Beyond the Slopes: Summer in Whistler
As the days get longer and the temperatures rise, world-renowned ski resort Whistler shakes off its winter coat and takes on a whole new personality.
Enter a mountain paradise where there’s something for everyone, from the outdoor explorer to the armchair adventurer.
Have mountains, will hike. Nestled in the Pacific Ranges of the Coast Mountains, Whistler offers hikes for every level. Savvy mountaineers can take on the alpine trails by choosing a day hike, like the Skywalk trail, or the alpine wildflowers closer to the village. If you haven’t navigated a mountain path in a while, opt for a tour to guide you from glaciers to ancient forests. Want that mountain-top view without the sweat? Check out the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola that gives you access to over 45 kilometres of trails, as well as stunning views from the highest and longest lift in the world. Choose a glass-bottomed gondola if you’re feeling adventurous.
If you’ve spent the day jumping off a bridge or conquering a mountain, nothing feels better than doing absolutely nothing. Relaxing at the spa or at a yoga class is a welcome reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the Village. Start with a Hatha yoga class at Yogacara, then head to Scandinave Spa to re-energize with luxurious hot and cold pools.
As the sun beats overhead, take a dip at Lost Lake or one of Whistler’s many beaches – don’t forget to pack a picnic! Once you’ve reached your daily intake of Vitamin D, head back to the Village to explore the shops for some retail therapy.
Whistler is synonymous with adventure year-round. Leave your skis and board behind and step into warm weather thrills. If bungee jumping is a little too heart-stopping, check out one of the many ziplining and tree adventure spots on the mountain. From a leisurely forest canopy walk, to a heart-pumping zip on the mountain’s longest and fastest ziplines, you’ll love seeing the world from the top. Hop on an ATV or trek to the lesser known spots with a guided ATV tour that’ll have you ripping down logging roads and tearing up the backcountry.
Prefer to test your strength? Try out rock climbing at Via Ferrata, a man-made cliff ladder that will take your breath away. But don’t worry; you’ll have a guide by your side. Once you’ve completed the ascent, you’ll be treated to a view that even most locals haven’t experienced.
Now that you’ve worked up a sweat, cool off at Alta Lake. Standup paddle boarding allows you to get up close and personal with the scenery, while a canoe tour to the River of Golden Dreams—yes, that’s its real name—will have you pinching yourself. Water-loving thrill seekers owe it to themselves to take a whitewater rafting trip to truly understand the power of nature.
You don’t need snow to hit the slopes. Whistler is a mountain biking Mecca and offers a mountain bike park, as well as several trails that weave down the challenging terrain for cross-country mountain bikers. For less extreme two wheelers, check out the Valley Trail paved network that stretches almost 25 miles through the Whistler Valley, the scenic routes offering equal parts exercise and sightseeing. Prefer to stand on the sidelines? Check out one of Whistler's many cycling events, like Crankworx for an adrenaline rush, or the BC Bike Race for a true West Coast mountain biking experience.
Before you settle in to get your fill at one of Whistler’s excellent restaurants, take in some local and international culture at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre and the Audain Art Museum. The striking Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre was the first centre dedicated to local First Nations art, history, and culture. This experiential museum invites you to explore an educational forest walk and get hands-on with interactive crafts.
The newest cultural hub on the block is the Audain Art Museum, a unique and innovative building, offering a peek into the flourishing BC art scene. The impressive permanent collection features gorgeous First Nations pieces, including hand-carved masks, as well as world-renowned artists like Emily Carr and Rodney Graham.
Not just for skiing! After a long day of spa-side relaxing or tree-top adventuring, you deserve a drink. Head to the Village and find a spot to metaphorically put your feet up. Enjoy world-class food at Araxi (seriously, it’s won multiple awards) or opt for a patio beer at the Longhorn Saloon & Grill. Try a sample of the Village’s best food and drink offerings on a tasting tour to parlay your après into the evening, then check out Escape! Whistler, where you’ll be challenged to solve your way out of a riddle-filled game room.
Mix up your daily adventures with a special event or two. Escape to the alpine with the Mountain Top BBQ Series or explore the outdoors with GO Fest, home to everything from pancake breakfasts and street entertainment, to film screenings and stand-up paddle boarding. For the musically inclined, the outdoor concert series boasts acts like the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and José González.
Celebrate the good times past by re-living the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. Check out the Whistler Sliding Centre for a tour and an exhilarating ride, or test your marksmanship at the Olympic Park while shooting a .22 calibre biathlon rifle (with a qualified instructor by your side). No time for a tour? Take a quick selfie in front of the famous Olympic rings at the Whistler Olympic Plaza.
Keen to kick on? The Whistler nightlife is a dynamic combination of pubs, lounges, and nightclubs that keep the Village pumping long after the sun sets. Sip on craft beer or dance the night away to internationally-renowned DJs. Plan your night in advance, or wander the Village and see where the locals take you.
At the crossroads of urban amenities and outdoor hotspots, you’ll find Whistler. Head up the Sea-to-Sky Highway and find your summer adventure amongst the mountains, shops, spas, pubs, and restaurants. One thing is certain: Whistler in the summertime will leave you wanting more.