If you’re a mountain biker, a skier, a hiker or even simply an outdoor lover, odds are that wherever you live you heard about Whistler. Indeed, Whistler is known and renowned for a lot of its activities. But why we love Whistler so much, that’s the question everyone that hasn’t been there is wondering.
What is Whistler
For those of you—if any—who don’t know Whistler at all, here’s a little overview.
Whistler mountain originally opened in January of 1966. The intent when the construction started was to compete for the 1968 Winter Olympic, which obviously didn’t happen. Blackcomb mountain, however opened in December 1980 as a totally separate entity. Both mountains endured intense rivalry through the 1980s and 90s, with constant upgrades and improvements that was unseen at other resorts. Today, they joined forces, it is now “Whistler Blackcomb”. Indeed, the BC real estate firm that developed Blackcomb, bought Whistler in 1997 and fully merged their operations in 2003.
Whistler Blackcomb is a ski resort located 121 km (75 mi) north of Vancouver, in British Columbia, Canada. By many measures it is the largest ski resort in North America and has the greatest uphill lift capacity. American Vail Resorts from Colorado owns Whistler Blackcomb since 2016. The Peak 2 Peak Gondola feature—to go from Whistler to Blackcomb mountain at the top—holds the record for the highest above ground cable car in the world. And it is impressive. Furthermore, it is also often the busiest ski resort with over 2 million visitors a year. Whistler Blackcomb was the host of the alpine skiing events of the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic.
Whistler Blackcomb is not only a winter place, but truly a year-round, all family place for great outdoors and entertainment. And, the Whistler Village, widely recognized for its livable design, formed the basis of similar Tyrolian-inspired developments around the world. In and around the Village you are sure to find something fun to do anytime of the year, rain or shine.
But why we love Whistler
There are a million different reasons to love Whistler, but for us it’s all about the summer. Everybody that knows us, also knows that we’re huge fans of mountain biking, and mostly downhill biking. And if you really know us, you know that Sophie is truly a “bike park girl”! 😊 So, why we love Whistler is an easy question to answer: for its worldwide renown bike park of course!
Whistler Bike Park officially opened in 1998. And it was an immediate success—an average of 500 riders per weekend. No surprise there. If you’ve ever been in Whistler, it’s easy to understand. Of course, I’m sure a lot has changed since the opening. So, I must go with my recent experience of it and what I hear and read about the earlier days.
Since we’ve moved to BC in August of 2015, we’ve been in Whistler 124 days for riding, plus a few more days just to go hang and enjoy the place. The funny thing is that when we moved, we honestly thought we would be riding less park as it was further away. Yet, we ended up—so far—by “park biking” more than before. Every weekend, from season opening to closing, we are there at least a day. And every other occasion we have, we are there. Indeed, we are also trying to go during the week when it’s a little bit less crowded.
Once you’ve rode those trails, you’re hocked! They are the nicest trails in the world. I don’t think I’m exaggerating, because I heard the same comment from everybody I’ve talked to in the chairlifts. Regardless of where they are from, they all have the same answer: Whistler is the best place on Earth for biking. From first timer to pro rider, everyone finds its trails.
Whistler is fun
But seriously why we love Whistler has to do with way more than just biking per say. Because everywhere we mountain bike, we love. Although Whistler is almost magical and is surely in a class of its own. All the great views you have from the different altitudes are marvelous. From Fitzsimmons—at 1019 meters (3436 feet)—or the Peak—at 2182 meters (7160 feet)—you will have to close your mouth so it doesn’t just hang in admiration… Oh, and it’s worth saying that all those views are also magnificent in the sun, the snow, the rain or the fog. Even more, they are splendid from the bike trail, but also from the hiking trail, and the via ferrata. Then, they are also amazing from sitting at the lake, or doing pedaling, quads, or kayaking. In short, regardless of the activity you’re doing, you will see beautiful sceneries.
Beside the biking and the views, is there anything else?
Of course, and plenty more, that’s why we love Whistler so much. One of the great attractions is the bears. Yes, the bears. They are big and beautiful. And I think they like watching us as much as we like watching them. You can see them all summer long, but early and late season are the best time as they come closer and all the way down to the village. It can be scary, but I never heard of a bear attack at the park. They are used to us, and as long as you follow a minimum of common sense and stay at a safe distance you should be fine. Nevertheless, never forget they are wild animals. Likewise, there are not only the bears. There is deers, raccoons, beavers, marmots, birds and undoubtedly other animals that I haven’t crossed so far.
Furthermore, there’s the whole atmosphere and the surroundings. There are people from all around the world, and a lot of them. And as a result, every day, the lines to the chairs and gondolas are long, the Village paths are overflowing, and the terraces and stores are bursting. And all those people have one thing in common: a big smile.
Why should you love Whistler?
For us, I think it’s clear that the first reason why we love Whistler is its bike park—but there are several more. Nevertheless, for you it might be something totally different. As I said earlier, there are, indeed, a million reasons to love Whistler. If you’re a mountain biker, you will surely find the trail of your dream. If not in the bike park, in the hundreds—if not thousands—of paths all around the valley. Otherwise, you can simply enjoy a refreshing day at the lake with friends and a picnic or a game of golf. Go for a stroll on one of the paths. Enjoy a cool beer at one of the Village breweries. Try out your skill at the skatepark or the north shore style skinnies or jump park. Try ziplining, bungee jumping, jet boating, tree climbing or white-water rafting. You could simply go for a shopping day, or even better a Scandinavia spa day. I’m not yet done, there are still a lot more to do.
You might like to try the famous Via Ferrata at the Whistler Glacier or Rock Climbing. There’s the axe throwing, the summer bobsleigh tours, the 4×4 tours, horseback riding. Oh, and there’s also canoe, kayak and stand-up paddleboard. And if these are not enough, you could go on a glacier tour, helicopter excursions (with or without your bike) or camping trip. There is, of course, the famous Peak 2 Peak Gondola, and several festivals and events.
Subsequently, after a day of fun, you can enjoy a great diner in one of the hundreds of restaurants—of all styles—right there in the village. And to top up your day, if you’re not too tired, don’t forget to experiment the Whistler nightlife.
Whistler, all year around…
The above is just a list of summer activities. On the other hand, if you’re a winter kind of person there are as many things to enjoy and do during the cold season. I know I’m forgetting something, because there is so much stuff to do in Whistler that it’s impossible not to love it.
Why do you love Whistler? Let me know in the comments below.
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