The world became familiar with Whistler, B.C., during the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. People saw everything the area had to offer in the winter, but warm-weather travelers shouldn’t dismiss Whistler.
While many skiers have experienced the Peak 2 Peak Gondola that links Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, people who visit outside of the ski season also can ride the gondola, which has the longest unsupported lift span in the world. And with more festivals and other events, such as the Mountain Top BBQ series, happening throughout the year, Whistler is turning into a family destination any time you choose to visit.
But choosing what you want to do is the hard part. For active folks, there’s ziplining, hiking, biking, bungee jumping, horseback riding, kayaking, fishing and camping, to name a few options. For a more laid-back experience, try a floatplane tour, a 4x4 ride, or a day at the beach. And Whistler Village offers plenty of places to eat, shop and listen to music.
Of course, the Olympics left their mark; even in the summer you can ride the Olympic track in a bobsled on wheels. One of the big legacies of the Olympics is the vastly improved highway from North Vancouver. Before the road work for the Games, the narrow highway was a sketchy, cliff-hanging drive, especially at night and in the winter. Now it’s a smooth gateway to all that Whistler has to offer, any time of year.
Whistler is 139 miles from Bellingham, a bit less than three hours by car. From Bellingham, take Interstate 5 north to the Blaine truck crossing and cross the border to Surrey, B.C. Take the British Columbia 1 West exit from Pacific Highway/BC-15 North. Merge onto BC-1 West, and follow BC-99 North to Village Gate Boulevard in Whistler.
WHERE TO STAY
First Tracks Lodge: The richly furnished designer suites feature gourmet kitchens. Split your downtime between the library and the hot tub.
2202 Gondola Way
Cedar Springs Bed and Breakfast Lodge: On the outskirts of Whistler Village, this bed-and-breakfast has bike trails just outside its doors and trout streams only minutes away.
8106 Cedar Springs Road
4121 Village Green
WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK
The Wildflower: This family-friendly restaurant in the Fairmont Chateau features locally sourced meals and classics with a twist.
4599 Chateau Blvd.
Naked Sprout: Enjoy juices, smoothies, soups and salads made from organic local ingredients, and don’t forget the vegan options and raw desserts.
1-4433 Sundial Place
Tapley’s Neighbourhood Pub: As Whistler’s oldest village pub, Tapley’s is known as “the local’s living room.”
4119 Golfer’s Approach
Whistler Tasting Tours: These dinner tours hit the dining hot spots in Whistler. Packages include four to six restaurants, where chefs pair their delicacies with local wines. Tours meet at different locations, depending on which tour is selected.
WHAT TO SEE AND DO
Ziptrek TreeTrek Tour: Take a guided tour of the rainforest among the tops of cedars, firs and hemlocks. Available year-round, the tour focuses on ecology and follows a series of suspension bridges and observation towers, with no ziplining required.
4340 Sundial Crescent, at the Carleton Lodge guest services desk
Whistler Air Tour: A seaplane tour is a great way to view the Whistler landscape. Take in Whistler Valley, or go for a glacier tour.
8069 Nicklaus North Blvd.
Whistler Mountain Bike Park: The park’s 4,900 vertical feet of lift-accessed trails are more than any other bike park in North America.
4545 Blackcomb Way
Whistler Bungee: The 160-foot jump over the Cheakamus River has the reputation of being the most extreme thing you can do in Whistler. If you’re not in it for the jump, go for the scenic backdrop. You won’t be disappointed.
19 – 4314 Main St.