How to make the most of the Sea to Sky Gondola this summer

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      (This story is sponsored by the .)

      B.C. has so much to offer in the summertime that you don’t have to travel too far to feel like you’re on vacation. And those seeking an adventure in nature should look no further than the . At less than an hour’s drive from Vancouver, it’s a perfect place to escape from the city and enjoy some of Canada’s most stunning natural beauty.

       “We have such a wealth and depth of events going on this summer,” says Haley Hardy, Sea to Sky Gondola’s marketing coordinator. “There are so many options, from hiking to live music to sitting on the patio and taking in the sunset.”

      The gondola is open daily from 9:30 a.m., but to really make the most of it, Hardy suggests planning ahead so you can take advantage of a number of attractions and events, all in one trip.

      “Come up, do a hike, have lunch, and stay for live music in the evening,” she says. “Make a full day of it—it’s easy to do.”

      To start your day off right, join the  classes taking place every day from Monday to Friday. Catch the first gondola to the summit at 9:30 a.m. and experience new heights of enlightenment.

      Tara O'Grady Photography

      On Saturdays, the  series lets early risers save on the gondola ride while also achieving their fitness goals with a morning hike. It’s free to join, and hikers get a complimentary coffee when they reach the top at noon—plus the chance to win prizes just for participating. Ride the gondola back down for $15. And you can bring your furry friends with you too.

      Paul Bride

      “Dogs are welcome to join our hike up the sea-to-summit,” Hardy says. “Rise + Climb is Saturday-specific, but the hiking trail is open every day of the week. We are one of the few gondola services that allow dogs to hike up, but it is download only.”

      There are also plenty of activities to keep the children entertained as well.

      “We have lots of family-friendly hiking trails at the top,” Hardy explains. “They are shorter loops: under two kilometres and great to do with the kids. And we actually have a kid-specific trail called Alpine Alley. It lets them do a scavenger hunt as they go along, and they get a prize from guest services for completing it. I know my little ones love that.”

      The Sea to Sky Gondola is accessible for all and can accommodate wheelchairs and strollers.

      Tara O'Grady Photography

      “We’ve got 10 brand-new, eight-cabin gondolas, which has increased our upload-download capacity by 50 percent,” Hardy says. “So if you’ve come before and experienced a lineup, that’s really going to help with moving people up and down the mountain much more efficiently.”

      For the most cost-effective way of being able to enjoy the Sea to Sky Gondola year-round, Hardy advises investing in an .

      “It pays for itself in less than three visits,” she says. “It’s good for 12 months from the date of purchase, so you get to take in all of the summer events and then our winter activities as well.”

      Tara O'Grady Photography

      Included in the cost of the annual pass is access to the hotly anticipated . The events showcase a variety of musical genres—ranging from classic rock, indie soul, modern acoustic, jazz, folk rock, and more—and visitors can also enjoy an outdoor barbecue and beautiful sunsets.

      “Our Mountain Music lineup is always a very popular event,” Hardy says. “We have some really big names coming this summer.”

      This year, The Hairfarmers, the Whiskey Dicks, and Sean Kozak will all be taking the stage, to name but a few. Mountain Music takes place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. every Friday until September 13, but Hardy warns that seating is first come, first served, so make sure you get there early to score the best spot.

      In fact, the Friday-night music has been so successful that it has been extended to Thursday night as well. Visitors can expect more of a relaxed vibe at this event, with performances by individual acoustic artists.

      “I think it will make a great date or girls’ night,” Hardy suggests. “It will definitely be more chill. You’ll be able to talk while the music’s going on and enjoy the view.”

      Tara O'Grady Photography

      Those looking for a bite to eat before the music starts should be sure to check out , also taking place on Thursdays. With quality ingredients and seasonal produce, diners can sample some of the best flavours of B.C. The social long-table format means it’s a perfect opportunity to meet new people.

      And don’t miss your chance to enjoy  for half the usual price from now until September 14. Tickets purchased after 5 p.m. on Saturdays have a 50-percent discount, which means you can go up for dinner, have some drinks, and watch nature’s most breathtaking theatre for just $23.

       “On a gorgeous sunny night, it’s the best patio around,” Hardy says. “The views from there are amazing: you see the Howe Sound, the Tantalus Mountains, and when the sun dips behind them it’s beautiful.”

      To learn more about some of the events and attractions taking place at the Sea to Sky Gondola this summer,