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Winter Essentials for Whistler Newcomers

view of skiers ascending into the backcountry at the Blackcomb Backcountry gates

If you’ve just arrived in Whistler and realized you might not have all of the essentials for a West Coast Winter, you’re not alone. Most of us have been there, unless you’re one of the lucky few who grew up in Whistler. Trial and error is one way to figure it out, but in order to hit the ground running and make the best decisions from the start, we’ve come up with a list to help you get organized. Making right decisions from the outset will not only save you a few headaches, but it will also save you money.

Quality Boots

women's blundstone boots in squamish and whistler

You may or may not have seen Blundstones before Whistler, but you won’t be able to walk 10 meters without catching a glimpse of them. The popularity of these in Whistler is due to the practicality and versatility of the boots. Plus, they don’t look too shabby either. Perfect for trudging through slushy snow, working outside, or simply commuting around town. Blundstones are the trusted go-to boot for Whistler, no matter what season it is.

Gore-tex Jacket

men's arc'teryx rush jacket in squamish and whistler

If you’re coming from the East Coast, the Gold Coast, or the Rockies, you might not yet appreciate the importance of having Gore-tex clothing. We got the nickname the Wet Coast for a reason. If you’re coming to Whistler specifically for snow sports, a Gore-tex jacket is an absolutely crucial purchase. You won’t just be skiing in this jacket, getting hit with dense snow on powder days, but you’ll be walking all over town when it’s raining and snowing. Waiting for the bus, commuting on the valley trail, or making your way around the Village, you’ll be so thankful for Gore-tex. We love the Arc’teryx Rush Jacket for its durable waterproof and windproof construction.


Petzl bindi headlamp in squamish and whistler

If you’re a city dweller relocating to Whistler, one of the things you’ll quickly notice is the lack of light pollution in our beautiful town. Headlamps are of course an important piece of safety equipment for ski touring or hiking, but you’ll find these useful for commuting on the valley trail early morning or evening. The days are notably short in the winter, so you’ll spend quite a bit of time traveling to and from the village in the dark. If you decide to take up nordic skiing, snowshoeing, or trail running after work, a headlamp will be crucial to enjoy these outdoor activities.

Fresh Tune & Wax

DPS skis being treated with the Phantom Treatment

If you’re arriving in Whistler with your own gear for skiing or snowboarding, it’s ideal to get a fresh tuneup and wax. With different conditions in Whistler, you’ll want to have an expert tune and wax your gear to make sure you’re enjoying every moment on the slopes. We highly recommend the DPS Phantom Treatment for any new or used ski or snowboards. This revolutionary treatment is a permanent base coat that will eliminate the need to ever wax your skis again. It may sound too good to be true, but it’s not.

Gore-tex Pants

Mountain Hardware Cloud Band two layer gore-tex pant in whistler and squamish

Another important Whistler winter essential is a pair of Gore-tex pants. When your goal is to go bell to bell, you’ll want to make sure to stay dry all day long. Sitting on the chairlift after getting doused in fresh snow is when you want to be focused on planning your next lap, not worried about water seeping through your pants. If you’re looking for a versatile shell pant that can do it all, we recommend the Mountain Hardware Cloud Band two layer gore-tex pant.

Down Jacket

women's Arc’teryx Cerium Hoody in whistler and squamish

To have the warmest Whistler winter possible, you’ll want to make sure you purchase a down jacket. We recommend getting one that has a higher density of down, like 850 fill, but that’s not super bulky. Layering is key in Whistler, and you’ll want to make sure your down jacket fits well underneath your Gore-tex outer layer. This combo will be your go-to on and off the ski hill. We recommend something similar to the Arc’teryx Cerium Hoody, known for its exceptional warmth to weight ratio.

Base Layers

women's arc'teryx icebreaker base layer top in blue

Ask a local what they are wearing under their ski pants or mid layer, and you’ll probably hear the same answer: IceBreakers. When it comes to outer layers, you’ll hear a more diverse answer, but with base layers, Icebreakers dominate in Whistler. Icebreakers are made from Merino Wool, so they are super warm and also wick away moisture when you get sweaty. You’ll not only love wearing these on the hill, but under casual wear around town to stay toasty.


Hestra Army Leather Gore-Tex

Guess what… Gore-tex! Yes, waterproof gloves are key for a successful Whistler winter. When your hands go numb on the mountain, it can quickly ruin a great day on the slopes. Insulated and waterproof are a must, but it’s also key to make sure they are breathable. Having sweaty hands can quickly backfire on you, and make warm and toasty turn to cold and wet. We love the Hestra Army Leather Gore-Tex because they check off all the right boxes.

We hope this helps you navigate the waters of your first season in Whistler! If you want to get to know our community better or need expert advice for the winter season, come visit us at any of our locations.

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