Ashleigh McIvor Demerit in Whistler Village

Ashleigh McIvor DeMerit is a local legend. At the 2010 Winter Games she became the first ever Olympic Women’s Ski Cross gold medalist, she has a lifetime pass at Whistler Blackcomb and even a street named after here. She’s also a born and raised local kid who knows a thing or two about Christmas in the mountains so we asked her to list a few of her top Whistler Christmas tips.

“I can’t think of a Christmas that was better than last year’s,” Ashleigh says, “now that we have our son Oakes Michael Demerit. I feel like this Christmas will be even better, and I can’t think of a better life than the present.”

“I remember a few white Christmases as a kid and also some sunny ones. Our family isn’t always the best at celebrating holidays on the actual day but we are big on practicality so we celebrate whenever we are together. I’ve already had three Christmases this year, including lunch with my mom on the 21 at Steeps Grill in the Whistler Roundhouse. Getting outside for Christmas is key, so here are some of the things on my to-do list (and for some reason they all start with ‘S’!):”


My Mom always says that her goal wasn’t to raise Olympians; it was to raise kids who love skiing. Fresh air, exercise, and breathtaking scenery are good for relationships, and skiing really is such a social activity. Every day on the hill is a unique opportunity to bond and share a relaxing (or thrilling) experience with your friends and family.

Family Ski Day


This year, I bought all of my Christmas gifts in Whistler. It was easy with so many incredible local artists, and we also have many popular brands in town now too. Check out the the local artists at Maury Young Arts Centre or the official art galleries. Or my favourite stores are Three Singing Birds and Aritzia, aside from the art galleries.

I do remember one Christmas finding the stash of gifts in my parents’ closet. I would have been about 13. I saw that one of my wish list items had been purchased, but it was not in the colour of my choice, so I kept dropping hints about my distaste for that particular colour. Not sure what I expected… did I really think my Mom would suddenly decide she should take it back and get the other colour? Haha. But nowadays you can find pretty much anything you want by shopping right here in town.


My new favourite spot is on the all-new GLC patio next to a fire pit under heat lamps. Great place to watch the Fire & Ice show at the base of the slopes.


My friends at Canadian Wilderness Adventures will take you on a snowmobile tour into the magical Whistler backcountry for half days, full days, night missions or even up to the Crystal Hut for fondue. There’s just something about riding a snowmobile during the holidays that feels very Canadian.

Whistler Olympic Plaza

Skate or Sled at Whistler Olympic Plaza

Have you seen Whistler Olympic Plaza lately? They’ve built a mountain behind the skating rink, with bobsled tracks for sledding (or tobogganing). The skating rink is there and at Family Apres our friend DJ Foxy Moron plays funky Christmas carol remixes while kids enjoy all sorts of activities for kids from 3-6pm. Total kid party (Editor’s note: Family Apres is no longer running).

Stay Inside

Actually, while we are on the topic of kid parties, the Whistler Holiday Experience at the Conference Centre is home to free, indoor family-focused series of fun activities during the holiday season. My son Oakes is ready to hit the bouncy castles this year!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone. Have you ever noticed how much more you love the people you go on adventures with?


Find more info on how to enjoy Christmas in Whistler at and if you think you can keep up with Ashleigh on the slopes check out the Ski With an Olympian camps.



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.