Dreaming about a Canadian vacation that promises thrilling adventure and stunning vistas? Then Whistler, BC, is your place to be! This mountain town is as picturesque as they come, and boasts enough activities to keep even Olympians on their toes — so it’s no wonder Sarah Richardson headed west to take on her biggest renovation yet!
Ahead of the series premiere of Sarah’s Mountain Escape, we’ve rounded up 10 fun facts about Whistler, and why it’s a must-see for Canadians and foreigners alike. Don’t miss the series premiere of Sarah’s Mountain Escape Wednesday, October 19 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HGTV Canada. Also available on the Global TV App and on STACKTV with Amazon Prime Video Channels and Rogers.
What’s Better Than One Mountain?
Did you know there are two mountains in Whistler, BC? Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain merged as one resort in 1997, but they are in fact two separate mountains, offering double the runs! Another fun fact is that when the PEAK 2 PEAK gondola finally opened, connecting the two mountains, it broke two Guinness Book of World Records as the “highest cable car above ground” at 436 meters and “longest unsupported span between two cable car towers” at 3.024 kilometers. If that’s not impressive enough, riders are transported between the two peaks in just 11 minutes.
Be an Olympian for a Day
If speeding downhill at top speed isn’t your idea of a good time, there’s another option to get your heart rate up. Whistler offers a variety of outdoor winter activities that meet all skill levels and cover all types of fun. Have you ever dreamed of being in the winter Olympics? As host of the 2010 Winter Olympic games, Whistler built an Olympic Park, which is now accessible to non-pro athletes. They offer cross country skiing, snowshoeing, a biathlon track, tobogganing and dog-friendly trails. Race the trails like an Olympic Athlete (even if there’s no medal waiting for you at the finish line).
The Après Scene is Next Level
The après scene is one for the books in Whistler with plenty to see, drink and eat, and you don’t have to download to partake in this exciting mountain ritual. Both Whistler and Blackcomb have plenty to offer on the mountains if you are hankering for a pint but aren’t ready to call it a day. Located on the highest mountain in Whistler is Blackcomb’s Rendezvous Lodge and Glacier Creek Lodge. Or a short ride on the PEAK 2 PEAK will take you to Umbrella Bar where you can take in 360-degree views while warming up with a Hot Toddy. If you prefer something at lower elevation, The Longhorn Saloon can’t be missed. Located at the base of Whistler gondola, this Whistler institution resembles a European après where the energy is as upbeat as the tracks the DJ is dropping. Just remember to drink responsibly!
Check Your Tech at the Door
If the après scene isn’t for you, you can easily find your Zen at the spa. Head over to Scandinave Spa for a tranquil respite from the crowds. At this world renowned spa where silence and technology are not permitted, you’ll partake in the Scandinavian tradition of hydrotherapy. Alternating between hot and cold baths and luxuriating in the natural beauty of the spa’s surroundings, you’ll find inner peace and relaxation to soothe your body and soul after a fun day on the slopes. On the other side of town, steps away from Creekside Village is Nita Lake Lodge where the menu of body treatments, RMT massages and facials is abundant.
Whistler Has an Enchanted Nightlife
Located on Cougar Mountain is the award winning light show Vallea Lumina.
Vallea Lumina is the perfect night time activity for all ages. As an immersive, multimedia experience, you’ll travel through an enchanted forest where the natural wonders of the woods will surprise and delight you.
Life is Better at the Lake
Another interesting fact about Whistler, B.C. that you may not know is that there is plenty to do all year round. If you’re like the bears that make up a portion Whistler’s population and come out of hibernation in the summer, Whistler has beautiful parks and lakes that are free to visit and accessible by bike or by foot on the Valley Trail. With five lakes to choose from (Alpha Lake, Lost Lake, Green Lake, Nita Lake and Alta Lake) there’s no shortage of aquatic activities to enjoy. A favourite local activity is to float down The River of Golden Dreams by kayak, canoe or paddle board. Start on Alta Lake with the scenic snow capped mountains surrounding you, and end in the glacier fed Green Lake. If you’re lucky, you might spot a local black bear en route!
Hike from Sea to Sky
Whether you’re a beginner or advanced, Whistler has hundreds of hiking and walking trails accessible from the village or located in the sea-to-sky corridor. There are family friendly, wide walking paths, advanced day-long or overnight excursions to glacial lakes and alpine meadows. While accessing hikes from the Whistler village requires purchasing a ticket, there are plenty of trails around the village that are free, making this activity a budget-friendly way to explore the coastal mountains.
Ditch the Skis for Wheels
The mountains in Whistler can’t catch a break! In the warmer months, mountain bikers flock to the 151 trails on the mountains. Ranging from beginner to difficult, these trails are another reason to go above the clouds in search of alpine adventures!
Take a Culture Trip
Whistler isn’t just a hub for athletic adventurers! If you’re in the mood to take in some culture or learn about the indigenous communities in the region, head over to the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre and the Audain Art Museum. With a modern architectural take on a traditional Squamish and Lil’wat Longhouse, the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre was built with the objective to “share our cultural knowledge to inspire understanding and respect amongst all people.” Established in 2016, the Audain Art Museum houses a rich collection of BC artists as well as exhibitions from all over the world.