Updated: Apr 3
Do you want to take a day off the mountain but still get exercise and fresh air? Or perhaps you are superman and have been skiing all day on the mountain, but want to keep the day going. Maybe you are scared of heights but you still want a skiing experience? I can recommend cross-country skiing as the activity for you!
Cross-Country skiing is similar to running but easier on the body and faster. It is the perfect way to increase your heart rate like a run in the winter, while looping around a 10km track in under an hour. It requires some skills, similar to skiing, but can be picked up fairly quickly. You have two options for cross-country skiing, classic and skate. Classic is recommended for beginners, as advanced skiers prefer skate skis. Classic skies are like going for a hike, whereas skate skis are like going for a jog.
There are two popular locations in Whistler for cross-country skiing. Lost Lake and the Callaghan.
Lost Lake has 30km of groomed trails that are suitable for all levels. With views of Lost Lake, Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, the trail takes you throughout the park as well as the Fairmont Chateau Golf Course- stunning! The hours of operation are 8am until 8pm. Yes that means night skiing, yay! 4km of trails have lighting for when it gets dark, otherwise a head lamp will be necessary to keep it going. A full day of skiing is only $23 per person, and half price 3pm onwards. Rentals cost $30 for a full day, and $25 after 3pm. Not too shabby. They also offer seasons passes for those cross-country skiing enthusiasts.
There is a warming hut and water system on the trail to ensure you get your hydration and warmth when necessary. The downside of Lost Lake is for doggo owners, no dogs allowed on the trails. The plus side, Lost Lake is easily accessible for those who live or are staying in town. Snow-shoeing is also available on these trails.
The Callaghan Cross-Country skiing is located at Whistler Olympic Park. In comparison to Lost Lake, The Callaghan has over 130km of trails, and 30km dog friendly trails on 7000 hectares of land. Wow! This is one of the iconic locations of the 2010 Olympics, that takes you through forests and meadows with beautiful mountain and valley views. A little pricer than Lost Lake, day tickets go for $28.5 and rentals for $32.5. The hours are 8:30am-4pm daily, with the exception of the legendary Wednesday locals night! Locals get a killer deal every Wednesday, $7 pass from 3pm-9pm, and $7 rentals, with an additional $6.5 for your dog.
Remember to bring a headlamp for locals night, some trails are lit, but the dog-friendly ones are not.
The Callaghan has delicious food and beverage specials to eat in and take out. There are also fires that surround the area to unwind and warm up, or take a break from skiing. What a great place to be! Seasons passes and snow-shoeing are also available!
Oh my personal experience you ask? I am a snowboarder. I should have taken that into account, as I have never skied before, and therefore do not know how to stop. PIZZA, FRENCH FRY! I have enjoyed a locals night or two, and as you can see in the photo below, stopping is not my forte. Nor is getting back up...
Moms, friends, dog owners, I recommend you cross- country skiing in Whistler. I personally enjoy watching the new moms pull their babies in strollers around the loop, dogs pulling their owners, or friends pulling their friends. It truly is a beautiful sport, and does not make you dig too deep into your pockets for the amount of exercise, fresh air and good fun that is had. Locals night is a great way to socialise, meet new friends, and run into old friends. A 8 or 9pm finish allows for a drink after and bedtime for whatever adventure the next day may bring.