations are ongoing.