As one of North America’s leading tourist destinations, the Canadian resort of Whistler is popular with winter skiers and summer adventurers alike. However, the much-underrated all season often goes under the radar. Often taken at an altogether more laid-back pace, autumn is something of a hidden gem for this mountainous region of British Columbia.
We’ve pulled together the top ten reasons to add Whistler to your fall travel plans.
1. YOU’LL ENJOY THE PERFECT WEATHER
The extreme heat and cold experienced during the peak seasons aren’t for everyone. Chilly fall mornings serve as a reminder that the icy grip of winter is just around the corner, yet glorious sun-soaked afternoons are perfect for enjoying an abundance of outdoor activities. Put simply, fall offers the most comfortable temperatures of the year. Bring layers – that way, you’ll be ready for anything.
2. IT’S YOUR LAST CHANCE TO GO MOUNTAIN BIKING
While usually a much-loved summer activity, mountain biking continues to be enjoyed throughout the fall months. With the snow just a few weeks away, it’s best to grab a mountain bike and head out while the trails are still clear. Lost Lake Park is a great place to start. You’ll get a feel for the terrain and take in a number of local landmarks. For safety, and to make the most of the trails in this region, mountain biking tours in Whistler are highly recommended.
3. AXE THROWING IS THE BEST INDOOR ACTIVITY IN TOWN
While the weather in fall provides plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, the occasional rainy afternoon is inevitable. When the rain arrives, head for Function Junction, one of Whistler’s trendiest neighborhoods. Alongside the host of eateries and breweries, you’ll find Forged Axe Throwing. Historically a fun pastime enjoyed by local lumberjacks, axe throwing has become an international sport and the ultimate bachelorette party activity. The award-winning venue promises a friendly welcome and lots of fun during the session. A team of axe throwing aficionados will be on hand to provide safety briefings and teach you a trick shot or three.
4. WHISTLER IS A FOODIES PARADISE
During recent years, Whistler has become a culinary beacon in Canada. The final fall event, the Cornucopia Festival (November 7-17), is the ultimate ode to local food and drink in British Columbia. For eleven days, Cornucopia offers an unforgettable culinary experience with tastings, winery dinners, and meet the chef events. Think of the event as where the wild meets the refined, perfectly situated in the calendar post-harvest. Local produce is gloriously transformed into colorful, flavor-filled creations served at intimate dinners, buzzing tasting events chef table luncheons.
5. THE HIKING TRAILS ARE FREE FROM SNOW (for now)
The thaw is long and slow at Whistler’s highest peaks, and the snow usually melts completely by early August. That means fall is the most accessible time to enjoy a guided hike in the stunning wilderness. While you can enjoy the labyrinth of hiking trails by yourself, it’s advisable to head out on a guided hike in Whistler to ensure you stay safe and enjoy the most breathtaking backcountry views the area has to offer.
6. BAG THE LATEST DEALS ON ACCOMMODATION AND MORE
Fall is the best time to find great deals on accommodation, dining, and activities. October and November have the lowest average hotel rates with a nightly average of $212 – that’s a 29% saving compared to the yearly average of $297 per night. Many of Whistler’s leading restaurants put on mid-week dining deals too, so be sure to stay beyond the weekend.
7. IT’S A SHOPPERS PARADISE
If you love to shop, then you’ll love Whistler. There are hundreds of shops in Whistler’s pedestrian village selling from fine artwork and fashion, jewelry, the latest outdoor sportswear and a host of luxury items. For those who love to ski, the annual Turkey Sale is a must-attend with deals on both new and used ski and snowboard gear. The sale takes place over the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend in October.
8. STROLL AROUND WHISTLER’S MUSEUMS AND GALLERIES
Fall afternoons are made for strolling around Whistler’s many museums and galleries. A visit to the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre comes highly recommended, with the venue celebrating the history and culture of local First Nations. The Whistler Museum is the place to discover the history of the area and unique mountain culture. Check out the many historical displays and photographs on show and don’t miss the original gondola cabin.
9. DRINK CRAFT BEER AT THE WHISTLER BEER FESTIVAL
Traditionally an event that marks the end of summer and the start of fall, the Whistler Beer Festival (September 9-15) is a firm favorite with the locals. Tasting events, beer battles, cask nights, and plenty of great food should be expected in a celebration of over 140 beers and ciders from 70 distinct breweries. Beer yoga and tasting competitions are other notable events on an action-packed itinerary.
10. FIND YOUR NEXT GREAT READ AT THE WHISTLER WRITER’S FESTIVAL
The Whistler Writer’s Festival (October 17-20) is a bookworm’s paradise luring avid readers, aspiring writers and published authors alike. The program includes short seminars on numerous topics, workshops for new and emerging writers on various topics of craft (e.g., Publishing 101, Novel Idea Boot Camp, Insights from Insiders: Trade Publishing in Canada Today, etc.), panel discussions and reading events.