Family Day is a statutory holiday in mid-February. It’s a busy time to visit Whistler as the resort offers special deals and events in normal years.
WHISTLER, FAMILY DAY AND COVID-19
The February Long Weekend is very different in 2021 compared to previous years because of COVID-19. The pandemic was just getting started in BC around the holiday weekend in 2020. A year later everyone had to wear masks and socialize only with people from within their own households. The government also advised people against all non-essential travel.
If you venture out for some fun on the slopes this year, do so responsibly. Don’t attend any après-ski parties, wear a mask when required, and ski at your local hill. Keep safe and don’t contribute to the coronavirus spread!
Also be aware that the ski hill will no doubt be crowded on holiday weekends. Because of COVID-19 there will likely be fewer people than usual. That being said, no events are permitted currently which means people don’t have so many options for things to do this year, and skiing is one of the more attractive ones. Also, the capacity of lifts is greatly reduced, which means everyone may have to wait extra long in the lineups!
To learn about skiing opportunities and Family Day activities elsewhere in the Lower Mainland, see the Vancouver Ski Hills and Family Day in Vancouver articles on the website VancouversBestPlaces.com.
Whistler on the BC Family Day Weekend
In 2021 Family Day happened on February 15th. The provincial statutory holiday takes place each year on the third Monday in February.
Since most children and parents have the day off, Whistler is a popular destination during the long weekend. In years without a global pandemic the resort also attracts travelers from outside the province. BC’s holiday coincides with President’s Day in the United States (which also falls on the third Monday of February) and Family Day in Alberta. To make up for the crowds, and to attract as many tourists as possible, businesses across Whistler offer special deals for the day.
Below are some of the special discounts and activities available for folk of all ages in Whistler on Family Day most years.
In the Village
In years not affected by a global pandemic the Resort Town of Whistler hosts a selection of special activities during the Family Day Long Weekend. One of the most popular (and free) activities is the Family Après in the Plaza. The event usually runs at the Whistler Olympic Plaza on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3 to 6 pm during the winter time (so not just on the holiday weekend). The event features free hot drinks, live music, games, treats and more. However, this event understandably did not happen in 2021 due to COVID-19.
While not on the actual holiday, another popular activity in regular years is the Whistler Fire and Ice Show. The weekly event usually happens on Sunday nights at Skier’s Plaza. It features skiers and snowboarders doing tricks through flaming rings. The event also features DJ music, fire spinners and pyrotechnics. Again, sadly, this event did not take place in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
One family-friendly event that is happening in 2021 is Vallea Lumina. The illuminated multi-media light walk is open daily at sundown with tours leaving every half hour or so. COVID-19 procedures in place include a one-way pathway, physical distancing and mandatory masks in the base area. Vallea Lumina costs about $30 for adults ages 16 or older and $25 for youth ages 6 to 15. Children under the age of 6 get in free.
In addition to the various activities, area restaurants are especially popular on holiday weekends. If you want to eat somewhere special with your family, or perhaps with your special someone on Valentine’s Day, it’s a good idea to make reservations in advance. For ideas on places to go see our article about Whistler Restaurants.
On the Mountain
February is generally a great month to Ski or Snowboard at Whistler Blackcomb. Winter time runs from December to March in Whistler so February is still in the midst of the snowy months. Daily temperatures in the Village range from around +3 degrees down to -5 degrees (Celsius) with temperatures being even colder the further up the mountain you go.
While discounts on lift tickets are rare, kids usually receive free ski or snowboard rentals with a paying adult at select rental locations across the town on the Family Day weekend.
Skiing and snowboarding are great winter activities for families to enjoy. However, the mountain resort also offers other kid-friendly activities. Most activities listed below are included with the purchase of a lift ticket.
Whistler Mountain is home to two Family Fun Zones. Located at the mid-mountain area, the mountain is home to a large Tree Fort winter playground. The Tree Fort can be accessed via the Bear Club trail which is close to the Big Red Express. There is also a Family Zone within the Whistler Mountain Terrain Park for young folk and visitors of all ages to practice their skills.
Similar to Whistler Mountain, Blackcomb Mountain is home to another couple of Family Fun Zones. Blackcomb’s Magic Castle can be found within the mountain’s Children’s Adventure Park. The area is accessible via the Easy Out trail just above the base of the Catskinner Chairlift.
At the base of Blackcomb Mountain is the Bubly Tube Park. The park has 7 tubing lanes ranging in difficulty from the mini slope (for the younger folk) up to the fast lanes. Unlike the other on-mountain family-friendly activities, admission to the Tube Park is not included with the price of a lift ticket. Prices for the 2020/21 season are listed below:
- Adult (ages 19 to 64) – $26.50 (one hour) or $38 (two hours)
- Youth (ages 13 to 18) – $24.50 (one hour) or $35 (two hours)
- Senior (ages 65 or older) – $24.50 (one hour) or $35 (two hours)
- Child (ages 7 to 12) – $20.50 (one hour) or $24 (two hours)
- Mini (ages 3 to 6) – $15.50 (one hour) or $19 (two hours)
For more information visit the Bubly Tube Park page on the Whistler Blackcomb website.
Other Special Deals
Retailers and other businesses in Whistler offer special deals and offers during the Family Day holiday. However, due to the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, many activities were unable to take place in 2021. Discounts for 2021, however, included the following:
- Children 12 and under ride free with a paying adult on select snowmobile tours
- Free admission to the Audain Art Museum for children under the age of 19
- Free travel on BC Transit for up to three children under the age of 13 with a paying adult
- Free skating at Whistler Olympic Plaza
- Half price on snowshoeing and cross-country skiing at Lost Lake Park
- Free transfers for children under the age of 6 with YVR Skylynx and the Whistler Shuttle, as well as for children under the age of 7 with Epic Rides
Deals in previous years have included the following:
- 50% off cross-country and snowshoeing tickets and free hot chocolate at the Whistler Olympic Park
- 50% off cross-country and snowshoeing tickets at the Lost Lake Nordic Park
- 50% off drop-in fees at the Meadow Park Sports Centre
- 50% off children’s skate rentals at the Olympic Plaza skating rink
- 50% off Whistler-Blackcomb lift tickets
As of mid-February 2021, health authorities were advising people against non-essential travel. If from the Lower Mainland but outside the Whistler area, people wanting to ski at the resort were encouraged to do so as a day trip and not stay overnight. For Family Day next year though, be sure to make your reservations with Whistler Hotels well in advance.