If you missed out on your annual ski trip this winter, and find yourself scrolling through endless Intagram pics of your friends on the slopes, we have good news. It’s not too late to create slope envy among your followers.
While in many European resorts, April hails the end of the season, the Canadian resort of Whistler is very much still in play. As North America’s largest ski area, Whistler Blackcomb has an impressively long season with skiing running through early May. Simply put, Whistler in April is still a very active ski and snowboard scene.
April arguably provides the best of all worlds, with warmer days and more hours of sun contrasting against gleaming white powder and optimal conditions on the slopes. While winter fun remains very much on the menu, spring activities start to come into play, meaning you’ll be spoilt for choice choosing what to do next.
Here’s a guide to get you started if you’re heading to the Great White North this spring.
Book your lift tickets and bag a deal
Before you go to Whistler, check for any late deals that may be on offer for lift tickets via the Whistler Blackcomb site. You’ll also find late package deals on accommodation via the Whistler tourism portal.
Getting to Whistler internationally is usually via flights into Vancouver, from where Whistler is a two-hour drive on the stunning Sea to Sky Highway. You’ll be able to get a shuttle bus directly from the terminal building, making the transfer easy and stress-free. At the right time of day, you may even be able to catch iridescent cloud swirls over the mountains as you drive or fly in.
While skiing and snowboarding remain front and center, there are plenty of snowy activities to enjoy Whistler in April.
Ziplining in Whistler is one of the best ways to view Canada’s stunning scenery from above. You’ll be strapped into a specially designed harness, hurtling through the air with a feeling of immense freedom and weightlessness. Take a moment to look down and appreciate the view as you fly like a bird above the frosted valley floor.
Skeleton and Bob Sleigh
The anniversary of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games takes place in February, but you’ll still be able to enjoy the thrill of the world’s fastest ice track in April. Book an exclusive and exhilarating experience at the Whistler Sliding Centre, trying your hand at bobsledding or skeleton on the track used in the Vancouver Games.
Hiking and biking are two of the most popular summer and fall activities in Whistler. However, late April sees the start of the thaw at some low elevation routes.
This means you can enjoy a hike in more comfortable conditions, while still enjoying snowy views – perfect for that Instagram feed. With black bears coming out of hibernation, it’s advisable to head out on a guided hike in Whistler, rather than going it alone.
Visiting Whistler in April offers a unique opportunity to see some of its most striking residents waking from their winter snooze. Head out on a Land Rover sunrise expedition to one of the premier black bear viewing spots in the region. You’ll be joined by professional nature guides and photographers, committed to watching bears from a safe distance. You’ll see the bears among moose, deer, mountain lions and coyotes, and view the majestic high elevation panoramic views from the Coastal Mountain Range. Bear watching in Whistler is one for the bucket list and is available from late April.
No stranger to April showers, Whistler has plenty of indoor activity options for when the rain stops play. The active nature of this region also creates demand for healthier and less boozy apres options. Here’s our pick.
Axe throwing is almost as Canadian as the maple leaf itself. After all, it was the lumberjacks of British Columbia that first found fun in hurling axes at targets during grueling logging sessions in backcountry forests. James Anderson and Brett Easton have reinvented this lively pastime, and Forged Axe Throwing is an indoor venue where visitors can try this fun sport for themselves. Popular with bachelor and bachelorette parties, you and your team will throw axes (known as hatchets) at wooden targets, earning points in a similar way to the traditional darts league. Wear plaid to get in the spirit.
Museums and culture
If museums and galleries are more your thing, you’re in for a treat. During April, head for the Audain Art Museum where The Extended Moment exhibition will be taking place. Photography from the Canadian Photography Institute of the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa will be on display. This special collection explores the development of photography from daguerreotype photographs to digital images, while exploring the production of photojournalism in this region.
On April 3rd, Arts Whistler presents the Anonymous Art Show. Returning for its third year, the show is a great place to buy impressive original art produced by the Sea to Sky creative community.
Visit a spa
After a day on the slopes, soothe those aching muscles with a trip to one of Whistler’s award-winning spas. While the European ski season may be coming to an end, you’ll still experience the continental influences with an age-old Finnish tradition of soaking in outdoor baths (sorry, no snake massages here — phew!). The spa combines rustic elegance with breathtaking scenery and an array of massage treatments are also available.
Whistler has become a haven for foodies in recent years, so it won’t surprise you that there’s an indulgent abundance of dining options. Araxi is a champion of the farm-to-table dining experience and offers formal dining where oysters, seafood and a stellar wine list come as standard. The Bearfoot Bistro is also a foodie giant in the area, boasting a top restaurant and the coldest vodka tasting room in the world. Pizza lovers should head for Pizzeria Antico where wood-fired pizza and a large craft beer selection draw guests and locals to this north part of Whistler Village.
Easter (April 10-13, 2020)
If the Easter Bunny could choose a place to spend the Easter Weekend, he would choose Whistler. Or should that be “she?” Anyway, Wildflower serves delicious food every day of the year. But on Easter Sunday they pull out all the stops, with a true holiday feast that’s full of surprises and treats for the whole family. If you can’t make it to the Wildflower, try one of the many, many other brunch options in Whistler.
There are family adventures galore, with an Easter egg hunt like no other – on cross-country skis. Visit the Olympic Park in the Callaghan Valley (just 20 minutes from Whistler) to hunt for eggs on cross-country-skis or snowshoe. Parents, kids and dogs are welcome. Matching dog and human outfits are encouraged, obviously.
O2E Brands Whistler Cup (April 16-19, 2020)
The Whistler Cup is the largest and most important ski race in the world for athletes aged 12 to 16 years old. The event has an impressive track record of showcasing future stars and you can expect 400 racers from around the world in what is the event’s 28th year. The event takes place at various venues across Whistler.
Whistler World Ski & Snowboard Festival (April 16-26, 2020)
Returning for its 25th edition, this legendary spring festival combines spring energy with winter mountain culture. Expect five days of events on and off the slopes, with ski and snowboard competitions, music, art, photography, filmmaking and nightlife all playing a part. The Whistler World Ski & Snowboard Festival traditionally marks the end of the peak ski season, and the Canadian locals truly like to see the season out with a bang.
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