2 Days in Whistler
We spent 2 Days in Whistler in September while touring Canada. Here I’m going to share our experiences with you and thus give you an idea of what to do in Whistler. Firstly, it’s a great year-round destination and so it’s got plenty to do whatever the weather. We had very mixed weather during our trip but it didn’t slow us down at all. Fortunately, we did get some sun and were also able to do some amazing walks.
Of course, Whistler is probably most famous for its ski resort and rightly so since Whistler Blackcomb is one of the largest ski resorts in North America. The Winter Olympics took place here in 2010 and you can still see the iconic Olympic rings in the centre of the village. Of course, we visited in September so not the ski season although the slopes were being put to good use by mountain bikers.
We spent our first day settling in and then exploring the village. Indeed, it is quite large, although everything is walkable, and there are lots of shops, restaurants and attractions to visit. In the centre of Whistler village is this landscaped creek which is rather pretty and a great focal point.
Bears at Whistler
This statue of a mother bear and her cubs caught my eye soon after we arrived in Whistler. This was our first visit and we were rather wary of the bears. Not the statues, of course, but the real thing. These bear look delightful but the area is home to both Black and Grizzly Bears and they are not so approachable in real life.
Be that as it may, we didn’t see any bears here. Except for the various statues we found throughout the village. Since we planned on walking we considered carrying bear spray but the lady in the shop didn’t recommend it for short walks within the resort area. Also, she told us that unless we actually knew how to use it, which we don’t, it wasn’t much use to us and could cause accidents. Instead, she recommended making noise as you walk by talking loudly or singing as bears are naturally shy and won’t bother you if you don’t sneak up on them.
In the end, we didn’t see any bears in this area at all. I’m sure they were about somewhere though.
Within the village are some short walks. On our first day, we walked down to Fitzsimmons Creek which is just beyond the main car park. The creek is particularly interesting because the water is cloudy which is unusual in fresh moving water.
The cloudy water occurs because the creek is fed by glacial water which contains ‘rock flour’. Basically, rock flour is produced when rocks under a glacier are ground up into tiny pieces by the sheer weight of the ice. Because they weight so little, they float suspended in the water creating this cloudy effect when sunlight hits the water.
This wooden bridge allows pedestrians to cross from the main village area to Blackcomb. The resort area is divided into three main areas, central Village, Upper Village and Blackcomb. All are within easy walking distance of each other and they are really just one big resort.
As you stand on the bridge watching the water flow down the creek, it is flowing towards Green Lake. We didn’t walk down there but apparently, the flow of water slows down and the cloudy colour becomes green, hence the name.
Whistler Resort actually has two gondolas up the mountain plus several ski lifts as well. While we visited only the Blackcomb gondola was running. Unfortunately for us, the Peak 2 Peak wasn’t running either. I was a bit disappointed about that as it only stopped running the week before we arrived. Bad planning on my part.
We didn’t go up this gondola for a few reasons. Firstly, as you can see it was clearly very cloudy and so visibility at the top wasn’t going to be good. Secondly, despite the fact that the main attraction, the Peak 2 Peak, wasn’t running there was no discount on the price. Over CAD$70 for a basic gondola ride seems a bit steep to me. I guess a lot of others agreed with me as there weren’t many riders.
A Walk Around Lost Lake
On our second day, we decided to walk a bit further from the main village and explore one of the trails. The Lost Lake trail is very accessible from the village so off we went. As I mentioned earlier, we were a bit worried about bears. Especially as we felt as though we were venturing into the wilderness. We weren’t, of course, but there were so few people about.
It’s a beautiful walk and well worth the effort. The only bear we saw was this one on the bear safety sign. He looks cute doesn’t he but don’t be deceived. Something else I learned about bears while we were in Whistler is that black bears aren’t always black so you can’t tell a Grizzly from a Black bear by colour alone. Generally, Grizzly bears are larger and they have different shaped noses. I hope never to be close enough to be able to tell.
Of course, we didn’t see any bears at all but it’s not something to be taken lightly. I want to share some of the photos we took at Lost Lake because it is a truly magical place. I think this is the morning when it really hit me just how beautiful Canada is.
You can see steam rising from the water as it is warmed by the sun in the morning. The reflection of the sun on the lake gives it a really ethereal air. I wanted to stand and gaze at this for ages.
You notice almost immediately how clear and clean the air is out by the lake. It feels so fresh. Isn’t it a beautiful place?
In the summer, it’s a popular spot for swimming and sunbathing and in winter there are cross country skiing and snowshoeing. You can’t beat an autumn walk though.
Where to eat in Whistler
Within Whistler village, you’ll be spoilt for choice for food and drink. You’ll find pretty much any type of food you fancy here from takeaway chips to gourmet fayre. Here are a few of the places we ate.
Gnarly Roots Cafe
We were looking for somewhere with vegetarian and vegan options for lunch and found this lovely little cafe on the Happy Cow app. It serves a wide range of dishes including a really excellent vegan plate.
This small taco restaurant is on the corner just opposite our hotel, the Summit Lodge, so it was very handy for us. It has a good range of vegetarian taco options, most of which are vegan. They also do burritos, wraps and bowls, all with veggie options. It’s very good value for money and the dishes we tried were absolutely delicious.
There are several places in Whistler to sample some craft beers. We found a little place opposite our hotel. Sorry, I can’t remember what it was called but I do remember the purple beer! I think it’s the most unusual beer I’ve ever sampled but it was actually very nice.