12 Things to Do besides Skiing in Whistler

by Paul Joseph  |  Updated December 29, 2023

Best known as a world-class skiing destination, the Canadian resort town of Whistler has plenty of great things to see and do beyond its famous pistes.

Hikers navigate the Marmot Trail in the Blackcomb Mountains (Photo: Ruth Hartnup via Flickr / CC BY 2.0 DEED)

Located 120 kilometres north of Vancouver, the Whistler offers plenty of activities and attractions away from its snowy slopes. The town’s beating heart is its compact, pedestrianised village which buzzes with activity night and day during peak ski season. As well as its legendary aprés nightlife, here you’ll find upscale boutiques and several galleries featuring regional art. For alternative ways to spend your time in Whistler other than skiing, we’ve come up with 12 top tips below.

Go hiking along scenic alpine trails

The mountains that surround Whistler are not just a magnet for skiers but also hiking enthusiasts who come to traverse its myriad of peaks throughout the seasons. Hikers can grab a map and explore its huge choice of trails independently, or join an organised tour in the company of like-minded folk. Trails of varying lengths and ability levels are on offer, from short, family-friendly strolls on wide paths to more adventurous treks that take in lakes, glaciers, spectacular waterfalls, ancient forests and alpine meadows.

Learn about the region’s indigenous cultures

Neighbouring communities with their own distinct cultures often struggle to maintain a harmonious relationship. But the Indigenous people of the Squamish and Lil’wat Nations in southwestern British Columbia are certainly an exception to that rule, having coexisted peacefully for decades. Built as a space to celebrate and share cultural knowledge, the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre features a range of permanent and temporary exhibits, as well as hands-on activities and live demonstrations of weaving, wood carving, cedar prepping, and other practices ingrained in Squamish and Lil’wat traditions.

4584 Blackcomb Way / Tues-Sun 10am-5pm Closed Mon

(Photo: A tour guide stands in front of an impressive-looking exhibit at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre (Photo: Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre))

Take in some modern art

Whistler’s art scene is world renowned and one of its most prestigious arts institutions is the Whistler Contemporary Gallery. Dedicated to the promotion of Canadian and international contemporary art, the gallery is spread over two Whistler locations, both featuring a huge assortment of contemporary paintings, sculptures, multi-media and glass works gleaned from top global art fairs such as the Art Expo New York, Toronto International Art Fair, and Art-Miami.

Two Whistler venues

Inside the Whistler Contemporary Gallery at the Four Seasons Resort (Photo: Whistler Contemporary Gallery)

Delve into Whistler’s rich history 

Step back in time and learn the fascinating story of how both the town and the sport of skiing have evolved down the years at the acclaimed Whistler Museum. Home to a diverse mix of year-round exhibits, plus regular seminars, activities and other events for all ages, the museum is one of the town’s most popular attractions. Highlights include an interactive discovery centre where you can learn about the town’s natural environment and a potted history of ski racing in Whistler.

4333 Main Street / Thurs 11am-9pm Fri-Tues 11am-5pm Closed Weds

Test your mettle on two wheels

Mountain biking is a seriously big deal in Whistler and at the heart of the town’s biking scene is Whistler Mountain Bike Park. The internationally-acclaimed park is home to a wide range of trails that draw mountain bikers from around the world. All ability levels are catered to with four mountain zones, green trails, technical double blacks and jump trails, while a recent addition to the venue is the Gatorade Skills Park, which offers medium-size jump and drop features.

4282 Mountain Square / Precise hours depend on season

Marvel at picture-postcard waterfalls

Drive for around 15 minutes southwest of central Whistler and you’ll come to one of the region’s most visually arresting natural landmarks. Brandywine Falls Provincial Park is named after its spectacular 70-metre waterfall that draws visitors from far and wide who come to enjoy the park’s hiking, mountain biking and picnicking opportunities, or simply to admire the mesmerising views of the cascading falls, as well as nearby Daisy Lake and the surrounding mountains.

A rainbow forms at Brandywine Falls Provincial Park (Photo: GoToVan via Flickr / CC BY 2.0 DEED)

Embark on a captivating nightwalk

One of the most unique – and enchanting – experiences that can be had anywhere in Whistler is the Vallea Lumina Multi-Media Nightwalk. During the evening fairy tale-like walk, guests are invited to navigate a 1.5-kilometre pathway that takes you through an old-growth forest in pursuit of hidden wonders, as a magical story unfolds in chapters via cryptic radio transmissions along the way. The entire trail takes between 40 and 80 minutes, depending on your walking speed.

 Sixteen Mile Creek Forest Service Road 

You can book tickets for Vallea Lumina at Viator

Join an adrenaline-fuelled snowmobile tour

Whistler’s diverse and picturesque landscapes make for exhilarating snowmobile conditions. There are a number of fully guided snowmobile tours available that give thrill-seekers the chance to propel themselves through the pristine backcountry, exploring untouched wilderness that’s almost impossible to reach on foot, or even by conventional transport. Among the most popular is a 2.5-hour family tour, during which little ones also get the chance to helm their very own mini-snowmobiles.

A snowmobile ride in Whistler (Photo: Paul Williams via Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0)

Admire Whistler from the sky

Whistler is a sight to behold from any vantage point but there’s nothing quite like seeing the town from high up in the sky. There are a number of helicopter tours that allow passengers to enjoy beautiful panoramic landscapes as they soar through the air while accompanying onboard commentary from your pilot provides facts and insights on the scenery thousands of feet down below. Tours take on different routes but highlights can include passing over such natural wonders as Whistler Blackcomb Resort Provincial Park and Cheakamus Lake.

You can book a Whistler helicopter tour at GetYourGuide

A helicopter soars above Blackcomb Glacier Provincial Park (Photo: No Limits Heli Adventures / Courtesy GetYourGuide)

Take a leap of faith

Whistler is a veritable mecca for extreme sports enthusiasts, and among the most popular adventure sports activities available here is bungee jumping. Situated a few minutes’ drive south of the town centre, Whistler Bungee Bridge invites thrill-seekers to experience the adrenaline rush of leaping from a 53-metre platform high above Whistler’s glacial fed Cheakamus River. The bridge is open all year round for bungee jumping and the most memorable time of year to take the plunge is during the winter months when the area is often covered in scenic snow

Calcheak Forest Service Road

Soar through the air on a zipline adventure

Whistler’s scenic setting gives outdoor activities an extra thrill. Among the most exhilarating ways to enjoy the area’s natural beauty is to book onto an adrenaline-fuelling zipline tour. There are several to choose from and one of the most popular is The Sasquatch, which at a mind-blowing two kilometres long is said to be the largest high wire of its kind anywhere in north America. Those brave enough to traverse it will find themselves gliding over spectacular creeks and majestic old-growth trees. Tours only run during summer season.


A thrill-seeker is propelled down a zip wire (Photo: Ziptrek Ecotours / Courtesy GetYourGuide)

Unleash your inner lumberjack

It may sound like something you might only do on a stag night, but thanks to Canada’s rich lumberjack traditions, axe throwing is actually a fully accredited sport here. Local company Forged Axe Throwing run an indoor venue where first-timers and timber sports veterans alike can test their skills at the noble art of hurling axes at targets. Under the supervision and guidance of experienced coaches, students can learn such techniques as the one and two-handed throw.

1208 Alpha Lake Road / Mon-Sun 12pm-7pm