Explore: Whistler, B.C.

This Canadian resort's diversity goes beyond its sprawling skiing and bustling village. Here are our top diversions off Whistler's beaten path.
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>>Scandinave Spa:Mellow out

Why go: Inspired by Scandinavian wellness rituals alternating heat, cold, and quiet relaxation, this forested outdoor retreat features a circular eucalyptus steam house, a large fir-fired sauna (stoked to a steady 180 degrees), cold dunking pools and showers, heated saltwater pools, and quiet solariums. Midafternoon is the busiest time; mornings the quietest. Bath access is $55; treatment rates vary; scandinave.com/en/whistler

>>Squamish Lil'wat Cultural CentreGo local

Why go:This 30,000-square-foot award-winning museum highlights the two aboriginal nations whose traditional territories overlap in Whistler. Band ambassadors guide visitors through exhibits about past and living culture, lead drum circles, tell ancient stories, and teach workshops in indigenous crafts. Master carvers sometimes work onsite. A café serves Salish-inspired snacks. $17; slcc.ca

>>Lost Lake ParkWander the snowy woods

Why go: A short walk from the village core, 25-plus miles of snowshoe and nordic trails meander around an alpine lake through a lush forest of cedar, spruce, hemlock, and fir. Adventures start at the coolly contemporary PassivHaus, where Cross Country Connection rents gear, provides guides, and serves warming eats. Trail passes from $8; whistler.com/nordic/lost_lake

>>Whistler Sliding Centre: Rocket down the track

Why go:This bobsled, skeleton, and luge track is the steepest and fastest in the world. The public Skeleton Experience ($152) includes two headfirst, belly-down solo trips along the bottom third of the track. In the intense final section—a sweeping, 180-degree ice wall called Thunderbird Corner—expect speeds up to 62 miles per hour and force up to four g's. whistlerslidingcentre.com

>>BounceFlip out.

Why go:This new indoor recreation experience is jumping—literally. In-floor and in-wall trampolines, a six-foot-deep foam pit, rope swings, and other acrobatic features are a hit with the kids. Altogether 8,700 square feet of well-padded rooms are staged for different skill and comfort levels, from simply jumping up and down to flipping, spinning, and bouncing off the walls. From $10; whistlerbounce.com

>>Winemakers Après: Taste British Columbia at heights.

Why go:At Steeps Grill, atop the Whistler Village Gondola, Chef Barbara Foster pairs a meticulously crafted, regionally focused five-course tasting menu with pours from premier British Columbia wineries, including Nk’Mip, See Ya Later Ranch, and Osoyoos Larose. Held monthly from January through April, with a different winery and menu each month. $81 whisterblackcomb.com


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Travel: After a snow-starved season, the king of Canadian ski resorts comes back with new terrain, hotels, dining and deals. Let's get the ugly facts out of the way: It did rain in Whistler last January. For eight torrential, unheard-of days. "It was an anomaly, says mountain manager Doug MacFarlane, who's been here for 17 years. (Last year was the second-worst season on the books, with 33 fewer feet of snow than during the record-breaking '98—'99 season.) To Whistler's credit, the lifts kept running, but little could save the season—not even the sun that shone through clear skies for the next six weeks straight.

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50 years ago, Whistler was founded on the outlandish claim that someday it would host the Winter Games. The resort finally delivers its destiny—and a whole lot more.