Whistler: Beyond the Slopes
After hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics and just wrapping up its annual World Ski and Snowboard Festival, Whistler has sealed in its reputation as a top destination for skiing and snowboarding. What impressed me during my visit, however, was how many other outdoor options there are at Whistler. If you’re not prone to strapping long bits of wood to your feet, there’s no need to go scampering back to the lodge.
Whistler is North America’s #1 ziplining mountain and doesn’t take its position at the top lightly. With tours that last 3 to 5 hours and ziplines that drop over twenty stories, ziplining gives you a relaxing view and a jolt of adrenaline. The ziplines are connected by suspension bridges and trails that weave throughout the mountains.
Snowshoeing gives you the ability to explore mountain backcountry and peek into snowy nooks, and – a bonus for people like me – it’s easy to learn. Strap them on and you’re ready to go.
3. Cross-country skiing
28 kilometers of trails stretch from Lost Lake Park to several of Whistler’s golf courses. Cross-country skiing is also available in the Callaghan Valley, with 90 kilometers of tracks from beginner to Olympic-level difficulty.
4. Explore the River of Golden Dreams
Surrounded by old-growth forest and alpine scenery, the River of Golden Dreams winds over five kilometers between Alta Lake and Green Lake, offering a great course for kayakers and canoers alike. For the more daring, river rafting is also available.
Between Whistler’s alpine trails, golf courses, and peppering of provincial parks, this mountain village is a great place to run. I visited WAG, a non-profit animal society that lets people take dogs out for up to an hour-long walk, and took a cute little Hughie out for a run around Green Lake.
6. Mountain biking
In the summer, Whistler hosts Crankworx, a non-stop mountain biking festival that draws big names from around the world. Throughout the rest of the year, though, the trails around Whistler are fantastic for biking. A bike park was made around the scene of a train wreck from the 1950s.
7. Get on an ATV
Whistler’s got a bounty of wildlife, beautiful lakes and forests tucked away from view. If you hop onto an ATV, however, staying on a trail becomes less of a problem, opening you up to Whistler’s gorgeous scenery – along with the fun of a four-wheel drive.