The Easter Bunny won't be the only one hiding a few treats around town this weekend.
With Whistler Mountain set to mark its first official closing day since 2019 on Monday, April 18, a mountain-wide scavenger hunt is one of several events planned as part of the retro-themed party to help locals and visitors finally celebrate the end of a slightly more normal winter.
“Spring skiing is one of the best experiences we offer. Being able to return to a traditional end-of-season celebration, and deliver a fantastic final weekend experience for our community is hugely rewarding,” said COO Geoff Buchheister in a release. “The team here at Whistler Blackcomb is proud of the season we have offered our guests and we’re looking forward to welcoming everyone to the hill for a final day of fun in the sun.”
(If you're not quite ready to put your skis and snowboards away for the summer, don't stress: you'll still have another five weeks to get your fill of slushy spring laps before Blackcomb Mountain closes for the season next month.)
The family-friendly Spring Scavenger Hunt kicks off at 11 a.m. Monday.
"It's a little bit of an adventure that will take families out around the hill, with some surprises along the way," said Whistler Blackcomb events manager Steve Crowley. "It's just a neat way to kind of give back to families and add a bit of magic to that final day."
(A tip? Spend some time this holiday weekend brushing up on your Whistler history, Crowley hinted, and be prepared for special stop at the Whistler Tree Fort, where a clue will be provided alongside hot chocolate for a mid-scavenger-hunt pick-me-up.)
Registration for the scavenger hunt will take place on the Roundhouse Lodge's Glacier Deck at 11 a.m., where families and groups will be given a QR code directing them to follow a series of hints around the mountain in search of surprises and prizes—including a GoPro. Participants will be released in 15 minute intervals, "so that they have the space to enjoy it," added Jennifer Smith, senior communications manager for Vail Resorts' Pacific Northwest region. "There's no like shotgun start. People don't have to worry about chasing other people."
Agreed Crowley, "It's not a competition per se; there's heaps of prizes for everyone."
Post-scavenger hunt, skiers and snowboarders will be in for a show when the Slush Cup contest kicks off near the heli-pad above the Roundhouse at 1 p.m. Registration for the event is limited to those aged 19 and up, and begins on-site at 12:30 p.m.
"We're going to have a pond skim for the people," said Crowley, adding that only skis and snowboards will be "attending the pond."
Slush Cup hopefuls are encouraged to pack an extra set of dry clothes, or otherwise risk a very chilly ride down. "Be prepared to get wet," said Crowley.
Whistler Blackcomb giving away Creekside Gondola cabin ahead of lift upgrade project
Skiers heading up the mountain Monday can also enter for a chance to win something a little bigger than the stashed scavenger hunt prizes. With construction set to begin on the Creekside Gondola replacement project this summer, Whistler Blackcomb is hosting a gondola cabin giveaway to cap off Whistler's final day of winter ops.
Anyone interested in owning a not-so-little piece of history must first register for the raffle. Registration wil be available all day long leading up to the giveaway via a QR code posted in front of the Roundhouse, while prospective winners must be present in Whistler Village's Mountain Square when the cabin is rolled out in front of the Lululemon store and Carleton Lodge at 4 p.m. Monday. "You must attend the giveaway in person to win," Crowley underscored.
The current Creekside Gondola was installed in 1996. After initially announcing the gondola would be replaced this year with a new, high-speed eight-seat lift, Whistler Blackcomb parent company Vail Resorts ultimately decided to bump that up even further to a 10-seater. Yes, that also means Monday will be your very last chance to upload in the existing cabins before they're taken down for good. (It will also mark the last day of operations for Dusty's until next winter.)
While closing day will most definitely be a party, Whistler Blackcomb staff also reminds locals and visitors that rules for the family-friendly celebrations will be in effect—and enforced.
Since drinking alcohol on the hill is strictly prohibited outside of licensed establishments, Whistler Blackcomb is bringing in extra security for the day to conduct bag checks at upload, during events and before download, while ski patrol will be sweeping the hill prior to opening.
Whistler Mountain's summer operations set to launch in May
Though the Whistler Mountain Bike Park's Creekside zone will be interrupted this summer to accommodate the above-mentioned gondola construction, riders can find more space higher up when the Peak Zone’s Top of the World bike trail reopens later this summer, after a two-year hiatus.
(The construction also sets the stage for "exponentional growth of the Creek Zone trail network" in the coming years, Whistler Blackcomb said in a release. Riders are asked to visit Whistler Blackcomb’s social channels to stay informed about daily trail closures and re-routes as needed for construction.)
The Bike Park is due to open on May 13—dependent on conditions—with Whistler’s full summer program launching later in the month, on May 21, with hiking and sightseeing. Guests will, however, need to wait for snow to melt before visiting some areas, like the Peak Zone. The area will "return to its full summer glory" when Top of the World and the Cloudraker Skybridge, the 130-metre alpine suspension bridge leading to the Raven’s Eye lookout on West Ridge, reopen to the public during the warmer months.
Other highlights in Whistler Blackcomb's summer schedule include the return of Crankworx in August, as well as the Feast Barbeque back to take over the Roundhouse Lodge every Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening.
“We’re very thankful we can bring Whistler Blackcomb’s summer experience back to its full glory. The mountain bike community travels from all over the world to make the drop into Top of the World, and the Cloudraker Skybridge is a huge attraction for guests—including many who are new to the alpine environment,” said COO Buchheister in a release.
“Having missed two summers of full operations, it feels great to open our beautiful mountains, and this unique environment, once more.”