Have you ever considered skiing in Whistler at Christmas? I have to admit, getting out and about on Christmas day has never really crossed my mind. Our family traditions normally involve presents, a huge amount of food, friends, games and TV. You can read about normal Christmas giggles here.
But Marc and I are far away from our families, so we decided to try a Christmas day trip to Whistler to ski. It turned out to be a brilliant idea and we had one of the most fun Christmas days EVER!!
Christmas in Whistler – the basics
We thought Whistler might be incredibly busy on Christmas day, but it turns out, if you go early it is less busy than normal.
For tickets, the best way to get a good deal is to buy them early (rather than waiting online on the day.) Marc and I have Epic passes loaded with 5 day passes, so on Christmas day, we could just show up and go straight to the lift.
How to get to Whistler:
Before we got a car we used to take a bus from Vancouver. There are quite a few options, but we went with Epic Rides. It cost $35 return and takes 2 hours. If you decide to drive, just take the Sea to Sky Highway the whole way to Whistler. There is plenty of parking and it was quite empty when we arrived on Christmas day, although it was pretty full by lunchtime.
I have a post about learning to ski in Whistler if you need more information about renting equipment, accommodation etc.
We left home at 6am on Christmas day, so we were in Whistler before 8:30am, and ready to go up on the lifts just after they opened.
Christmas Skiing – How busy is it?
There were quite a few people around on Christmas day in Whistler, but it was actually less busy than the other times we have visited. We didn’t have to wait long at all for the lifts, even though it was a truly perfect sunny day.
Forgetting how to ski
This time last year I had my first day in Whistler, when I did an epic fall and lost my rental ski. This time, we returned to Whistler at Christmas and I was hoping I’d be better. However, I seemed to forget everything! I fell down a couple of times on the steep section of a green run when I suddenly lost all confidence that I’d be able to turn! Eep!
Luckily Marc was patient and encouraged me to keep trying. It turns out, I just needed to get my head in gear. I was much better from the very next run.
How gorgeous does Whistler look in the sunshine!? That spiky mountain is the Black Tusk that we saw from Panorama Ridge this summer. The entire area was looking perfect and the snow felt fantastic under our skis.
Happy on the Blues!
Up until now, I have mostly stuck to the easiest green runs. They are less steep, but still a challenge when you’re a newbie skier like me. However Marc’s friends that met us in Whistler are all amazing super-skiers, so Marc and I wanted to attempt to keep up with them on some more of the scarier blue runs.
It turns out, we can do it! I found I just have to make loads of turns when the slopes get steep, but if I push myself, I can totally do it! There were a couple of places that I remember finding terrifying last winter. Now I can totally manage them! Yay!!
I just need to share these photos from Little Whistler Peak down to Cheakamus Lake. How gorgeous are those totally snow-covered trees!?
The photo below is from out final lift of the day. Marc wanted to try a new run before we headed down for Christmas lunch. Now, I had heard that some of the blue runs in Whistler are incredibly steep. Marc promised that ‘the Saddle’ was not one of the scary slopes. He lied. The Saddle turned out to be Whistler’s steepest blue run. It was truly terrifying. I mean, from the top of the slope, it was so steep that you can’t really see over!
Still, by chance we met friends at the top, and they all told me they thought I could do it. And you know what…I blooming could! I may have been the Saddle’s least elegant skiier, and I may have been more scared than any other moment in 2018…but I managed to ski down this terrifying slope!
Whistler at Christmas – Food
So after surviving the Saddle, we changed out of our ski boots and headed into Whistler village for some food. We’d heard that one of the Irish Pubs, the Dubh Linn Gate served Christmas dinner. It turned out, we couldn’t have a proper Christmas dinner unless we waited until 6pm. So, I opted for bangers and mash for Christmas lunch. All food tastes better after exercise, so those sausages were just what I needed!
We had such a blast! If you are considering a holiday to Whistler one Christmas, do! Most of the shops and restaurants were open, and the ski slopes were surprisingly empty, especially in the morning. I totally recommend heading to Whistler at Christmas, especially on Christmas day!
Whistler just after Christmas
Our day out was pretty perfect, but I should mention that last year we also visited Whistler between Christmas and New Year. It was incredibly busy during that period. So, skiing on Christmas Day can be amazing, just be aware, if you decide to go on Boxing day or the days leading up to the New Year it’ll be busier.
Other possible Activities for Christmas:
If you don’t fancy a Whistler ski-day, but you do like the sound of having a fun outdoorsy Christmas, I have some more ideas!
- You could head out for a Ski closer to the city at Grouse Mountain, Mount Seymour or Cypress Mountain
- A super easy snowshoe hike to Brandywine Waterfall
- There are also amazing snowshoe trails to Hollyburn Mountain, Dog Mountain and the Grouse Snowshoe Grind
- Or you could go for a Christmas wander close to Vancouver, like in Stanley Park or one of the lovely beach trails.