Canada 150 in Whistler

Our friends Graham and Colleen are big downhill mountain bikers, and come out to Whistler from Ontario a couple of times a year. We like to meet up with them, and this time they had a great place just outside the village that we could share. So it made for the perfect excuse to head up to Whistler for the weekend. The fact that it was the Canada Day long weekend only made it better! So Friday afternoon we made the drive up.

Graham and Colleen love to downhill, and Justine likes it as well. It;s not my favourite thing to do - I'd rather cross country bike. And it's a ridiculously expensive day, between the lift ticket and renting a downhill bike. So while the three of them went downhilling on Saturday morning, I decided to treat myself to an expensive round of golf at Nicklaus North Golf Club.

Nicklaus North

Spectacular views...

 The very tough 17th hole - and yes I put a ball in the water.

The very tough 17th hole - and yes I put a ball in the water.

I played my round - not very well - then sat on the amazing patio at the golf course and had a beer with one of the guys that I ended up playing with. It was a great day. The weather was amazing, and despite my poor play, I enjoyed things immensely. After the round I headed back to the Village and caught up with the bikers as they were resting for lunch. They headed back out for a few more runs and I wandered the Village, enjoying the festivities of the weekend. 

Eventually they wrapped up, and we headed back to the house to get cleaned up, relax for a bit and get changed for the evening. We had a reservation in the Village for dinner, and had a nice meal as the sun started to disappear on the evening. One of the events happening in the Village was the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra playing a set in the main plaza. They came on about half way through dinner for us, so we wandered down that way and watched for a little while. 

 The Olympic Plaza was packs for the VSO concert.

The Olympic Plaza was packs for the VSO concert.

Snow Walls and Bears

Hiking on Whistler

On Sunday, we slept in and had a bit of a late start to the day. We had decided to head back to the city towards the end of the day, and Justine and I wanted to do some hiking and check out the snow walls. Graham and Colleen had other plans, so we headed off in separate directions. 

 We only saw a couple of bears in the day, but this guy was right under the chair lift as we headed up Blackcomb.

We only saw a couple of bears in the day, but this guy was right under the chair lift as we headed up Blackcomb.

Originally, we headed into the Village to take the gondola up, but there was a massive line - over a 30 minute wait just to get on the gondola. So instead we headed over to Blackcomb, where we were able to walk onto the chair lift. Much more civilized. On the way up, we managed to spot our first bear of the day, right under the chair lift.

 There was still a lot of snow on the ground, and the wildflowers were just starting to come out.

There was still a lot of snow on the ground, and the wildflowers were just starting to come out.

At the top of Blackcomb, it was fun to see that winter was still in full force. People were still skiing on the glacier, and there was a ground that was skiing back down to the bus that takes you over to the lift while we were unloading from the chair lift.

 Summer skiers. Need to try that one day...

Summer skiers. Need to try that one day...

 Helicopter tours look really fun!

Helicopter tours look really fun!

 Ski bus over to the lifts

Ski bus over to the lifts

After taking the lift to the top of Blackcomb, we needed to take the Peak-to-Peak Gondola over to Whistler mountain to get up to the snow walls. That trip over was easy - no waits again - and soon we were trekking down to the Peak Chair lift to take us up to the top. The views up on the chair lift were pretty amazing.

The hike itself is pretty easy, and all downhill. But it takes you through the huge snow walls that are left as the snow melts from what was a pretty good season. Within the next month or so all the snow will be gone, and we'll be back up hiking amongst the wildflowers.

After the hike back down, we had a beer on the patio before heading back over to Blackcomb on the Peak-to-Peak. On the way back down we saw another bear, this one much further away. There was a big Farmer's Market going on at the base of Blackcomb, so we wandered that for a while before heading back to the place to grab our stuff, and the long drive home.