Whistler isn’t all adrenaline-fuelled mayhem and sick-gnar extreme action, we’ve actually got a plethora of options in the taking-it-easy department as well. So, after a long winter of shredding the gnar (and probably overworking our joints and muscles) The Insider is ready for some rest and recuperation at some of Whistler’s top spas.

But first, full disclosure: I’m a dude. I have calloused hands, I know how to sharpen a chainsaw, change the oil in a tractor, and retrieve a lost earring from that U-shaped trap under the bathroom sink. I find it hard to relax when there’s stuff to be done so I’m not the stereotypical spa guy, but they’re definitely growing on me, especially as the years tick by and a decade of parenting and working a couple jobs starts to take its toll. If ever there was a point in my life I could use some decompression time and pampering . . .this is it.

Sit back and take a load off as we hit up Whistler’s top spas to figure out what’s what. Because you’re never too old or beaten down or calloused to learn something new right? Right. Also, spa gift certificates always go over well. Who couldn’t use a bit of relaxation?

Scandinave Spa Whistler

The Spot: Scandinave Spa Whistler is a short drive north of the Village but it’s worth the trip. Tucked amongst three acres of forested hillside, Whistler’s largest spa is based on the concept of thermal therapy – a warming and cooling of the body combined with rest, silence and digital detox to recalibrate and rejuvenate. Cold plunges might be all over your Instagram feed these days, but Scandinave was doing it here before anyone (and it’s only one part of a centuries-old practice they’ve perfected).

Recommended Treatment:

“The 60-minute Swedish massage combined with the outdoor experience is the ultimate in relaxation,” says Scandinave’s Simone Lyons. “We’ve got over 20,000 square feet here with great scenic vistas and a view of Whistler Mountain. The perfect activity to do rain, shine or snow for some well-deserved relaxation. It’s an adventure in wellness unlike any other.”

Amenities: 14 massage rooms (4 doubles), 2 hot pools, thermal and Nordic waterfalls, 2 eucalyptus steam baths, a wood-burning cedar sauna, Finnish electric Sauna, cold showers, relaxation solariums, hammocks, outdoor fireplaces and a simple bistro.

Overall Dudeliness: The cold water feels like a good challenge but cannonballs into the cold pools are not encouraged and Scandinave asks all guests to refrain from speaking out loud, at all (which I had a hard time with). It is a magical spot, however, with great views and a chill vibe. I recommend reading a book in the hammocks and soaking in that springtime sun.


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The spa at Whistler

The Spot: If there is such a thing as a social spa in Whistler, this is it. This summer, The spa at Whistler will become the only spa in Whistler with a liquor-licensed area, meaning they can host birthdays, bachelorettes and anyone else who wants to pair some bubbles and conversation with their rest and rejuvenation.

“We’re looking forward to being the only spa with a bar,” says manager Carol English. “That doesn’t mean we are going to get loud or obnoxious, but it will offer a unique experience for small groups that want a fun spa time together. If we utilize the massage rooms and the more open, aesthetics area, we can host as many as 15 to 20 people.”

Recommended Treatment: The spa offers IV Therapy treatments (available Saturday and Sunday), which are administered by registered naturopathic professionals. The treatments range from Sports Recovery and Myers Nutrient Cocktail to B12 injections and the local favourite, a Hangover / Hydration transfusion.

The spa is also Whistler’s exclusive spot for Environ Enzyme vitamin facials, which use a fancy machine to get under your skin – literally. They say it’s good for damage from the sun and cold, which is handy when you live in an outdoor-focused place like Whistler. It also boasts a surplus of available body workers and Registered Massage Therapists.

Amenities: 10 massage rooms (2 doubles), licensed aesthetics area, adjacent health club, indoor / outdoor pool, eucalyptus steam saunas, indoor and outdoor hot tubs.

Dudeliness: Any spa with a bar gets bonus points but being able to recover from an epic weekend (or month) with an IV and a good massage really makes The spa at Whistler the full package.

The Spa at Four Seasons Resort

The Spot: This is the spot. The Spa is a massive, everything-you-need spa with over 40 different treatments and the motto of, “What you want, we make it happen.” This includes free razors, swimwear, bath products, slippers and more. There are TV screens mounted on the stationary bikes, the dual-relaxation rooms are customized for either pre- or post-treatment. Everything has been considered, including free parking!

Recommended Treatment:

“Our Sea to Sky treatment is one of my personal favourite massages to perform and receive,” says Robin Jewers, lead therapist. “This 80-minute, flowing massage includes a seaweed back scrub, as well as work with hot stones. New this year, we’re working with BC-based Salt and Seaweed on the scrub and body souffle in this treatment. As we get into hiking season the Foot Mask and Wrap enhancement is a great add-on to any treatment.”

Amenities: 14 treatment rooms (2 doubles), 2 different relaxation rooms, an Arctic shower, 2 steam rooms, a yoga studio and fitness facility.

Dudeliness: The Spa actually has dude-specific Mountain Men facial treatments and scrubs. Plus, the 15-second swimsuit dryer in the changing room is also super cool (dudes love gadgets). Put it this way – if I was a rock star who just got off a ten-month tour with Motley Crüe and Ozzy Osbourne in his chew-the-heads-off-bats era, this is where I would come to wash my sins away and rejoin the civilized world.

Vida Spa at Fairmont Chateau Whistler

The Spot: Vida Spa is big, posh and probably the oldest spa in Whistler (spa-ing since 1989), plus you can see the ski slopes from the hot tub. Best known for its traditional Indian Ayurvedic treatments, Vida Spa has over 40 items on its menu, everything from classic Swedish massage to every type of facial imaginable (almost) to full-experience pedicures to Hot Stone and Thai massage.

Recommended Treatment: The 1.5 or 2-hour Ayurvedic warm oil massage is their signature service. It releases toxins and stimulates the body’s natural immune system, but therapists also pay extra attention to the head and scalp to help get you out of your busy headspace, (seriously who doesn’t have too much on their mind lately? Parents love this one).

Dudes shouldn’t sleep in the Classic Balancing Facial or Hot Towel Facial though, just laying there with a steaming face is way better than it sounds. The Men’s Pedicures include massages to the lower legs and feet, and if you’re really banged up, the Deep Tissue Massage uses stronger, localized movements to target deeper muscle tension.

Amenities: 15 massage rooms (2 doubles), 3 pedicure and 2 manicure stations.

Overall Dudeliness: Vida offers back or chest waxing for dudes who want to feel a bit more streamlined and the facials are perfect for young dudes who want to clear up their complexions in time for prom.

A man stands under a waterfall at the Scandinave Spa Whistler.
It feels good to take care of number one sometimes. PHOTO CHAD CHOMLACK

This is only the start, a person could literally spa for a week in Whistler and never hit the same place twice. A few places I haven’t got to yet are The Spa at Nita Lake Lodge, Taman Sari Royal Heritage Spa (Hilton) and Whistler Day Spa (Pan Pacific Village Centre). Feel free to check out the Whistler.com spa page for a more complete list. Happy spa-ing, bro!

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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.