Hitting the Whistler Slopes Toddler Style
Fresh snow? Check. Bright green sled? Check. Willing participants? Check. Hill to sled down? Umm… hmm?
Whistler is one of the undisputed winter sport capitals of the world. The 2010 Winter Olympics thought it was good enough for them so it must be true. Skiers and snowboarders are everywhere, but when you are two and a half years old, not quite ready strap on a board but oh so willing to go on a thrilling joy ride in a sled, where do you go?
Dek had never been sledding. I didn’t want to shell out a ton of money at the tubing park if Dek was just going to freak out and not want to go down after his first run. I really should have known better. He loved the 3-story high slide at the county fair this past summer. Of course he was ready to hit the slopes.
Our condo unit was part of a ski in/ski out complex so we took a little stroll down Blackcomb to see if there were any appropriate spots to give our sled a test run. No, not really. Signs that read “No Tobogganing” were everywhere.*
We found a tiny hill off of the main slope just outside of the Fairmont that a few other toddlers were riding down. It was a little too crowded for our taste and it was just a tad too small of a slope. There had to be something a little better in this winter wonderland of a town.
Mike grabbed Dek and we headed down to Whistler Village. When we got to Whistler Olympic Plaza I noticed some kids sliding down a hill on their bums. We got a little closer. This wasn’t just any hill. It was the perfect toddler size sledding hill! It had gradual slopes and steep slopes. Not one was longer than 6-8 feet in any direction. We had struck gold.
Dek eyeballed the hill. He wasn’t so sure why his parents had suddenly gotten so excited. Sure the sled was cool. Snow was pretty awesome too, but put together, hmmm… he would have to think about that one.
Dek didn’t want to go down with Mike first, he actually wanted to do something with me; a rare occurrence to be sure if daddy is around. I guess I was the safer bet when trying something new. I hauled my 6 month pregnant body up the smallest hill, somehow got myself on the sled and plopped down, dragging Dek in front of me. We were off. Everyone in the park quickly heard squeals of joy followed by “again!” Mike took over after that.
The boys tried the small mountain at every angle. Towards the end of our play time Dek decided he’d had enough of his parents hogging the better part of the sled, it was time for a solo run. Again and again he went down. Very quickly we learned his favorite part of the ride was when he hit the bottom and could topple out of the sled and try to stand back up.
After one more run with each parent, we dragged Dek away from the hill, promising to come back the following day. We had to eat. We had to get home for bed. We had to get warm.
I learned a valuable lesson that day. Not all sledding areas need to be designated in order to be fun. You just needed to look around and see what can work for you. Better yet, we saved over $50 by making our own fun and staying off the tube park. Next year I don’t think we will be so lucky. I am just happy to say that our first foray into sledding was a smashing success.
*For those readers in the southern USA states, “no tobogganing” does not mean you can’t wear a hat. Tobogganing is sledding in most of the world.
Know Before You Go
- Bring your own sled. You will save time and energy if you already have one with you
- Be prepared to hike around looking for a hill. There is snow everywhere, but you may need to hunt for a hill that is the right size for your child.
- Get creative. You can make your own hill, find a snow drift or just tackle road side pile up after the plows come through. Stay off the roads and the main ski slopes though. There is too much traffic to expose your little ones to.
- Sleds make great transportation in the snow. Your stroller might not like the snow very much. A sled is a much better option, even if you aren’t looking for some hills to catch some air on.
For more on the logistics of getting to Whistler and things to do once you are there, check out the Whistler, BC (Winter) trip report.