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Newcomers’ guide to fall and winter events in the Sea to Sky

Sep 26, 2017

Competitive events bring winter sports spectacles

No surprise that Whistler Blackcomb – the largest ski resort in North America – attracts some serious amateur and pro athletes for winter sporting events. The most athletic among us will join in, but many events also welcome spectators. Newcomers to the area should check out the following…

The Peak to Valley Race in February is the longest giant slalom race of its kind in the world, challenging teams of four to race down Whistler Mountain. Also taking place in February, Sigge’s P’ayakentsut is a family-friendly cross-country ski event that allows racers to skate 15 km, 30 km, and 50 km courses.

For a snowboard and ski spectacle, check out the regular Fire and Ice Shows, starting Sundays from December 18 to until March 28. Snowsports, fireworks and fire spinners.

Who will be crowned Shredder of the Mountain at the end of the season? Find out at the Annual Showcase Showdown in March. Riders will compete on the  Snake Run, Euro Carve, Jump (35′ option and a 10-15′ option), Rails (2 options) and 1/4 pipe.


Newcomers guide - Gay Pride

Lighter outdoor sports events and festivals

If you’re not competing in the above events, Whistler also has sport and snow festivals for everyone to enjoy. The ice skating rink in Whistler Village opens in early December. Later in the season Pemberton’s Winterfest features an annual Ice Fishing Derby and a Polar Bear Plunge in January.

While the rest of the country celebrates Pride in the summer months, in Whistler we bring out the rainbow flags in late January. The Whistler Pride and Ski Festival is one of the biggest and best gay and lesbian ski weeks in the world.

As the season wraps up, don’t miss the Whistler World Ski and Snowboard Festival in April and Whistler’s Great Outdoor Festival in May.


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Holiday magic in December

The festive season brings a lot of unique and charming events and markets to Whistler and Squamish.

You can do a lot of your holiday shopping without going to the city. In November, Arts Whistler hosts a Bizarre Bazaar holiday market. The Squamish Santa Claus Parade in early December is accompanied by a Christmas Market. A couple weeks later Whistler’s Winter Artisan Market kicks off carries will continue for three weekends.

The Polar Express comes to the West Coast Railway Heritage Park for four weekends this winter, on November 25 and 26 and December 2, 3, 9, 10, 16 and 17. Travel to the “north pole” in Squamish on the train from the book, including Christmas music and cookies. PJs are encouraged.


Newcomers guide - Eagle spotting

Eagle watching season in Brackendale

Tourists to the Sea to Sky are often excited to see bears, but they’ll be fast asleep during the winter months. But don’t put away your long lens – Brackendale, just outside of Squamish, is one of North America’s largest congregations of wintering bald eagles. In Christmas and January volunteer interpreters will be at the Eagle Run viewing shelter every weekend.

The Brackendale Art Gallery also hosts the Winter Eagle Festival and Count. The month-long festivals include music, art, music, lectures and a bird count.


Whistler Film Festival - newcomer's guide

Film, food, writing and arts in Whistler and Squamish

If you’re tempted to hibernate during the cool, rainy months, we have some other events to keep you occupied.

Farmers Markets and summer produce phase out in autumn, but there’s still two big events for foodies in the corridor. Beer lovers can try visit 60 breweries during the Whistler Beer Festival from September from 13 to 17, a week-long event that includes tap takeovers and beer yoga. Whistler’s Cornucopia from November 9 to 19 is a massive celebration of local food and drink, featuring seminars and tastings of everything from chocolate to pizza and whisky to wine.

The Whistler Film Festival takes place in late November and early December, inviting industry professionals and movie lovers to celebrate great film. Get inspired to shred and send all year with the Quest Winter Film Festival in January 16 and 17 features short documentaries from both Mountainfilm and Reel Rock.

In early autumn the Squamish Artwalk invites visitors and locals to appreciate the work of artists inside businesses and galleries during the entire month of September. Whistler Writers Festival brings authors and poets to town from October 11 to 15.


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