Heights of Adventure

first_img Neeta Lal May 26, 2019UPDATED: May 26, 2019 10:38 IST With a world-class downhill skiing range, snowboarding, chairlifts and gondolas, 200 ski runs and a gondola perched 1,427 feet above the valley floor, Whistler takes physical activity to unprecedented levelsThe mountaintop breeze caresses my face and ripples through my jacket. Yet I feel warmed by the adrenaline that is coursing through my veins. Hard to say whether the excitement is triggered by Mother Nature and the effect her jaw-dropping beauty is having on me. Or the anticipation I feel just before launching off on my downhill ski journey.I’m at the aptly named Seventh Heaven’, a scenic perch in Whistler mountain resort located in the formidable shadow of the Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains in British Columbia. At 8,171 skiable acres, this is North America’s signature ski destination known for its adrenaline-fuelling and fearinducing mountain experiences.I get here after a 90-minute scenic drive from Vancouver and am instantly smitten by my surrounds. With a world-class downhill skiing and snowboarding, 37 chairlifts and gondolas, 200 ski runs and a world recordholding gondola perched 1,427 feet above the valley floor, Whistler literally takes physical activity to dizzying heights.Named after the furry marmots that populate the area and whistle-like deflating balloons, the alpine village and 2010 Olympics venue attracts locals, tourists, Hollywood royalty and former Olympians alike, my guide Ryan Silverthorn tells me.During a painfully slow descent, with the help of my ski instructor, I also learn that the snow-swathed peaks of Seventh Heaven’s spectacular summit are among the world’s most popular venues for skiing. On this crisp, clear day, I can see other skiers a little away from our piste. Puffy white clouds are scudding across a cobalt blue sky.advertisementFar below me nestles a sun-kissed valley glistening with powdery snow. A wide-open terrain, along the fringe of evergreens, hosts carved out runs, like Angel Dust’ and Cloud Nine’ that offer more treacherous tracks to glide on. From my panoramic Blackcomb lookout I also spot vistas of Whistler Mountain, where more pathways lure die-hard skiers and snowboarders. Flanking the resort’s interconnecting pathways is an array of souvenir shops, art galleries, spiffy fashion boutiques, spas and sporting good shops.WINNER of the best ski resort in North America for multiple years running by SKI Magazine and a host of other publications, Whistler’s posh peaks can inspire both introspective personal journeys or unbridled adventures. While some go in search of perilous fall lines, the less adventuresome nip up to vertiginous heights in gondolas. The daredevils though opt for the longest zipline in Canada. Spanning an epic two km, The Sasquatch’ is a monster hitting speeds over 100 km/hour. However, Whistler’s most sought-after activity is the Peak 360 experience’. Holding three Guinness World Records for being the highest and longest lift in the world, the gondola whisks you across from Whistler’s peak to Blackcomb allowing you to take in 360 views of British Columbia from the mountain top.Whistler offers other enchantments too. A 10-minute walk from Whistler Village, we reach the Lost Lake, a spectacular waterbody surrounded by misty bike and walking trails. Grabbing a seat on a fallen tree, we take in the visual theatre of Whistler’s five-star biodiversity inhaling pine-scented air. Rare Alpine foliage, towering and elegant Douglas fir trees, conifers, hemlocks and spruces surround us. Though you are unlikely to spot grizzlies around the Lost Lake, sightings of black bears and marmots that stretch out on rocks in the sun and, errr, whistle aren’t uncommon. If you tune in, you can hear their call throughout Blackcomb and Whistler mountains, said Ryan.About 10 times larger than Lost Lake, is the nearby Green Lake, a glacier-fed waterbody perfect for picnicking on summer days with its barbecue sites and walking/biking trails that are fun to get lost in. You can also rent kayaks, canoes and SUPs.After all that activity, your sore muscles will likely need some TLC.Fret not. From Swedish spas and ice-cold vodka rooms, Whistler offers a myriad rejuvenation venues within its alpine setting. Lounge in spa pools at different temperatures from freezing to sizzling or ensconce yourself in a cedar sauna. Borrowing a page from the Finnish relaxation tradition of hot-cold-relax-repeat, local Scandinavian spas offer cold plunges, relaxation rooms and hot pools with cascading water.Foodies will love Whistler’s eclectic offerings. Buzzy cafes, breweries and restaurants offer tasty morsels along with beers and wines. For a taste of fresh, local haul I try Alta Bistro that serves inventive French cuisine headlining homegrown produce. Dishes such as local oysters paired with a preserved berry granita and fresh lemon and a Pork Shoulder Cassoulet’ (crackling, slow cooked white beans, soft poached egg, rich pork jus and mustard) tickle my taste buds.advertisementDays after my return, the flavours still dance on my palate!Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byApoorva Abhay Uzagare Tags :Follow TravelFollow JourneyFollow WhistlerFollow AdventureFollow Nature Heights of AdventureWhistler’s posh peaks can inspire introspective personal journeys as well as unbridled adventuresadvertisementlast_img

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