August 17, 2017

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Whistler, B.C., Canada

A Summer and Winter world class destination town located in British Columbia, Canada, Whistler is a year-round destination that is home to two mountains – Whistler and Blackcomb.  Consistently ranked as one of North America’s top ski and snowboard resorts, Whistler has played host the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.  

The area is comprised of several villages including, Whistler Village – a car free pedestrian village of many hotels, shops, restaurants, events and après-ski activity as well as an activities base area in the summer. The Upper Village, Village North, Whistler Creekside and Blackcomb base comprise ‘greater Whistler’ and each village provides access to the mountains.

Whistler’s history dates back to the early 1900s, when trappers settled the valley via the Pemberton trail. Completed in 1877, the trail was originally intended for cattle-driving. Unfortunately, the terrain was inhospitable and most of the cattle were lost.  Over time, word spread of the beauty of Whistler, and Alex and Myrtle Phillip were the first couple to purchase land in the valley. Thereafter, the village began to grow and become a popular summer resort town.  It took another 50 years for the area to become a ski destination, and in 1966, Whistler Mountain opened for skiing.  

A town site was developed in 1975 and three years later, construction began on what was then the area garbage dump. Shortly after, Blackcomb Mountain opened and expanded Whistler’s recognition as ski resort. Since then, it has received much recognition as one of the world’s best four-season holiday destinations.

Winter:

Whistler is unique in that it features two adjacent but separate mountains – Whistler and Blackcomb. Together they provide skiers and riders with more than 8,000 acres of terrain, the most in North America. Whistler Blackcomb also boasts the highest vertical rise in North America at 5,280 feet above Whistler Village. Really, the place is huge and the terrain offers an alpine experience like no other in North America. It offers vast glades of trees for powder lines that many North American areas are known for and it offers massive above timberline bowl and couloir skiing and riding that Europe is famous for.

Blackcomb Glacier offers skiing and riding in summer months with numerous training camps offering instruction from the world’s best competitors and coaches. Although each resort has its own lift and chair system, one-lift pass will give you access to both mountains.  To top off it’s reputation as the biggest with the most vertical, the crew at Whistler Blackcomb brought us the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola. Opened in the 2008/09 season, this is a tourist icon in itself. Its basic function allows one to go directly from the top of Whistler Mountain to the top of Blackcomb Mountain. But what a ride! The gondola offers the longest unsupported span in the world at 1.88 miles in length and the highest span in the world at 1,427 feet off the valley floor. It is 2.73 miles long and offers unmatched views of Garibaldi Provincial Park in both winter and summer.

Although skiing and snowboarding are the most popular winter activities, guests can also enjoy sleigh rides, snowmobiling, cross country skiing at nearby Lost Lake, tasting tours, snowcat skiing, dog sledding and heli skiing.  The Coca-Cola Tube Park, located in the Base 2 Zone on Blackcomb Mountain, offers fun for both old and young alike.  It features eight lanes varying in difficulty from Green to Blue to Black, that are 1,000-ft. long and provide a state-of-the-art conveyor lift to the top.

 Be sure to check out the ZipTrek Ecotours which run year-round and take you high above the forest and through massive, ancient pine trees.  About two million lift tickets are sold every winter, more than at any other North American resort, so it’s a big place in both size and scale.  However, since it is also one of largest ski areas, the crowds are spread over the resort’s 200-plus trails and twelve alpine bowls.

Summer: 

See a different side of Whistler when the snow melts. Guests can take the lifts to the top of the mountains for alpine hiking and other outdoor activities, as well as some summer skiing on Blackcomb Glacier.  Enjoy a sightseeing gondola ride to a mountaintop restaurant. Then take the PEAK 2 PEAK gondola for an unmatched aerial view of Garibaldi Provincial Park with ranges of inspiring peaks. Take a bear viewing tour or a glacier walk. Go mountain biking or play mini golf.  

On the mountain biking part, Whistler has arguably one of the best mountain bike parks and system of trails in North America. Known for its week long Kokanee Crankworx festival with world class racing, bands, parties, exhibitions this three ring circus of mountain biking is not to be missed. For us regular folks the park offers plenty of cruising trails through the lush coastal forest. Intermediate riders dig the tight and technical singletrack while the body armor boys and girls can find steep, rocky ridges and root strewn lines. AMH has a listing of its hotels with secure bike storage with cameras and motion detectors, bike washes, tuning stations and laundry facilities.

Other activities include, technical rock climbing, non technical peak climbing, fly and lure fishing, great golfing, whitewater rafting, jeeping, horseback riding and more. Include in that ‘More’ part a couple of really nice alpine lakes nearby the locals like to swim in. Oh, the road biking has developed due to the strong local bike culture and new roads. We recommend the Tour de Whistler, a loop of the valley with nine significant climbs, the 50 km Pemberton Meadows Loop with it’s pastoral countryside and for the climbers try the Duffy Lake Road with it’s new surface and 3,000 ft of elevation gain in 8 miles! For a little family time, explore the Blackcomb Base Adventure Zone. Or, get your blood pumping with a thrilling bungee jump from a 160ft (53 meter) bridge spanning 300-ft. over the glacial fed Cheakamus River. Now you’re livin’ Whistler style!

Attractions:

Whistler offers a number of great attraction for guests to discover.  The Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre celebrates the joint history of the Squamish and Lil’wat Nations. The Art and exhibits displayed showcase their histories, creative works and cultures, while the performances, crafts and guided tours will entertain you.  Hope aboard the Peak2Peak Gondola which spans the distance between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains with a breathtaking 4.4-km trip 436 meters above the valley floor.

Dining:

Whistler offers the finest in alpine dining.  More than 90 restaurants, bars and lounges to cater to your every whim and offer flavors from around the world, such as Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, French, Italian, Greek, Indian, Mexican, Korean, and more.  Enjoy a light beverage at tea huts, a rustic home cooked meal in a cozy cabin, or a gourmet meal at one of the many world-class restaurants. Whistler also offers variety of unique après ski and nightlife locations.  Enjoy live music, mountain views and patio space while enjoying your favorite wine, cocktail or hot drink.  Dining in Whistler is divided into the following areas: Blackcomb Mountain, Village North, Whistler Village, Creekside, Whistler Mountain, Upper Village and Whistler Valley.

Shopping:

The Village of Whistler is a shopper’s paradise. The area features pedestrian-friendly walkways and plazas where you’ll find numerous shops, boutiques, art galleries and theatres.  Three great locations at the top of Whistler and Blackcomb provide everything you need from goggles, lipbalm and cameras to hats, water bottles and postcards.