Autumn is an interesting time in the mountains surrounding Whistler. The chilly mornings and snow-dusted peaks serve as a constant reminder that winter is creeping into North America’s #1 rated winter resort. And yet those glorious sun-soaked autumn afternoons make for some of the most stunning biking, hiking and golf days of the year. Whistler winters are legendary and the summers are fast becoming equally popular, but autumn still may be Whistler’s best kept secret. And to prove it, here’s a Top 5 list of Reasons To “Fall” For Whistler in autumn.
1. The Great Outdoors
Winter in the Coast Mountains is pretty transcendent but autumn is arguably when Whistler showcases the widest variety of beauty. Chilly mornings make for mist-covered alpine lakes, autumn rains create roaring waterfalls and those soft sunny afternoons combine with the changing leaves to fill the hills with gold. And there’s no shortage of activities to take advantage of all that autumn beauty. Some consider autumn the best time for hiking and biking: the lift-accessed Whistler Mountain Bike Park remains open until Monday October 12, 2015 and the XC and hiking trails stay excellent all the way up until the snow falls. Add in rafting, fishing, bungee jumping, ziplining, 4×4 adventures and more and it becomes easy to see why they don’t call autumn “slow season” anymore.
2. Parties, Galas and Events
When the weather does get cold and wet Whistler simply shifts the party indoors and autumn plays host to some of Whistler’s top cultural events. October 15-18, 2015 top authors from Canada and beyond come to town for three days of readings, workshops and literary hobknobbing at the Whistler Writers Festival. Cornucopia follows on November 5-15, 2015 and features an abundant, overflowing line-up of culinary, wine and wellness events to celebrate what it means to live the good life. In early December the always-awesome Whistler Film Festival brings over 80 films and hundreds of industry insiders to town for five days of cinematic bliss (and usually some great early season skiing too).
3. Relax and Refresh
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with taking that mellow autumn vibe and cranking it down a few more notches either. Whistler balances all the big-mountain excitement with plenty of spas, massage, flotation therapy and yoga options to help you unplug and reconnect. There’s also an 8-screen movie theater (Insider’s Tip: pour a bag of peanut M&Ms into your popcorn for the ultimate snack surprises), numerous art galleries and an award winning First Nations cultural center.
4. Retail Therapy
Shopping can be relaxing too and a stroll through the hundreds of shops in Whistler’s pedestrian Village is even better when broken up with strategic rest-stops on the patios. Whistler is ground zero for innovations in ski and snowboard gear and there are always great deals on both new and used equipment at the annual Turkey Sale, a community-wide gear swap that’s been held over Canadian Thanksgiving for close to 30 years.
5. Seasonal Deals
Autumn in a resort town is still a great time to find deals on accommodation, activities and even dining. According to trivago’s Hotel Price Index, October and November have the lowest hotel rates, with a nightly average of $170, which represents a 29% savings compared to the yearly average of $238 per night. Whistler hotels are built to handle big winter ski crowds so they’re not afraid to reward autumn guests with special rates. And Whistler restaurants often use the mellow season to reward the locals for all their hard work over the summer. It’s not unusual to find super prices on gourmet menus at some of Whistler’s most talked about dining establishments. (Hint: lots of the best deals are mid-week only so try to stay beyond the weekend).
Of course, there are plenty of other great reasons to visit Whistler in the autumn but adventure and exploration are integral parts of any trip into the mountains, so come find out for yourself.