You can’t beat a high-speed groomer run with race skis… and with over 200 trails and 37 lifts serving both Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, there are many long runs to practice your carving and enjoy being in the vast and spectacular mountains. And of course, Whistler is known for its powder. What can I say? It’s something you just have to experience.
As a keen snowmobiler, when the conditions are right, I switch the skis for a snowboard, rally some buddies and head for the Pemberton Ice Cap. It’s a collection of glaciers accessed from the Rutherford Creek parking lot off Highway 99, only 6 kilometers south of Pemberton. It is a snowmobiler's paradise, with outstanding vistas and wide, open, treeless riding usually in deep mega-pow.
Early Morning Swims at Meadow Park
Meadow Park Sports Centre is open at 6 a.m. and a few early laps are a great way to start the day. The pool is quiet at that time of morning and afterward you can enjoy a hot tub or the sauna and steam room. The amenities are top grade and include a children’s pool, gym, squash courts and an ice skating rink.
SUP Boarding the River of Golden Dreams
This five kilometer stretch of water starts at Alta Lake and meanders its way to Green Lake through lush forest, banks littered with wildflowers and a backdrop of snow-capped peaks. The flow is gentle and the river crystal-clear emerald. Cruising down its bends, dodging lily pads, beavers and ducks on a stand-up paddleboard is the best way to spend an hour or two on a hot summer day.
In the space of four weeks each spring, Whistler Mountain converts itself from a ski hill to a downhill mountain bike park, one of the first and world-renowned. The bike park is awesome and having stood on the podium for the BC Cup (only because there were only three people competing in the masters category!) I can vouch that riding the park is the best way to advance your skills and have a super fun time doing it. The Sampler ticket, a 3-lap ticket for $36, or the Twilight Pass at $275 (for riding between 4.30 and 8.00pm) are both a steal!
Whistler valley also has dozens of cross country or enduro style trails. The newest additions are the alpine trails on Sproatt Mountain on the west side of the valley. Truly epic if you tackle the Lord’s Loop which takes you from the valley to mountain top on Into The Mystic, through beautiful alpine meadows, then back down Lord of the Squirrels. This takes endurance and you’ll definitely feel it the next day but so worth it.
Squamish is another hot bed of mountain biking with endless trails to keep you interested and challenged. For a fun, long downhill, check out the Meadow of the Grizzly trail linked up with Half Nelson and Psuedo-Tsuga for a flow funfest.
Having been a member of the Britannia Beach Trials Motorcycle Club for 20+ years, Disneyland in the mighty Goat Ridge trails is my choice for spectacular trials riding. Don’t forget to stop off at the Happy Shack!
Harnessing Nature’s Energy
Windsurfing, kiting and sailing boats have been lifelong passions of mine. Squamish and Anderson Lake are both world-class locations for wind conditions offering two very different experiences. Anderson Lake is 25 miles north of Pemberton and is a long lake tucked in by mountainous hills. The water is fresh and crystal clear and leaves your soul revitalised after a good session. Squamish means ‘Mother of the Wind’ and truly lives up to its namesake. Positioned at the end of a fiord where the sea is met by an estuary, if you time the tides right, you can score an awesome flat river day in the estuary, an experience like no other place in the world.
Strolling, Walking or Hiking
My big black Bear dog is a #1 fan of this recreational activity. Whistler boasts many dog-friendly parks and trails but my favourite walk is along the Valley Trail to Fitzsimmons Fan Park on Green Lake. Visit the bird sanctuary and catch the last rays of sunshine in the valley in the evening. From there you can cruise over to the Nicklaus North Golf Course’s Table 19 restaurant for a refreshing beverage and snack on the best patio in the valley.
If you’re after more of a challenging walk, I know a great secret hiking spot on the Khyber Trail to the peak of Whistler from the microwave towers. Give me a call and I’ll explain where it is. The Screaming Cat Lake accessed from the Flank Trail up from Alpine Meadows neighbourhood is a dedicated hiking trail that I also love and can highly recommend.