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What to See Whistler

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.

Tough Mudder

By SHERI RADFORD

Participants take their first leap at the start of the race (Photo: Touch Mudder)

Participants take their first leap at the start of the race (Photo: Touch Mudder)

It stretches over 16 km (10 mi) of rough terrain. It contains challenges that our ancestors tried hard to avoid: fire, electricity, water and heights. And it’s probably the only competition in the world with both an official pain reliever and an official beef jerky. (Advil and Oberto, respectively, in case you were wondering.) (more…)

Make a Splash This Summer

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

From relaxing lakeside to tackling white water on a rafting tour, here’s how to test Whistler’s waters

Playtime on the beach at Lost Lake Park. (Photo: Robin O’Neill/Tourism Whistler)

Playtime on the beach at Lost Lake Park. (Photo: Robin O’Neill/Tourism Whistler)

Best way to beat the heat? By soaking up the area’s spectacular scenery at one of the many lakes surrounding Whistler. Some folks lay their towels on the shore, but others prefer to make a splash at secluded Lost Lake and bustling Rainbow Park—furry companions included. These areas come equipped with concessions, kids’ play areas and gorgeous mountain views. Bonus: the sandy beaches are perfect for both sandcastle building and lakeside lounging. (more…)

Whistler’s Stone-Cold History

By JASON TWETEN

"Ilanaaq" keeps watch over the valley. (Photo: Randy Lincks/Tourism BC)

“Ilanaaq” keeps watch over the valley. (Photo: Randy Lincks/Tourism BC)

Look towards Whistler’s peak on a clear day, and you’ll see this iconic stone structure watching over the valley. Inukshuk cairns play an extremely important role in the survival of Inuit travellers. For thousands of years, Inuit people have set up varieties of these stone formations to use as navigation points or as landmarks for good hunting and fishing sites. “Ilanaaq” (pictured) was built as an emblem of friendship and welcome at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Though this monument is commonly referred to as an Inukshuk, the more specific term for this style—which resembles the human figure—is Inunnguaq. Since 2010, four more of these waypoints have been built around Whistler mountain, and each one provides a free Wi-Fi signal.

Whistler Welcomes TEDActive

By RACHAELA VAN BOREK

June Cohen, executive producer of TED Media, takes the stage in 2013. (Photo: James Duncan Davidson)

June Cohen, executive producer of TED Media, takes the stage in 2013. (Photo: James Duncan Davidson)

It’s official. After 30 years of spreading worthy ideas, the monumentally popular Technology, Entertainment and Design Conference known as TED is coming to British Columbia. The main event is being hosted at the Vancouver Convention Centre with a live simulcast feeding to Whistler’s own TEDActive Conference at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler. The five-day retreat themed “The Next Chapter” is expected to bring hundreds of brilliant thinkers to the slopes. Ticket or no ticket, mountain visitors can count on some interesting chairlift conversation.