Seattle's Child

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Plan a winter vacation to Whistler with the kids

Ski, play in the snow and more in Whistler

Looking for a magical winter vacation guaranteed to delight your tiny adventures and ignite a bit of wanderlust? Pack your bags and head north to on a trip to Whistler, BC with the kids. Located just about four hours from Seattle, this winter wonderland checks all our family’s vacation boxes. Hit the slopes, dine to your heart’s content in the heart of Whistler Village, shop till you drop and enjoy picturesque views of towering snowy peaks from literally every vantage. Whistler has it all!

Sitting in the snow after a jaunt down the hill.

Ski

Whistler Blackcomb is the largest ski resort in North America. The resort connects two beautiful mountains – Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb. With more than 8,000 acres of terrain, the resort offers ski runs for every age, ability and adrenaline fix. Whether you’re looking for powder bowls, groomed rollers, high alpine chutes, or beginner hills, you’ll find something for everyone. They even have hidden play areas on each mountain, including an enchanted tree fort and magical castle!
We love the ski lessons offered for little rippers (it’s pricey but worth it!). Whistler Kids has camps and classes for kiddos as young as 3 years old. Start them young at Adventure Camp. It’s a good option for parents who want to invest in a lifetime of mountain memories – both for you and your littles. Adventure Camp is a group lesson that lets kids explore the mountain while making friends, and they are jam-packed with other activities – including all-you-can-drink hot chocolate. Lunch is included, and the program is a full day, so while your skier is enjoying time on the mountain with friends, so can you.

When our kids aren’t in lessons, we hop over to the base at Whistler Blackcomb and take laps up and down the Magic Chair. Another great place for kids is a quick jaunt up to the Olympic Mid Station to the beginner and children’s area. For more fun (and a wider array of options), hop on the gondola from Whistler Village and go to the top. From the Roundhouse Lodge, take Upper Whiskey Jack for an easy green run to the Enchanted Forest. You’ll find access to the tree fort in the Bear Cub trail, so it’s a run you won’t want to miss.

Enjoying a little shopping in Whistler

Sightseeing

You don’t have to be a skier or snowboarder to enjoy Whistler Blackcomb’s beautiful sights. If you take the Village Gondola up to the top of Whistler Mountain, you’ll be rewarded with amazing mountain views – and a great photo opportunity next to the Olympic Rings. Grab a bite to eat at the Roundhouse Lodge before going to Blackcomb on Peak 2 Peak. The Peak 2 Peak experience is one you won’t forget. It’s the world’s highest lift and an ingenious engineering feat. The lift connects the two giant mountains and takes you on a dizzyingly high trip over a valley an incredible 1,427 feet below! You’ll want to hold on tight if you’re afraid of heights.
Insider tip: You can ride a glass bottom gondola. You might have to wait longer to snag the infamous gondola, but the view is a unique as they come. Imagine staring directly down to the valley from your seat!

Cost: $82 per adult, $65 per teen, $39 per child

Eat

There are some wonderful dining options located in the adorable Village in Whistler, and the variety of fare is diverse. One of our favorite spots to grab a seat is Sushi Village. For parties of six or more, they have ample seating in private nooks. I highly recommend snagging a reservation, not only for the sushi, but for their world-famous sake margaritas (they also make them sans alcohol for kids).

Website: sushivillage.com
Location:
4340 Sundial Crescent,
Whistler, BC V0N 1B4

If your family has a sweet tooth like ours does, you’ve come to the right place for recommendations. You have to visit Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Cows Ice Cream and Purebread. You can thank me later. All the shops are located in Whistler Village.

After hitting the slopes all day, we always get caramel apples from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory as a reward since it’s right at the base of mountain. It’s a nice first stop to recharge tired legs.
Cows Ice Cream is located closer to the skating rink, as well as Purebread. If you love pastries, Purebread is the place to go. Their mission is to bake delicious bread, savouries, cakes and treats that bring a smile to peoples’ faces – and I can attest that’s exactly what their delicious treats do.

Snow play all around in Whistler, BC.

Play

With so much to do in Whistler Village, you never really need to leave. After you’ve hit the slopes, you can explore other family-friendly activities, like tubing, ice skating or high-flying zip lining.
Ice skating is one of our favorite things to do. The ice rink is located at the Olympic Plaza. It’s an outdoor rink, so bundle up. Skate under shimmering lights and slip and slide to fun music.
Cost: $2 admission fee with your own skates; $9 for skate rental, including admission
Next to the ice rink is a great place for sledding and building snowmen. A large open snowfield is a hit with kids. There is also a playground, but it isn’t maintained in the winter – so play with caution.
Located in the Base 2 Zone on Blackcomb Mountain, the bubly™ Tube Park is another option kids will love. The tube hill offers fun for all ages. No skill is required for this activity – just a good attitude and sense of adventure. The tube hill is accessible from the Village by the Excalibur Gondola. Children must be 36” tall.

Cost: $28 per adult; $26 per teen; $21.50 per child

Stay

Planning a winter vacation to Whistler with the kids can be time-consuming when trying to find a place to stay. Lodging and accommodations are vast in Whistler. Whether you’re looking for a private mountain retreat, a hotel with five-star service, or a cozy condo in the heart of the Village, options are limitless.

Hotels are a great option to enjoy pools, spas, restaurants, and activities. The Fairmont is a beautiful place for kids, although you’ll pay for those services. The Fairmont Chateau Whistler resort is nestled at the base of Blackcomb and offers luxurious amenities like yoga and babysitting.

Website: fairmont.com

We usually find our lodging through VRBO or Airbnb. We sort by what is most important to us, usually ski-in/ski-out and hot tubs.

We’ve stayed here and have liked it as an option to stay in Whistler. The Executive Inn is another option and is still in the heart of Whistler, but it doesn’t have all the luxurious bells and whistles (and price tag) as hotels like the Westin or Fairmont.
Another option is suites. We’ve stayed here before as well. The location isn’t as great for getting home with little ones, but it’s not as expensive and has a pool.

Free entertainment

Expenses at Whistler can add up pretty quickly, so it’s always a bonus when you can find free entertainment. The Fire & Ice Show in Skier’s Plaza is free for all ages, and it’s a spectacular performance. Skiers and snowboarders spin, twist and flip through a burning hoop. Come with hot chocolate and stay for a show.

Dates: Dec. 31 – March 10 (Every Sunday night during winter)
Time: 7 p.m.

Whether you’re looking for a luxurious getaway or a weekend ski trip, Whistler is a great option for a winter trip with the kids. It’s truly a world-class resort within reach of Seattle and a must-visit!

Getting to Whistler is easy these days as well. All you need is your passport. Be sure to check crossing wait times before you head out though. Waits can be long depending on the crossing point and time of day.

So, pack up your car, get your gear and head north! Adventure is calling.

 

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About the Author

Kathryn Mueller

Kathryn Mueller is a mama of three toddlers and calls Shoreline home. When she's not wrangling her little ones, she's a writer, winery owner and outdoor enthusiast. She enjoys exploring the Pacific Northwest with her little ones in tow and can usually be found with a coffee in hand.