19 activities in Whistler if you don’t ski

standing in front of huge snow walls in whistler

Whistler is best known for its winter sports and being one of the top ski resorts in all of Canada. But there are also lots of things to do in Whistler even if you don’t ski. Located just under two hours from Vancouver in beautiful British Columbia, you can ski and hit the beach on the same day!

With many different outdoor activities to enjoy here, you will never be out of ideas on how to spend your days. Locals and visitors alike love spending time in this winter wonderland.

With fun activities to do in any season, this is possibly my favourite place in Canada. Who knew ski resorts could be so much fun in the summer too?!

Check out the 8 countries British citizens can get working holiday visas here.

I visited Whistler during my 2-year working holiday visa in Canada. Planning on doing the same thing? Check out this post on how to apply to work and travel there and then read about moving to Canada from the UK.

Hikes & walking Trails

view overlooking the snowy mountains - walking trail in whistler if you don't ski
The view from one of our many hikes throughout Whistler, BC

With around 50 moderate hiking trails to choose from, you will never grow tired of the mountain landscape here. With each varying in difficulty level and length to complete, there really is a walking route for everyone!

The great thing about hiking in Whistler, is pretty much every walk takes you past amazing views. Whether high up in the mountains, or the dense forest below, this is the Canadian backcountry you’ll come to love in Whistler if you don’t ski!

Restaurants

I wish we had more time to check out more of the many restaurants in Whistler. For such a small place, there is SO much food to choose from! With around 170 places offering food here you really are spoilt for choice.

Apart from having happy hour with affordable drinks and my favourite cocktails, oysters happen to be a popular side dish during the hour too!

bmx-ing in whistler
Image by Stana54

BMX 

During the summer months, Whistler & Blackcomb are well-known to the BMX community. Once the snow has melted, the mountains become overrun with cyclists.

This terrain is ideal for those thrill seekers looking to show off their skills on the steep slopes. Open from June to October the bike parks are so busy during the season so make sure to buy your ticket in advance!

White Water rafting

Another adventure sport during the summer is white water rafting! This is a popular watersport played on the glacier ‘melt’ rivers that rush down the mountains after the snow has melted.

The tours take place along a choice of 4 rivers. Green river, Squamish river, Elaho and Lower Cheakamus. While trying to stay inside the raft you will find yourself travelling through the dense forest along the white rapids. With suitable tours for varying age groups, this is an adrenaline-fuelled activity you must try!

ATV Drives

whistler atv rides on a tour a good thing to do in whistler if you don't ski
My friend Victoria & I riding our ATV

I had no idea you could drive ATV’s in Whistler until my friend invited me. Although there are multiple trails you could end up on during your ride, many of them pass breathtaking views.

The roads take you through the Canadian backcountry as well as high up the side of the mountain. Normally two people to a vehicle you can either pair up with your friend or meet someone new while driving the 4 wheeler.

Someone in our group got a little excited with the accelerator and almost flipped theirs! Thank goodness for the roll bars to keep you safe.

Lost Lake ‘beach’

Originally Whistler’s nudist sunbathing beach, it is now a family friendly beach surrounding the lost lake instead. With many hotels overlooking the water, there are endless places to stay close by.

With a few walking trails that loop the lake and picnic benches lining the shore, this might just be the perfect summertime location! Take a swim, go for a walk or simply relax here.

Quad biking 

our tour guide driving the atv in our whistler excursion
Our tour guide during our quad bike ride

Similar to the ATV rides, your tour on a quad bike will take you through the whistler backcountry landscape. Passing streams and dense forest they take you to many view lookout points across the mountain.

With only one person per bike, you have nobody to blame but yourself if you accidentally crash! (Don’t worry, you’ll be fine).

Want some more activities in the Rocky Mountains? Check out the Lake Louise Sunrise canoe!

Visiting the Alberta side of the Rockies? Check out Canmore!

Scandinave spa

Another activity in Whistler if you don’t ski is relaxation. A little bit of luxury and a lot of self care. The Scandinave spa is the largest spa in the village with many amenities to take advantage of.

Everything from massages, hydrotherapy and hot baths, you could easily spend a full day here. The company requests silence throughout the entire spa to give everyone an equal chance to be as relaxed as possible.

This is the perfect way to end a trip to the area on a high note.

Walk to the snow walls

me standing by a snow wall in whistler
Me next to the huge snow walls in Whistler, BC

Ok, so if someone had told me that in July I’d be walking a hiking trail in the hot sun. I would have believed you. If you had said the walk takes you past a 9ft wall of snow.

I would have thought you were mad. But here it is, in all its glory. Due to the high altitude of many accessible trails, the snow still needs a while before it thaws completely.

When the staff of the mountain make the area safe for hikers they pile the snow off to one side and this is the result. Not many places are warm enough to wear a t-shirt but be surrounded by so much snow!

Axe throwing

This is something I had never heard of before visiting Canada. Something that sounds so dangerous, but is actually a massive hit and is regularly on the top activities to do in whistler if you don’t ski. Axe throwing is something that even newcomers can enjoy meaning you don’t need to be a pro lumberjack to get involved!

I’ll admit, I am VERY clumsy so this isn’t exactly the sport for me, but I will never say never! Just gotta perfect that aim.

Gondola

gondola to the top of whistler mountain whistler don't ski
The view from one of the Gondolas above Whistler

You can ride the gondola to enjoy the panoramic views from above. Or maybe you just want to get to the top of the hill and don’t care much for the view.

Either way, you can appreciate that the gondola is extremely useful. You can enjoy the Peak to Peak gondola to see glacier lakes, forests and maybe even a bear (if you look really hard)!  

Sledging

Another super easy winter activity that practically anybody can do, is sledding! All you need is to rent a sled (or bring your own) and slide down the designated hills.

The worst part is having to drag it back up the hill but if little kids can manage, so can you! With many companies available for you to rent from, you’ll never be too far from a sledding opportunity. Also, if like me you are a lazy couch potato, this could be ideal for you in Whistler if you don’t ski, since the whole sport requires sitting down!

Visit the olympic village

gondola to the top of whistler mountain whistler don't ski
My housemates and I at the Olympic Plaza

Built for the 2010 winter olympics, the olympic plaza is a good central point for visitors. With the familiar 5 olympic rings here, this outdoor recreation centre is a must visit. This is one of the best ways to feel a part of the winter olympics – even if it was years ago!

Just south of the whistler village you can ski, snowshoe and sled here with ease. You can enjoy panoramic views across the valley as well as visit the large Inukshuk statue here too.

Squamish-Lil’wat Cultural Centre

You can find a little bit of everything at the Cultural centre. The centre has local ambassadors who are members of the Squamish and Lil’wat nations. They host guided tours of the centre and teach visitors about the two communities. You can learn about their traditions and the cultural differences and take part in a craft activity too.

As well as the museum, it is also an indoor venue where they hold events. Weddings, banquets, meetings can all be held here if you rent out one of their spaces.

whistler lost lake beer
Photo by Chris Montgomery

Nightlife pub crawl

I’d be lying if I said Whistler was a quiet village. A place with parties pretty much every night, this is party central for visitors and seasonal staff alike. If you like to party, this is probably a local favourite in whistler if you don’t ski.

With multiple pub crawls to choose from, and many music events year round, you’re guaranteed to have a fun time wherever you end up. Bar Hop Whistler is one of my favourites but feel free to check them all out!

Alexander Falls

Only 43metres tall, Alexander Falls is an easily accessible waterfall whatever the season. In the summer the falls are surrounded by green pine forests. In the winter the snow reaches halfway up the trees and you only see white for miles.

We took a snowshoeing hike here during the winter and honestly, I think I prefer it when frozen over! It is just west of Whistler, and is one of the top 5 waterfalls to visit on your next visit to the region.

me snowshoeing in whistler

Snowshoeing

Probably the easiest snow sport, snowshoeing is a favourite in whistler. It takes absolutely no skill so is perfect for the winter newbie!

If you can walk you can snowshoe and that’s really as easy as that. They simply slip on over your shoes and can be clipped in for extra support and there you go.

With many trails available for you to explore, with snowshoes you will have a much better time than walking in your trainers. 

Snowmobiling

No visit to a snowy tundra is complete without taking a ride on a snowmobile. With multiple routes and tours to be taken on through the backcountry wilderness, you will love the entire snowmobile experience. There is something exciting about speeding through a snow covered landscape on a basically a jet ski for land!

They have tours for different levels of experience too. So whether you are a complete beginner or have been riding for a while, there’s something for everyone.

Lake in Whistler

Visit the lakes

Whistler has many lakes nestled within its valleys. Each one has its own unique reason to visit. Green lake is the coldest lake. The place you go when you want peace and quiet since it is the least busy.

Garibaldi Lake has an 11mile trail to it just south of Whistler. Also a popular camping spot, this walk is sure to get you physically active. Alta Lake is popular due to being dog friendly. So many locals and visitors bring their dogs for a run and a dip here so no doubt you’ll love this place if you like pets!

Alpha Lake is known for being a great fishing spot due to the high numbers of cod found beneath the surface. Lastly Nita Lake is a smaller, more private lake which is much less frequented. One of the perks of visiting this secluded location is being able to rent a paddle board during the summer! Just try not to fall in!

So there we have it, my summary of 19 things to do in Whistler if you don’t ski, like me.

Although a small location, it is a tourist hotspot for many reasons. There is always something worth visiting for, even if you have been before!

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