Know Before You Go: What to Expect in Whistler This Summer
Delve into thick forests, look out over ancient ice fields, find a new path and dip your toes in glacial waters – carve out your own adventure in Whistler this summer. A day trip doesn’t do Whistler justice, stay longer and explore deeper to find out what it is about these mountains that draw people to them (and sometimes doesn’t let them go).
We had a fun and safe summer last year, and we’re building on that for this season with more information for travellers so you can pre-plan and know what to expect, more signage throughout Whistler Village and smoother operations at our businesses and activity providers (they’ve done this before).
We know weekends and holidays are likely to be busy, especially at Whistler’s lakes and parks, so come midweek if you can, avoid long weekends and consider staying longer. Not only will the added time mean you can dig in and explore at a more relaxed pace, but it also means more choice and more deals.
Before You Arrive, Make a Plan
- Read up on the latest health advisories for Whistler on our dedicated COVID-19 page to see if anything affects your travel plans this summer.
- Book, book, book. We advise booking your accommodation in advance as well as making dinner reservations and booking activities. Capacity in Whistler is a little lower than normal due to COVID-19; popular tour times booked out last summer, as did some of the restaurants (especially if they had a sunny patio). We want you to have the best time, not a stressed time and most places have flexible cancellation policies, so if your plans do change then they’re easy to adjust.
- While we’re talking about activities, it’s worth considering a guided tour like bear viewing, guided hiking, biking, or canoeing – local experts know hidden spots and trails, and manage the logistics so you don’t have to. There’s been so much to keep in mind over the past year that it’s a relief to hand the decision making over to someone else for the day.
- If you’re planning on doing some hiking in and around Whistler. and you’re heading into a BC Park (like Garibaldi Provincial Park), you’ll need a Day-Use Pass (due to high visitor volumes). Passes are free and can be reserved online beginning at 7 AM, one day in advance of your planned visit. See more information at bcparks.ca.
- Check what’s open before you book and then check again before you arrive. Things change quickly as public health orders continue to be adjusted and the Doors Open Directory is a good place to go for information on what’s happening with Whistler’s businesses, restaurants and activity providers.
- Book your Whistler Mountain Bike Park and/or Whistler Blackcomb Sightseeing tickets in advance. Unlike in winter, you won’t need to make a mountain reservation, but you will notice more stringent measures for keeping COVID-19 protocols in place in lift lines and on Whistler Blackcomb property.
- Please take a read of our 5 Simple Responsible Travel Tips post and consider weaving these into your visit this summer as we all strive to enjoy the mountains together this season.
When You Arrive
- Check into your hotel and relax. You’re in Whistler now.
- Park and play! Get rid of the car – you don’t need it. Whistler has a 46-kilometre Valley Trail system that weaves in and out of parks, lakes and neighbourhoods. We suggest renting a bike and using it to explore new places this summer. Have you ever been down to Creekside Village or Function Junction? You could even make it an e-bike for even more exploring power; just make sure you take a quick read of the trail etiquette before heading out.
- This summer the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) is running secure bike valet parking at Olympic Plaza, Rainbow Park, Lakeside Park and Lost Lake Park, making it easy to BYOB (bring your own bike) while still having the freedom to explore on foot when you want to.
- There are two free shuttles running from Whistler Village to Lost Lake Park and Rainbow Park, which will start in mid-June on weekends and holidays, those run alongside the free transit at weekends and on stat holidays too.
- This summer, several construction projects will be underway that may impact vehicle access to some of your favourite spots – yet another reason to get on your bike! You can find more information about these RMOW initiatives on their website.
- In Whistler, we wear face masks for our own safety and the safety of others. Please make sure you wear yours in congested areas where staying two metres away from people outside of your household bubble isn’t possible. There is additional signage throughout Whistler Village and in our restaurants, shops and business – please take the time to read it and adhere to it as we all enjoy summer in Whistler together.
- If you do have questions while you’re out and about, a quick and easy way to get an answer is to text Ask Whistler. You can also connect via WhatsApp and use the free Whistler WiFi (currently available at Whistler Olympic Plaza, Whistler Town Plaza, Whistler Village Common, Village Square and the area near the Whistler Visitors Centre and new bus shelter).
During Your Visit
- Knowing that Whistler’s parks and lakes can get busy, make sure you’ve got a Plan B up your sleeve. Think about visiting at off-peak times like first thing in the morning and in the evening (sunset picnic anyone?) and make sure you pack out what you pack in. Park Eats! Is running this summer, bringing food trucks and pop-up food tents to Whistler’s parks, as well as a drop-off program with Portobello. Take a look at the RMOW website for more information on when and where you can grab snacks, refreshments and lunch at Whistler’s parks this summer.
- If you’re a regular to Whistler, consider doing a hike or visiting a lake that’s a bit more off the beaten path. We’ve got a plethora of information on different hikes in Whistler for you to check out; as always AdventureSmart and follow the Three Ts for safe outdoor exploration.
- If you need supplies for while you’re here, maybe a new pair of trail runners, more buckets and spades for the kids, drool-worthy treats for the picnic – buy them locally. Not only does this support local business, but gives you a chance to connect with people who live here and might have a tip or two they’re willing to share with a savvy traveller. Note that there might be a few long-looking lines to get into some places around Whistler, but because of the physical distancing, they will actually go down a lot quicker than you think. While you wait, you could always grab an ice cream? Although, you shouldn’t eat it while you’re in a lineup as it’s a mask-up situation.
- Although Whistler’s events programming has been heavily reduced this summer, there have been some adaptations and innovations so it’s worth checking our events calendar to see what’s on.
- Help Whistler with its environmental goals by drinking alpine fresh tap water versus bottled, avoiding single-use plastic, choosing active modes of transportation, and using our compost and recycling bins.
Whistler is still the same fun-loving, thrill-seeking destination it’s always been, we’re just slowing the pace a touch this summer. We can’t wait to welcome you back when the time is right for you, and if you want to win a trip to Whistler this summer (enter now, travel later), check out the Adventure Deeper Contest, which includes round-trip airfare, six nights’ accommodation and a host of summer activity fun.
This summer, the longer you stay, the more you save with room rates dropping as you book more nights (7 nights from $93 CAD per night). You will also receive a free adventure voucher, which gets you up to $100 off a Whistler activity.