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Things to Do Whistler

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.

Choose Your Own Adventure

Whether you’re a nervous nellie or a thrill-seeker or somewhere in between, there’s an outing to suit your desired adrenaline level

By SHERI RADFORD

Explore Whistler's back country on horseback

Explore the picturesque Pemberton Valley on horseback. (Photo: Mike Crane/Tourism Whistler)

Horseback
Giddy-up! If you feel the urge to saddle up and hit the dusty trail, call Adventures on Horseback—only instead of dusty trails you’ll see postcard-worthy scenery throughout the Pemberton Valley, BC’s very own cowboy country. As you clip-clop along, keep your camera ready for picturesque creeks, tall grasses, roaring rivers and lush forests. Most impressive of all is the snow-capped peak of Mount Currie, rising up 2,591 m (8,501 ft). Surrounded by so much tranquillity and natural beauty, it’s easy to imagine you’ve slipped into an earlier, simpler, quieter time period. Trips can be customized for riders of all levels, from beginner to expert, and even small children. Adventure Ranch also offers equine adventures, complete with friendly cowgirls.

Bike
Summer here is practically synonymous with cycling. At the Whistler Mountain Bike Park, more than 1,507 m (4,946 ft) of sprawling bike-park terrain guarantees a trail for every preference, from gentle and banked to tight and twisty. Over 200 km (124 ft) of the trails are lift-serviced, meaning you can start from what feels like the top of the world and descend on two wheels, fuelled only by adrenaline. Whistler Eco Tours offers a valley bike tour for those who want to keep it peaceful and learn about history, geography and nature while on a bicycle, as well as a single-track tour for more advanced riders wishing to explore rougher terrain. Whistler Electric Bike Tours lets riders take it easy, which is especially appreciated on the uphill sections.

ATV
Do you feel the need to boldly go where no one has gone before? Put the pedal to the metal with Whistler ATV and embark on a bushwacker tour. Deep in the backcountry, stunning views of snow-capped mountains and remote lakes await. If you’re not afraid of heights and want to experience high alpine trails, choose the “top of the world” tour. Or chill out on a leisurely “easy rider” tour, with its gentle trails, perfect for newbie ATVers and families. For even more ATV excursions, call Canadian Wilderness Adventures. In summer, the most popular trip involves riding 1,830 m (6,000 ft) up Blackcomb Mountain, then enjoying live music and wild BC salmon on the Crystal Hut patio, with its sweeping views—a feast for all the senses.

More Than Just Books

By SHERI RADFORD

Cozy Whistler Public Library (Photo: Reactive Design Inc.)

Cozy Whistler Public Library. (Photo: Reactive Design Inc.)

Sink into a comfy chair in Whistler’s living room, better known as the Whistler Public Library. Part community hub, part resource centre, this spectacular building—with even more spectacular views—features an abundance of free events, such as story time for kids, workshops, games nights and film screenings. Visitors from elsewhere in British Columbia can borrow materials using the free BC OneCard program, while those from farther afield need to purchase a $10 temporary membership. Bonus: all guests can make use of the Wi-Fi, printer and scanner. Just like home? Even better, because most homes don’t contain thousands of books, CDs, DVDs and more.

Rest & Relaxation

By SHERI RADFORD

After (or even instead of) a long day on the slopes, there’s nothing like a little R&R

Stretch it out at YYoga

Stretch it out at YYoga

Say “Om”
Students of yoga are drawn to Whistler by the laid-back vibe and stunning natural beauty, but practising outdoors isn’t very appealing amidst the snowdrifts at this time of year. Instead, head inside to get your downward dog on—or just skip straight to savasana. YYoga, Yama Yoga and Yogacara all offer an assortment of styles to suit every taste, everything from intense power to sweaty hot to meditative yin, and the Lululemon store here regularly offers free classes.

Enjoy the outdoors at Scandinave Spa (Photo: Scandinave Spa/Tourism Whistler)

Enjoy outdoor luxury at Scandinave Spa. (Photo: Scandinave Spa/Tourism Whistler)

Get Pampered
Who doesn’t love to get cosseted like a queen? Vida Spa, The Spa, The Spa at Nita Lake Lodge and Avello Spa all offer massages, facials and other indulgences. To get treated like royalty—quite literally—head to Taman Sari Royal Heritage Spa, which specializes in treatments inspired by the ancient royal court traditions of Java and Bali. If outdoor luxury is more your style, Scandinave Spa obliges with alfresco Scandinavian baths, waterfalls and saunas.

Enjoy pure relaxation in a sensory deprivation pod

Pure relaxation can be found in a sensory deprivation pod

Do Nothing
Reduced gravity plus sensory deprivation plus a whole lot of Epsom salt equals unparalleled relaxation. Imagine floating peacefully in warm, heavily salted water for 90 minutes, with no sights, no sounds, no smells. That’s what West Coast Float has to offer, and Whistler’s only floatation therapy centre has been proving immensely popular with locals and visitors alike who want to relieve stress, lower blood pressure and recover from injuries. Who’d have guessed nothingness could be so enriching?