Reach new heights on Whistler’s gondola. (Photo: Mitch Winton / Coast Mountain Photography)
Year-round, Whistler is a stellar destination for outdoors lovers. In winter the village is packed with powder fans seeking an Olympic-quality winter sports experience; in summer skis and boards switch to mountain bikes for high-adrenaline kicks. But what many people miss out on is Whistler’s healthy arts and cultural scene. So, why not take half a day and enjoy the best the town has to offer?
Carb and Caffeine Up!
Walk time from the Delta Hotel Whistler Village Suites: 3 minutes
Duration: 10 minutes
Pack a day bag and stop off at cult bakery purebread, where you can pick and choose from delights such as Lavender and Earl Grey scones, lemon-chèvre brownies, and Nutella cream buns. Keep sharp with a to-go cup of Seattle’s finest Stumptown coffee.
Explore the Art of British Columbia
Walk time from purebread: 4 minutes
Duration: 90 minutes
At Audain Art Museum, you’ll discover First Nations and Canadian art in a modern two-story building that manages to blend into a surrounding forest of Sitka spruce. The permanent galleries display one of the world’s finest collections of Northwest Coast First Nations masks and an array of work by Emily Carr, Canada’s most important woman artist. The Audain also hosts acclaimed international artist exhibitions and traveling collections.
Feel Your Heart Beat to the Sound of the Drums
Walking time from Audain: 12 minutes
Duration: 90 minutes
Dive into the history and culture of the local indigenous First Nations communities at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre. Plan to take a tour with an Aboriginal ambassador every hour, on the hour.
You’ll be welcomed by traditional songs, watch an educational movie and then head back into the Centre to hear about the importance of cedar and salmon to the Squamish and Lil’wat Nations. Finally, learn a little about traditional weaving or drum making in a workshop.
Soar Over the Mountains
Walk time from the Cultural Centre: 5 minutes in summer, 15 minutes in winter
Duration: 2 hours
Time to head up into the clouds with a ride on the record-breaking PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola, which links Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. You’ll be aboard the world’s longest unsupported lift span (a whopping 3.024 kilometers, or 1.88 miles). The Gondola also ranks as the highest lift of its kind, with an elevation of 1,427 feet (436 meters).
As you travel skyward, you’ll get views over the mountains and forest in a hushed atmosphere.
The journey actually takes two rides, and which way you go depends on the season. In the summer, you can go directly from the Blackcomb base up to the Rendezvous Lodge (where you pick up the PEAK 2 PEAK) on a 25-minute open-air chairlift on the Wizard Express and Solar Coaster Express.
In the winter — unless you’re skiing or boarding — you’ll have to walk 15 minutes to Whistler Village and take the Whistler Gondola to connect with the PEAK 2 PEAK, which then carries you across to Blackcomb Mountain.
Toast the Day with BC Bubbles
Walk time from Rendevous Lodge: 2 minutes
Duration: 30 minutes
Take a break at the top of Blackcomb Mountain’s Solar Coaster Express chairlift at the Rendezvous Lodge. Here you’ll find Christine’s — a beacon of B.C. casual-style fine dining perched 6,102 feet (1,860 meters) above the ground.
If you’ve never tried Canadian wines before, you’ll be impressed with B.C.’s crisp rieslings and peppery syrahs. Above all, order a glass of B.C.’s sparkling wines, and toast the day and that killer view before heading out to explore.
Wrap Up in a Canada Goose Parka in the Ice Room
Walk time from Christine’s: 6 minutes
Duration: Beware! Time has been known to lose its meaning after a visit to the Bearfoot.
After descending to the gondola base, stroll to Bearfoot Bistro in Whistler Village, home to the Ketel One Ice Room, the world’s coldest vodka tasting room. Slip into an Arctic-ready parka and enjoy a chilly guided sampling through three of the 50 different vodkas on offer.
Stay for dinner to taste your way through chef Melissa Craig’s superb seasonal Pacific Northwest–inspired menu of treats such as grilled Pacific octopus and local albacore tuna. And definitely leave room for the signature nitro ice cream, which is theatrically prepared at your table with huge billows of smoke.
This article was brought to you by Delta Hotels, where simple is made perfect.