Playtime in Whistler, BC
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Playtime in Whistler, BC

Whistler, British Columbia, totally blew me away. I expected another mountain town. After all, I’ve lived in Colorado for 35 years. I know mountain towns and ski towns and the mountains in the winter and the mountains in the summer. This, though, I didn’t expect.

LeoFirst of all—and probably the most confusing—Whistler Blackcomb looks like Colorado at its best, but in Whistler village, the temperature and altitude feel like Kansas (a mere 2,214 feet above sea level). The views are stunning, with snow-capped peaks that rival anything in the Rockies. The evenings are long and warm and perfect for a leisurely dinner on the patio, complete with a sun that doesn’t set till after bedtimes.

We spent five too-short days in this spectacular setting and could have spent multiples of this. Here are some of the things we discovered:

Mountain biking: Whoa. My husband, who has biked Wyoming, Colorado, and part of New Mexico on the Great Divide trail and explored cool stuff all over Colorado was totally enthralled with the biking trails. It’s his new benchmark. Whistler has this totally dialed in with great mountain biking camps for kids 6-12 of every experience level to entice them to fall in love early with the sport.  The camps swarm the mountain . . . in a good way.

bike camp

Here’s my favorite overheard conversation of some wee bikers as they bumped over a rocky trail:

“So, are these dinosaur bones we’re riding on?”

“The dinosaurs are all dead.”

“I know. That’s why I wondered if we’re riding on their bones.”

Hiking trails: You don’t mountain bike? Neither do I. I like my knees and wrists just like they are, thank you very much. So I took a pass on the hardier stuff and spent my time hiking a nice variety of well-marked trails with my daughter-in-law and swimming in the clean, surprisingly temperate mountain lakes that dot the area. The guys joined us for a leisurely picnic lunch by a lake one day. Then they headed off for more biking, and we enjoyed the luxury of reading all afternoon without interruption.

Lake

Kids Day Camps: If your kids are happy and active, you’re happy, right? The Whistler Blackcomb Day Camp program for kids 3-12 has programs for a single day, multiple days, or the entire week. The activities are nicely varied—fun and games, water parks, and even the Peak 2 Peak gondola.

THE gondola: We have lots of gondolas in our Colorado ski areas, which carry you up and down the mountains. This is not in the same universe. The Peak 2 Peak lift, the longest and highest in the world, connects the Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. It carries passengers nearly 3 miles across the open valley below at a height of up to 1,400 feet.  Almost two thirds of that is an unsupported span. It’s truly an engineering marvel.

The international collection of people: I do love languages and accents. It reminds me that I’m not the center of the universe (although admittedly, I’m sometimes disappointed by that realization). When I hear so many accents—German, French (of course), Japanese, Spanish, and many colorful varieties of English—I feel like I’m on a mini-vacation within my vacation.

Special Events Galore: As with any resort destination, Whistler Blackcomb keeps visitors busy with plenty of interesting special events. You won’t be bored.

I’m already looking forward to my next visit. I hope you find time to make the trip as well. ~Janelle