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Whistler offers some of the best skiing in North America, and when the snow melts, the hiking is out of this world. It’s not all about mountain sports in Whistler — just mostly. Here are Forbes Travel Guide’s editors’ picks of the five best things to see and do in Whistler:
1. Hit the slopes. Whistler and its sister mountain, the adjacent Blackcomb, have top-notch skiing — slopes that make even the most difficult Appalachian trails look like a piece of cake. If you aren’t an experienced skier or snowboarder, you’ll want to take lessons; otherwise, hit the slopes and prepare yourself for the best skiing of your life.
2. Bike to Rainbow Lake. Come summer, the snow has melted (except for Whistler’s glacier, on which you can often ski through June) and Whistler lends itself to plenty of mountain biking opportunities. One of our favorite rides is to Rainbow Lake, on the west side of Whistler Valley, where you can even cool off with a dip in the shallow waters.
3. Hiking. It’s hard to imagine that underneath those difficult ski slopes are challenging hiking trails. A day spent on the mountain, making your way to the top, is both trying and rewarding. Some trails are more difficult than others, but the view from the top is worth the hike.
4. TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival. It’s a 10-day event in mid-spring that shows off the latest in the worlds of skiing and snowboarding. From fashion and free concerts to skiing and snowboarding demos, this is an alpine event that shouldn’t be missed.
5. Ride the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola. Whether you’re in town for the ski season or during summer, hop on the record-breaking PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola that travels between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains — its longest unsupported span runs just under two miles, making it the highest lift of its kind rising more than 1,430 feet above the valley floor and it completes the longest continuous lift system in the world. It’s great for sightseeing no matter what time of year it is.
Renowed for its alpine skiing and mountain biking — and for hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics — Whistler is full of things to do. Below are a few suggestions on activities you can explore while in Whistler:
- Peak to Peak Gondola - This record breaking Gondola trip which connects Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. This journey is 4.4 kilometer Gondola trip is 11 minutes. www.whistlerblackcomb.com/todo/summer/p2padventure/index.htm
- Ziptrek - This is an adventure based eco-tourism activities offered year-round. This 2.5 hour adventure is a combination of suspension bridges, treetop observation platforms, ground based trails and ziplines. Ziplines are suspended steel cables — some of which are over 15 stories high and 2000 feet long — that you ride from platform to platform. www.ziptrek.com
- Outdoor Adventure Whistler - If you are looking to experience the scenic back-country to Whistler, this is a leading outdoor adventure company offering atv, hummer, canoe, and rafting excursions. This company provides complete outerwear clothing to prepare you for all adventures.