Canada’s summer adventure hotspot
Whistler is not the area’s only summer activity hotspot, however. Drive 32km north on scenic Highway 99 – also known as the Sea to Sky Highway – and the valley village of Pemberton offers horseback riding excursions via Pemberton Stables and Adventures on Horseback. If you prefer being higher off the ground, the Pemberton Soaring Centre can take you up in a glider. Towed into position by a small plane, you sit in the cockpit with the pilot behind you for an exhilarating, bird-calm weave over ice-streaked peaks and verdant valleys. It is the perfect combination of ttranquility and excitement.
Alternatively, 58km south of Whistler, also via the Sea to Sky, Squamish is British Columbia’s rock-climbing capital. Throughout summer, the sheer, looming face of the Chief – the 700m granite monolith that dominates the town – is studded with climbers. Whistler Alpine Guides offers fully equipped climbing tours throughout the area.
Back in the village, take a day off from all that activity with more laid-back pursuits. Sunday’s Whistler Farmers' Market, running 16 June to 13 October this year, showcases local produce (try the blueberries) plus artisan goodies ranging from honey to creative T-shirts.
Time your visit well and you can also hit 17 August’s quirky Canadian Cheese Rolling Festival, a downhill chase to catch a 5kg wheel of cheese near the base of Blackcomb Mountain. The event includes side dishes of live entertainment and tastings of top cheeses from across the country.
But when you need to build up your strength for another sinew-stretching activity, consider the Canadian National Barbecue Championships. Staged from 2 to 4 August 2013 in and around Dusty’s Bar & BBQ in the village’s Creekside neighbourhood, this finger-licking community event includes pork ribs and beef brisket grilling contests, foot stomping live music and a chance to ride a mechanical bull – the perfect way to get your adrenaline pumping again.