Monthly Archives: April 2013

Reminiscing

It’s a pretty miserable day outside today, or at least it looks that way from my window.  I am struggling to find the motivation needed to actually investigate the conditions further.  I figured while I am just sitting around, I could delve into my pictures and get excited for the fast approaching summer.

Green Lake looking towards the Armchair Glacier

Green Lake looking towards the Armchair Glacier

Before I tried (and became addicted to) mountain biking, I spent a lot of time at the lakes.  I had access to canoes and enjoyed spending a lot time on the water.  The River of Golden Dreams, a mellow two hour paddle from Alta Lake to Green Lake is an incredibly popular activity in Whistler.

Slow, playful paddle with sensational backdrops.

Slow, playful paddle with sensational backdrops.

In the early months of summer, depending on how fast the snow is melting the river can flow a little fast, however for the most part it is a super mellow float.  On a sunny day it delivers arguably some of the best views in Whistler.  Glorious scenery of the Armchair Glacier, Spearhead, Whistler & Blackcomb Mountains just to mention a few.

View from my Kayak.  Looking towards the Armchair Glacier and Wedge Mountain.

View from my Kayak. Looking towards the Armchair Glacier and Wedge Mountain.

Several companies in town offer a tour, either guided or unguided, starting you in Alta lake and depending on their respective pick up points, ending somewhere towards the end of the river or in Green lake itself.  The companies include; Whistler Eco Tours, The Adventure Group and Backroads Whistler.

Generally it takes two to three hours to complete, possibly shorter if you go for it and the river is flowing quickly.  Beware of the bends if it is flowing quickly, as it is definitely possible to capsize.  A lot of people assume that because it is so mellow it is just like paddling on a lake.  I have seen many a person struggling to get back into their boats and, having been in the water myself, I can tell you it is COLD.

A hazard of any water based activity.  The River of Golden dreams is glacially fed and therefore very cold.

A hazard of any water based activity. The River of Golden dreams is glacially fed and therefore very cold. If the weather is hot, it doesn’t take long to dry.

Along the way, there is the potential to see several types of wildlife including; black bears, deer, beavers, Whistler Locals and several types of birds.  Unfortunately the only one I can guarantee you will see are the Whistler Locals as they cruise down the river on various forms of floatation devices.

My favourite part of the whole adventure is entering Green lake.  The scenery changes from riverbanks with tall grass, scrubs and trees into an incredible mountainous backdrop.

Entering Green Lake looking straight at the Armchair Glacier.

Entering Green Lake looking straight at the Armchair Glacier.

Green Lake can be a very active lake, with paddlers, wake boarders, water skiers and even float planes all coming in to the mix.  It doesn’t hurt that all this activity is set in surreal scenery making it very hard not to enjoy it.

Whistler Air's dock is on Green Lake near Nicklaus North Golf Course

Whistler Air’s dock is on Green Lake near Nicklaus North Golf Course

The River of Golden Dreams is an activity worth doing at least once.  Don’t prepare for the adrenline rush of the century, instead to just get ready to relax, sun bake and take in some incredible views.

Well, reminiscing over for now and although the weather isn’t improving today, I continue to list the things I must do over the next few months.

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How can you not love spring?

Springtime in Whistler is one of my favourite times of year.  It is a great transitional period as skiing begins to wind down, the bike trails are steadily becoming clear of snow with many of the lower XC trails ready to go.  The Whistler Mountain Bike Park is gearing up to open on May 17.  And it won’t be long before we get out there and start camping and hiking, snow melt dependent.

Whistler mountain closed on April 21 and with that closure saw the end of the World Ski & Snowboard festival (WSSF).  This festival brings a terrific vibe to Whistler with an influx of athletes, music and cultural type events.  The sporting component of the festival brings in the world’s top freestyle skiers and snowboarders and has them competing in slopestyle and big air style events.  The music includes a host of acts, canadian and foreign, performing on an outdoor stage at the base of the mountains.  The cultural side showcases some incredible artists and producers in competitions like a “72 hour filmmaker showdown” and a “pro photographer” showdown.

As the week is the last busy push before our slow season begins I worked the majority of the festival.  I did, however, manage to head up and check out the Skier’s slope style.  It was fantastic.  The athletes really stepped it up this year and seeing the top pro’s like Tom Wallisch, James Woods, Gus Kenworthy & ‘Aussie’ Russ Henshaw, just to name a few, was a cool experience as these guys are household names in the skiing world.  It wasn’t only the guys throwing down their tricks though.  I managed to snap a couple of shots, although the sun was intermittent making it tricky at times.

Joss Christensen

Joss Christensen

i don't know who this guy is

i don’t know who this guy is.

Didn't catch who this guy is but he is throwing down.

Didn’t catch who this guy is but he is throwing down.

James 'Woodsy' Woods

James ‘Woodsy’ Woods

 

Gus Kenworthy went on to win the event

Gus Kenworthy went on to win the event

The music is always a great vibe with some great acts.  In years past I have seen Metric, Cat Empire, John Butler Trio & Michael Franti & Spearhead.  This year, at the outdoor stage, I only managed to see canadian act K-os, who put on a fantastic show.  I did, however, see Beats Antique (who performed on the outdoor stage) at the GLC.  These guys were awesome, playing a fun, funky and energetic gig.  An act that had a lot of people around town buzzing with excitement was old shcool rapper NAS.  The village was packed for this gig and everyone I spoke to said he can still put on a great show.

Unfortunately I missed all the cultural events, but I heard that all were a great success, in particular the Olympus Pro Photographer Showdown and Intersection, which is a 7 day filming and production competition.  The winning edit from Intersection can be seen here, Restless.

It is always sad to see the end of another winter season, and although there is still some skiing to be done, I am looking forward to the upcoming months of hiking, biking, camping, canoeing and whatever else this summer may throw my way.

View from the southend of Alta Lake.

View from the southend of Alta Lake.

Welcome

Welcome to my new and first blog page.  It’s taken me a long time to choose a topic to write about.  There’s so many options, but then someone said “why not write about Whistler?” and I thought why not?  There is so much to offer in the Whistler area, whether it be; skiing at Whistler Blackcomb, heading out into the backcountry, hiking, camping, biking, relaxing at the lakes or one of the many tour activities on offer in this town.  The list certainly doesn’t stop there.

So my mission is to write about my experiences living in one of the most amazing areas on earth and hopefully give everyone some ideas on what can be done in this area.  Maybe even entertaining some of you along the way.

Ideas, comments and/or feedback is always encouraged.

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Campsite at Helm Creek en route to Black Tusk