The winter stoke is palpable in Whistler. As this year’s snow base builds in the valley, locals and visitors alike are simmering with excitement for a hopefully, maybe, almost, back-to-normal winter ahead.

I caught up with some of our beloved Whistler locals to ask them about their tips for a winter ski trip to Whistler.

INSIDER TIP: Take a look at the Whistler Blackcomb Trail Map as you read through this post to orientate yourself with some of the runs the locals mention.

Mike Douglas

Professional skier, filmmaker, known as the godfather of freeskiing

“My favourite place to ski on the hill is the Peak Chair on a sunny, powder day because the show from the lift line is almost as good as the skiing is.

For food, I can’t say no to Sushi Village. It’s been my fav for over 30 years.

For gear, I always head to Comor Sports because they are locally owned and operated and always seem to have what I’m looking for.”

 

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Taylor Godber

Local, professional snowboarder

“For a quick and cozy on-mountain bite, my favourite has got to be the waffles at the Crystal Hut which are making a comeback this year.

On a pow day, you just can’t beat riding from Peak Chair down to Creekside with a crew of friends; the routes down are endless, which is a big part of the allure.”

Are you noticing a theme here already? The locals love their local rollercoaster, the Peak Chair Express, which takes you to the top of Whistler Mountain. With a ride time of less than four minutes, Peak Chair offers speedy access to some of Whistler’s most challenging terrain.

When the sun is shining, it’s hard to decide which is more butterfly-inducing: the panoramic view from the chairlift, or the skiing itself. The final twenty feet of ascent, when you’re seemingly teetering through thin air, will have even the most seasoned of skiers holding on to the bar.

“For food, I love Barn Nork Aharan Thai at Riverside Campground – one of Whistler’s true hidden gems. And my favourite way to après is to hit the Scandinave Spa.”

Tucked away from the vibrant main village, the Scandinave Spa harbours a tranquil oasis of silence in the lush, fern- and moss-laden rainforest that is native to British Columbia. Relax at your own pace or try their recommended cycles of hydrotherapy, heating the body via their hot pools, saunas and steam rooms, and cooling them in the plunge pools and waterfalls.

Plan for about five hours for this revitalizing experience, which allows for plenty of time to enjoy the cedar-burning dry saunas, eucalyptus-infused steam rooms, and relaxing solariums that are just calling for you to don your robe and sink into the oversized lounge chairs with a good book.

Katrina Strand

Athlete, mom and owner of Strand Training

“My favourite place to ski on the hill is off Spanky’s Ladder on Blackcomb. On a powder day, there’s nothing quite like the steep and deep turns you’ll get there.

For gear, I always head to Evolution Whistler. Owned by locals, they treat every customer like a best friend and if they don’t have what you need, they’ll make sure to guide you towards a place that does!”

Nickie Mabey

Owner, Mabey Ski

“On a powder day, I love to explore a little further afield. Whether it’s hiking up Flute and Oboe over by Symphony, or heading into Blackcomb’s backcountry at the top of the T-Bar, you can escape to find powder and ski fresh lines all day. Another favourite area is around Whistler’s newest backcountry hut – Kees & Claire. We usually head over with a gourmet backcountry feast (the kitchen facilities are incredible), and if the weather’s nice we’ll build a snow table outside and watch the sun go down.

For casual après vibes, my favourite bar has to be RMU at the base of Blackcomb Mountain. With a regular DJ, local craft beers, house-smoked BBQ meats, and some of the best cocktails in town (unknown to many), it’s the perfect spot to loosen your boots at the end of an epic day on the mountain.”

 

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Stephanie Redmond

Former AWARE Whistler Zero Waste Program leader and co-owner of The Raven Room

“Over the years, I’ve found that slowing down to connect with nature and community on a deeper level has become more important to me in Whistler. For me, that looks like sunny laps on 7th Heaven followed by a mountain-top picnic on Blackcomb with friends.

I really enjoy taking advantage of Whistler’s thriving arts scene and like to go to nature-inspired paint nights with Andrea Mueller. I get to enjoy a glass of wine and take a guaranteed one-of-a-kind memento home with me! These are normally followed by a cocktail and snack on The Raven Room’s patio, which has one of the best, unobstructed mountain views around.”

It’s true, at The Raven Room they take cocktails seriously. They’re a team of cocktail aficionados who keep their vermouth in the fridge, squeeze all their own fresh fruit juices, make their own in-house syrups and frown upon the use of pop-gun mixers. My go-to order is a 102-year-old recipe; the Negroni served simply and effectively atop a gargantuan cube of ice (you know, the proper way).

Steve Storey

Professional mountain biker and local pioneer trail builder

“My favourite place to ski is in the tree’d zone off Crystal Chair, because I absolutely love our forests here. There’s something magical about them. Plus the pow always seems to ski a little deeper in the woods. There’s also plenty of terrain features like pillows and side hits to get creative with.

For food, I can’t say no to Hunter Gather. Two words: beef brisket.

For gear, I head to Escape Route. I can always find what I’m looking for there, including gear for my backcountry and overseas trips.”

I second what Steve says about Hunter Gather, which is home to, in my opinion, the best breakfast in Whistler. Tucked out of the way at the end of Whistler’s horseshoe-shaped Main Street, this local hangout is easily missed by the untrained eye. My go-to is the pulled pork eggs benny served on a potato rosti with garlic kale.

 

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Allie Smith

Local mom, snowboarder and real estate agent

“I get my outerwear from Elise and Miranda, local owners of Peak Performance. I love the product and their friendly faces are always the best. I think that locals love Peak Performance outerwear for its high quality and durability – not to mention its tasteful colour palettes.

I do my boot fittings and tunings at Comor Sports, the staff are super knowledgeable and friendly and I’ve been going there for years. Plus, their Turkey Sale deals are awesome. On a ski day, after hitting Spanky’s Ladder laps with my friends, I love having après in the Upper Village at RMU or HandleBar. Great beer and lots of fun locals to run into.”

 

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Julia Montague

Director of Marketing at Crankworx

“My favourite stop on my way into town is Fix Café at Nita Lake Lodge for a (gluten-free) carrot and almond muffin and a cappuccino.

On the weekend, I love to ski Blackcomb and then ski out to the Upper Village for a leisurely lunch at Portobello.

My favourite runs when I’m up with friends are Fraggle Rock, Where’s Joe, Blackcomb Glacier…anything in-bounds that feels like a bit of an adventure! Afterwards, I love bringing visitors to see the Fire & Ice show on a Sunday.

If I’m up for some mid-week solo laps before work, I love doing a couple of full, top-to-bottoms on Whistler on Peak to Creek and challenging myself to do it without stopping. When it’s freshly groomed corduroy, it’s a real good time, and the burn is real!”

 

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This season marks the return of one of our most beloved Whistler Blackcomb traditions – the Fire and Ice show (2022 / 23 dates are still to be announced). Hosted every Sunday night in the winter, this is a free event that offers local athletes a chance to perform their best tricks… through a 16-foot ring of fire.

Stand wide-eyed in the cheering crowds, or watch over a pint of craft beer from the neighbouring Irish bar, the Dubh Linn Gate.

Ian Macintosh

Professional skier, CSGA guide and adventurer

“My go-to ski lap has got to be Khybers. Hard to find, and you definitely need a local to show you the way, but on a pow day it can’t be beat.

For my ski gear, I’ve been a long time fan of Fanatyk Co. For skis, gloves and anything in between, they are my go-to. For boots, I get my custom fitting at Surefoot.

And after a great ski, I can’t say no to a La Cantina burrito.”

 

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Rose Plensky

Lead hand at Extremely Canadian

“I always check Whistlerpeak.com for current weather updates. It’s a well organized site that collectively stores information about temperatures, webcams, backcountry avalanche reports and chair lifts status. It’s got all the information you need to have a great day on the mountain.

For apres, I love to take advantage of Dusty’s at the base of Creekside for their Power Hour. From 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM every day you can get $5 Caesars – it’s got to be the best deal in town.”

Want to see what the visibility is like at the Peak? Check Whistler.com’s webcam page and weather reports, along with Whistler Blackcomb’s website to see what lifts are running. That way you can make a pretty solid plan for your ski day. And, if you’re heading into the backcountry, check out Avalanche Canada and our local, legendary, forecaster blog, Wayne Flann.

Stan Rey

Professional freeskier and haver of good times

“My favourite place to ski on the hill is the Peak Chair on Whistler, because then everyone will stay off Spanky’s on Blackcomb, ha ha!

For food, I can’t say no to Ka-Ze Sushi.

For gear, I always head to evo and Comor Sports, or wherever my friends are working!”

Christie Fitzpatrick

Author of this article

“My typical day in Whistler looks something like this. Fresh Tracks early upload to watch the sunrise on the gondola, drink an americano up top, then score some fresh pow (or corduroy, depending on the day). My hands are cold (obviously), so I ski down to the Chickpea Hut and warm up with a cinnamon bun topped with cream cheese frosting and hot chocolate. I also drink three glasses of water because I’m always dehydrated.

I head over to Symphony and skin a few laps of Flute (I always pack my transceiver if heading out of bounds). I ski until my legs are jelly, then assemble a crew at Umbrella Bar for a Caesar à la Aubrey (U-bar’s head bartender).

Once demolished, I chuck my helmet back on and ski down to the bottom, beelining for Pizzeria Antico. I’m hungry, I’m thirsty, and I want to sneakily take my ski boots off under the table whilst refilling my body with more carbs. They’ve got $9, wood-fired margarita pizzas with an amazing selection of $5 craft beers for happy hour every day from 3 to 5 PM.

Then I’m either heading home and in bed by 8 PM to do it all again tomorrow, or I’m on to the next happy hour (Dubh Linn Gate, 5 to 7 PM, in case you were wondering).”

If you’re looking to get the inside edge on Whistler, consider booking with the travel consultants at Whistler.com. They live, work and play in Whistler and have the insider knowledge you’re looking for to help you create an amazing trip to Whistler this winter.

If this post has you dreaming of Whistler, enter our Go Big This Winter Contest for a chance to win a trip.

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Author

Skier, mountain biker and adventurer based in Whistler, BC, Christie loves to explore the hidden nooks of BC. She is usually found hanging out behind everyone because she's busy taking photos and is definitely not, totally out of breath.