Whistler Day One

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The third city we visited on our trip was Whistler, British Columbia. On Thursday morning, we left Vancouver and took Highway 99, otherwise known as the Sea to Sky Highway all the way to Whistler. Our trip on the highway was filled with fantastic views. Most of our trip was spent along the Strait of Georgia with fantastic ocean views and mountains surrounding it. The highway continues on and leads you up higher into the mountains. It was incredible to see all of the trees that covered the mountains and the snow-capped peaks.

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We made a few stops along the way to Whistler. Our first stop was at Porteau Cove Provincial Park. Porteau Cove has a nice long dock you can walk out on and check out the mountains in the distance. It also has a nice beach area and an area with picnic tables. There were even a few people scuba diving down near the beach area. Porteau Cove is a great place to stop to take in the ocean views before moving on to the mountains.

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Our next stop on our way to Whistler was Shannon Falls. The parking area for Shannon Falls was packed but luckily, we managed to find a spot pretty quickly. It was only about a 5 minute walk to the lowest viewing area for the waterfall. Apart from the viewing area, there were different hiking trails that took you up around the falls, but we just made the quick walk to the viewing area and then got back on the road.

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We arrived in Whistler at about two in the afternoon. Because we could not check into the condo we are staying in until 4pm, we decided to explore the resort town. First, we drove out to Green Lake which is just north of Whistler. It was pretty difficult to find a way down to the water level of Green Lake, but we finally found a small park that had water access. There weren’t any boats out on the lake and it was eerily calm.

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After Green Lake, we drove back into the heart of Whistler to explore Whistler Village. Whistler Village sits at the base of Blackcomb and Whistler mountains. Whistler and Blackcomb mountains make up the largest skiable area in North America, they have more than 8,000 acres between the two mountains. Whistler was a co-host of the 2010 Winter Olympics and part of the village area is made up of the Olympic Village.

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Prior to arriving in Whistler, the number one thing that I wanted to do was go zip lining. There are two main zip lining companies in Whistler, Superfly Ziplines and Ziptrek Ecotours. After looking through the two different companies and the various options they offered, we decided to go with Ziptrek Ecotours. Their booking office is located in Whistler Village, so we went there to book our zip lining trip for Friday. The option we chose also offered a combination of zip lining and the Peak 2 Peak Gondola tickets at a discounted price so we went with that option.

We received our tickets for the Peak 2 Peak Gondola right away, so we went to go use them before the gondolas and chairlifts stopped operating at 5:30pm. (So far on this trip, I’ve noticed that Canada likes to open businesses and restaurants later and close them super early compared to hours in the U.S. It’s kind of odd.) The Peak 2 Peak Gondola trip can begin at either the base of Whistler Mountain or Blackcomb Mountain. We had been told that Blackcomb was usually less busy than Whistler, so we went there to begin our trip up.

The trip up the mountain takes about 28 minutes. Halfway up the mountain, you have to get out and switch chairlifts. I felt like my ears were popping every couple of minutes. There are fantastic views from the chairlift, but if you are afraid of heights I would strongly advise you not to do the Peak 2 Peak Gondola trip. When we arrived at the top of Blackcomb mountain, we quickly hurried to get on the actual gondola. We had started up the mountain at about 4:15, and as the gondola stops at about 5:15, we didn’t have much time to get across to the other mountain, back to Blackcomb, and then down Blackcomb before the lifts stopped operating. Because of this, we weren’t able to explore the different hiking trails at the tops of the mountains, but my brother Tyler did run far enough up a trail to make a snowball and successfully throw and hit me in the head with it.

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On Friday (tomorrow), we plan on heading out to Joffre Lake and do some zip lining later in the afternoon. It should be a pretty exciting day and I can’t wait to go zip lining again!

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