Travel Blog

14 Dec

Whistler Holiday Events: What’s on Over Christmas and New Year’s

TAG: Family Time, Festivals Events, Holidays

Posted by: Pip Campbell

Whistler Village holiday lightsThe Whistler Village holiday light display. Magical, eh?

It’s less than 12 days until Christmas and Whistler is in full holiday mode with a delicious sense of people coming together for the holidays. The lights are sparkling on snow, the toboggans are out in Whistler Olympic Plaza and mulled wine is on the menu. The more people out and about the merrier so here’s a quick Insider’s guide to what’s on in Whistler through Christmas and New Year’s, highlighting just some of the family, the free and the snow fun events.

Daily Activities

Fun in the Snow

Every Day | Outside

The trails and trees are blanketed with snow, there’s ice on the lakes, sunshine on the peaks and the only way to see winter at its most beautiful is to get outdoors and go adventuring. Skiing and snowboarding are on with the mountains open every day of the holidays, and sightseeing on the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola is a great way for non-skiers to get up into the mountains. But there’s plenty of other things to do, from mellow to the extreme. Snowshoeing, ziplining, sleigh rides, snowmobile tours, cross country skiing, bungee jumping….check out this a comprehensive list of things to do on a winter day for more ideas.

Ice Skating in Whistler Village

Starting December 10, 2016 | Whistler Olympic Plaza

Whistler’s indoor/outdoor facility offers free public skating seven days a week, 11 AM to 2 PM, 3 PM to 5:30 PM and 6:30 PM to 9 PM with temporary closures for resurfacing (fresh ice, whoo!). Skate and helmet rentals are $6, push bars are available if this is your very first time ice skating.

Snow Zone and SnowshoeingLEFT: Snowshoeing is a great way to prepare for turkey dinners. RIGHT: The simple pleasures at the Snow Zone.

Snow Zone

Whistler Olympic Plaza

As well as the ice skating rink Whistler Olympic Plaza also boasts a huge play area full of snow – they’ve been making extra to supplement all the fresh snow Ullr delivered last week. You can toboggan, make snowmen, check out the playground and warm up at the firepit or in the nearby coffee shops. Monday and Wednesday nights you can check out Family Après too. 

Whistler Blackcomb Tube Park

11 AM to 6 PM Monday to Friday (10AM start Weekends and Holidays) | Base II via Excalibur Gondola

The Tube Park is perched just above Whistler Village, a short gondola ride from Skier’s Plaza. It’s a multi-lane world of sliding on snow fun, under lights for sliding into the evenings. No lessons or equipment required, just dress in your warm outdoor gear, grab an inflatable tube and go! Buy tube park tickets online and if you are looking for something a little more extreme the winter bobsleigh and skeleton program at The Whistler Sliding Centre might be worth checking out.

Indoor Playground WhistlerLEFT: Let the conversation flow. RIGHT: The Whistler Holiday Experience, indoor family fun zone extraordinare.

The Whistler Holiday Experience

December 16 to December 30, 2016 (Closed December 25) | 10 AM to 6 PM | Whistler Conference Centre

An annual favourite with parents, this is entertainment for kids, which also happens to be indoors AND free. Warm up and spread out with a room full of bouncy castles, a mini putt course, a selection of table games, a lounge for a bite to eat and a warm drink, videos games, and special events like performances and arts and crafts. Santa will be by December 17 and 18 for photos, by donation.

The Cabin by Hudson’s Bay

December 19, 2016 to January 2, 2017 (Closed New Years Eve) | 10 AM to 6 PM (11 AM – 11 PM Christmas Day) | Four Seasons Resort Whistler

A brand new, adults-only holiday event, The Cabin is a new pop-up après-ski dining concept with a Canadian twist. Think heated outdoor terrace, fire pit, cocktails and delicious shared plates.

Après Anything

Every Day | Various Venues

Après-ski or Après-snowmobile? We think all days should be celebrated in Whistler and there are plenty of unique and cozy places to grab a drink so be sure to try a few different après spots through the holidays.

Skiing and Apres Ski WhistlerLEFT: Snow and sunshine, just what the doctor ordered. RIGHT: Après – more quality time.

Special Events

This is just a selection – head over to our holiday page for a full list of festive events.

Dress Like Santa Day

December 17, 2016 | 8:00 AM Upload | Fitzsimmons Express Chair, Whistler Village

A hilarious annual favourite. The first 100 people to show up at the GLC dressed like Santa or Mrs. Claus will get free lift tickets for the day. The minimum dress code includes red or black pants (or a skirt for Mrs. Claus), a red jacket with white trim, a black belt, a beard for Santa, and a Santa/Mrs. Claus hat. Clauses will participate in a group run under the chair before being set loose on the mountains to spread good cheer. (Here is a handy post from the Insider if you need to explain to your kid why there are 100+ Santas on the mountain.)

Santa Skate

December 18, 2016 | 3 PM to 5 PM | Whistler Olympic Plaza Rink

Did you know jolly old St. Nick can skate? Join him on the outdoor ice rink and glide around under the lights to classic tunes. Enjoy hot chocolate, festive treats and holiday crafts to celebrate this festive season with skates for rent if needed.

Dress Like Santa Day Whistler BlackcombSanta is a busy man in Whistler, popping up at various events and on the hill.

Holiday Saturday Crafternoon

December 17, 24 and 31 2016 | 1:30 to 3:00 PM | Whistler Public Library

A little bit of creativity for kids and parents. Come by the library to try a fun holiday craft, meet other families and of course peruse the bookshelves. The Library does memberships for visitors for just $10 if you want to take a few books to read during your stay.  

Christmas Eve Carol Service

December 24, 2016 | 6:30 to 7:30 PM | Westin Resort Spa

One of many carol services held throughout town (more listed here), this is a long running community event hosted by the Whistler Children’s Chorus and Whistler Singers, now in its 33rd Year. Entry by donation.

Fire Ice Show

Sundays from December 18, 2016 | 6:30 PM | Skier’s Plaza, Base of Whistler Mountain

Top local skiers and snowboarders put on a big air show, accompanied by live DJs and fire dancers. A flaming hoop makes an appearance, and the whole shebang is capped off with a fireworks display – a great way to get into the spirit of the resort. More info or check out this Insider blog for some Fire Ice history.

Family Après at Whistler Olympic Plaza

Mondays and Wednesdays from December 19, 2016 | Whistler Olympic Plaza

Better than adult après by far, Family Après is free, outdoor winter fun for families. Activities change each time with favourites including snowman building contests, tobogganing, roving characters, music and dancing, hula hoops, mini hockey, snacks, hot beverages and more. Details can be found here.

Family Apres WhistlerChill out with the kids, with entertainment laid on at Family Après twice a week all winter.

New Year’s in Whistler

Sending off the old year and welcoming the new is a great shared tradition, and there’s plenty going on in Whistler on thelast day of 2016. Most of the village is given over to alcohol-free family celebrations but if you are seeking glittering, grown-up parties where the champagne flows those are also on the cards. The Resort Municipality of Whistler lays on free public transit all night so it’s easy to get around. Read on, pick your venue and start planning the outfit…

Whistler Presents: New Year’s Eve Celebrations 

December 31, 2016 | 6 PM to Midnight | Whistler Village

Whistler Presents puts on an amazing family-friend New Year’s Eve celebration, with a wide range of indoor and outdoor events and activities taking place around the village. There’s live music and performances, a youth dance, arts-and-crafts tables, and more. You can also try ice skating, and watch a special Fire Ice Show at the base of the mountain with a midnight fireworks display (no tickets required for these). Kids two and under are free, and kids and adults are $12.50 in advance, or $15 on December 31. For more information and tickets visit

Parties, Club Nights and More  

December 31, 2016 | All Night | Various Venues

There’s a huge list of events happening on New Year’s Eve in Whistler with every pub bar and club hosting a celebration. Check out the list of events here and be sure to get your tickets ahead of time to ensure you’re out of the cold for the countdown.

This is certainly not an exhaustive list of things happening in Whistler over the holidays – but it’s a taste. For more information on holiday events, winter activities, skiing and more – visit

New Years Events WhistlerAre you ready to say hello to 2017? Ringing in the New Year the Whistler Way.

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