WHISTLER

Wel­come to Sea to Sky Coun­try

Whistler Traveller Magazine - - CONTENT - STORY BY DAVID BURKE IMAGES BY JOERN RO­HDE

What could be bet­ter than sum­mer in Whistler: af­ter­noons by the lake, hik­ing in the alpine, a bar­be­cue and drinks on the pa­tio? Less than 90 min­utes from Van­cou­ver, with op­tions for din­ing, shop­ping, gal­leries and pub­lic art, and out­door ad­ven­ture, Whistler is at the top of the list of North Amer­i­can moun­tain towns as a sum­mer des­ti­na­tion. Whistler is known as a win­ter­time des­ti­na­tion, for its ski­ing and snow­board­ing and as the Host Moun­tain Re­sort for the 2010 Win­ter Olympics and Par­a­lympics; but for decades, many lo­cals — and an in­creas­ing num­ber of vis­i­tors —have opined that sum­mer is their favourite time of year in the re­sort. Given that it is home to a vi­brant arts scene, the record-set­ting Peak 2 Peak Gon­dola, in­com­pa­ra­ble golf cour­ses and the world-leading Whistler Moun­tain Bike Park, an ex­ten­sive and well-main­tained trail net­work for bik­ing, hik­ing and run­ning, that is not at all sur­pris­ing. The en­tire Sea to Sky Cor­ri­dor, in fact — from climb­ing the Stawa­mus Chief in the south to paraglid­ing over the breath­tak­ing Pem­ber­ton Val­ley to the north — is a mag­net for adren­a­line junkies, par­tic­u­larly in the sum­mer. Where else can you get big hits in the bike park, kite­board at the head of a fjord and go bungee jump­ing or fly­ing over the for­est on one of the world’s long­est zi­plines, all in the same day? Even if you’re not an adren­a­line junkie, there is so much to ex­pe­ri­ence: from four top-ranked golf cour­ses and out­door sum­mer­time con­certs to world-class din­ing and top-flight mu­se­ums and gal­leries. It’s all here, just wait­ing to be en­joyed. For thou­sands of years, the Whistler Val­ley was prime hunt­ing and berry-pick­ing ter­ri­tory for the Squamish and Lil’wat peo­ples, long be­fore the first Euro­pean fur trap­pers, log­gers and min­ers ar­rived in the late 1800s. In 1914, the same year the Pa­cific Great Eastern Rail­way ar­rived, Myr­tle and Alex Philip put the com­mu­nity (then known as Alta Lake) on the tourism map when they opened Rain­bow Lodge, a sum­mer­time fish­ing es­tab­lish­ment that quickly caught on with vis­i­tors from across Canada. Franz Wil­helm­sen and his team of Van­cou­ver part­ners ar­rived in 1960, scout­ing the lo­cal

moun­tains for a pos­si­ble ski re­sort. Spurred on by the suc­cess of the 1960 Win­ter Olympics in Squaw Val­ley, Calif., Wil­helm­sen and his col­leagues en­vi­sioned what was then known as Lon­don Moun­tain as the host moun­tain com­mu­nity for the 1968 Games — a vi­sion fi­nally achieved in 2003, when Van­cou­ver and Whistler were cho­sen to host the 2010 Games. Ves­tiges of Whistler’s Olympic legacy are found around town, with sev­eral sets of Olympic rings and “Inuk­shuks” — styl­ized rock cairns that served as the “wel­come” sym­bol of the Games. You can ex­pe­ri­ence other Olympic and Par­a­lympic lega­cies first-hand. Whistler Olympic Plaza, where medal cer­e­monies oc­curred dur­ing the Games, hosts var­i­ous events through­out the sum­mer, in­clud­ing a free out­door sum­mer con­cert series. At the Whistler Slid­ing Cen­tre, you can ex­pe­ri­ence the “Rolling Thun­der” of the world’s fastest track on a wheeled roller-sled; and at Whistler Olympic Park, you can hike or moun­tain bike on the trails or try shoot­ing a .22-cal­i­bre biathlon ri­fle at the venue that hosted the Nordic events in 2010. Lovers of great art are grav­i­tat­ing to Whistler in in­creas­ing num­bers. The Au­dain Mu­seum, an im­pres­sive, 56,000-square-foot gallery, opened in 2016 and fea­tures works by renowned Cana­dian artists in­clud­ing Emily Carr and E.J. Hughes as well as a fine col­lec­tion of West Coast Na­tive masks. Vis­i­tors can also learn about the First Na­tions peo­ples and their vi­brant cul­tures at the Squamish Lil’wat Cul­tural Cen­tre, or ex­pe­ri­ence many of the world-class art gal­leries that have long called Whistler home. Whistler has a din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for ev­ery palate and bud­get, with a vast ar­ray of restau­rants, pubs and nightspots to fuel your sum­mer­time ad­ven­tures or wet your whis­tle. De-stress from the daily grind or re­cover from your out­door ad­ven­tures at one of Whistler’s renowned spas. Start­ing this sum­mer, vis­i­tors to the high alpine of Whistler Moun­tain will be able to ex­pe­ri­ence the new, 130-me­tre­long Peak Sus­pen­sion Bridge and take in the 360-de­gree views of the sur­round­ing Coast Moun­tains on the new, can­tilevered view­ing plat­form at the peak’s West Ridge. Down­hill moun­tain bik­ers will want to scratch their itch for new chal­lenges with the com­ple­tion of Phase 2 of the Whistler Moun­tain Bike Park ex­pan­sion, adding a to­tal of 21 new kilo­me­tres (13 miles) of trails to a park that was al­ready sec­ond to none. Whether it is re­lax­ation or thrills you are look­ing for, there is no short­age of op­por­tu­ni­ties for sum­mer­time en­joy­ment here. Wel­come! Visit whistler­trav­eller.com.

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