One of our families most favourite places to holiday in the summer is Whistler BC. For the outdoor enthusiast its like Disneyland, without all the lineups and sparkly mouse ears.
This past week our son Hayden participated in Summer Gravity Camps. A week long mountain bike camp that is taught by mountain bike pros. If your child is at all into riding the Whistler Bike Park then this camp is one that is not to be missed. Each day the kids ride down from their hotel The Aspens to the GLC for breakfast at 9am. Lifts open at 10 and they head up with their pro coach for a great day of riding. Kids are broken into groups based on ability when you sign up for camp. They ride till 3 with a break for lunch between 12-1. Kids then have the opportunity to either go to the Air Dome which is exclusively available only to campers between 3-5, or stay and ride some more laps instead. This experience for our son was amazing. He had so many stories, got some great swag and made some great new friends. Beware, after an awesome week of shreddin the park with their favourite pros, like minded riders and staying in top notch accomadations, you may have a hard time convincing them to come home! If this interests you check out their website at https://summergravitycamps.com
So with our son taken care of for the week, we got a chance to have a week almost completely to ourselves. We had made a list of some of the things we wanted to do and so it was time to get exploring.
On our first day we decided to do some cross country riding around Lost Lake. If you haven't been there its a great combination of beginner and intermediate single track. We were fortunate enough to ride pretty much right from the house. The trails are great and there are a few lovely viewpoints along the way. The trails are well marked and when you're done you get to jump into the lake to cool off! For those who aren't interested in riding single track trails, there is also a nice easy green, gravel path that goes around the lake that is a really nice ride. We saw a lot of E-bikes on our trip back. If you aren't a big rider E-bikes are the way to go.
On day two we decided to hit the Whistler Bike Park. Now, I have not taken a bike up the chairlift in close to 20 years so I was a bit nervous. We rented bikes and protective gear and headed up the hill. Renting is the best way to go for sure. Make sure you get the insurance, well worth it, if anything happens to your bike with the exception of theft, its totally covered! All of the bike shops in the village rent bikes, so explore a little and get a great bike to ride for the day.
After loading my bike on the first try, woohoo, we were off! At the top of the lift the staff have your bike waiting as you walk off the lift.Heading up the chair to me is like riding Soaring Over Canada on steroids. The smell of the pine trees, the wild flowers, the breeze is worth the price of the lift ticket in itself. The riding is just the icing on the cake! We headed off and warmed up on a nice green run. Side note, the Whistler Bike Park reads just like a ski hill, green, blue and black diamond runs. It was great to warm up on something easy since downhill bikes are definitely different then my all mountain bike. After getting used to the bikes and a couple of green runs later we headed all the way up Garbanzo Chair to ride Blue Velvet. This run proved to be one of my all time favourites. To our surprise there were hardly any people at the top, which was super crazy because it was spectacular! After a stop at The Longhorn for lunch we headed up the hill again till late in the afternoon. It was an epic day and I'm proud to say that by the end of the day this old lady even got a bit of air!
On our third day of Whistler Adventures we booked a couple of kayaks so that we could explore the famous River of Golden Dreams. Backroads Whistler was an amazing company to deal with and supplied a great kayak for each of us with instruction on how to navigate the river on our own. Another great part is that there is a shuttle that picks you up at the end and will either drop you off at the Village or bring you back to Alta Lake. The start of the trip begins at Alta Lake and ends at Green Lake. Its a great cruise through nature. We found the few faster spots a fun challenge and I have to say I enjoyed doing something that was not classed as a race. (Everything at my house is always a race!) It was a good paddling workout though, due to paddling for an hour and 20mins. Your teen would definitely enjoy this trip. There is a mandatory portage just at the beginning which is not too hard and adds to the fun. I would highly recommend Backroads Whistler if this is on your list. They also offer guided tours if going out on your own doesn't appeal to you. Check them out @ http://www.backroadswhistler.com
Our last big adventure was with the parents, we decided to do an alpine hike and check out the new suspension bridge at the top of the peak chair on Whistler. We purchased our tickets and took off up the gondola. the views are pretty great, just be aware, as you head up the mountain it cools off so bring some layers. When we got to the top of the gondola we headed out to do a moderate hike to the Harmony Lake Loop. A gorgeous hike with great views, lots of wildflowers and blooming wild blueberry bushes. It wasn't too long till we reached the lake and the loop around gives you great views of Blackcomb. On our way back its a little more uphill, but we took breaks with the parents as hiking is not something they do a lot of. Once we got back up to the top we decided to hit the peak chair to take us up to the newly constructed Whistler Suspension Bridge. This gorgeous feat of engineering is not for the faint of heart, but if you can, its worth it, its Amazing! The views are unreal, Whistler mountain definitely has a way of mixing nature and engineering to bring the best of both worlds seamlessly together.
Well that's the summary of our latest trip to Whistler. I hope you were able to grab a few tidbits of info for your next trip. Its one of my favourite places to visit. Here's a list of 5 more of my favourite do not miss activities. Great for the whole family.
1. Lost Lake - a great place to go swimming with the family, and relax on the beach. walkable from the village.
2. Whistler Farmers Market- Sunday's in the Upper Village. This market is fairly large. They also have a smaller version on Wednesday nights. Sunday's they have a complimentary bike valet which is quite handy. Locally made goods, organic veggies and fruit, art and entertainment. Instagram - @whistlerfarmersmarket
3. Olympic Park- Do some hiking, check out the Olympic ski jumping centre, try your hand at biathlon shooting and learn about the legacy of the 2010 games. Plus chances are you will spot a bear or two on the way up or down Callaghan Valley Rd. http://whistlerolympicpark.com/venues/whistler-olympic-park
4. The Whistler Blackcomb Geology Tour- is a great way to learn about the mountain ranges, differences between Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain, learn. ton about the history of the glaciers in the area, walk through the giant snow walls and get a ride across the Peak2Peak.
5. The Whistler Sliding Center - One child (12-18) gets to go Free with every paying adult and additional children have 50% discount. Activity times (check in) are 1pm, 2pm and 3pm with an additional 10am weekend slot. No prior experience is required. All participants must be 12 years or older at the time of the experience, meet the physical requirements. Advance booking is recommended, full payment is required at time of booking. Whistler Summer Bobsleigh runs from July to September each year.