Article Contributer See her Travel
Whistler, British Columbia, Canada: a brilliantly famous village known for it’s world class skiing, astronomically expensive real estate, and beautiful mountain views. Oh, and it was also the host to most of the snow events for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics! But is that all there is to do in Whistler? Can you spend three days in Whistler without skiing, or worse yet, snowboarding? As a matter of fact, there is a ton to do in Whistler that doesn’t involve athleticism, balance, or even going outdoors! Welcome to the Guide to Things to do in the Whistler Arts and Culture scene, for the anti-skiier!
Every year, thousands of tourists and locals alike flock to Whistler to hurl themselves down snow covered mountains in a variety of ways. But what if, like me, the idea of being uncomfortably cold and constantly on the razor’s edge of mortal injury doesn’t sit so well. What is there to do in Whistler off the slopes? To find out we will take a few days out of our busy lives to visit Whistler.
Between Vancouver and Whistler: The Sea to Sky Gondola
The Sea to Sky Gondola is a relatively new addition to the fleet of British Columbia tourist attractions. Opening in 2015, the gondola is located near Squamish, B.C. about half way between Vancouver and Whistler. The entry sits right off the Sea to Sky highway, so you truly can not miss it.
The Sea to Sky Gondola takes you from practically sea level to literal sky elevations, climbing 885 meters in around 10 minutes. Scared of heights? This might not be for you, but the ride up is surprisingly smooth with very little swing of the gondolas, and once you are at the top the views are phenomenal!
Once at the top of the gondola you are at Summit lodge, a classic tourist venue with fine dining, gift shops, and some olden day photographs on the walls. What shines about Summit Lodge are the views. The surrounding Coastal mountains and the front seat view out to Howe Sound are out of this world.
From Summit lodge there is a plethora of hikes around the area, leading out with varying levels of difficulty to even more lookouts. If you haven’t had enough heights for one day, you can walk across the suspension bridge that gives even more of a perspective on how high you are.
Not into the Gondola? You can also hike up to Summit Lodge, following a trail underneath the gondola
Whistler, British Columbia – An Indoor Playground
Squamish Lil’Wat Cultural Centre
First up was the Squamish-Lil’wat Cultural Centre. The cultural centre is a gorgeous building housing a fine tribute to the two cultures of the two separate but peaceful Aboriginal bands in the Whistler area. These two First Nations communities, the Squamish and the Lil’wat, have lived in the Whistler area for centuries, and though very different in their cultures, share a deep love and connection with the land and the beautiful mountains they call home.
Not large, but with great quality and depth, the Cultural Centre hosts guided tours every hour. I definitely recommend a tour. You can wander on your own, but with the free tour, you see a short video, you get a more thorough explanation of the arts and exhibits, plus at the end you go into the long house and make a cedar bracelet! Who doesn’t love leaving a Whistler tourist attraction with some cedar swag!
Audain Art Museum
Another must see in Whistler is the newly opened Audain Art Museum. Now, I’m not normally much into art museums, I tend to get bored and my back starts to hurt and I get hungry and then I start to whine.
The brand new building is gorgeous, and surrounded by forest, giving the feeling of modern seclusion. Inside, the galleries play host to the vast collection that the Audain family has collected over the years, ranging from exquisite Emily Carrs to E.J. Hughes classics to an absolutely stunning collection of Pacific Northwest First Nations art. There is a massive cedar welcome wall, carved to tell a tale, as well as fantastic masks jewelry, sculptures, and smaller carvings, all showing the great diversity of First Nations art from British Columbia. There are also travelling exhibits that go through the gallery.
3 Days in Whistler, British Columbia
Spend a few days in Whistlyou will not regret it! Unless you drown, but that probably won’t happen to you. There is so much to do in Whistler, you don’t need to be a ski jumper or even into snow at all. There are so many beautiful views to be had and things to do in Whistler that any person with any interest can easily be amazed. Check out the arts and culture scene, explore the First Nations culture, and share new experiences with your favourite people.