Whistler gets a head start on summer, with the Canadian holiday of Victoria Day heralding the unofficial start to the summer season, with more sunshine hours in each day welcoming the golf season, the opening of the mountain bike park and the kick-off to an exciting festivals and events lineup.
Not only does May bring us golf and the opening of the Whistler Mountain Bike Park, this year’s long weekend also welcomes Whistler’s newest festival – and the return of the legendary Great Snow-Earth-Water race.
This year, Whistler welcomes the inaugural GO Fest – the Great Outdoors Festival, featuring a schedule of events over the Victoria Day long weekend. GO Fest features dynamic family-friendly programming over four days, with fun sporting events, fishing demos, film presentations and free outdoor concerts, as well as the rebirth of The Great Snow-Earth-Water race – a legendary local event that enjoyed many years of success before its last run, more than 20 years ago.
Mountain bike races, stand up paddle boarding events, disc golf, Frisbee, a ski and scavenger hunt, sailing regatta, canoeing, the Slush Cup, yoga jam and a kayak challenge are all on the schedule.
GO Fest kicks off Friday, May 16 with the GO Enduro mountain bike race in the Whistler Mountain Bike Park, GO SUP, a recreational stand up paddle boarding event on Nita Lake and GO Fish, with demos and instructional sessions. Friday wraps up with a free concert with Juno award-winning band The Sheepdogs at 8 p.m. on the GO Fest main stage in Village Square.
The fun continues into Saturday with a busy lineup featuring running, disc golf, Frisbee, skiing, canoeing and sailing events capped off with a free outdoor concert with The Boom Booms at 9 p.m. in the Village Square.
Sunday hosts the Great Snow-Earth-Water Race, which originally made its debut in Whistler in 1975. Originally billed as the original Whistler triathlon, the Great Snow-Earth-Water race is a multi-sport team relay event featuring six stages: ski/ snowboard touring, downhill skiing/ snowboarding, downhill mountain biking, running, canoeing and cross-country biking. Also on Sunday, the inaugural film competition Go Pro GOShow, presented by Whistler Blackcomb, will see six filmmakers create a three to five-minute film capturing the essence of May in Whistler. The show starts at 7 p.m. at the Garibaldi Lift Company. She Stole My Beer performs on the GO Fest main stage at 8 p.m.
Monday features the GO Fest Slush Cup, a yoga jam, kayak challenge and a trail running clinic while Gordo, Coloured Sky and Blame it on the Weekend take to the stage for après entertainment. The Chairlift Review, featuring some of Whistler’s best writers in a number of short skits all set on a four-person chairlift, takes place at Millennium Place at 7 p.m. and is not to be missed.
The Whistler Film Festival Adventure Film Series showcases a variety of films throughout the festival with showtime at 7 p.m. at Millennium Place.
GO Fest is part of the Resort Municipality of Whistler’s Festival, Events and Animation program, funded through the provincial Resort Municipality Initiative. The festival is produced by Crankworx Events Inc. with marketing support from Tourism Whistler.
As promised, the golf season swings into gear starting in May, with the area’s four championship courses – the Arnold-Palmer designed Whistler Golf Club, Robert Trent Jones Jr.’s Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Club, the Jack Nicklaus-designed Nicklaus North Golf Course and the Big Sky Golf and Country Club, designed by Robert Cupp, offering an unparalleled experience.
May also marks the opening of the Whistler Mountain Bike Park. With more than 60 trails and 4,946 feet of vertical, Whistler Mountain Bike Park offers more trails and more vertical feet than any other bike park in North America.
It’s a great time to book your Whistler summer vacation package, with early booking promotions offering the third night free, and the PEAK 2 PEAK and accommodation package starting at $69 per person, per night. The Stay & Bike Park package starts at $69 per person. Stay and Play golf packages start at $145 per person, per night, the Rocky Mountaineer train package offers accommodation and round-trip train transportation from $315 per person, the Summer Stay and Scandinave package offers accommodation and the spa bath experience starting at $75 per person, per night and the Summer Stay and Zipline package features accommodation and a zipline tour starting at $89 per person, per night. Whistler-based travel consultants at whistler.com can customize vacation packages, taking care of flights, ground transportation, accommodation and activities. Whistler.com offers the largest selection with no booking fee for accommodation and activities. Call 1.800.WHISTLER (1.800.944.7853) to request a no-obligation quote or visit whistler.com for more details and offers.