The Whistler winter season runs until May 2019 and once again Brits are expected to make up the largest tourist group from outside North America.
Each year, thousands of British snow-worshippers make the transatlantic journey to enjoy an epic Canadian adventure.But what’s new this season? Whether you’re a Whistler regular or planning a trip to British Columbia for the first time, here’s our essential guide.
Accommodation for all…
Whistler has always offered an impressive selection of accommodation options to suit every taste and budget. For sumptuous luxury, the Fairmont Chateau remains a grand choice. Following on from a 5-year renovation that saw the creation of eleven Alpine Suites, a Portobello Deli redesign, and 150 bathroom facelifts, the final quarter of 2018 has seen another $4.3 million investment into the renovation of all 44 Fairmont Gold Suites.
For something a little more affordable, the Pangea Pod Hotel is brand new and has somewhat redefined shared accommodation. Targeting solo travellers who seek the leading-edge design of a boutique hotel with the social vibe of a hostel, the Pangea Pod offers affordable and comfortable accommodation with eight custom suites alongside 88 independent sleeping pods.
You can Dine in a Cave
This spectacular addition to the Whistler dining scene was something of a surprise when first announced in the autumn of 2018. As the result of an exciting collaboration between Four Seasons Resort and Residences Whistler and Head-Line Mountain Holidays, The Blue Room package sees guests traveling to an ice cave by helicopter before enjoying a guided tour of the natural ice sculptures. Once the tour is over, you’ll enjoy a five-course menu in the ice cave, swilled down with Krug champagne. Think caviar served on snow and delicious oysters sourced locally from Vancouver Island.
Axe Throwing is the latest
Boozy apres-ski is a thing of the past, with Whistler visitors opting for more active alternatives. It seems Forged Axe Throwing are mixing things up this season, challenging skiers and snowboarders to test their aim in the most Canadian of ways – by hurling axes down an alley in the hope of sinking a bullseye! Formerly reserved as an entertainment source for woodland lumberjacks, axe throwing has firmly established itself as a popular timber sport and one of the leading indoor group activities in Whistler. They even have regular tournaments and leagues. Group bookings are a Forged specialty, and the team will provide all the guidance and training you need.
Snowmobiling, Log Cabins & Steak
Journey to a cosy log cabin by snowmobile before dining at altitude on Angus beef sirloin served with garlic mashed potatoes, seasonal vegetables, and an indulgent dessert. This is THE essential way to explore the Callaghan backcountry this season, courtesy of Canadian Wilderness Adventures.
Meatless Mondays are a thing
Vegetarians and vegans are in for a treat at the ever-popular Aura Restaurant this winter. The new three-course vegan dinner is brimming with beautifully prepared, local produce. Whether you eat meat or not, everyone can enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail at Aura’s Cure Lounge that this year features a craft cocktail program creatively themed around ‘Riddles’.
There’s a new high-end retailer in town…
Shopping in Whistler has always been impressive, but this season sees the addition of a brand new high-end retailer, Jonathan+Olivia, which opened its doors for business in the autumn of 2018. The store is Whistler’s first multi-brand fashion lifestyle boutique carrying global brands for men and women from runway to contemporary. Designed to appeal to the appetites of international travellers, this is a welcome addition to the Whistler shopping scene.
There’s a new gondola, and lift upgrades too…
Mid-December saw the unveiling of the much-anticipated 10-passenger Blackcomb Gondola. The new gondola will keep guests warm and dry as it ascends from the base of Blackcomb Mountain to the top of the mountain adjacent to Rendezvous Lodge and the existing PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola. Together – the new Blackcomb Gondola, PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola and Whistler Village Gondola – form the first three-way gondola in the world.
Daily flights operate to Vancouver International Airport from London Heathrow, with connecting options from Leeds Bradford, East Midlands and Manchester Airports. From Vancouver Airport, Whistler is a two-hour journey along the Sea to Sky Highway. Daily shuttles operate direct from the airport terminal. To find out more, see www.whistler.com.