The Summer Side of Whistler
By Rebecca Wood Barrett / Images By Joern Rohde
Summertime in Whistler is different every day. Long days are overflowing with warm sunshine stretching out the possibilities for mountain sightseeing, delectable outdoor dining, wellness retreats, shopping excursions and adrenaline adventures. After all, you’ve come to Whistler to have an extraordinary outdoor experience with friends and family, so why not organize a variety of activities involving your personal favourites and a few that are brand new?
Steep yourself in awe by exploring the mountains and viewing the resident wildlife; ride one of the red cabins of the Peak 2 Peak Gondola, 436 metres (1,430 feet) above Fitzsimmons Creek; cross the breathtaking Cloudraker Skybridge, a 130-metre-long (426 feet) suspension bridge at the peak of Whistler; take an educational tour to view Whistler’s black bears; zoom across valleys on a thrilling zipline; or hike Whistler Blackcomb’s alpine trails in search of summer wildflowers, whisky jack birds and whistling marmots.
Downhill mountain biking on Whistler Mountain is one of the most exciting ways to explore the trails of our richly forested valley. The latest technology in downhill bikes, protective armour, and starter-level trails make it possible for everyone to give it a try. And you don’t have to be able to ride a bike to enjoy Crankworx, a 12-day mountain bike festival with some of the most extreme riding on the planet. Throughout the summer, Whistler hosts a variety of popular events that embrace its mountainous terrain, such as GO Fest, Whistler’s Great Outdoors Festival, and its four days of sports, music, arts and culture to get you out and about in the fresh air; the rolling Whistler Half Marathon; the thigh-burning Tough Mudder Classic and Tough Mudder 5K; and the spectacularly scenic climb of the RBC GranFondo Whistler cycling race, just to name a few.
While you’re in the Sea to Sky Corridor, visit our neighbouring communities — Squamish to the south and Pemberton to the north. For incredible sweeping coastal views of Howe Sound, Shannon Falls and the Stawamus Chief, ride the Sea to Sky Gondola. Spend the day hiking, taking in the majestic vistas from the three viewing platforms or enjoy a snack and freshly brewed tea at the Co-Pilot Café. Set at the foot of towering 2,591-metre (8,500-foot) Mount Currie is Pemberton, a bucolic town well known for its seed potato industry. Its Old West charm, unique cafés and outdoor recreation make it well worth a visit. Highlights include Nairn Falls, One Mile Lake and Pemberton’s organic farms.
If you’re a golf aficionado, sign up for 18 holes at one of Whistler’s or Pemberton’s courses, and admire the views of pristine lakes and the towering peaks of Whistler’s “other mountains”: Armchair, Wedge, Rainbow and Sproatt. The four championship courses designed by international golf icons Jack Nicklaus, Robert Trent Jones Jr., Arnold Palmer and Robert Cupp will challenge your abilities against Whistler’s natural water features and terrain.
Enrich your summertime visit by taking in original music, and cultural or visual arts performances outdoors. Be sure to consider dates for the Whistler Presents Concert Series, which showcases live bands and orchestral music at Whistler Olympic Plaza all summer long. Pack a picnic and lounge on the lush lawn of the plaza. For an exceptional weekend for the whole family, don’t miss the Whistler Children’s Festival, packed with hands-on art workshops, music, theatre and dance.
Whistler is the traditional territory of the Lílwat7ul (Lil’wat Nation) and Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation). To learn more about the relationship between the natural world and the two Nations, the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre in Whistler offers a guided forest walk with a cultural ambassador on the Salish Stroll trail. When the green leaves of summer turn to red and gold in the fall, the Whistler Writers’ Festival features Canadian and international authors in intimate readings and workshops for book lovers and writers alike.
One of the most pleasurable ways to spice up your stay is to seek out culinary experiences that include ingredients you’ve never tried before. Many of Whistler’s chefs pride themselves on sourcing produce and meat from local farms or seafood from Pacific coastal waters. Stroll the Whistler Farmers’ Market in the Upper Village, and you’ll find a cornucopia of fresh fruit, vegetables, baked goods and tasty treats, as well as one-of-a-kind gifts handcrafted by local artisans. You will also find artisanal food favourites such as gelato, kettle corn, roasted coffee, cordials, craft beer, and wine and vodka from local producers. To satisfy your craft beer cravings, attend the Whistler Village Beer Festival and sample 140+ beer and cider varieties at the many tasting events. Epicurean adventures extend beyond summer into the fall with Cornucopia, an 11-day festival designed for the uninhibited food-and-drink lover.
Whether you’re a long-time visitor to Whistler or a never-been-before, there are limitless new and unique experiences to bring that special spark to your visit. With a bit of research and organization in advance, you’ll be able to book all your new-to-you highlight activities and tackle all your treasured traditions as well. Don’t dally on your planning, though: Whistler’s sweet summer is only a few months away.