After being in Vancouver for a month and noticing the shortening days and more rain than we’ve ever experienced, we needed a mental boost. The resort town of Whistler, under two hours north, was calling our names. We’d planned a fun-filled weekend to shake off the cobwebs, and as it was our first time exploring outside Vancouver we were super excited!
We picked up a brand spanking new white Jeep (a free upgrade from Enterprise!) and off we went. It was a dark and dreary evening so there weren’t many mountains to see on the famed Sea to Sky Highway (guess we’ll have to drive it again on a sunny day). We arrived in Whistler and headed towards our hotel for the weekend, The Coast Blackcomb Suites. I’m pretty sure we were the only guests in the hotel that night! After an average and expensive meal at a local pub, we settled down to a glass of New Zealand Pinot Noir by the fireplace in our room. Bliss!
Whistler in the off-season is flippin’ quiet. We awoke to blazing sunshine (something we hadn’t seen for weeks!) and headed into Whistler Village. On the Village Stroll, Whistler’s pedestrian-only promenade through the town, we spotted about five other people. Being there in the off-season is both good and bad – good because you can waltz in anywhere without a booking and always find a car park, and bad because lots of things are actually closed (like the Peak to Peak gondola, which we really wanted to go on!). But we made up for the quietness of the town by doing some rip-roaringly outrageous activities!
First up was an Eagle Tour with Ziptrek Ecotours. We’ve always wanted to go zip lining and finally this was our chance! Oh man, it was SO much fun! We were transported up along the currently snowless ski slopes in the Ziptrek van. Then over the course of three hours we flew down the hillside on five different zip lines, amongst giant trees and over rivers, whooping as we went. It seriously felt like being an eagle (because we totally know what that feels like)! There’s nothing quite like whizzing through the trees and flipping upside down and knowing that you’re completely free and completely safe. Our guides, Erik and Guy, were absolutely fantastic – they made us feel at ease that we could flip upside down if we wanted to, they held our cameras so they wouldn’t fall off when we flipped upside down, and they talked about Whistler’s approach to sustainability with passion. Our Ziptrek tour was just fantastic – and thank goodness it was a stunning day so we could see the glorious scenery as we were flying along!
And here’s a GoPro video of our awesome zip lining experience!
We finished the day with a more mellow activity: relaxing in the hot pools and saunas at Scandinave Spa. It was a lovely way to wind down after the adrenaline rush of zip lining. The spa is a silent area, which means no talking! This was quite hard for us to achieve! We often forgot and were treated to stern looks from our fellow spa guests. Whoops! It was lovely watching the sun go down and staying in the pools into the darkness. The aim of the spa is a rotation system: 15 minutes in the hot pool or sauna, 10-20 seconds in the cold pool, and 15 minutes of relaxation (outside by the fireplaces or in the solarium). The hot pool and sauna were lovely but the cold pool was (guess what) SO cold! It definitely got the heart pumping!
Thanks to Scandinave Spa for the photos here, as the spa is a no-camera facility. There was no snow when we visited but it looks amazing – we hope to return in the winter!
After we had fully relaxed, and although we felt like going to sleep, we went back into the Village and had a lovely meal at 21 Steps, and took advantage of their Fall Meal Special which was three courses for $36 – a bargain! Upon return to our hotel we fell into a wine and spa induced sleep, how wonderful!
As we were leaving Whistler the following day we headed to the Whistler Bungee. To be honest I never thought I’d do another bungee jump after doing it a few years back in Queenstown, New Zealand! But heck, why not end a fantastic weekend by jumping off a bridge! It was pissing down with rain when we got there, so I guess it’s a good thing that bungee jumping is nice and fast. These guys run a well-oiled machine, and it works. They don’t give you any time to think about what you’re doing (like, what the hell, WHY am I jumping backwards off a bridge?!), they strap you onto the bungee cord, step you up to the edge, then it’s 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and you’re off! It’s so hard to describe that feeling of jumping off a bridge (you guys who have done a bungee will know what I’m talking about) – it’s like “holy crap holy crap holy crap what have I done?!” and then “wahooooo this is fantastic!!!” all in the space of milliseconds.
Shaun actually lost his shoe on his jump! It was pulled off by the bungee cord as it flipped him around. RIP Nike Free Runner… (see if you can spot the flying shoe in the photo above). The nice guys at Whistler Bungee crafted him a new shoe out of cardboard and duct tape!
Here’s our wicked GoPro video of our Whistler Bungee experience!
Then it was off back down the Sea to Sky Highway (still clogged in by clouds and rain so no glorious mountain views!) back to Vancouver. What a wonderful weekend! It was just what we needed, an escape from the city and some fun activities to get the blood pumping and also some relaxation time. It also got us excited for the winter ski season ahead – we can’t wait to head back to Whistler once the snow comes!