Photo: Galyna Andrushko/Shutterstock

12 Things to Do in Whistler When the Snow Melts

Whistler Student Work Outdoor
by Sara Schneider Jul 10, 2015

1. Ride the lifts up and race down on two wheels.

Around May, the dress code of the village starts to change as snow pants and skis are quickly replaced with pads and mountain bikes. Whistler is home to some of the best mountain biking slope style, cross country, and downhill terrain in the world. If you’re looking to keep your inner adrenaline junky happy all year round, just stick around Whistler when the snow melts. If you need a little practice on your jumps, maybe hit the Air Dome first. And if you’re a female, be sure to drop in on one of the world renowned Liv Women’s Nights.

2. SUP it on Nita Lake.

A lot happens in the village, but Whistler adventure goes beyond what lies at the bottom of the mountain. A quick trip to Nita Lake provides the perfect backdrop for trying your hand at the latest water sport trend — stand up paddle boarding. The lake is calm and the mountains stand tall beyond the trees lining the shore. With a board from local SUP manufacturer, Beaver Board SUP, you’ll be all set to train to take on Travis Grant or master your floating headstand.

3. Test your reflexes while fly-fishing.

Or patiently wait it out with your line and lure. Whatever your style is, there is plenty of water in Whistler to keep you happy. From Green Lake to Alta Lake, you’re sure to get your fill of fishing in the sea to sky country. Think Whistler is just for pro skiers and dude bros? Spend a summer day casting your rod with the locals and you’ll know otherwise.

4. Get a flapper on “Freeway.”

It might not technically be in Whistler, but every climber knows the majesty awaiting them in Squamish, a mere 40 minutes down the Sea-to-Sky Highway. The Chief’s granite walls offer endless classic routes to avid climbers, but for those who’d rather just take in the view from the top, don’t worry, there’s a beautiful trail up the back. Beginners can also climb Whistler Mountain on the Via Ferrata guided tour instead of taking on The Chief straightaway.

5. Break in your new hiking boots.

What happens to the mountains when the snow melts? They become miles upon miles of beautiful hiking trails with selfie-worthy scenery. If you want something special, be sure to trek far enough to find the wildflowers and Harmony Alpine Tea Hut. If you’re staying lower, there’s endless trails swirling in and around the village taking you side-by-side with local wildlife like marmots and deer. Lost Lake Park is a great warm-up!

6. Spot some black bears from the Peak 2 Peak.

Never seen a bear before? You’re almost guaranteed to see a couple hanging around Whistler Blackcomb when the warm weather sets in. If you’d love to catch a glimpse of these lovable beasts in their natural habitat (and from a safe distance), the Peak 2 Peak Gondola might be there perfect solution. This continuous lift system spans 2.73 miles giving sightseers a seamless 360 degree view of all that Whistler’s landscape has to offer (and that’s a whole lot).

7. Take in events like GO Fest and the Red Bull Joy Ride.

Whistler does an amazing job of putting on community events and festivals that provide endless opportunities to enjoy everything this town is about. From the Crankworx Mountain Bike Festival and Red Bull Joy Ride to the Whistler Presents Free Outdoor Concerts and GO Fest, this mountain town knows how to have fun. Take full advantage of it.

8. Eat endless amounts of poutine and not gain any weight.

How is this possible you ask? Well, with all the physical activity you’ll be doing, there’s no way your poutine overload will make any difference. But, you might want to take a break every now and then and sample some other local fare. If you’re lucky enough to rest your head at the boutique Adara Hotel, then I’d start by simply stepping into the attached restaurant next door, StonesEdge Gastropub. The Whistler husband-and-wife team that own this newly overhauled eatery know what they’re doing. Just try the Hunters Bowl. You’re welcome.

9. Step into a Squamish Longhouse and Lil’wat Istken.

Take a break from all the adventuring and make time for a bit of culture. The Squamish Lil’Wat Cultural Centre allows its visitors to truly step into the rich cultures of the Squamish Nation and Lil’Wat Nation. It embodies the spirit of both heritages, the collaboration of their nations, and their desire to preserve, grow, and share their ancient traditions with all of us.

10. Spend the day indulging at Scandinave Spa.

At some point during your time in Whistler, you’re going to need a massage. All that adventure sure can take its toll on your body, but there’s a magical place tucked away in the woods just waiting to soothe your tired muscles. Scandinave Spa’s outdoor soaking pools, saunas, steam rooms, and spa services make it the best spot in town to rejuvenate without leaving nature. Chill for the whole day relaxing in their spruce and cedar forest and snuggling up in a big white bathrobe.

11. Conquer your fear of heights on the longest zipline in North America.

With hilarious guides, gorgeous scenery, and respectable sustainability practices, Ziptrek Ecotours is definitely one of the Whistler favorites when it comes to summer adventures. You’ll get five or so ziplines to test out your tricks and build up your speed. According to the guides, the record is about 80 mph on a line where you’re descending 30 stories over 2,400 ft. And if that’s not epic enough, this summer, their breaking the mold with a new 7,000 ft. continuous zipline called The Sasquatch, which will be the longest line in Canada and the US.

12. Keep skiing.

The snow might melt on most of the mountain, but not on Horstman Glacier. Spring skiing usually ends around early June on Whistler Blackcomb, but a couple weeks later glacier skiing opens up to feed your downhill addiction. That means you can literally ski almost all year round, and get a tan while doing it. Only in Whistler…

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