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28

Whistler: summer with a flavour of winter

The first impression of Whistler leaves us a little confused. Even though it is the height of

summer, the atmosphere in Whistler with all its wooden chalets and many ski lifts is still wintry.

For a moment we imagine ourselves in Disneyland and we expect to hear Jingle Bells at any

moment. From everything we see, it is clear that Whistler is the ultimate ski resort. It has been

proclaimed as the best ski resort on the continent on numerous occasions, leaving formidable

competitors like Banff and Aspen in its wake. The ultimate award, of course, came in 2010

when Whistler together with Vancouver formed the stage for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter

Games.

Nevertheless, the activities on offer in Whistler are the same in summer as in winter. Those who

love peace and quiet choose one of the many hiking trails or go paddling on Lake Alta. If you

like a bit more action, then mountain biking, driving a quad bike or rafting are good options.

And for the daredevils? They prepare for a bungee jump above the Glacial Fed Cheakamus River

or click on a zip line and race at a top speed of 100 kilometres per hour above the trees. A

crossing with the

Peak 2 Peak Gondola

should always be included in the programme. The

gondola connects the Whistler Mountain with the Blackcomb Mountain across a length of 4.4

kilometres and thus breaks all records. In eleven minutes it brings us floating through space

from one top to the other. For those who are afraid of heights, the trip might be a challenge,

but the view over the forests, the glittering glaciers and proud mountain peaks is unparalleled.

We are staying in a hotel of the Fairmont chain once more. Why opt for something else when

you can have the best? The name

Fairmont Chateau Whistler

already indicates that this is

not some construction worker's hut. The iconic building is a significant size. The interior makes

us think of castle in Scotland or Ireland, with its majestic entrance hall, rough stone walls,

wooden panelling and thickly padded velvet seats. Even the tartan plaids and a cosy crackling

fire are included. The service is excellent, as always in a hotel of the Fairmont chain.

Smoke in Revelstoke

The sky is grey and foggy. According to the travel guide, another spectacular ride with unforget-

table views awaits us, but as it looks now won’t be able to see much of it. When we suddenly

notice that we have not seen another car for a long time and that we are regularly seeing

remnants of burnt trees on the side of the road, we begin to feel uncomfortable. We step out

of the car and notice that the air is not foggy, but smoky. In the hotel we had vaguely caught

something about forest fires in Canada, but not about where they had occurred. We decide to

obtain information from a petrol station and buy a road map. Until now, we have blindly followed

the navigation system of the car, so our sense of orientation is completely gone. When we see

a frayed note with the message 'Closed due to fire' on the door of the pumping station, we

understand that we are right in the middle of the fire area. To our relief, we encounter a police

patrol ten kilometres further on. The Highway is closed, but the officer directs us to Revelstoke

via another route. Much later than planned, but thankfully in one piece, we arrive in the town.

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