Whistler Vibes – where to stay, play, and be gay
As one of the world’s premier ski resorts, Whistler has a big reputation when it comes to snow sports. While the skiing and snowboarding on offer are truly out of this world, this mountain paradise is also one of the friendliest and most vibrant resorts around. While there are no gay bars here yet, it has well and truly earned its inclusivity credentials thanks to its safe, welcoming and fun atmosphere.
For almost 27 years, Whistler has hosted its own Pride and Ski Festival. Referred to by many as the number one gay winter event in the world, the slopes come alive during late January (January 20 to 27, 2019) with rainbow flags and a buzzing vibe. While winter is a great time to visit, Whistler has something to offer travellers at any time of year. Here’s our essential guide to get you started.
As the host hotel for Whistler Pride 2019, Aava is a superb choice of accommodation for your trip to Whistler. Located in the Village, Aava is decked with the standard trimmings of a luxurious Whistler hotel: pool, hot tub and sauna. A variety of room sizes- suitable for the needs of a single traveller, small families, and large groups- means that Aava can cater to the needs of all different group types.
Host to the first same-sex wedding in Whistler, the Fairmont is a popular choice among loved up couples the world over. However, this luxury hotel complete with golf course, Vida Spa, and slopeside whirlpools is perfect for an indulgent stay at any time of year.
Whistler has an abundance of activities on offer and is a true adventure playground.
Go Axe Throwing: Whenever you choose to visit, make sure to stop by Forged Axe Throwing and check out one of the best things to do in Whistler. Formerly reserved to woodland lumberjacks, Forged has brought axe throwing to the masses. More fun than darts, you and your friends will hurl axes at a target with the hope of sinking a hugely satisfying bullseye. No experience necessary – just a love for frivolity and plaid!
Be an Olympian (for the day): Canada has played host to some of the most legendary moments in winter Olympic history. Who can forget Cool Runnings or Eddie The Eagle?! As one of the host venues for the Vancouver Winter Olympic & Paralympic Games, Whistler boasts an Olympic Park and an Olympic Sliding Center giving you the chance to live like an Olympian and try bobsleigh or skeleton. Brace yourself though, this is the fastest ice track in the world!
Go Zip Lining: See the valley, treetops and mountains from a different perspective, gliding over the Whistler creeks fastened to a high wire – under expert supervision of course! Enjoy a tour over the Fitzsimmons Valley between the Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains and even ride during twilight. Zip lining in Whistler should be on the bucket list of every thrill seeker.
Look out for…The Rainbow Crosswalks
In celebration of the diverse LGBTQI communities of Whistler, inclusivity in general, and Whistler Pride’s 25th anniversary two Rainbow Crosswalks were installed in fall 2017. They can be found on Main Street in front of and near the library.
These brightly-coloured crosswalks were instigated by Whistler Pride’s executive director and CEO Dean Nelson who wanted people, and especially youth, to have a visual reminder that diversity is welcomed, is celebrated and is central to the community.
- Wellness: If you weren’t already familiar with the spas in Whistler, it’s time you heard about them! Pride visitors usually have the chance to relax to DJ music with a glass of wine or beer during an exclusive night time opening in the peaceful spa’s settings. During summer, many spas have reduced pass fees – just in case you fancy returning out of season.
- Dance and Music: Top DJs in some of Whistler’s best bars and clubs will provide night-time entertainment throughout the week of Pride and throughout the year. The Whistler Pride line-up always features a highly anticipated Friday Furrocious Party and Saturday Snowball Party.
- Skiing and riding: Whistler is one of the world’s leading ski and snowboard destinations so you can expect world-class snow sports during Pride and beyond. The slopes are a great way to meet new people or enjoy fun times with your loved one.
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist based in Toronto with a focus on tourism, lifestyle, entertainment and community issues. He has written several travel articles and has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He’s willing to take on any assignments of interest, attend parties with free booze, listen to rants, and travel the world in search of the great unknown. He’s eager to discover the new, remember the past, and look into the future.