Whistler in British Columbia, so many things to do - we just have to go back again
Whistler offers a variety of activities. Downhill or trail biking and skiing are the two top attractions. Whistler has the trails, lifts and shops to make this an awesome experience.
We didn't do much biking this year, partly due to the wet weather. We picked August and September for our stay and the weather started to turn already. The 2019 summer was a wet summer and therefore BC had less forest fires.
People visit for a variety of reasons. Food, hiking, biking or the view, there is no shortage of activities.
Blackcomb Ascent Trail
In previous years, Whistler didn't provide an official trail from the Village to the top of Blackcomb or Whistler Mountain. Finally, they opened up the Blackcomb Ascent Trail. The trail head is beside the gondola and goes all the way up to the Rendezvous Lodge.
The hike starts by entering a dark forest through the gate. We jokingly referred to the gate as the entrance to great pain and suffering, and we were not that far off.
The trail has three sections. It starts with an 800 meter trail called Little Burn and changes to a steeper trail with the name Big Burn. This gets you up to the gondola mid station. Do not get tempted and keep on going on to the last section called Heart Burn.
The trail is mostly in old growth coastal rainforest. Even so the temperature was warm, the air in the forested area was cool and refreshing. It is a most amazing wonderland of trees, shrubs, moss and fungi.
Some stairs were built to get over the steep rock faces. The trail is well marked and maintained to provide a good grip for your shoes.
We were greeted by this sign on the right that promised an end to the gruelling uphill hike.
We made it to the top. The 6.2 kilometer trail gains 1200 meter and there is practically not a single flat stretch along the way.
We really have to do this again next time, the beer does taste better after the hike.
Summer Outdoor Concert
Great timing, Buffy Sainte-Marie performed while we were roaming the Village.
In past years we enjoyed artists like the Barenaked Ladies and local bands. The concerts are free at the Whistler Olympic Plaza. Bring a blanket or chair, it may get cool in the evening.
Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre
The Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre exhibits the rich history of the Squamish and Lil’wat Nations. Beside the exhibit, the gift shop is a required stop during our visit.
Make sure to take the Forest Walk in the back when you exit.
To the Top
For the visitors without a downhill bike, there is a choice of two gondolas that get you up to the top, the Blackcomb and the Whistler Village Gondola. Once up there, take the Peak to Peak gondola to transfer from one mountain to the other.
The view on top is spectacular. On a clear day you can see rows and rows of rocky mountains, and glaciers.
If you stay in Whistler for a week or more, consider to purchase the 360 Experience Pass , after two single trips with the gondola, the pass is paid for. We actually added an Espresso in the Roundhouse Lodge up on Whistler Mountain to our daily ritual. Can't beat the view up there and every day is different.
Just recently, the Whistler Summit got a new attraction, the Cloudraker Skybridge, a suspension bridge spanning two peaks. There is some effort required to get there. Either take the Pika's Travers Road or the path to the Peak Express lift.
We did some of the trails up on Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain this and in previous years. The Decker Loop is one of the longer trails and a constant up and down. The hike is very rewarding once you reach the lake.
Pika's Travers connects the Roundhouse Lodge with the new Cloudraker. We usually walk down to the Peak Express, up with the chair lift to Whistler Peak, rake some clouds and down the Pika's Travers.
Then we finish the afternoon with an Espresso on the patio. After this we truly deserve a fine dinner in one of the many restaurants.
Peak to Peak Gondola on Whistler Mountain.
The selection and sequence of the restaurants are our favourites and in random order.
The Teppan Village is still fresh on our mind, so lets start here. The Teppan Village, an Authentic Japanese Teppanyaki Steakhouse. We love to watch them prepare the food right on our table. It is an experience.
Close to the Whistler Olympic plaza is the Brewhouse. Always a busy place and a reservation is advisable. They serve great food and they brew beer. My personal preference is their stout, nuff said.
Every once in a while we need a banana split and a B52. The CrÍpe Montagne serves crÍpe, obviously, ice cream and specialty coffees.
Whistler is like an outdoor shopping mall. Restaurants, stores, shops and hotels, side by side.
Whistler Creekside, a short distance from the Village
When the time comes to do laundry, the Southside Diner is the place to go. While waiting for the machine to eat our socks, we ate breakfast. Doing laundry is an excuse to have breakfast here. Yeah, we should do more laundry.
Pizza? On top of our list is Creekbread where the pizza comes from a wood fired oven. They don't call it pizza, it is a Creekbread.
And another favourite is Dusty's Bar & BBQ. Can't go wrong with Beer and Burger, but their dipping sauce is not from this world, ask for the Potato wedges with the butt rub mayo.
Biking in Whistler
From our point of view, there is the Bike Park and the Valley Trail. According to the Whistler website, there is more.
We mostly prefer an easy ride on the Valley Trail that connects about all the destinations in and around Whistler. We rode the trail early in the morning and had to share the trail with a bear. It is a multi-purpose trail after all, pedestrians, bears and bikes.
The preferred method of transportation seems to be bicycles, they are everywhere. When highway 99 is clogged, the bikes just zoom by. Yes, they do have a traffic problem in Whistler.
If you feel comfortable on a mountain bike and on rough terrain, rent a bike from Costal Cultures in Creekside. The trails are wicked and get your Adrenalin pump'n. This year was the first year where I didn't find time to actually ride the Bike Park.