The Somewhat Unexpected Active Adventures of Whistler, B.C.

Sure, you may expect a zip line and a ski trail at a mountain resort town, but championship golf? A world-class bike park with ski-lift access? A chance to hurtle down an Olympic track on a skeleton sled? How about the opportunity to chuck an axe indoors? Head for the hills and see what Whistler has to offer.

4545 Blackcomb Way, Whistler, BC V0N 1B4, Canada
Whistler Blackcomb receives lots of press about its big-mountain features, but the resort offers plenty of terrain for every family member and skill level. The Whistler Blackcomb Snow School, among the best in North America, is great for both seasoned skiers and kids as young as toddlers. Even tweens and teens can enjoy small-group lessons, which offer equal parts socializing and instruction in the terrain parks and beyond. Welcome on the Whistler and Peak 2 Peak gondolas, non-skiers will have the village to themselves during the day. When back with their group, they can hang at one of the more than 25 on-mountain restaurants.
Whistler, BC V0N, Canada
The River of Golden Dreams that connects Alta and Green lakes is a calm, meandering stream that gently conveys your kayak or canoe with hardly a riffle in sight. The self-paced three-mile voyage, typically about three hours, takes you under willow branches and between the second growth alder forests. This rare alpine riparian zone is a habitat for breeding yellowthroat warblers, great blue herons, and all manner of amphibians and reptiles, as well as wildflowers like foxglove and Indian paintbrush. Most rivers in the Coast Range have whitewater passages and require guides, but on this run between Whistler’s largest lakes, a novice will feel comfortable behind the paddle. Vessel rentals, guides, and return shuttle services run throughout the summer.
4282 Mountain Square, Whistler, BC V0N 1B4, Canada
Whistler Blackcomb doesn’t do anything small, so it was no surprise that Whistler Bike Park quickly emerged as the global go-to, lift-access, downhill-biking destination. The park even has its own massive festival, Crankworx, a 10-day rock-hopping frenzy every August. Walking among the armored throngs rolling their studded-tired bikes toward the lifts, you could forget that it snows here at all. Any thoughts of summer being the off-season have vanished. You don’t have to be a millennial—though it helps—to get dirty here; there are more than enough green and blue runs to provide a serious rush for youngsters and boomers. Sign up for the park’s outdoor clinics for critical insights into your technique.
Of all the reasons to hike in B.C.’s Coast Range, visiting a train wreck would not rank high elsewhere. This is Whistler, though, where a train derailment becomes a canvas for artists and a must-see novelty that remains well off the beaten track (sorry!), even for many locals. A new bridge spanning the Cheakamus River makes the hike legal and considerably less treacherous. The trail’s steel-meets-seedlings design is reminiscent of New York City’s High Line, and among the many spurs are a boardwalk into the coastal rain forest and a longer trek that leads to the Sea to Sky Trail. Once a hush-hush locale for graffiti artists and mountain bikers, the Train Wreck hike and suspension bridge route are now well-marked at the Sea to Sky trailhead, just outside of Function Junction.
Alta Lake, Whistler, BC V0N, Canada
There are a few ways to paddle Alta Lake—you can head to Wayside Park and rent a kayak or you can head to Lakeside Park and rent a canoe or a stand-up paddleboard. Either way, drifting around amid this scenery makes a memorable afternoon. Both parks have picnic tables, barbecue grills, and beaches—perfect for a day out in the sun. If you prefer a more intense and guided water experience, Whistler Eco Tours offers a variety of tours via paddleboard, kayak, or canoe, on both Alta and Green lakes.
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Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
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