Whistler may be best-known for some of the raddest skiing and snowboarding on the planet, but come summer, it’s an adventurer’s playground, with everything from aerial-rope courses to white-water rafting. And COVID-19 isn’t about to stop the rugged fun from unfolding this season. Here are a few ideas to get you excited about a summertime visit while maintaining physical distancing.
Swinging from the trees
The Adventure Group (TAG)’s Treetop Adventure Course is a skill-testing outing where you make your way from cedar to mighty cedar high above the ground along swaying ladders, ropes, nets, and wires, all while safely harnessed, of course. The full course, which takes about three to four hours and calls for some serious balance, has more than 70 obstacles, while there’s a shorter one for kids; they both run rain or shine.
As part of pandemic safety measures in place, be prepared to have a noninvasive temperature check done and answer a COVID-19 questionnaire before you reach the forest canopy, and possibly wear a mask at times. More info is at TAG Whistler; book for July 5 for a 25 percent discount.
Zooming down dirt-dusty slopes
With more than 90 trails, the lift-serviced Whistler Mountain Bike Park boasts the most terrain of any attraction of its kind in North America. Even with a reduced footprint this year due to the pandemic (with the aim of opening more trails as the season progresses), there’s still plenty of area to cover, whether you’re new to the sport and seeking gently undulating trails or you’re an expert in search of steep declines and thrilling jumps. Freeride trails have human-made features like gaps and narrow surfaces, while technical trails typically emphasize natural obstacles such as roots, rocks, and logs. Head to Bike School for lessons (for kids or adults); beginners can sign up for a three-hour intro to the park. You’ll learn what terms like wallride, skinny, and step-down mean, even if you’re not ready for them yet.
COVID-19 safety protocols include wearing a face mask while in line and when loading and unloading chairlifts, which will have reduced capacity to ensure physical distancing. You’ll only be allowed on lifts with people from your own group. One-day tickets for adults are $80. Bike rentals are available; book online and save 20 percent. More info is at whistlerblackcomb.com.
Rolling on the rivers
Float, bounce, or zoom your way down a river on any number of rafting trips; the one thing they all have in common is spectacular scenery as you paddle along pristine waterways surrounded by towering, snow-capped peaks. TAG’s Wedge Rafting, Canadian Outback Rafting, and Whistler Blackcomb are among the many providers whooshing people down the Green, Cheakamus, and Elaho-Squamish rivers. There are trips lasting a half-day, full day, and multiple days for everyone from families with seniors to fearless folks.
Riding off the beaten track
Odyssey buggies are 4X4 vehicles with two or four seats that the team at Canadian Wilderness Adventures can teach you how to manoeuvre in about the same amount of time it takes to don the mandatory full-face helmet and purchase collision insurance. On its Off-Road Buggy Tour, you motor along rugged, forested trails and rolling mountain roads, stopping to take in spectacular views and maybe even spot wildlife like bears and deer. The tour suits families and beginners; the company also offers outings in Jeeps, ATVs, electric mountain bikes, and canoes. See its website for more details.