Bears and Berries
Two generations adventure in the Northwest
One thing to keep in mind on a summer getaway to Whistler: There’s no need to shatter an ulna to have a great time. Though the legions of hard-core dirt-devil mountain bikers around town do seem to boast a higher-than-usual tally of crutches and casts, there are plenty of places for mere mortals to explore.
Mere mortals and bears, that is. Whistler’s bear man, Michael Allen, supports his research into local black bear populations by leading bear-viewing tours on Whistler Mountain. We spot Jeanie, one of Allen’s favorites, only minutes after heading out. “I named her after my Scottish grandmother,” Allen explains fondly. “They have the same color hair.”
Back at the mountain’s base, we wander around the main village―a compact collection of hotels, shops, and restaurants connected by a series of paved, pedestrian-only walkways. But after a few hours, the village starts feeling pretty tame.
Road-tripping in the wilds north of town, we hike past the glaciers and milky turquoise alpine waters of Joffre Lakes Provincial Park and linger in the farming village of Pemberton. Family-owned North Arm Farm has a thriving U-pick flower and berry business. We carry off two huge flats of ripe red raspberries, which my husband mashes up and steeps in vodka in our hotel room sink. The rich, syrupy shots we toast with at Thanksgiving still taste just like August in British Columbia.
Going at the last minute
Fly into Vancouver; from there, Whistler is an easy two-and-a-half-hour drive.
Hotel rooms are easy to come by: The town has more than 5,400 of them.
Walk or bike everywhere in the main resort village.