Local Vibe

Local Vibe

Stories by Brigitte Mah and David Burke | Images by Joern Rohde

Giving you the inside information on what’s happening, what’s fun, and what’s new in Whistler.

Local Animal: Beaver

The iconic Canadian rodent, the beaver, is found in and around streams, rivers and meandering bodies of water throughout British Columbia, and Whistler is no exception. With five subalpine lakes and connecting streams, it’s possible to see a beaver — sometimes working “beaverishly,” sometimes just swimming.
They are shy animals, so if you happen to spot one while out walking, stay quiet and keep dogs on leash. If approached, beavers often make a distinctive “slap” on the water with their large, broad, flat tails as a warning to others as they begin their descent. They are nocturnal, so the best time to see them is early morning and at dusk.

The beaver is a national symbol of Canada, historically prized for its fur and, when alive, for its quiet industriousness. Of the 24 subspecies of beaver in North America, four are found in B.C., with Castor canadensis belugae the most common in southwestern B.C., including Whistler, according to the Electronic Atlas of the Wildlife of British Columbia, linnet.geog.ubc.ca.

Beavers can be found in and around Nita and Alpha lakes in Creekside and along the meandering River of Golden Dreams that connects Alta and Green lakes.
Look for their distinctive lodges made of small tree trunks and twigs in local streams and ponds and for evidence of their teeth marks on the trunks of small- to medium-sized deciduous (leaf-bearing) trees near the shoreline.

Several local companies offer canoe and kayak rentals for self-guided tours on the River of Golden Dreams and tours led by experienced guides who will fill you in on the nuances of Whistler’s ecology.

Summer with a View

There’s nothing quite like feeling like you’re on top of the world, and Whistler Blackcomb’s Summer Alpine Experience is the best way to get you there. From the magnificent alpine meadows of the High Note Trail to the breathtaking, dramatic views from the Raven’s Eye lookout to the panoramic views from the Umbrella Bar, there are countless ways to feel like you’re above it all.
If you’ve never ridden the Peak 2 Peak Gondola, sat on an open-air chairlift or walked across a suspension bridge, this is the chance to try all of them at once.

The best part is that there’s a summer alpine experience for everyone, from heart-pumping steep climbs like the Ascent Trails on Blackcomb Mountain to the popular circumnavigating High Note and Half Note trails on Whistler Mountain, ending with the Mountaintop Summer Feast. Revel in the live music as you feast at the gourmet buffet at the Roundhouse Lodge every Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening.
Keep an eye out for the Pilates on the Peak event, along with the unique and exciting Mountaintop Summer Sleepover.

Whistler Mountain Bike Park’s 25th Season

It’s been 25 years since the Whistler Mountain Bike Park opened. Back then, downhill bikes were what we’d call road bikes since none had suspension, and the only way to slow down your descent was to squeeze your brakes hard until your hands cramped and you burned your rims or blew a tire.

“When we opened the Bike Park, it started as a single zone, a handful of trails, and a lot of mountain roads as the experience. Most bikes had “V” brakes, and there were a lot of tired hands. Fast forward 25 years to today — four mountain zones, accessed by five lifts (three chair lifts, two gondolas), and 142 (total including sections and upper and lowers of our network) trails today offering about 5,000 feet [1,524 metres] of vertical descent,” said Pierre Ringuette, bike park senior manager.
For the 25th anniversary, the Whistler Mountain Bike Park has opened two new trails in the Garbanzo Zone, which offer 823 metres (2,700 feet) of vertical, along with two new features in the Gatorade Skills Zone.

Rainbow Park Opens after 'Rejuvenation’

Like many great holiday hotspots, Whistler just keeps getting better. This summer, Rainbow Park — for 35 years one of Whistler’s best-loved summer hangouts, with its swimming, volleyball courts and terrific views of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains — is fully reopening after a four-year, $4.1 million upgrade.
The “rejuvenation,” as Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) officials are calling it, has resulted in a larger beach, the addition of a beach promenade, a rerouting and widening of the Valley Trail through the park, relocation of the volleyball and seating areas and improved drainage.

“This has been an incredibly rewarding experience for our team, and we are very proud of the work. It will be an accessible park with native plantings, expanded volleyball courts and a much larger beach for the community to enjoy,” an RMOW spokesperson said.
“Running through the middle is a section of the Valley Trail we use for [cross-country skiing] each season. Response to our initial designs assisted with a rethink on this element and we are very grateful to our community who helped reshape our thinking. The final product is one we are confident we can enjoy in all four seasons for many years to come.”

The work, paid for entirely with money from the Resort Municipalities Initiative, a provincial government funding plan to help B.C. resort towns with their infrastructure needs, is only part of the RMOW’s planned upgrades to Whistler’s recreation facilities. Beginning this fall, the popular spray pad and playground at Meadow Park are to be rebuilt, converting the irrigation system from a potable to a non-potable water source. The work is expected to be completed by early 2026.

Those parking in the Whistler Day Lots or staying in or around Whistler Village can take a free shuttle from the day lots to Rainbow Park or Lost Lake Park. Park Eats — an initiative that sees an exciting lineup of food trucks stationed in Whistler parks from June 28 to Sept. 2 — is back for this summer.

Image courtesy Resort Municipality of Whistler | Kevin Sibbald
Drone image taken during construction