As the location for the 2010 Winter Olympics, Whistler, British Columbia has become an even bigger hotspot for winter activities. The area around this Canadian gem has plenty for you do year round, and even though it’s known as an alpine resort town, the ratio of rugged to relaxing-in-luxury is skewed in favor of adventure.
If you’re traveling to Whistler in the winter, you probably plan on skiing or snowboarding. The resort at Whistler-Blackcomb is open for skiing and riding even into July, and it opens during the falls first cold snap. Expect world-class runs and multi-class skiers and boarders – it helps to have some experience on a slope, but participants of all skill levels can find a run that’s right for them. In terms of a three-day winter itinerary, plan on hitting the slopes for two days and spend the third doing something different such as snowmobiling.
Snowmobiling is an increasingly popular pastime here. If you’ve never laid your hands on a snowmobile, there’s an introductory, two-hour tour in which a guide will lead you over some scenic trails. You’ll get a feel for the vehicle and its fun for all ages. On the other hand, if you are more experienced or daring, there is a more challenging, backcountry snowmobile tour. This differs in terms of both terrain and passengers – while the former can accommodate children and tandem riders, the latter is for single-riders only. A third tour is a guided snowmobile tour of the mountain at night.
Naturally, Whistler receives a large number of visitors when the air’s cold and the powder is fresh, but in the summer, the resort town is nearly as popular, particularly among mountain bike enthusiasts. Whistler-Blackcomb has some of the most outstanding and challenging bike trails in the world across two zones. The chairlifts are repurposed and fitted with bike racks, and if putting your life in the care of gravity and handbrakes is up your alley, then these bike trails are for you.
However, there’s more to Whistler’s summer season than mountain biking. For example, at the peak of Blackcomb Mountain, you can get a great view of the town and the Horstsmann Glacier and its blue ice. This is accessible May through October, when you can book a tour that climbs the mountain in a 4x4 Hummer. This particular trip is about two hours; if you spend a day hurtling down the mountain on two wheels, spend part of your next one climbing the mountain on four. Spend your third day browsing Whistler’s shops, boutiques and restaurants.