Nearby getaway: Whistler U-14 Ski and Snowboard Snowcross
Watching the Winter Olympics on TV was inspiring, but now it’s time to turn it up a notch: Whistler hosts a series of races and competitions, including ones where kids can watch top athletes their own age compete. Early March’s U-14 Ski and Snowboard Snowcross (March 3-4) features skiers and boarders battling down the rolling jumps and banked turns. The top 12-to-14-year-old freeskiers in the country will come to town March 15-18 to vie in a big-mountain competition. The season continues into April with the Whistler Cup, which brings the best racers in the world to the Northwest. Previous winners include U.S. Olympians Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin. The 21st Annual Showcase Showdown — a snowboard jam with lots of big air and tricks — closes it out.
All the events are free to watch and very casual — just stop by the side of the course during your ski day. Learn more about all events at whistlerblackcomb.com/events-and-activities.
Even if it’s not a big event weekend, it’s worth sticking around Whistler on a Sunday night for the Fire & Ice event, which features expert skiers and snowboarders twisting, flipping, and flying through flaming hoops, ending right in the center of Whistler Village. This vantage point puts you right by Sushi Village (4340 Sundial Crescent, sushivillage.com). Put your name down for dinner before the show (the lines can get long) and watch until your table is ready.
Often, the best way to keep the kids fed in Whistler is to rent a condo with a kitchen — both the nearby IGA and Nesters Market carry everything you could need to cook — particularly if the basics are padded with breads and pastries from Purebread (122-4338 Main St., purebread.ca). The town’s world-class bakery carries everything from Nutella cream buns to little pizzettes, as well as big, hearty loaves of farmhouse bread that you can saw into hearty ski-jacket sandwiches. Purebread is also right in front of the free ice skating rink at the Whistler Olympic Plaza. It costs only $6 to rent skates, which comes with free helmets and, if needed, push bars for beginners. And don’t miss the opportunity to take the all-important photo with the Olympic rings. When you’re done with the ice time, stroll to nearby Blenz Coffee (101-4338 Main Street, blenz.com) to enjoy the annual choice as Whistler’s best hot chocolate.
For those powder days when the toddlers are holding you back — or those wondrous winter nights when you want to have a romantic evening, Babysitting Whistler offers reliable, affordable childcare. $20 Canadian per hour for up to two kids is about $65 U.S. for the four-hour minimum — and includes the option for snow play and adventure nature walks. For kids 3 and up, it’s time for ski school and getting them on their own path toward Olympic glory. (whistlerblackcomb.com/snow-school).