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Family Fun at Whistler

Photo by Amy McDermid

This mountain playground has something in store for kids young and old

By Louise Phillips

Eek! The kids are hopping up and down because you’re all going to Whistler—but you don’t want to worry about watching them while you’re regaining your own ski legs, and you could really enjoy some quality time with your other half. Your skiwear no longer fits, and the kids want snowboards.

Take heart. Obstacles, like ski hills, are there to be conquered. The well-oiled ski machine at Whistler has you, the frazzled parent, in mind. CanSki in the village and in Creekside will kit you out quickly and carefully. At Guest Relations, you can book a private lesson with an understanding instructor, who will kindly but firmly correct your lifetime of bad ski habits in a couple of exhilarating hours.

Book the kids (well in advance) into a Ski and Snowboard Program. Even if you think that their little lives are already too structured, relax. Whistler ski school is all about fun: safe and all-absorbing fun. Class sizes are small—five or six little ones per green-jacketed instructor.

You can drop your offspring off and come back hours later hoping they haven’t forgotten you exist. We saw one pink-suited three-year-old prone in the snow, hanging onto a ski rack in hopes her mother couldn’t take her away. A seven-year-old boy who’d newly mastered skiing without poles yelled to his father, “Don’t be scared, Dad! Just follow me!”

In the program—or with you, if you want to keep the family together all day—kids can ski or board through the Enchanted Forest, and work off some of their boundless energy climbing on Whistler’s Tree Fort, a collection of enclosed wooden platforms atop short flights of steps.

On Blackcomb, they can ride down the tube park in an inner tube, and practice for the 2022 Olympics in the new beginner terrain garden, designed with mini rails and rollers just for kids. Go ziplining with them among the snow-laden forest. Take them on the Peak 2 Peak gondola between the two mountains; at 11 minutes, it’s brief enough for the shortest attention span.

All that fresh alpine air works up a big appetite for small fry. At the top of the Garbanzo Express Chairlift in the Family Zone on Whistler Mountain is Chic Pea, a rustic café where skiers bask on a sunny patio. Kids love to feed cheeky little birds called whiskeyjacks, which perch in the trees and glide down to snatch the meat from your sandwich. Try mac ’n’ cheese for lunch, or a sticky cinnamon bun with hot chocolate for a sugar rush.

What did you say you were worried about?

For more info, visit www.whistlerblackcomb.com.

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