Know Before You Go: What to Expect in Whistler This Summer

Posted by on 15 Dec 2022 , in North America

Whistler is a place to come together with friends and family, where après is an art form and where sophisticated tastes can be sated as easily as the desire for ice cream. A day trip doesn’t do Whistler justice, stay longer and explore deeper to find out what it is about these mountains that draw people to them (and sometimes doesn’t let them go).

Visit Midweek

Weekends and holidays are busy, especially at Whistler’s lakes and parks, so come midweek if you can, extend your weekends and consider staying for longer. Not only will the added time mean you can dig in and explore at a more relaxed pace, but it also means more choice and more deals (FYI – rates decrease the longer you stay and there are added perks like free $100/ $200 Adventure Vouchers).

Before You Arrive: Book, Book, Book

We advise organizing your accommodation in advance as well as making dinner reservations and booking activities. Capacity in Whistler is a little lower than normal due to the effects of COVID-19; popular tour times booked out last summer, as did the restaurants (especially if they had a sunny patio). We have a dining guide and interactive map to help you make some food plans on our dedicated dining page. We want you to have the best time, not a stressed time and most places have flexible cancellation policies, so if your plans do change then they’re easy to adjust.

While we’re talking about activities, it’s worth considering a guided tour like bear viewing, hiking, biking, or canoeing – local experts know hidden spots and trails, and manage the logistics so you don’t have to. There’s been so much to keep in mind over the past year that it’s a relief to hand the decision-making over to someone else for the day. Bike rentals (for the bike park and Valley Trail) are also very popular in the summer, so if you can, consider making a booking in advance.

The one exception to the book-ahead-of-time rule is sightseeing on the PEAK 2 PEAK gondola. These tickets never sell out and the best way to purchase them is when you arrive in Whistler, either at Whistler Blackcomb Guest Services or the Whistler Visitor Centre.

If you’re planning on doing some hiking in and around Whistler and you’re heading into a BC Park (like Garibaldi Provincial Park), make sure you check for information on the free day-use passes (vehicle and trail), which are required during peak hours, as well as any advisories or closures. Before you go, make sure to review the BC Parks Responsible Recreation Guide to brush up on how to recreate safely and respectfully this summer.

Whistler Alert is the official emergency notification system used by the RMOW to communicate with residents and visitors during emergencies via text message, phone and email. We encourage you to sign up for it while you’re here (just in case). When you register, you will be asked to provide your contact number and the date you plan to leave Whistler so that you don’t receive alerts when you’re back home.

When You Arrive

Check into your accommodation and relax. You’re in Whistler now.

Park and play! Get rid of the car – you don’t need it. Whistler has a 46-kilometre Valley Trail system that weaves in and out of parks, lakes and neighbourhoods. We suggest renting a bike and using it to explore new places this summer. Have you ever been down to Creekside Village or Function Junction? You could even make it an e-bike for even more exploring power; just make sure you take a quick read of the trail etiquette before heading out.

Starting in June the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) is running secure bike valet parking at Olympic Plaza, Rainbow Park, Lakeside Park and Lost Lake Park, making it easy to BYOB (bring your own bike) while still having the freedom to explore on foot when you want to.

There are two free shuttles running from Whistler Village to Lost Lake Park and Rainbow Park, which will start operating in mid-June.

This summer, the construction project at Alta Vista will still be underway which may impact vehicle access to some of your favourite spots (like Lakeside and Wayside Park) – yet another reason to get on your bike! You can find more information about these RMOW initiatives on their website. You might also notice some work being done in Creekside, this is because Whistler Blackcomb is putting a new gondola in for next winter season, exciting!

If you do have questions while you’re out and about, a quick and easy way to get an answer is to text Ask Whistler. You can also connect via WhatsApp and use the free Whistler WiFi (currently available at Whistler Olympic Plaza, Whistler Town Plaza, Whistler Village Common, Village Square and the area near the Whistler Visitors Centre and new bus shelter).

During Your Visit

Make sure you pack your patience, Whistler’s businesses are open and can’t wait to serve you, but are impacted by the current labour shortage. Please be kind to the people serving your food, checking you in and taking you out on a tour; we’re still in this together.

Knowing that Whistler’s parks and lakes can get busy, make sure you’ve got a Plan B up your sleeve. Think about visiting at off-peak times like first thing in the morning and in the evening (sunset picnic anyone?) and make sure you pack out what you pack in. Park Eats! Is running this summer, bringing food trucks and pop-up food tents to Whistler’s parks, as well as a drop-off program with Portobello. Take a look at the RMOW website for more information on when and where you can grab snacks, refreshments and lunch at Whistler’s parks this summer.

Check out the new and free Go Whistler Tours app, which features curated tours that guide you to unique experiences and locations throughout Whistler, from art galleries to nature walks.

If you’re a regular to Whistler, consider doing a hike or visiting a lake that you’ve not been to before (note that Whistler’s alpine network is typically covered until mid-July). We’ve got a plethora of information on hikes in Whistler for you to check out; as always AdventureSmart and follow the Three Ts for safe outdoor exploration (trip planning, training and taking the essentials).

Wildfires are a very real threat to Whistler in the summer when the weather gets hot and dry. Whistler’s fire danger rating gets updated daily by the BC Wildfire Service and when it reaches High or Extreme open fires of any kind are banned. That means no campfires, no tiki torches, no fireworks, etc. Do not throw cigarette butts (of any kind) onto trails, into forested areas, or out of car windows. If you see a fire call 911.

You might also see fire-safe tree thinning happening while you’re here, which can mean that some trails will be closed from time to time. For summer 2022, the areas being focused on are Riverside, Rainbow and Taluswood. More details can be found on the RMOW website.

If you need supplies for while you’re here, maybe a new pair of trail runners, more buckets and spades for the kids, drool-worthy treats for the picnic – buy them locally. Not only does this support local business, but gives you a chance to connect with people who live here and might have a tip or two they’re willing to share with a savvy traveller.

Keep an eye on our events calendar to see what’s on this summer as events are coming back including the Summer Concert Series at Whistler Olympic Plaza, Crankworx and GranFondo.

Help Whistler with its environmental goals by drinking alpine fresh tap water versus bottled, avoiding single-use plastic, choosing active modes of transportation and using the compost and recycling bins in the Village and at the parks. Remember that Whistler is bear country, so please dispose of your waste responsibly. If a bin is full please take your waste back to your accommodation to dispose of; let’s keep wildlife wild. 

Reconnect with family, friends and nature, and a whole world of adventure in Whistler. Simply put, come and have some fun in the mountains this summer!

Credits by: Tourism Whistler

When experience matters