Whistler in summer, British Columbia, Canada
I think it’s pretty fair to say that most people think of Whistler as a summer destination. Canada’s ultimate ski destination attracts people from around the world and it can get really busy during the peak season. But did you know that there is plenty to do during summer too? And you won’t have to deal with quite the same level of crowds!
In the distance, the mountains still have snow on their peaks. In Whistler village, though, it’s surprisingly warm. The perfect base for some of the outdoor activities that this region is famous for.
I’ve been given the job of seeing how much I can do in 48 hours and making a video about the experience. You can check out the final outcome here:
The main things I want to combine are a bit of exploration of the mountains and a few things that you can do from within the village as well. Here’s how I spent my 48 hours.
Glacier helicopter ride
It’s hard to get up to the top of some of the nearby mountains but there is a way – and it’s by helicopter. I jump in the chopper in the morning and am taken up to Rainbow Mountain, landing next to a glacier. From here, it’s possible to go for a bit of a hike, across rocks and snow, along icy ridges, and right up to a glacier.
The sun is out and everything is glistening as I crunch over the snow, my guide leading the way and pointing out where not to step (there are quite a few crevices along the way). The views are incredible but so is being right up at a glacier with no other people around. The best thing about going somewhere that’s only accessible by helicopter is that you’re pretty likely to be alone!
It’s not the cheapest activity you can do at Whistler but it’s certainly one of the most dramatic. I would recommend checking out Blackcomb Helicopters for more information.
As if a helicopter ride up to a glacier wasn’t exciting enough, I’ve also decided to give some of the ziplines a go. Heading up Whistler Mountain, I reach the launch station up in the forest. The first ride is always the scariest, especially as you have to step off the platform into thin air. But, of course, it goes smoothly and then I’m hooked, sailing along the next few.
It’s an exhilarating experience but what makes it even better are the views. Flying across valleys, you can look up and down at the landscapes. Even the short walks between the platforms are beautiful, especially when you’re going along timber paths built amongst the treetops.
ZipTrek has a few different options for ziplining so I would suggest having a look at their website and seeing what’s best for you.
From one of the ziplines, I look down and can see mountain bikers speeding along a track, over jumps and around corners through the forest. It looks like a lot of fun but a bit too dangerous for me.
Instead, I hire a bike at one of the shops in Whistler Village and take it for a ride along a more leisurely path. I end up at Lost Lake, a serene spot not too far from the town. Some people are lazing on the grass, enjoying the sunshine – a few have even jumped in the water for a swim. It’s a great place to take it easy for an afternoon.
As you know, Canada is famous for its bears but during the winter season when most people are here, they are hidden away, hibernating. Summer is the perfect time to try to spot some and it turns out it’s not too hard.
You’re very unlikely to be able to do it on your own so I went with the official bear viewing tour offered at Whistler (click here for more information). There are about sixty black bears on the mountains and the guides know the best places (and ways) to find them. We see one quite quickly once we’ve gone up the mountain but it’s quite far away. Later we get much closer to an old bear called Slumber.
Even in an area that’s so popular with tourists, the bears have plenty of space to do their own thing without interference. I love that about Whistler in summer – you really feel like you’ve got more control of the nature here and can do things the way you want!
For a luxurious stay, I highly recommend the Fairmont Chateau