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How to Enjoy Whistler in the Winter if You Don’t Ski

In the middle of winter it’s hard to escape ski culture in Whistler. From the latest gear oozing out of Whistler’s myriad ski shops to the hordes of people all marching towards the lifts in the morning – it’s clear to see why Whistler is hopping at this time of year. But just because it seems that everyone is going to enjoy shredding the powder up on Whistler or Blackcomb, doesn’t mean everyone actually is.

In fact, Whistler has become a destination for non-skiers in the winter too. So, whether you want to shop, spa, stroll, dine, or work out, there are tons of things for non-downhill skiers and boarders to do in the middle of winter in this mountain town. Here are a few ideas…

squamish lilwat cultural centre

Check Out Whistler’s Awesome Arts and Culture Scene

Whistler has come a long way in its 50+ year history as a ski resort. It used to be ski or stay home. (The highway also was not one to risk unless you LOVED skiing anyway). Now art-lovers from all over the world are attracted to Whistler for its arts and culture scene. Yes, the latest iteration of the Whistler International Film Festival has come and gone last month, but the Audain Art Museum has a brand-new Emily Carr painting in its collection, and they also have new exhibitions from world-renowned artists opening regularly.

The museum also hosts special events throughout the year. Other options for the culturally inclined include a visit to the breathtaking Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre or one of the many small galleries dotted throughout Whistler Village.

Break a Sweat...Just Not on the Mountain!

Great options for outdoor sports in Whistler (that don’t require a ride up the village gondola) include snowshoeing and cross country skiing. The Whistler Olympic Park located in the Callaghan Valley, just a few minutes south of Whistler, is an amazing facility that has groomed trails and all the gear you need to rent. There are also individual and group lessons for all ability levels.

The great thing about cross country skiing is that it is low impact and a very safe sport. It is, however, a great workout, and as the well-known saying goes, “You get in shape to downhill ski, but you cross country ski to get in shape”. Conveniently, the Whistler Olympic Park Daylodge has a restaurant and gear shop, so if you find you enjoy this sport, you can purchase what you need for the next time!

Whistler Village Winter Shopping arts culture

Shopping, Dining and Spaaah-ing, Here We Come!

Whistler probably gained its reputation for being a fantastic place to vacation for non-skiers for its amazing restaurants. From inexpensive to 5-star, Whistler has it all. The shopping options are endless with the village’s boutiques offering the latest winter wear for off-slope trend-setting. And what day is complete without a visit to one of Whistler’s many relaxing spas?

Who said you had to come to Whistler to ski?

Photo Credit: Mike Crane