I am now in my eleventh Whistler summer. Boy, do I love this place! Even though I have spent hundreds of days here over the years, I am always impatient to go back. There are Whistler summer activities that I do every year and every year, I am as excited to do them again as I was the first time. If you are curious about what those are, they are listed in Whistler Summer in Canada: 10 Of My Favourite Things To Do. Then, there are those Whistler summer activities that make my heart race. That is what this article is all about. The Whistler summer activities that have left me stunned and speechless, even for a local who thought she has seen and done it all.
Whistler Summer Activities
Below are the four Whistler summer activities that should be on your “to do” list the next time you are in Whistler. I did all four with my 13 year old daughter. She was as thrilled as I was by our experiences.
1. Ziptrekking on Whistler Mountain
I have done a fair bit of ziptrekking over the world. Without a shadow of a doubt, ziptrekking on Whistler and Blackcomb mountains through Ziptrek Ecotours was by far the best that I have ever done.
First of all, the scenery is mind boggling. We did the “Mammoth tour” which means that we did every single zip line (10 of them) that is offered except the one called the “Sasquatch”. There wasn’t one zip line that didn’t have beautiful views of far away mountains, hundreds of trees, or the Cheakamus river running through a deep valley. Quite frankly, the tour is worth it just for the views.
Then, there is the zipping! The ziplines range from 400 – 2400 ft (120 metres – 730 metres), the longest one descends 30-storeys. The first zipline launches from Whistler mountain at an elevation of 3300 ft (1000 metres). My heart raced every time I stepped up to the launching pad. Normally, there was a death defying drop facing me while I found my courage to step off the ledge. But, what a thrill! And it was effortless. I did not have to do ANYTHING either before, during or after the zip. Our guides clipped and unclipped us, and magically slowed us down in the perfect spot before we reached the end. All we had to do was enjoy the ride.
When we weren’t zipping, we were walking over treetop bridges that were nestled deep within the tops of the trees. Most of the bridges swung and bounced as we walked over them. As you can imagine, the views were breathtaking! Along the way, our guides taught us about the trees and the animals living in the forest. It was an amazing way to spend our time in between zipping.
2. RZR Tour on Cougar Mountain
The RZR tour was a thrilling off roading experience in the backcountry of Cougar Mountain offered by The Adventure Group. We did the BC Moderate Tour and spent two hours ripping over crazy rocky terrain. We whooped and laughed our way from start to finish. Here’s why!
The ride was just so much fun. I drove and my daughter sat next to me. Our guide made sure that our helmets were secure and our seat belts were tight. Then, she took us on trails that had us rocking and bouncing over large rocks and craters, and through deep puddles. We climbed large challenging hills and descended equally enormous passes. Our guide started us on gentle terrain, but that soon changed as our group demonstrated our abilities.
The “Razors” (the name of the vehicles we drove) were amazing. I have driven ATVs on many occasions all over the world. I absolutely love experiencing another country by heading into the hills or the countryside on an ATV. But, ATVs can be on the dangerous side. They are unstable and can flip very easily. Also, you don’t wear a seatbelt.
Our experience with the Razor was completely different. It was much larger than an ATV, had unbelievably comfortable bucket seats that moved effortlessly with the motion of the vehicle, had seatbelts and a roll bar. We went over terrain that would have flipped any ATV that I have ever driven. But, the Razor manoeuvred over it effortlessly. All of this without giving up the thrill of driving an off road vehicle.
Finally, the views were unbelievable and so different from the views from the Ziptrek tour. We drove in the backcountry and ended up on top of clearings that had us looking down on glacier fed lakes or over thousands of trees at faraway mountains. It was extraordinary.
3. Vallea Lumina on Cougar Mountain
Vallea Lumina offered by the Adventure Group is an exciting new addition to the Whistler summer activities. It is a 1.5 km pathway through an old-growth forest on Cougar Mountain that takes place in the dark. Over approximately an hour, my daughter and two teenage sons walked in the darkness with lights, music and projected imagery filling the forest and engulfing us. I don’t want to say too much more and ruin the surprises. Suffice it to say, it was one of the most beautiful and magical things that I have ever seen. At $22.00 USD per ticket, it was well worth the cost.
For most of the walk, you are on a relatively flat path in the forest. However, at the start and the end, you will need to climb up steep stairs or down terrain. Accordingly, you must have basic physical fitness to do this walk. Having said that, you walk the path at your own pace, so you can stop, look around and take your time if you need breaks. You should wear proper footwear (running shoes would be best). Flip flops or heels would be a truly awful choice. Also, I would recommend bug spray and to dress in layers for warmth. We did not need either when we went in mid-July, but the climate can change almost daily in Whistler, so be prepared.
4. Cloudraker Sky Bridge on Whistler Mountain
Perhaps the most humbling of all of the Whistler summer activities is the Cloudraker Sky Bridge on top of Whistler Mountain. How can anything truly beat nature in all of its glory?
At 2181 metres or 7155 ft, you will reach the Peak of Whistler Mountain off of a ski lift and find the new Cloudraker Sky Bridge. This suspension bridge is 130 metres or 426 ft long and crosses from the Whistler Peak to the West Ridge where Raven’s Eye Cliff Walk viewing platform is located. From many places along this bridge and viewing platform, you will get a 360 view of Rainbow Mountain, Black Tusk and other Coast Mountains.
The views from here are unlike any you will find anywhere in the world. Well, at least none that I have ever found in my 45 years of travelling in over 60 countries. Simply put, you will be speechless and awe-struck by the jaw dropping nature that surrounds you.
Interesting as well, the views up here are totally different from the views from the Ziptrek Ecotour and the RZR Tour. You are so high on Whistler mountain that the landscape is almost barren. As you peer over top of the skybridge to the other Coast Mountains, you eventually see thousands and thousands of trees. However, your immediate surroundings are very stark, dominated by rocks and red clay-like earth. Believe it or not, underneath the Sky Bridge is Whistler Bowl, an advanced skier’s paradise, and snow, even though it is July and in Whistler Village, it is a sweltering 32C or 90F.
Peak to Peak Experience
What I love about this experience is that it is included in the cost of your lift ticket to the top of Whistler or Blackcomb Mountains. At $42 USD (for adults), this is a steal. Further, it is only one activity among many that you can do. As mentioned in my article A Whistler Summer in Canada: 10 of My Favourite Things To Do, just riding up the gondola (from Whistler Village) or the ski lifts (from Creekside or Blackcomb Village) is fun. Plus, you might even spot a bear or two.
Once in the Alpine, you can ride the Peak 2 Peak Gondola which connects Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. It is the longest unsupported lift span in the world at 3.024 kilometres or 1.88 miles and the highest with an elevation of 436 metres or 1,427 ft. On top of both mountains are dozens and dozens of hiking paths, in addition to the Cloudraker Sky Bridge.
What do all of these Whistler summer activities have in common? The ability to leave you stunned with the natural beauty around you and the mind blowing activity in which you are engaged. Add in adrenaline surging through your body as you hurtle through the air during the Ziptrek Ecotour, drive over crazy terrain on the RZR Tour, or walk over the Cloudraker Skybridge, and you will be scrambling to find enough adjectives to describe your time in Whistler.
Disclaimer: I received complimentary Ziptrek and RZR Tour tickets. While I very much appreciated that, it in no way influenced my opinion about my experience.
For other articles about Whistler, please refer to the following:
- Whistler Restaurants: Budget Friendly Choices!
- Whistler Treats: 5 Amazing Places To Wreck Your Diet
- Fine dining in Whistler: My Four Favourites
- A Whistler Summer in Canada: 10 Of My Favourite Things To Do
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