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What to See Whistler

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.

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?

Peak 2 Peak Gondola’s Record-Breaking Ride

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

The record-breaking Peak 2 Peak Gondola. (Photo: Mike Crane/Tourism Whistler)

The record-breaking Peak 2 Peak Gondola. (Photo: Mike Crane/Tourism Whistler)

The greatest mountain range (Himalayas) and the flattest country (Maldives) have something in common with the Peak 2 Peak Gondola: they’re all record-breaking. In the 2015 edition of Guinness World Records, the engineering marvel claimed fame as the “highest cable car above ground” and for the “longest unsupported span between two cable car towers.” Gondola cars hang 436 m (1,427 ft) above the valley floor, suspended by towers 3 km (1.8 mi) apart. It all adds up to one unbeatable ride.

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.

Mark Richards Gallery: Picture Perfect

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

"Fall in Whistler Village"

“Fall in Whistler Village” by Mark Richards

The only match for the stunning scenery here? Artworks by local talent, including luminous landscapes by Mark Richards. Pieces such as “Fall in Whistler Village” (pictured) feature snaps that explore the beautiful West Coast, and are fine-tuned with paint for eye-catching pieces that blur the line between realism and impressionism. For more of the artist’s creations, visit Mark Richards Gallery.

Family Fun With Blackcomb Snowmobiles

By LAURA DENNIS

Snowmobiling with spectacular views

Snowmobiling with spectacular views

Every family vacation leaves lasting memories; make sure these are the best. At Blackcomb Snowmobile, families find fun for even the pickiest members. Hop on a snowmobile or strap on snowshoes to enjoy trails through forested terrain, reaching viewpoints for spectacular mountain vistas. Dogsled tours, a favourite with kids of all ages, include learning how to harness and command the dogs before visiting the snuggly Puppy Pen. To end the perfect day, cat-ski to a remote log cabin and indulge in a private family fondue dinner. Ready, set, make those memories!

All Aboard the Rocky Mountaineer

By SHERI RADFORD

Rocky Mountaineer train allows for breathtaking views

It’s all aboard the Rocky Mountaineer for breathtaking views along the Sea to Sky Climb

Travel between Whistler and Vancouver the picturesque way with Rocky Mountaineer’s Whistler Sea to Sky Climb. Stunning scenery abounds, including Howe Sound, the Coast Mountains, Brandywine Falls, Mount Garibaldi and Cheakamus Canyon. Make sure your camera is charged beforehand, because the breathtaking views are guaranteed.

Go Wild for Art

By MICHAEL LEUNG

"A Northern Style" by artist Cameron Bird

“A Northern Style” by artist Cameron Bird

Two BC artists whose works are always featured at Adele Campbell Fine Art Gallery are on hand Aug. 30 and 31 to give demos and preview new pieces showcasing Canada’s landscapes and wildlife in all their natural beauty. Cameron Bird’s bold and deceptively simple plein-air oil paintings (“A Northern Style,” pictured) reflect the raw glory of the Canadian wilderness, whereas Vance Theoret’s stone carvings depict the whimsy of Canadian wildlife. Get ready to explore the great outdoors indoors.

 

The Sky’s the Limit

By SHERI RADFORD

Thrill-seeker takes in the ariel sights with Whistler Skydiving

Thrill-seeker takes in the ariel sights with Whistler Skydiving

The six most thrilling minutes of your life, followed by years of bragging rights: that’s what’s on offer at Whistler Skydiving. No special skills are required, since jumps are done in tandem, meaning that you’re harnessed to an instructor the whole way down. Simply sit back and enjoy all 3,200 m (10,500 ft) of the dive. The spectacular views are just part of the package.

Backroads Whistler: Dreamboat

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Paddlers test the waters on the idyllic River of Golden Dreams

Paddlers test the waters on the idyllic River of Golden Dreams

Only a paddle down the River of Golden Dreams can fully explain its idyllic moniker. Soak up the beauty of this slow-moving waterway as you glide through old-growth forests and wetlands with Backroads Whistler. Choose from guided or unguided canoe and kayak tours, or watch for cute critters on the twilight wildlife tour. Some stick close to scenic Alta Lake on paddle boards and pedal boats—certain to make a splash with the whole family.