Updated Friday, May 29th 2020.
If you’re wondering “when will Whistler reopen?”, you’re in the right place. With the ski season abruptly cut short by COVID-19, we’re just as eager as you to get back on the trails and exploring the beauty of the Sea-to-Sky region.
Government restrictions have had a huge impact on Whistler, which relies on tourism and day visitors. The resort is built on hospitality and leisure with hotels and restaurants being primary employers in town. While the virus itself doesn’t appear so prolific in Whistler, the ramifications of the shut-down certainly are.
Here’s an outline of when Whistler will reopen (based on municipal and provincial sources), and the lasting effects Coronavirus may have on the resort.
The WHO declared a pandemic March 11th and by March 16th the BC Government began to outline strict physical distancing guidelines. For the most part, Whistler began bidding farewell to visitors from mid-March and transitioning dining into takeout options only.
A provincial state of emergency was declared March 18th and by March 20th, Nita Lake Lodge had made the difficult decision to close it’s doors to new arrivals. This was inline with the majority of hotels in the resort, as the effects of the pandemic began to ramp up.Click here for a full, up-to-date COVID-19 timeline in BC.
What’s The Situation Now?
Some Whistler businesses remain closed at this point, however many are now operating a takeout service while doing their part to protect the community.
On May 6th, Premier John Horgan announced a plan to begin safely restarting the province of British Columbia beginning in mid-May.
“Our plan puts safety first. British Columbians have made enormous sacrifices so far, and it’s thanks to them that we’re able to begin to lift some restrictions,” Horgan said.
B.C. is currently in Phase 2 of the restart plan, which began in mid-May and includes:
- small social gatherings;
- some provincial parks open for day use;
- opening more non-essential businesses in keeping with safe operations plans.
At the time of publishing this post, Whistler Blackcomb remains closed but an email to Vail employees outlines: ‘We intend to take our time to reopen, and we acknowledge that we may be slower to open than others. Our goal is not to win the race to reopen, it’s to look back one day with great pride in our track record on safety.’
CEO Robert Katz explains: ‘…our hope is to have our lifts turning, at all of our resorts, by late June or early July’.
Unfortunately, it has been confirmed that Crankworx is cancelled. The mountain bike festival provided an update via a press release dated May 26th.
In the article, Crankworx organisers explained: ‘Whistler Blackcomb and Crankworx Events Inc. can now confirm the Whistler stop of the Crankworx World Tour cannot be staged in its hometown in British Columbia, due to provincial restrictions barring events of its size during Phase 3 of the BC Restart Plan.’
“Our thoughts are with the athletes who train so hard for Crankworx Whistler, and our global community of mountain bikers whose enthusiasm and excitement is what drives us,” says Darren Kinnaird, General Manager.
Should I Travel To Whistler?
If you live in BC, you may be tempted to visit Whistler now that some restrictions are lifted.
Several of our Provincial Parks have reopened, however the Whistler Blackcomb resort remains off-limits for now.
Our beloved Village Stroll is cautiously returning to business, however, we’re sure it will look very different from what we’re used to. Restaurants and cafés have reopened with many offering dine-in options at reduced capacities.
A couple of other considerations when planning your trip:
Go Fest was cancelled and Whistler Children’s Fest has been postponed until 2021 due to COVID-19. The Red Bull 400, which typically attracts up to 1,000 participants to Whistler Olympic Park, is also canceled.
Personal service establishments in BC, including spas, salons, and tattoo parlours, may begin to reopen from June but, again, operations will likely be very different from the norm. There are currently no spas open in Whistler, however Wait Lists have been created for anyone eager for a massage/treatment.
Thinking of just enjoying a hike? We advise you to check trail status in advance. Some of our most popular parks, such as Joffre Lakes Provincial Park and Garibaldi Provincial Park, remain closed until further notice.
So, When Will Whistler Reopen?
Parts of Whistler began to reopen mid-May, and several hotels appear to be looking at June for their return to operations.
Nita Lake Lodge is currently accepting reservations from June 1st, however this date is dependent on federal and provincial guidelines as well as travel restrictions.
For up-to-date information, we recommend visiting our website or our Facebook page.
Tourism Whistler writes: ‘We are optimistic about returning to our wanderlust ways soon, but for now, let’s keep dreaming and planning for tomorrow.’
When Will Whistler Reopen?Further Resources:
For non-medical information about COVID-19, including the latest information on travel recommendations and social distancing, contact the official provincial helpline on 1.888.COVID19 (1.888.268.4319) or via text message at 1.888.268.4319.
Information is available in more than 110 languages, seven days a week between 7:30 am – 8:00 pm.
Additional COVID-19 information for travellers is available via Destination BC at hellobc.com.
In Whistler, Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) is the official health authority. Any visitors with questions about COVID-19 or public health in Whistler are encouraged to consult the Vancouver Coastal Health website.
- Visit Health Link BC’s website: https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-feature/coronavirus-covid-19
- Visit the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC)’s website for the latest outbreak update on COVID-19 here.
During uncertain times, it is normal to be feeling anxious about…well, everything. Check out this post for some deep breathing exercises courtesy of Urban Balance to help you get through each day.
To be kept up-to-date on how and when Whistler will reopen, we recommend liking Tourism Whistler on Facebook.