WHISTLER, BC May, 2009 —— Whistler Blackcomb is world-renowned for its line-up of winter activities but this summer's array of experiences will provide some stiff competition. With the addition of the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola, hikers and sightseers can experience high alpine adventure spanning 4.4 kilometres/2.73 miles between two mountains, and travelling 8.7km/5.4 miles via four open air quad chairlifts and two gondolas.
"This winter the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola awed our guests with the views, the access to terrain and the sheer engineering feat that connecting Whistler to Blackcomb entailed," says Stuart Rempel, Whistler Blackcomb's Senior VP of Marketing and Sales. "Starting June 6, our summer guests will use our lift system to gain unprecedented access to Whistler Blackcomb's high alpine for hiking, sightseeing and mountain-top dining."
Whistler Blackcomb's PEAK 2 PEAK Alpine Experience offers 360-degree views at 436metres/1,427 feet above the valley floor; providing sightseers and hikers with a serene flight showcasing flora and fauna, including black bears in their protected habitats; the Coast Mountain Range's many glaciers and peaks; and Whistler Village surrounded by gem-like lakes. Sightseers can complete a loop via the world's longest continuous lift system, travelling from lift-to-lift with gentle walks and stunning look-outs branching out on either mountain. Hiking enthusiasts can embark on 19 marked trails of varying difficulty spanning over 50 kilometres on both mountains.
"The PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola becomes the essential link connecting the Spearhead and Fitzsimmons mountain ranges," says Arthur DeJong, Whistler Blackcomb's Mountain Planning and Environmental Resource Manager. "This link opens up a scale of summer, nature-based hiking and sightseeing experiences unmatched in the world."
What's New - Alpine Hiking on Blackcomb Mountain
Hikers can get up and away into the high alpine to take advantage of Whistler Blackcomb's extensive network of trails. Blessed with cooler temperatures and jaw-dropping views, over 19 trails offer a range of distance and difficulty for all levels of fitness. Six newly opened trails extend across Blackcomb's south facing aspect affording incredible views of Whistler Mountain and Black Tusk.
Over on Whistler Mountain, trails depart from the top of the Whistler Village Gondola or the top of the Peak Chair. All alpine hikes range from "green" to "blue" to "black" rated trails. Full summer sightseeing operations on both mountains, including the PEAK 2 PEAK Alpine Experience will be open daily from June 27 through the summer. Sightseeing on Whistler only will begin on May 16 with the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola opening June 6.
What's New - Mountain Top Dining
Christine's Brunch on Blackcomb Mountain
Christine's, located on Blackcomb Mountain in the Rendezvous Lodge, is Whistler Blackcomb's only full service restaurant in the alpine this summer. Well known for amazing views and wonderful food and service in the winter, Christine's summer debut will specialize in a daily brunch designed to showcase fresh local ingredients.
Mountain Top BBQ Series
Every weekend from June 27 to September 6 the Roundhouse Lodge will host Mountain Top BBQs. Hikers and sightseers can work up an appetite taking in the alpine splendour via Whistler Blackcomb's vast trail network and lift system including the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola, before tucking into a delicious barbeque spread. A memorable experience for the whole family, the Mountain Top BBQs will feature live music, alpenglow on the Coast Mountain Range and of course a breathtaking sunset at 6,000 feet to cap off the evening.
Every weekend will kick off with Whole Hog Fridays featuring slow roasted pork and barbequed chicken. This night will aim to please with a youthful, chilled out vibe set to live acoustic rock. BBQ Saturdays follow with beef brisket and barbeque chicken on the grill. This night is geared towards families and live musical entertainment will get the party going for all ages. Salmon BBQ Sundays end the weekend with class. West Coast salmon, barbequed chicken and live jazz are the perfect accompaniment to a night with someone special.
What's New - High Alpine Wine Tasting
Great Estates of the Okanagan Wine Tasting Bar at the Roundhouse Lodge will showcase five of the most exceptional wineries in the Okanagan Valley. Twelve of their finest wines will be offered in small tasting portions, flights, glasses or bottles. Sip and savour the wine in a spectacular alpine setting at 1850m/6069ft on Whistler Mountain.
What's New - Whistler Mountain Bike Park
Whistler Blackcomb's famed Whistler Mountain Bike Park is scheduled to open May 16 with plans for continued expansion in the Garbanzo Zone; a completely redesigned Slopestyle, Giant Slalom and Dual Slalom courses; and new lesson and rental packages for all levels of mountain bikers.
At the end of last season a few lucky riders were able to experience new trail sections on Blue Velvet and Freight Train as well as the completely redeveloped No Joke trail in the Garbanzo Zone. "We opened these trails on the very last weekend of operations in October," says Brian Finestone, Whistler Mountain Bike Park Manager. "They have had the winter months to compact and should be in fantastic condition when Garbanzo opens this summer."
The Whistler Mountain Bike Park has stepped up its lesson and rental programs to make mountain biking more accessible. Bike Park 101 runs daily and is designed to offer the "never-ever" downhill mountain biker a chance to learn about mountain biking techniques while exploring the park with a qualified guide. More experienced riders buying a lift and rental package can add a lesson with the Lesson Upgrade option for only $5 (half day) or $10 (full day). The Lesson Upgrade is a perfect way for riders to get to know the bike park better while fine tuning their intermediate and advanced downhill riding technique with an expert guide.
Glacier skiing and snowboarding
Offering the longest snow season in North America, skiers and boarders can take advantage of great snow conditions at the top of Blackcomb Mountain on the Horstman Glacier. Summer skiing is open to the public from June 20 through to the end of July (dependent upon weather) and is accessed via the Wizard Express Chair at the Blackcomb Base. With double the terrain park features over previous years and a Superpipe, the summer glacier experience is unquestionably cool. Summer glacier camps bring in the hottest professional athletes to coach aspiring skiers and riders, and attract ski and snowboard magazines and professional film crews from around the world.
Blackcomb Base Adventure Zone
Tons of fun for kids of all ages, the Blackcomb Base Adventure Zone is located in Whistler's Upper Village and features mini golf, a climbing wall, a maze and much more. Nestled at the base of Blackcomb Mountain, the Adventure Zone is open daily from 10am to 6pm Sunday through Friday, and 10am to 8pm on Saturdays. The fun runs June 20-Sept. 7.
There are few places in the world that can match the endless adventure and entertainment Whistler Blackcomb squeezes into summer. Activity information, ticket information, weather, the weekly activity report and accommodation packages are available on line at www.whistlerblackcomb.com/summer.