Whistler is an adrenaline junkies’ haven with snow skiing, mountain biking, zip lines, snowmobile runs and the Sea to Sky Gondola. There is also an abundance of food outlets, restaurants and bars to balance activity for the not so gung ho!
The gondola experience in nearby Squamish is spectacular showing off the coastal mountain scenery, water- falls, glaciers and sub alpine meadows surrounding Squamish about half way up Highway 99 from Vancouver to Whistler. The gondola takes about 10 minutes to rise the 885 metres above sea level to unveil magnificent sweeping views of Howe Sound, the surrounding forests and mountains. At the summit there are an array of experiences that include two loop trails with viewing platforms and the spectacular Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge. There is also a shuttle from Vancouver. www.seatoskygondola.com
On Whistler Mountain this week the snow had turned to slush and workers are in the midst of transforming the mountain from a ski run to a mountain biking track which will open in early May. A new trail includes going up the mountain Creekside and coming down Whistler Mountain.
For biking enthusiasts there is also the Crud to Mud from the roundhouse at Whistler which takes in dirty snow, gravel and undergrowth. Surprisingly this is another popular pastime on the mountain.
Take a table at Blacks Café at the foot of the mountain and you can watch all the action over a draft “Hopping Mad Radler” a beer brewed by the Squamish based Howe Sound Brewery. It comes in grapefruit, lemon and apple and contains the usual alcohol content. Say hello to the delightful manager, Wanna, who will tell you she has five motor bikes from racing to road and loves speed.
The owners of one of my favourite Vancouver restaurants, Chin Chin have just opened Bar Osco a Spanish Tapas Bar in Whistler Village. Food is good, service disappointing.
Golfers have a number of course choices on the fairway to heaven (highway 99)
. Minutes from Vancouver International Airport, and a close drive to Vancouver’s downtown core, is Mayfair Lakes Golf & Country Club. Offering immaculate course conditions, a unique links design, lush fairways and panoramic view of the North Shore Mountains… year-round.
Winding its way from Horseshoe Bay, on the North Shore of Vancouver, the Sea-to-Sky Highway (99) lives up to its name. First tracing the shoreline of Howe Sound, then gently climbing into the Coast Mountains, the route truly does carry travellers from the sea to the snow and glacier-capped peaks defining the skyline of Whistler. The first hint of just how dramatic Sea-to-Sky golf can be comes barely more than half an hour into the journey when the signature 14th hole at the Furry Creek Golf and Country Club comes into view
Whistler is already known around the world for its spectacular mountains, unsurpassed skiing and outdoor adventures. But more importantly, this picturesque valley is home to four of Canada’s top 100 golf courses, including the legendary Nicklaus North Golf Course. Golf Digest has rated Whistler as one of the “Top 20 Greatest Golf Destinations” in the World and Canada’s Golf Course Ranking Magazine slotted Whistler in the top spot as the “Number One Golf Resort in Canada”.
Written by John Savage