Not in…ON: A Guide to On-Water Activities in Whistler
When the going gets hot, savvy locals get off land and onto one of Whistler’s pristine lakes or rivers. Beat the heat and get your exercise at the same time with some of these fantastic water sports:
Stand-Up Paddle Boarding
One of the hottest trends to hit Whistler in recent years is stand up paddle boarding (SUP). Many people end up getting so hooked on SUP that they buy their own inflatable boards at retailers such as Costco for convenience. However, Whistler has you covered with rentals available at both Wayside Park and Lakeside Park on Alta Lake. Rentals are reasonable (approximately $30 per hour depending on the month) but in peak season most rentals book out quickly.
Sailing: An Alta Lake Favourite
Sailing has been a popular activity in Whistler since the 1930s and a formal sailing club was established in the 1960s. Today, Whistler Sailing Association runs some very popular kids sailing programs, but adult courses are offered as well, including private lessons.
Fishing: Whistler’s First Resort Activity
A great way to get onto the water, enjoy the breeze, and cool off is to try your hand at fishing and Alta Lake is the place to do it. Since the early 1900’s, visitors have been flocking to Alta Lake for its abundant stocks of Dolly Varden Char, and Rainbow and Cutthroat Trout. Catch-and-release fishing is in effect for conservation purposes.
Jet Boating: The Need for Speed
Jet boating on a hot summer day is a great way to cool off and a popular choice is touring the Green River and ending up at spectacular Nairn Falls near Pemberton. The mists of the waterfall will have you cooled off in no time. Tour passengers will experience the thrill of boating through Green River rapids, and will enjoy spectacular views of snow-capped peaks throughout.
Canoeing: A Clearly Canadian Activity
Celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday in style with a leisurely canoe trip along the River of Golden Dreams. This river (so named by romance-writer Alec Phillip, husband of Myrtle) winds its way from Alta Lake to Green Lake, offering fantastic views along every point. You never know what you’ll spot along the river banks, but animals such as beavers, black bears, river otters and eagles make their home and habitat along this lovely meandering river. Bring your camera along! The length of the paddle depends on how fast or slow the river is flowing but the trip generally takes between two and three hours.
Single or Double Kayak for a Just-Above-the-Water Experience
The benefit to kayaking the River of Golden Dreams is that kayaks are a bit lighter to paddle, and you are closer to the water, making wildlife encounters even more dramatic. Guided tours are available.
Don’t Forget to Hit the Dock
Finally, there is nothing more fun in Whistler than hanging out on one of the public docks at Lost Lake, Alpha Lake or, of course, Alta Lake. Soak up the sun, close your eyes, and say ahhhh.