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Things to Do Whistler

Caught on Camera: Whistler Photo Safaris

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Shutterbugs watch for wildlife on Whistler Photo Safaris. (Photo: Jason Coleman/Whistler Photo Safaris Ltd.)

Shutterbugs watch for wildlife on Whistler Photo Safaris. (Photo: Jason Coleman/Whistler Photo Safaris Ltd.)

On the hunt for the perfect picture? Track down top-notch photo ops with Whistler Photo Safaris. Guides take shutterbugs—and their cameras—off the beaten path for a chance to view wild bears in their natural habitat. Explore beautiful backcountry terrain and the Whistler Olympic Park while looking for bears against a mountain-and-valley backdrop. The tour may only last a few hours, but the bragging rights last a lifetime.

Start Your Engines: RZR Tours

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Explore Whistler's backcountry on a RZR with The Adventure Group

Explore Whistler’s backcountry on a RZR with The Adventure Group

When it comes to thrills, all-terrain RZR tours put the pedal to the metal. The off-road vehicles are perfect for exploring Whistler’s backcountry, navigating boulder-strewn creek beds and steep climbs with ease. On the BC Tour, thrill-seekers strut their stuff on the giant teeter-totters and cliffs in the skills park. Just be sure to take your eyes off the road once in awhile to enjoy the beautiful scenery surrounding Cougar Mountain. Get your motor running with The Adventure Group Whistler.

Guide to Outside

Plot out an itinerary for one of the world’s most pristine adventure playgrounds

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Only a unique breed of Zen-master thrill-seeker can successfully chill out while bungee jumping. (Photo: The Adventure Group)

Only a unique breed of Zen-master thrill-seeker can successfully chill out while bungee jumping. (Photo: The Adventure Group)

MAKE TRACKS
Once ski season is over, the peaks here turn into a mountain-bike mecca. Downhillers and freeriders flock to Whistler Mountain Bike Park, which boasts 1,500 vertical metres (4,900 vertical feet) of lift-serviced descending trails. Pedal through sprawling terrain that ranges from beginner to heart-stopping. Those with gold-medal dreams head to the Whistler Sliding Centre, the venue for bobsleigh, luge and skeleton events during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Even in summer, it’s possible to rocket down a track on Rolling Thunder, a bobsleigh equipped with wheels that reaches speeds of up to 90 km (56 mi) per hour. (more…)

Say Spaaaaaa

By SHERI RADFORD

The serene spa lounge at The Spa at Nita Lake Lodge

The serene spa lounge at The Spa at Nita Lake Lodge

Need to unwind? Head to The Spa at Nita Lake Lodge. Our favourite indulgence is the five-hour Winter Spa Day package, complete with hot-stone massage, facial, manicure and pedicure, but any treatment will help you to de-stress. And all services include use of the rooftop hot tubs and eucalyptus steam room, ensuring R&R aplenty. Ready, set, relax.

Whistler by the Numbers

Why do we love Whistler? Let us count the ways—skiing, shopping, dining and reliving the Olympics are just the beginning. To sum up, there’s something for everyone

By CRAIG SCHARIEN

Whistler and Blackcomb mountains tower above the Village. (Photo: David McColm/Tourism Whistler)

Whistler and Blackcomb mountains tower above the Village. (Photo: David McColm/Tourism Whistler)

1 Whistler Blackcomb has once again been named the number one ski resort in North America by SKI magazine. The resort offers more than 200 unique runs, 3,307 hectares (8,171 acres) of terrain and après options for everyone.

8 Whistler was home to eight sports during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Live the dream and try everything from skeleton at the Whistler Sliding Centre to ski jumping at Whistler Olympic Park—glory can be yours.

50 The 2015-16 season marks the 50th anniversary of Whistler Mountain as a ski resort. When it first opened in 1966, there were just six runs, including Franz’s Run, named for Franz Wilhelmsen, the company’s first president.

200 If you need a break from all the wintry adventure, or just get the urge to shop, duck into one of the 200+ stores to stock up on everything from art to ski gear.

551.3 Whistler boasts 551.3 hectares (1,362.3 acres) of parkland spread across 15 public parks. Add in the area’s five major lakes, and there’s plenty to do without taking a chairlift.

6,450 Need to refuel? There’s no need to go far, or even to leave the slopes. Whistler Blackcomb has 17 on-mountain dining options, with seating for 6,450.

69,939 Whistler Blackcomb’s 37 lifts can move 69,939 people per hour. That includes the Peak 2 Peak Gondola, the world’s highest and longest lift, which spans 4.4 km (2.7 mi) between the peaks of Whistler and Blackcomb.

2,100,000 Each year 2,100,000 people from all over the world visit Whistler. That doesn’t include the more than 2,000 seasonal residents—note all the Australian accents.

Ask a Local

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Snowshoers on one of the many trails around Whistler. (Photo: MiKe Crane/Tourism Whistler)

Snowshoers on one of the many trails around Whistler. (Photo: MiKe Crane/Tourism Whistler)

In the realm of cool jobs, we’d put Ryan Vit’s position at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler right up there with ice cream taster. As an expert in the area’s must-see spots, he ensures that visitors get the most out of the mountains as the hotel’s Experience Guide. “Some of the cool things that you wouldn’t necessarily get to see, or do—you’d have to have an inside scoop,” he says. (more…)

Gone Fishin’

By CRAIG SCHARIEN

An eager angler hooks a catch with Pemberton Fish Finder

An eager angler hooks a catch with Pemberton Fish Finder

It’s cool—you don’t have to miss out on excellent BC fishing because you’re visiting during winter. It may sound fishy, but with Pemberton Fish Finder you can visit stunning high-mountain lakes and land a rainbow trout—through six inches of ice, of course. Chilling with family and friends on the frozen lake is just about as Canadian as it gets. Ice-fishing tours are family-friendly and, if you need to come in from the cold, the ice huts are cozy.

Flight of Fancy

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

From November through February, nearby Brackendale boasts one of the world's largest populations of bald eagles

November through February, nearby Brackendale boasts one of the world’s largest populations of bald eagles

Birds of a feather flock together. It’s especially true in beautiful Brackendale, where from mid-Nov. through Feb., the tiny town hosts one of the largest populations of bald eagles worldwide—all thanks to the feast of spawning salmon. For a bird’s-eye view of the feathered arrivals, take a float down the Cheakamus River with Sunwolf. Expect to see dozens of eagles along the glacier-fed river, plus breathtaking views of the Tantalus Range and surrounding scenery. It’s the perfect place for nature lovers to flock together, too.

The Dog Days of Whistler

By SHERI RADFORD

A dog-tired pooch at Summit Lodge

A dog-tired pooch at Summit Lodge

If you think Whistler isn’t a pet-friendly town, you’re barking up the wrong tree. Whether it’s the middle of winter or the dog days of summer, many hotels are happy to offer all the creature comforts to Rover or Spot, for a small fee. Summit Lodge Boutique Hotel (1-888-913-8811) doesn’t charge extra for dogs, all of whom are treated like VIPs (Very Important Pets), and provides special beds, bowls and treats. Plus resident dog Talitha is always on hand to accept treats and cuddles.

Fun in the sun (and snow) with Alpine Dogs

Fun in the sun (and snow) with Alpine Dogs

To make sure your own top dog stays happy and healthy—and becomes dog-tired by day’s end—head to one of the many parks with designated off-leash times, such as Rainbow Park, Lost Lake Park, Alpha Lake Park and Meadow Park. (And since doggie-do is definitely a doggie don’t, be sure to tuck a few plastic bags into your pocket before heading out.) To give your pampered pooch extra exercise and a chance to socialize with canine chums, call Alpine Dogs (604-902-9663). Their adventure hikes are great for high-energy hounds who feel comfortable in a group, while their private walks and in-room sitting are ideal for pups with special needs or who just want a little extra attention.

Bathtime with Shampooch

Bathtime with Shampooch

After running around on muddy or snowy trails, Fido definitely needs a bath. The deluxe bathing area at W.A.G. (604-935-8364), Whistler’s animal shelter, can be rented by donation. If you’d rather leave that whole wet and wiggly process to the pros, call Shampooch Mobile Dog Grooming (604-902-5512). Shayla Libin brings her fully contained grooming van to your four-legged friend and washes, brushes, plucks and trims, magically turning dirty dogs into pristine pups. Consider it a doggie day at the spa, complete with pawdicure.

It’s true that every dog has its day—especially in Whistler.

Hidden Gem: Vincent Massey Pottery Gallery

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

A basket by Cheryl Massey, woven from kelp

A basket by Cheryl Massey, woven from kelp

Tucked away in a rustic cabin is Vincent Massey Pottery Gallery, a hideaway stocked with high-fired stoneware and handmade baskets by husband-and-wife duo Vincent and Cheryl Massey. The home studio and gallery brims with Vincent’s functional-yet-vibrant pottery and Cheryl’s baskets woven from cedar, tule rush and even kelp (pictured). Added perk: a peek into the studio gives visitors a chance to see what makes these artists tick.

Flying High With Ziptrek Ecotours

By SHERI RADFORD

The longest zipline in Canada and the US can be found at Ziptrek Ecotours

The longest zipline in Canada and the US can be found at Ziptrek Ecotours

Calling all thrill-seekers: we know the next great adventure for your bucket list. Ziptrek Ecotours is building the longest zipline in Canada and the US. Opened in July 2015, this zipline starts on Blackcomb Mountain and ends on Whistler Mountain, covering a path similar to the Peak 2 Peak Gondola, more than 2 km (7,000 ft) in total. Can you feel the adrenaline rush already?

The Max in Relax at Scandinave Spa

By SHERI RADFORD

The outdoor hot pools at Scandinave Spa

The outdoor hot pools at Scandinave Spa

Need some R&R? Head to Scandinave Spa, where you can chill out—and heat up—in the Scandinavian baths. The full experience involves three parts. First, spend 10 to 15 minutes warming up in the eucalyptus steam room, the wood-burning Finnish sauna or one of the outdoor hot pools. Next, plunge into an outdoor cold pool for 20 to 30 seconds. Finally, relax in a hammock, settle into a solarium or de-stress by an outdoor fireplace. Repeat the three-part cycle until maximum relaxation is achieved (or you fall asleep, whichever comes first). To unwind even more, add on a Swedish or deep-tissue massage. Ready, set, relax.