Luxurious Accommodation with a Family Fun Park
The Fairmont Chateau Whistler is ideally located at the base of Blackcomb Mountain and within short walking distance to the retail and restaurant filled Whistler Village. It is a reflection of the “something for everyone” feel of Whistler itself and even has the Blackcomb Family Adventure Zone off the backside of its stately grounds. After a day of hiking or horseback riding the options to shop, eat and even play a little putt-putt golf make for family entertainment start to end. There’s all levels of biking as well, if you are with kids that can handle more rigorous mountain biking there are places to rent bikes and safety equipment for the trails, or you meander through the many paved trails that are less challenging. In the summer I would suggest the trail to Lost Lake Park where you and the kids can enjoy a dip in the lake and spot some wildlife – yes, even bears.
Adventure, Cultural Exploration & The Arts
We only had a few days to experience Whistler, which made for tough decisions on what to do – there’s a huge choice of options.
The Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Center was top of our list. The center is small enough that it doesn’t overwhelm and they have brief performances by natives on the hour as well as an outstanding documentary on the local Squamish and Lil’wat tribes. Out back you can stroll through the garden that includes a meeting lodge where we got to make bracelets out of cedar bark and explore a replica of an indigenous hut made of earth.
Hours: Summer 9:30am – 5pm, Winter hours may vary
Cost: Adult $18, Child (6-12yrs) $8, Senior (65+) $13.50, Student $13.50
Helpful Hint: There’s a family friendly and inexpensive cafe on the bottom level of the cultural center. A good option for lunch.
Whistler Presents the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra
Despite it being mid-summer, the temperature was brisk and a bit wet during the Vancouver Symphony’s free show in Whistler Olympic Plaza – which was one of several types of concerts in the 2012 Whistler Presents: Summer Concert Series. We figured if didn’t stop the musicians, why should it stop us? It was a treat to watch the sun set behind stunning mountains and pines, sipping hot chocolate with the classical music pouring into the air. My daughter got a little antsy, but that was resolved by a quick stroll to the beautifully appointed playground at the back area of the plaza. I could listen and she could play – perfect!
My 7-year-old wasn’t up for a zipline experience, so I was very grateful Ziptrek Ecotours also offers a TreeTrek Ecotour. For 1 ½ hours you can enjoy the panoramas of Whistler from canopy-high suspension bridges and lookouts that connect with boardwalks and trails on the forest floor. Our guide gave a history of the area and facts on the flora and fauna as well as information on environmental impact of humans in relation to the ancient Coastal Temperate Rainforest. Standing 300 feet off the ground on a deck supported only by a Douglas fir is something you won’t forget and it was obvious by her look of wonderment that it was a magical experience for my little girl as well.
Cost: Adult $39, 14 & Under $29, Under 5 FREE, 65 & over $29
The Peak2Peak Experience is an eleven minute gondola ride between the Whistler and Blackcomb mountain tops. There were dense low hanging clouds on the crossover on the day we went, so instead of looking for bears below we decided to look for unicorns. There truly was a mystical feeling being suspended between the mountains and having the vast landscape hundreds of feet beneath us. Unfortunately, we were short on time and didn’t get to experience the glass bottom gondola – but other travelers told us it’s a bizarre feeling looking straight down into the valley for the 4.4 kilometer ride. If you purchase tickets 24-hours in advance the tickets are good for two days of unlimited use.
Cost: Adult $42.95, Child $18.95, Senior (65+) $35.95
Helpful Tip: If you’re interested in riding up on one of the glass bottom gondolas, look for one of the two silver colored gondolas (the others are red).