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Whistler’s Best-Kept Secret? Visit in Fall

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In Whistler, as summer winds down and the crowds disperse, the vibe begins to change. Some locals would say that the season between summer and snow is the time to visit. Fewer distractions, more space, and time to clear your mind. A chance to truly connect with British Columbia’s wilderness.

Here are five reasons you should visit Whistler this fall.

Cornucopia | Darby Magill

Catch Festival Fever

Whistler throws one of the largest celebrations of food and drink in Western Canada every fall. Cornucopia is an 11-day marathon of libations, dining, and celebrating in the mountains come early November. Mountain culture meets unique culinary experiences with signature events like House Party: Best of BC, where top BC food, wine, spirits, and beer are up for grabs. The festival’s flagship event, Crush Grand Tasting, brings together wines from BC and afar for an event sure to impress any wine aficionado.

Looking for a truly Canadian culinary experience? The Bearfoot Bistro World Oyster Invitational & Bloody Caesar Battle has the West Coast’s best oyster shuckers, bartenders, and mixologists competing for the top prize in this event best witnessed as a front-row spectator.

 

If Cornucopia can’t be squeezed into your travel plans, don’t worry. A trip to Whistler at any time during fall means eating your way around town for less. Almost every Whistler restaurant offers up dining specials, from three-course meals with wine pairings to simple dishes on the cheap. Dine at award-winning restaurants like Araxi and famed Whistler establishments like Sushi Village.

There are plenty more festivals that come with a change of seasons, too. Challenge yourself on a road ride from Vancouver to Whistler with the 122km (76 mi) RBC GranFondo Whistler, sample BC’s top brews at the Whistler Village Beer Festival, work on your pen name at the Whistler Writers Festival, or shop for the best pre-season ski and snowboard gear at the annual Whistler Blackcomb Turkey Sale, held over Canadian Thanksgiving Weekend.

Whistler | Blake Jorgenson

Witness Nature’s Transformation

As summer fades in Whistler, nature’s vibrant greens slowly transform to shimmering golds, deep purples, and eye-popping reds. The change of season in this mountain town is particularly unique as brightly coloured leaves stand out against the deep green of cedar trees and the dark greys, blues, and whites of the towering mountains. To take in the spectacle, opt for a stroll along the Valley Trail to Rainbow Park at Alta Lake while leaves crunch underfoot, or simply walk through the Whistler Village for a lively show.

Whistler | @alejandroconnorr

Embrace Mud Season

Locals would agree that fall is the best time to play in the mountains. The trails are quiet, summer’s dust disappears, and the dirt is tacky. A perfect formula for outdoor adventure. Zipline above the rainforest, hop on an ATV or Jeep tour through the mountains, hike in the rain, or jump on a bike for a muddy adventure. When in Whistler come fall, do as the locals do, and just get dirty. Embrace the mud, rain, clouds, and crisp air to feel a bit more alive.

Scandinave Spa in Whistler | BC Ale Trail

Retreat and Relax

After a long day facing nature’s elements head on, the perfect way to relax and unwind is with a gentle massage, soothing soak, and relaxation fireside. Head to Scandinave Spa for a healing experience between indoor and outdoor hot and cold pools, saunas, eucalyptus steam rooms, and relaxation spaces immersed in a calm, mountain-view oasis. The Scandinave Spa is immersed in nature, tucked into the side of a mountain, surrounded by giant cedars, and glacial peaks. It’s easy to spend a whole afternoon here, and post-spa, opt to take a stroll through the adjacent Lost Lake Park trails for a walk back to Whistler Village through the rainforest.

Audain Art Museum in Whistler | Grant Harder

Seek Art Therapy

Whistler is a hub of artists, creators, and cultural ambassadors. In the fall, Whistler’s creative community kicks into high gear, drawing inspiration from change of seasons and the mountains, rainforest, and rushing rivers that surround Whistler. Tour the local art galleries in Function Junction and Whistler Village, explore the Audain Art Museum for one of the most extensive collections of West Coast Indigenous art in Canada, or visit the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre to learn about the First Nations who call Whistler, Pemberton, and Squamish home.

 

There is never a dull moment in Whistler come fall. It may just be the best time of year to visit.

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