October is a wonderful time in Whistler as it’s when the arts and culture scene comes alive. Explore four art galleries in town on a Whistler Wine Walk, check out an Arts Whistler Live! performance and visit the incredible Audain Art Museum to catch their special exhibition, Flowers from the Wreckage, before it closes on October 9, and check out their new photography exhibition, Garden of Shadows.
This month, Whistler also celebrates the written and spoken word at the Whistler Writers Festival from October 12 to 16. This festival offers a variety of events for book lovers, budding writers and anyone who loves a good story. To learn more about the diversity of events on offer, read our blog, 11 Reasons to Check Out the Whistler Writers Festival.
October is also a great time to enjoy the culinary arts in Whistler, with many local restaurants offering special prix fixe menus at incredible value. There are also options for traditional Thanksgiving dinners on Thanksgiving Long Weekend as well as it being a great time to pick up discounted gear for the winter ahead.
Here’s what’s going on this month in Whistler.
You’ll find us:
- Choosing a running challenge at the Whistler 50 Relay & Ultra, where participants can assemble a team of four or eight people for the 80-kilometre (50-mile) relay or you can go solo for the 50-kilometre (30-mile) ultra.
- Getting muddy and enjoying fall mountain biking conditions, which mean cooler temperatures and grippier dirt trails to send off the bike season. Ride the Whistler Mountain Bike Park until the lifts stop spinning on October 9, then pedal Whistler’s network of cross-country mountain bike trails until the snowline hits the valley. For inspiration on where to go cross-country biking, read our blog, Top 10 Whistler Cross-Country Mountain Bike Trails.
- Checking out the fall colours as the leaves of Whistler’s deciduous trees start to turn bright yellow, orange and red before they drop from their branches. To discover some top spots to admire the fall foliage set against the snowline creeping down the mountains, read our blog, The Best Fall Views in Whistler. Also, take a look at the Fall Biking route on the free, Go Whistler Tours app.
You’ll find us:
- Getting excited about wild mushrooms popping up all over the forest floor. Every year the Whistler Naturalists present the Fungus Among Us Mushroom Festival, this year on October 13 and 14. The two-day event features guru-led talks, guided walks, a forest-to-table tasting and a mushroom display.
- Counting down the days until we get to ski and snowboard, doing our ski exercises so that we’re strong for opening day on November 23, and watching ski films to get our stoke levels high. Slides on the Mountain is playing on October 14 at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre and tells the story of two young brothers from the Lil’wat First Nation setting out to ski the mountain they were raised beneath – Ts’zil (Mount Currie). Continue the winter anticipation at iF3 Whistler from October 18 to October 21, an exciting four-day film festival premiering the latest ski and snowboard films.
- Strolling to Lost Lake Park and back while listening to readings and engaging in literary conversation with award-winning authors, Yvonne Blomer, Justene Dion-Glowa and Rabbi Paul Plotkin. This reading takes place on October 15 as part of the Whistler Writers Festival. It starts at 9 AM from the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, and it is a 3.2-kilometre walk along a flat gravel trail, with a warm beverage and a tasty treat included.
More ways to get outside.
You’ll find us:
- Being captivated by Iconic Canadian children’s music performer Fred Penner at his All Ages Show, for kids and their parents, on October 28 at 1:30 PM at the Maury Young Arts Centre. Just for adults, Fred Penner will perform his After Dark show that evening too.
- Taking a family walk along the Fitzsimmons Creek Accessible Nature Trail and learning about the biodiversity of the area. Download the free Go Whistler Tours App and discover the walk with its corresponding self-guided tour, featuring interactive maps, images and audio.
- Getting the next generation hooked on reading at a free picture book reading event on October 14 at 10 AM at the Whistler Public Library as part of the Whistler Writers Festival (registration required). Join authors Esi Edugyan (Garden of Lost Socks) and Peggy Janicki (The Secret Pocket) as they read from their new picture books.
- Avoiding the rain by heading into the Rabbit Hole, at Escape! Whistler. You have 45 minutes to puzzle your way out of the seven themed rooms, which makes for great family bonding (kids six and under are free).
More family-friendly activities.
Arts & Culture
You’ll find us:
- Strolling around Whistler Village visiting four different art galleries and enjoying interactive art experiences with a glass of wine in hand at a Whistler Wine Walk, happening every Friday evening in October. The evening wraps up at the Audain Art Museum, where you’ll enjoy delicious canapes, live music, wine and a guided tour of the museum’s special exhibition. Tickets are only $20 and the event was a sell-out last year, so make sure to scoop them up while you can!
- Joining the Sisters in Spirit Vigil on October 4 to advocate for and honour missing and murdered Indigenous women. The procession starts at the Welcome Pole in Whistler Village Common (by Earls) at 11 AM. In the evening, there’s a gathering at the Maury Young Arts Centre (MYAC) with retired VPD Detective, Lorimer Shenher who shares his insights from working the missing women’s cases that led to Robert Picton’s arrest. Then on October 5, the MYAC is hosting the Spirits Rising Fashion Show featuring the incredible designs of Himikalas Pamela Baker.
- Learning the story of mountaineers Neal Carter and Charles Townsend’s two-week journey through nearby Wedge Mountain and Avalanche Pass at the Whistler Museum’s current exhibition, Mapping the Mountains, from now until November 14. During these explorers’ incredible journey, they kept detailed records, took photographs and identified several features with names that are still in use today, making an enduring impact on Whistler’s mountain culture.
- Exploring the tradition of oral storytelling at the event Word of Mouth: Telling Our Stories in the Oral Tradition at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre on October 12 at 7 PM. The event features Yvonne Wallace (Lil’wat Nation) and Tsawaysia Spukwus (Squamish Nation) sharing stories and songs. They will also share the stage with local, emerging storytellers who have been mentored as part of the Whistler Writers Festival’s oral storytelling workshops.
- Enjoying the sounds of internationally renowned Canadian pianist Ian Parker who’s playing at the Maury Young Arts Centre on Sunday, October 15 thanks to the Whistler Chamber Music Society.
Eating, Drinking & Shopping
You’ll find us:
- Feasting at the Braidwood Tavern, which is offering a four-course Thanksgiving dinner featuring a slow-cooked turkey roulade and maple pumpkin pie. They are also serving a three-course Oktoberfest menu until mid-October, which includes freshly baked Bavarian pretzels, schnitzel, apple strudel and a range of German beers. The Fairmont Chateau Whistler also has a traditional turkey dinner being served at The Wildflower, along with a Harvest Brunch on Sunday and carved-to-order hot turkey sandwiches at Portobello. If you don’t feel like leaving your accommodation they also offer a Thanksgiving Turkey To-Go which includes a complete turkey dinner with all the trimmings for 8 to 10 people.
- Under a big top on the Woodlands Terrace at Fairmont Chateau Whistler dressed in our best steampunk attire on Friday, October 13, for the annual Zero Ceiling Fundraiser, Cirque for Change: Because Everyone Deserves a Home.
- Shopping up a storm and getting equipped for the upcoming winter season with Whistler’s legendary Turkey Sales kicking off over Thanksgiving weekend. Retail stores all over Whistler will be bringing out their winter stock from last season and offering sales of up to 60% off. Items on sale include ski and snowboard equipment (brand-new and ex-rentals) plus clothing and accessories.
- Eating our way through Whistler’s incredible dining scene and taking advantage of all of the great fall specials that the restaurants offer. Some local favourites include Sushi Village’s $30 four-course and the award-winning Wild Blue’s $36 four-course menu, available Sunday through Thursday.
Save the Date
Whistler Cornucopia | November 9 – 19
Whistler Blackcomb Winter Opening Day | November 23
Whistler Film Festival | November 29 – December 3
Eberspächer Luge World Cup Whistler | December 15 – 16
Whistler Pride and Ski Festival | January 21 – 28
Be a Responsible Traveller: Don’t Love It to Death
- Whistler is bear country. Take a read of our Bear Aware blog post so you can act responsibly on behalf of these beautiful, wild creatures. Remember, a fed bear is a dead bear.
- If you’re using the hiking and biking trails around Whistler regularly, consider donating to or joining WORCA, a local organization that maintains Whistler’s trail system.
- Help keep Whistler green by choosing tap water over bottled water, avoiding single-use plastics, leaving the car at home, choosing active transportation and sorting garbage properly to reduce your waste.
- Be AdventureSmart and always practice Leave No Trace principles.
- Consider our Responsible Travel pillars, Respect Nature, Think Environment, Don’t Love It to Death and Support Local.
- Whistler Alert is the official emergency notification system used by the RMOW to communicate with residents and visitors during emergencies via text message, phone and email. We encourage you to sign up for it while you’re here (just in case). When you register, you will be asked to provide your contact number and the date you plan to leave Whistler so that you don’t receive alerts when you’re back home.
If You’re Driving . . .
- Take a read of Go Car Free: 8 Reasons to Ditch the Car on Your Whistler Trip in case we can convince you that you don’t need your car!
- Help reduce congestion on the highway by travelling during non-peak times. Peak travel times on the Sea to Sky Highway to Whistler include Friday afternoons and evenings, weekends and holidays. To avoid this busy time, plan to visit Whistler midweek when the highway and the resort are typically quieter. Extend your weekend – plan to arrive on Thursday night and leave on Monday morning to avoid the weekend traffic. If you’re visiting Whistler only for the day, plan on staying for dinner to avoid the rush of day traffic leaving the resort after the mountain closes.
- Always check DriveBC for current road conditions before getting on the road. Follow @DriveBC on Twitter and listen to MountainFM for the latest updates.
- Paid parking is in effect in all the Day Lots although there is complimentary parking from 5 PM to 8 AM. Overnight parking is now allowed in the Day Lots, but no overnight camping or sleeping in vehicles. Please check the RMOW website for more information on parking.
- Marketplace parking has new tariffs; $1 first 30 minutes and $2 first hour (15-minute, storefront parking remains free). For shopping at Fresh St. Market, register your license plate in the machine prior to shopping and they will reimburse you for 1 hour with a minimum $25 purchase.