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Whistler family skiing holidays

Family snowmobiling in Whistler.Family snowmobiling in Whistler.Canadian Tourism Commission
Children sledgingChildren sledgingCanadian Tourism Commission
Flying Time 10hrs
Carbon Footprint 8.5 CO2
Timezone GMT -7
Currency Canadian Dollar

Today

Overview

Host to the 2010 Winter Olympics, Whistler in British Columbia is considered by many to be world's best ski resort. But it's not just for hardcore skiers or snowboarders, boasting a ski school with a superb reputation for teaching kids.

Combine this with spacious accommodation for different budgets and the fact that the centre of the resort is pedestrianised, and you have one of the world's best family ski resorts and the deserving runner-up in our Best Ever Family Ski Resort Award in the Over-7s category. That said, with a long flight and a two-hour transfer from Vancouver, it may not be the best choice for a ski holiday with young kids.

And the resort is not just about winter: all kind of thrilling activities may entice you to Whistler in summer, which is also a good time of year for two-centre holidays in Vancouver and Whistler.

Things to do with kids in Whistler

Book ahead for Whistler Blackcomb Snow School, which is very family friendly and caters for all standards of skier, with group and private lessons, guides and camps. Children are accepted in the ski school from the age of three, while toddlers can be looked after in the resort's kindergarten or by UK tour operators' nannies. If you're an advanced skier, enjoy expert off-piste training in some of the worlds best powder.

As well as skiing and snowboarding, enjoy other winter activities in Whistler Blackcomb: sightseeing on the Peak to Peak gondola, using the tube park, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, sleigh rides, ice-skating, ice climbing, ice fishing, bobsleigh, skeleton and Olympic tours, and more. 

Try zip-lining, bungee, treetop adventures, eagle-viewing and helicopter ice-cave tours, both in winter and summer. Summer activities in Whistler also embrace hiking, biking, bear-watching, floatplane sightseeing tours, whitewater-rafting, kayaking, horse-riding and via ferrata, to mention just a few of the options. 

Year-round, learn about the local First Nations People at the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre with its displays, its interpretative forest walk and its interactive craft area.  

Make a day trip to Vancouver with its fantastic family attractions, great shopping and exciting foodie scene.

Eat

There are around 100 restaurants in Vancouver serving at least a dozen different kinds of cuisine. Despite Whistler's reputation as an expensive destination, all price ranges are catered for, with a good standard of food still available in the lower-priced restaurants. We particularly recommend Creekbread for its pizzas and Cows Creamery for its ice cream and other sweet treats.

There are a lot of mountain restaurants, but we do recommend eating early because they can get busy over lunchtime.

When to go to Whistler

Whistler has a long ski season, with good snow from early December until early May and summer skiing on the Horstman glacier. February half term is normally quieter than the equivalent week in the French Alps unless the half term coincides with the Presidents Weekend in February, when many Canadian families go skiing. The best snow is between January and March, but it's worth remembering the short days earlier in the winter.

The summer season in Whistler lasts from late May until early October.

Cost

Adults should expect to pay £1,000–1,500 for a week's holiday in a catered chalet in Vancouver with flights and transfers during February half term (in contrast to the European Alps, February half term in Vancouver actually works out a little less expensive than Christmas or Easter because it's not a holiday in North America). Discounts are generally available for kids.

By Rhonda Carrier

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