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What to See 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…)

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.

Canadian Art at Adele Campbell Gallery

By CRAIG SCHARIEN

"Get a Room" by John Ogilvy

“Get a Room” by John Ogilvy

Contemporary artists evoke thoughts of the season at Adele Campbell Fine Art Gallery. A changing series of exhibitions features Canadian artists, including works by Vancouver-born John Ogilvy (“Get a Room,” pictured), who now paints on Gabriola Island, BC, and in far-flung Lima, Peru. He captures the beauty of the relationship between civilization and nature, and adds a realistic touch to his paintings by including urban features.

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.

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.