When you think of Canada’s Whistler Village, the first things which come to mind are probably ski jumps and slaloms. Famed for hosting the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, the ski resort area is known for its steep slopes and white powdery snow.
However, did you know about all the fun things you can do here in summer?
Two hours drive north of Vancouver, BC, the village below Blackcomb and Whistler mountains welcomes upward bound hikers and outdoor fans to roam its slopes year-round.
The ancestral home of the Lil’wat and Squamish First Nations, the Whistler Valley plays host to outdoor and indoor mountain sports as well as unique cultural traditions such as an après-ski (French for “after skiing”), a Canadian term for evening entertainment or nightlife at a ski resort.
Here is Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre’s guide to making the most out of your Whistler Village mountain quest.
1. Coast Down The Slopes On A Thrilling Bobsleigh or Skeleton Sled
Feel the rush of gravitational force on a bobsleigh or skeleton sled at the Whistler Sliding Centre. Team up in a group of two or four for the Olympic sport of bobsleigh racing in sleds that can go as fast as an automobile. Not for the faint-hearted, typical bobsleigh tracks are concrete and go through 180° curves and turns!
If you prefer a head-first solo rush, pick a smaller, more compact skeleton sled. Originating from Cresta sledding and toboggan racing in the UK, skeleton sledding started in St. Moritz, Switzerland and has since travelled to North America.
Whistler Sliding Centre’s track was where 2010 Olympic competitions were held. Try it for yourself: bobsleigh experiences start at CAD 99 per adult and skeleton at CAD 179 on the 1,450 metre track. Youths aged 12-18 years old bobsleigh for free with a paying adult.
Sightseers can roam the centre’s public areas daily from 9:00am to 5:00pm for free, and guided summer tours are available daily at 10:00am for CAD 10 per person (book here). Prices are subject to service charge and prevailing government taxes.
2. Hit The Mountain Bike Trail
Grind through the crests and dips of the Whistler Mountain Bike Park tracks by hiring a mountain bike for a day. Covering four zones with 70 expert-designed mountain trails, the park is suitable for riders of all levels.
If you’re new, start at the Orientation Centre where guides will help you adjust your bike and pick the best trail for your ability. Practice routes are available for you to warm up with your fellow adventurers.
Beginner riders can sign up for Bike Park 101, an introductory course for first-time mountain bikers with gentler downhill trails. If you are a seasoned biker, go for a five-day or longer Whistler Mountain Bike Park Pass to get track access and also discounts at retail outlets in the village.
Remember to ride safe and protected. Most of bike rental shops here provide helmets, arm, and knee guards for rental so you can suit up before shredding those hills.
3. Be Charmed By Whistler’s Black Bears
Any trip to the Whistler mountain region is incomplete without a wildlife tour.
Home to 60 charming black bears and cubs, these adorable mammals feed, mate, and hibernate within the area, attracting researchers’ attention as a subjects of study for over two decades.
To do so safely, we recommend going on a bear viewing tour with an expert guide in the evening. Human traffic is lower and the crepuscular black bears become more energetic as twilight beckons, feeding on grass, leaves, ants, and berries.
Your guide will personally drive you in a 4×4 vehicle on roads through bear ranges close to bear feeding and hibernation sites. Along the way, you will learn how old growth forests and mountain plants contribute to the unique ecology of the mountains, and the impact of human activities on bear habitats.
4. Take a Gondola Over The Whistler Peaks With A 360° View
Catch a panoramic view of Whistler’s stunning mountain ranges on a PEAK 2 PEAK 360 Experience cable car ride.
Available from late May to early October annually, PEAK 2 PEAK tickets include access to open-air chairlifts and gondolas, a viewing gallery and a 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games display, mountaintop dining offers, alpine wildlife tours, and hiking trails.
The highlight of the attraction, the gondola provides pristine unblocked views of the village and mountain peaks 436 metres above ground. Glide over 4.4 kilometres on the world’s longest continuous lift system. Pick a glass-bottomed gondola to spy on bears picking at tasty berries on a clear summer day.
5. Soar Through the Skies in a Mountain Chopper
Enjoy an eagle’s eye view of the mountains with a helicopter tour!
Together with five other passengers, rise 20,000 feet over glacial lakes and extinct volcanoes with the helicopter pilot as your guide. Blackcomb Helicopters offers a 12-minute introductory aerial tour of the area, and a more comprehensive 24-minute ride which includes an additional 15-minute glacier landing.
You can also book a customisable tour to glaciers, nearby districts such as Tofino, or request heli-biking, heli-hiking, and even marriage proposal flights. You can also fly to an utterly private picnic spot, and dine on charcuterie and salads catered by Table 19 Lakeside Eatery. You will be in good hands with experienced helicopter guides who are able to provide maintenance and emergency services in the area.
6. Snap Yourself with a Large Trout In Your Next Selfie
Drop a fishing line in the fresh water lakes of the Whistler region.
Summertime fishing in Whistler is known to yield fishes such as rainbow trout, Dolly Varden trout, and Cutthroat trout. Pick from your choice of remote lakes, fishing holes, or tributaries of the Pacific Ocean. Local fishing guides can take you heli-fishing and provide all equipment and advice.
The cooler weather, oxygenated water, and abundance of nymphs and shrimp makes Whistler’s water a perfect habitat for trout and pink salmon that arrive in late summer. If you are lucky, you may even see bears, eagles, and beavers venturing to the bodies of water for a seafood feast, setting nature’s food chain into action!
7. Flex Your Axe-Throwing Muscles
If you are looking to unleash your inner lumberjack, you may choose to perfect your axe throwing form at Forged – Axe Throwing.
Currently enjoying a revival, lumberjack sports began with indigenous Canadians and Americans centuries ago. It was also practiced by woodsmen over the decades.
A year-round activity, axe throwing is great for gloomy days on the mountains when you need to work off some excess energy.
At the centre, you can pick up throwing tips and learn how to adopt the correct gait and posture as your fling your “weapon” at a board. Who knows, you may just hit the bullseye.
Come in covered shoes and arms ready for some hard exercise—plaid buttoned shirts and a full, manly beard are optional.
8. Learn About The First Nations’ Squamish and Lil’wat Cultures
Curious to know how indigenous Canadians lived?
Here, you can learn how a traditional Squamish longhouse or Lil’wat pit house are designed, or pick up the fine art of handmade weaving.
Open daily from 9:30am to 5:00pm, general admission is CAD 18 for adults, CAD 5 for children and youths aged 6 to 18, and free for children aged 5 and under.
Visit on Tuesday and Sunday summer evenings for a First Nations Feast, and a cultural presentation with stories of hunters and gatherers of the region. All week, Thunderbird Cafe also serves modern First Nations cuisine featuring local bison, bannock, venison, fair trade coffee, and fresh greens.
Stop by the gift shop to learn about traditions of aboriginal handcrafted art from cultural ambassadors and consider bringing home handcrafted First Nations merchandise as a Whistler souvenir.
9. Après At The Dubh Linn Gate Irish Pub and Patio
End your hectic day of summer travelling at the Dubh Linn Gate Irish Pub and Patio‘s outdoor fire feature, and chill out to evening live music.
Open since 1997, mountain thrill-hunters have congregated here for their customary Guinness cheese burger, steak and Guinness pie, North Pacific cod and chips, and other Irish pub delights, while sharing stories of adventure with newfound friends.
On Wednesdays, CAD 12 beer and burger specials are served, featuring the Buffalo Chicken Schnitzel Burger with lettuce, tomato, pickled red onions, and dijonnaise sauce. Refuel to the sound of musicians as you watch the summer sunset on Whistler mountains.
Welcome To Whistler, Canada
Plan your crisp outdoorsy Canadian retreat! Speak to our team at Pan Pacific Whistler, ranked #1 among “Top Resorts in Canada” in Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers Choice Awards 2016, to enquire about our latest offers for our rooms and suites on the mountains.