When most people think of Whistler, they often think of it world-class skiing and snowboarding. However, North America’s favorite resort features a surprising number of summer time activities that run the gamut from horseback riding, to golfing, to ATVing and to even zip lining. The vibrant Whistler Village also offers plenty of opportunities for shopping, dining spa and massage and an active nightclub and bar scene. If you are in Whistler this summer, here are a few things to do in Whistler you must put at the top of your list.
Explore Whistler Above Ground on Zip Lining and Suspension Bridge Tours
Travel through the tree-tops on a series of seven suspension bridges, boardwalks and observation platforms on the Whistler TreeTrek Tour to get a bird’s eye view of the forests between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. Some of the trees in this rainforest are up to 800 years old! If you are feeling even more adventurous, try soaring between these trees on the Whistler Ziptrek Bear Tour, which features five zip lines that are up to 1,000 feet long. There is even a freestyle line that allows riders to fly upside down.
Ride to the Top of Blackcomb Mountain for a Salmon Bake at Crystal Hut
Journey 6,000 ft. to the top of Blackcomb Mountain via ATV or Jeep 4×4 for salmon bake at the rustic Crystal Hut cabin. Enjoy the beautiful colors of the sun as it sets across the mountains as well as live entertainment while your chef prepares a delicious meal.
See the Mountains from Peak to Peak
Explore both Whistler and Blackcomb Mountain by taking a ride on the Peak 2 Peak Gondola, which reaches an elevation of 1,427 ft. and at 1.88 miles long is the longest continuous lift system in world. Along the way you will enjoy 360 degree views of Whistler Village, mountain peaks, lakes and glaciers, and glass bottomed gondolas allow for a bird’s eye view of the forest. The trip takes about 1.5 hours, but give yourself more time if you want to stop for a hike, meal or to take a look at the Viewing Gallery.
Get Pampered at the Spa
Give yourself some to unwind and rejuvenate at one of the many Whistler spas. The Scandinave Spa is Nordic-themed retreat with a 20,000 square foot spa, hot and cold baths, a wood burning Finnish sauna, an eucalyptus steam room, thermal and Nordic (cold) waterfalls and spaces like solariums and outdoor terraces designed for relaxing.
For something exotic, head to Taman Sari Royal Heritage Spa, which is the only Javanese spa in North America and offers luxurious – massages, body scrubs, body wraps, body masks and facials. Or, let you cares drift away, literally, as you float in pool loaded with Epsom salts for 90 minutes at the West Coast Float Whistler.
Travel Trails by Foot, by Horse or by Bike
Whistler Blackcomb and the surrounding area are full of trails of varying lengths, so you are certain to find a path that is a good fit for you, whether you are a beginning hiker or are more advanced. A few popular hikes with great views are the Rainbow Lake Trail, Cheakamus Lake Hike, Wedgemount Lake Trail, Medicine Trail and Ancient Cedars Grove. You can also opt to let someone else do all the walking for you and go horseback riding along forest trails or journey across meadows and up mountain paths.
However, the trails are not just for animals, there many that are suited for bikes, such as cross country mountain biking routes that travel past rainforest, granite rock and waterfalls or the Whistler Valley Trail and Sea to Sky Trail if you would prefer to cycle on pavement. There is even a park that has been created just for bikers, called Mountain Bike Park that features greens for cruising, technical double black jumps, jump trails and skills centers.
Take in Arts and Culture
Learn more about the history and the culture of the people who first occupied the region, the Squamish and Lil’wat people, at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre. In fact, the Centre is designed to look like a combination of the longhouses of the Squamish people and Isken (earthen pit house) of the Lil’wat people. Exhibits include an interpretive forest walk, interactive crafts for all ages, artifacts gallery, theatre and interactive performances such as song and dance.
Discover Natural Beauty with Lakes and Waterfalls
There is no end the beautiful landscapes found throughout the region, from rolling green meadows, to craggy granite, to placid lakes and tumbling waterfalls. Allow yourself to soak in the scenery and take a day to fish, canoe, kayak, paddle board or swim in Alta Lake or Lost Lake. Likewise, pay a visit to Alexander Falls, Brandywine Falls, Shannon Falls or Nairn Falls to watch melt water from the mountains roar over the rocks and remind yourself how powerful nature is.
Let Your Adventurous Side Go Wild with Rafting, Bungee Jumping and Rock Climbing
One of the best parts about traveling is to take advantage of the opportunity to try something new or do something that you may not be able to do at home. Splash through the waters of the Green, Elaho and Squamish rivers on a white water rafting tour, bungee jump from a bridge high over the Cheakamus River for a breathtaking 160 foot drop or climb Whistler Mountain by hand using metal rung ladders and fixed cables on Via Ferrata (or Iron Way) tour.
Tee Off at a World-Class Golf Resort
Hit the links at Chateau Whistler Golf Club and enjoy 18 holes of golf on this par 72 course. This Arnold Palmer designed course is Canada’s #1 Golf Resort for a reason, as the course not only provides a challenging round of golf, but the nine course lakes, two creeks and mountain backdrop provide scenic views and the chance to spot wildlife such as black bear and deer.
Shop till You Drop
With over 200 shops and boutiques, Whistler Village is a shopaholic’s dream. From May 31 to October 11th, you can also pick up fresh fruit, produce, artisan crafts and a variety of food products from over 80 vendors at the Whistler Farmers Market.
Taste Award Winning Cuisine
Whether you are looking for pub far, Japanese, Indian, Mexican or Italian style cuisine, look no further than Whistler Village, which includes restaurants that offer all of the above and more! Better yet, a number of the restaurants feature organic and locally sourced ingredients. There are also almost as many options for places to dine as there are types of cuisine, such as on top of the mountain, on the water or in Whistler Village. If you can’t decide where to go, sample a few on a culinary tasting tour, which generally visit five-six locations and enjoy a course at each stop. Speaking of tasting, make sure to visit the Whistler Brewing Company, which is 100% BC owned and 100% BC brewed to tour their facility, view craft beers in the making and, of course, taste the taps!
Check Out Whistler’s Vibrant Nightlife
Dance and party the night away at one of the bars, lounges and nightclubs at Whistler Blackcomb. With so many options to choose from it is no surprise readers of SKI Magazine voted the resort number one for après-ski in 2015. Likewise, there is something for everyone, from the young to the young at heart. Clubs like Moe Joe’s keep the speakers thumping nightly with live music or DJ’s, while watering holes like Buffalo Bill’s Bar and Grill feature dancing, comedy acts and pool tables in addition to live music.