New Year's Eve in Whistler!
Where To Party In This Rockin' Canadian Ski Resort
Happy New Year from the Whistler-Blackcomb!
A show in the snow.
New Year's Eve in the ski resort of Whistler, BC Canada, is all about making tracks not on the slopes, but to the many bars in the village of Whistler and neighboring Blackcomb Mountain.
If it seems as if this is headed down a slippery slope to begin the New Year, then so be it. This is Whistler, one of the zaniest, craziest ski resorts in the world and NYE is like adding an extra shot of liquor to the mix.
From small bars to music venues to clubs, Whistler has nightlife covered on NYE.
This is a place to party!
So sit back and read how to get wet as a whistle in Whistler for New Year's Eve.
Where's The Party?
The obvious starting point is a few shots at The Longhorn at the base of the mountain after a half-day ski run. But after making tracks for dinner and Jacuzzi, this fine, laid-back establishment charges some $100 for the run to the midnight madness.
So, like pulling back on a pony, New Year's Eve night is "Whoa" time in Whistler.
Merlin's has a live band and only the regular cover charge; just arrive by 9.
In fact, just about every bar in the Village has cover charges the size of the mountain just outside their door. Take Buffalo Bill's, for example. The most recognized bar in town, which sports a healthy $16 cover on its busiest weeknight, requires $150 to walk in for NYE.
Even the locals-heavy sports bar, Tapley's Pub, which has spotty service, far less than glamorous waitresses and a Raiders' fan bartender who won't even show Raider games for obvious fear this will expose how woefully bad this once-proud franchise has fallen, charges $40. We'll go out on a short limb here and suggest avoiding the $150 at Buffalo Bill's, which is otherwise PubClub.com's favorite pub/club combo in Whistler.
The cool bar around the corner, Moe Joes, is a fun young dance dive that's one of the best places in Whistler. And it wants $75.
Partying here is definitely fun, but on New Year's, it comes at a steep price. Then again, taking into account bar prices and advance planning required at many other places around the World it's not exactly like a yard sale for the wallet.
Plus here there's the incredible head-rush combination of excellent cocktailing with the athletic achievements of blasting down one of the globe's most incredible ski resorts, thus making the entire experience as exciting as discovering a spot of fresh powder on an awesome run.
And what the heck, slip off the ski or snowboard boots, have a few drinks – shots here are particular popular – at the end of the ski/snowboard day. New Year's Eve may be a bit of a challenge, but any other day or night is far less challenging than even the easiest of the green runs.
Bars are packed with people for NYE in Whistler.
PubClub warms up for NYE with shots at The Longhorn.
The best NYE rock star bargain is the rockin' Tommy Africa's, which has just a $59 cover. (This is also THE PLACE to go on New Year's Day for locals' NYE. All those people waiting on your the days before the Day are in there letting off steam.) A couple places – Citas and Amsterdam Cafe – have balconies that overlook the alcohol-free First Night celebration (keep reading) in the center of the Village. This features bands and other entertainment, easily viewed from the comfort of a table full of cocktails.
Most places charge between $75-100 for the night. While it's up to the individual establishments, this usually includes midnight champagne, appetizers and the dreaded "party favors." Some do include full dinners, a nice treat when it comes to fueling the party body on the Big Night.
Any place in Whistler can be fun, of course. The beer in Canada is awesome, the atmosphere is simply intoxicating and the people are carefree and fantastically FUN!
With all this snow and slopes, Whistler-Blackcomb is a great NYE destination.
The key – other than a room key, secured a couple of months in advance – for the best time in Whistler for New Year's Eve is to check out the places ahead of time and figure out where you want to spend 4-5 hours on NYE. We suggest roaming the pubs and clubs for couple of days ahead of time, checking PubClub's Whistler Bars Guide, getting tickets in advance (same day is okay) and arriving by about 9.
For the less "high maintenance places," meaning little or no cover, check out the Crystal Lounge and Merlin's (off the slopes in Blackcomb). Also, there's the Whistler Brewhouse and right next to the Longhorn the The Garibaldi Lift Company (featuring the Sex Cheese!) or the The Dubh Linh Gate Pub. PubClub spent NYE in Merlin's. After a small wait (well, small for for NYE, it was about 45minutes) and modest $10 cover, we raged with a great live band and a very good crowd.
For a complete review Whistler/Blackcomb mountain, click here.
First Night, Whistler Village
Whistler has a nightly fire and ice show and First Night on New Year's Day.
There are good local bands at First Night, but for adults it's hardly on fire for partying.
For those too young to get into the bars – the drinking age here is 19 – or the precious few who want the mountains pretty much all to themselves on New Year's Day, Whistler Village presents First Night.
This is a celebration with a lineup of local bands of note (one in '06 consisted of Vancouver high school students).
Here, though, there's no booze in the blender and all it will render for someone who wants to try and get away with drinking is a ticket to the local jail. With a beer store within steps of the stage, it's a tempting scenario. However, there is a zero alcohol policy at this event, something the dozens of police brought in from Vancouver and other areas make quite clear.
The area is blocked off by barricades and the entry fee is $15.
Whistler New Year's Eve Top Tips
The Fire and Ice Show is one of Whistler's NYE attractions.
• Choose a bar for the night and hang there. The big downer about New Year's Eve – and that's the case just about anywhere, not just Whistler – is that there's very little bar-hopping opportunities. In Whistler, where clubs charge those big entry fees, the strategy is to pick a place and stick with it.
• Check out your New Year's destination ahead of time. Plan to arrive in Whistler at least two days before NYE. Three days is ideal (figuring it will be night by the time you arrive in town). This provides a couple good days on the hill, enough Apres' time to get comfortable and get know other party people. Most importantly, its allows enough time to check out the bars in which to spend the Big Night.
• The dress code in Whistler is casual. Jeans are fine anywhere, anytime.
• Check the weather forecast before the trip. Okay it's a ski resort, so pack accordingly. But conditions can be from (relatively) mild to wet and wild.
• Secure a room early. Whistler's legendary party scene makes it a popular place to spend the New Year and in turn this makes getting a hotel room early an essential part of the planning. Wait too long and risk being left out in the cold? Overall, expect to pay in the $300 range a night for a single room or condo in the Village. Some places may go for as much as $500-1,000. Prices decrease significantsly starting Jan. 2.