Every year, my daughter and I take her boys on some sort of adventure. This year it was to Whistler, British Columbia – home of the 2010 Winter Olympics. And while you expect some fabulous improvements to this winter venue after the big games, the town has really gone out of its way to make this a summertime destination as well. The most popular activity is downhill bicycle trails with hundreds of young, and not so young, enthusiasts riding the ski lifts half way up Whistler Mountain for a thrilling ride to the bottom. Summer at Whistler, who knew?
Another fun activity for the grandkids was the Treetop Adventure. The boys were off the ground for about 3 hours while they used ropes, swinging poles, zip lines, and wire walks (all safely secured to their tether) to navigate through about 30 levels. The tasks start easy in the green zone, then the blue zone is a little more difficult, and finally, the black zone is to use all the skills you’ve learned. Those who dare, and are not exhausted or scared, can take one more course in “double black” zone before the final zip back to the base. Our 15 and 9 year old boys made it through the whole course, but they are very fit and, evidently, fearless.
On one rainy day, we took on “Escape!” where the 4 of us were trapped in a room and had to use clues, puzzles, and ingenuity to find the treasure. This is not an easy task as it makes you think fast and work as a team. We made it all the way to the last puzzle when our time was up. Only 10% make it all the way through. This event is located at the Hilton Hotel.
When the weather cleared up, we rode the gondola up to the top of Whistler Mountain to enjoy hiking trails, amazing views, and to play in the snow. Another gondola “Peak to Peak” took us on the highest and longest lift in the world over to Blackcomb Mountain. Both mountains have restaurants, gift shops, photos and plenty of guides to explain what to do and where to go. We rode the open chair lift to the bottom. You can’t go to Whistler without taking in the majesty of the mountains!
Whistler Village has, seemingly, hundreds of hotels, condos, restaurants, gift shops. The village is reminiscent of Switzerland with a pedestrian-only walk and half-timbered buildings. The walkway is beautifully landscaped and has several water features. While this is not a cheap place to shop, there are ample opportunities for bargains on the sale racks. We did all our cooking in the condo and had gelato every evening for dessert.
Some thoughts for our next visit:
- The north village has the Olympic Rings and the concert stage. It also has the big supermarket and is a little quieter than the south village. There is an RV park near the north village.
- The south village is where you will find the ski lifts, places to schedule activities, busy restaurants, and a louder, livelier vibe.
- Next time, we will try to stay just off the main walkway for a quieter experience – although the boys loved the activity.
- Blackcomb Village (a 10 minute walk from the south village) has children’s activities – a mini downhill luge, huge trampoline, miniature golf, water sprayer, batting cage, etc. Those with younger children might like to stay at this site. There is also a ski lift up to Blackcomb mountain.
- We will try river rafting, bear sightings, and take an art class on our next visit.
Summer at Whistler is a wonderful experience for kids of all ages, including grandmas.