We all know that winter in Whistler BC is skier and snowboarder paradise. Kilometres of ski runs between two mountains with something for every skill level. What if your skill level is zero or perhaps you just don’t feel like skiing and want to experience something a little different in Canada’s Winter Wonderland? I highly recommend flying between Blackcomb and Whistler Mountains with Ziptrek Eco Tours. It’s one part winter hike, one part zipping and one part eco adventure. It’s a winter triple threat.
The adventure starts in the heart of Whistler Village where they gear you up with all the rope, harness and helmet you need. A word of advice is to dress warmly and in layers, it’s cold up there. I don’t have a lot of winter gear but I’ve got my brand new Keen Durand Hiking Boots so at least my feet are warm and comfortable. Once your dressed for adventure a short lift ride up Blackcomb followed by a 10 minute hike along the trail take you to the first of five zips between the mountains.
Chances are pretty good during your hike to the first zip platform that you’ll see some wildlife. We were lucky enough to see a Deer at rest amongst the long grasses but you could also see a Bear if it’s not too late in the season.
The first zip between the mountains is definitely perfect for the competitive spirit inside you. The tandem zip pits you against beside a fellow adventurer as you zip across Fitzsimmon’s Creek to the other side. Scream as loud as you want because no one can hear you except the person you’re zipping against.
Once everyone has crossed over it’s time to hike to the next platform. It’s an icy path so warm boots with good treads are recommended. The hikes between all the platforms are easy and any fitness level could handle them. Some of the hikes are ground level while others are on suspension bridges high up in the tress. You get a bird’s eye view along with a traditional hiking view through the trees.
Once you reach the next platform the eco in Zip Trek Eco Tours kicks in. The guides share a bit of knowledge and awareness at each platform about the unique Whistler and Blackcomb environment. Wildlife and Fauna common to the area is shown along with the measures taken by both the City of Whistler and Zip Trek Eco Tours to make sure they lessen their environmental impact.
The 2nd zip is backwards, not the actual zip itself but it is fun to do going backwards. A leap off the platform with a twist and you can waive at your friends as you zip towards the other mountain. Let your hands go and try to contort into different positions as you fly. It is a different view from every angle you can achieve.
Off to the 3rd platform and another eco lesson, this one focuses on the clean and pristine air we are in made evident by the large quantity of Lichen hanging off the tree branches. Did you know that Lichen only grows a couple of millimetres a year and that if you are ever lost in the woods with no supplies you can use it to help start a fire and even eat it to help stay hydrated? To have Lichen though we must have unpolluted air for it to grow in.
The next platforms and zips are all slightly different. More great info on the Whistler ecosystem and varying heights and lengths of zips keeps each stage interesting and engaging. Surprisingly enough as long as your feet are warm and your hands are well covered by gloves it’s not very cold out. In fact we are a bit sweaty by the time we return back to the Village.
Our last zip is all about speed. It’s the fastest zip of the day and it’s the one you should totally show off all your skills on. I tried my best to hang upside down and spin around as I descended the last few hundred feet. I’m not quite at the level of our guide who zipped down like a Cirque Du Soleil acrobat but I think I did pretty good.
No matter what your skill level, it’s an amazing 2 hours on Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. The views are amazing, the info you learn about the ecosystem is eye opening and it is just plain fun!
This was the Eagle Tour and it lasts about 2.5 hours from start to finish and includes 5 different Zips between the mountains.