Updated: Apr 4
There is nothing a Whistler local loves more than a day filled with action. We are out here for a reason, we want adventure, we want mountains, we want exercise. We want to feel small and invincible, that's why we climb the highest mountains isn't it? Some people even jump off of them-yikes!
There are only a select few months where you can have a TRIPLE ACTION DAY; March till the end of May. Winter in Whistler is pretty remarkable, as I am sure you have realized by reading my previous posts. Coming from Ontario, where winter is spent hibernating and eating, Whistler has opened up a new world of winter wonderland. A world where I don't dread winter, and look forward to it nearly as much as summer.
November, the mountain opens for skiing usually around the 26th, it is cold and sometimes wet, but you are stoked! December comes around, you have a fun couple of weeks and then the holiday rush comes and you are working doubles, exhausted and going no where near the mountain because lines are record-breaking long. January is gloomy and long, but full of pow days and the occasional bluebird day to get you through. Then comes February, and as you know, it's gone in the blink of an eye and before you know it... it's SPRING!
The snow starts to melt on the ground, but stays on the top of the mountain, just how you like it. Sweater weather begins, and you realise you can do your first TRIPLE ACTION DAY of the season. This is only possible in months that the mountain is still running (closes May 24) and the snow is melting in Squamish and Pemberton. I would also like to add, if you are reading this from another country like Australia, us Canadians find anything above 0 degrees Celsius warm. I found this out in my year in Australia where it was 20 degrees and I was in a bathing suit, and the locals around me were wearing jackets.
Let me walk you through how you can successfully complete a TRIPLE ACTION DAY.
1) You will need a car. This will require driving along the Sea to Sky, which is comprised of Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton.
2) You will be on a time crunch, so be ready the night before. Have the car packed with everything you need so you can hop from place to place.
3) A good nights sleep. This is a great opportunity to tire yourself out completely for the next 3 days. Don't make it any harder
than it has to be.
I guess it is time to mention the specifics of this TRIPLE ACTION DAY. Your day will include hiking, skiing/snowboarding, and biking!
What to pack?
Hike:hiking boots, hiking appropriate outfit (layers), WATER!
Snowboard/Ski:boots, helmet, mittens, skis/snowboard, goggles... you know the drill, WATER!
Bike: bike, biking shoes, biking apparel, helmet, WATER!
Snacks: cliff bars, fruit, veggies, sandwiches, did I mention water?
As an avid snowboarder, it is hard enough to leave the house without missing an important piece of your snowboard gear, so packing the night before will elimnate the stress in the morning. Chances are, you will forget something.
First things first, you will be driving to Squamish to hike the Chief. The drive from Whistler to Squamish is 45 minutes. The Chief becomes hike-able in March when the snow melts. Squamish generally doesn't accumulate much snow in the winter due to the mild climate, so this is a great starting point for your hiking needs when the season allows. I should add, you can hike any mountain in the winter, but it will require snowshoes and it is much more challenging and cold. On the website All Trails, hikers have commented that it took them 5 hours for completion. However, I think this is an over-kill, unless you have never hiked before or coming from somewhere flat. To be fair, my first time hiking the Chief, I was an unfit university student from Ontario visiting my brother, and it probably took me 5 hours. This time around, being a BC gal for 5 years, it took us an hour to the top (3rd peak). We spent an hour enjoying the the view, and then another hour to hike down (it is hard on the knees); totalling 3 hours. For the readers who have never hiked the Chief before, it is natures staircase. Depending on what route you take, you may have to climb some ladders and use chains. Be weary if you are afraid of heights. Try and see all 3 peaks, the view is breathtaking and you will not be disappointed.
Second, skiing/snowboarding in Whistler. Stretch your legs, chug some water, have a snack, hop back in your car and head north to Whistler Mountain. Park in Creekside (free parking) and go up Creekside Gondola. You have until 3pm to upload, but ideally get there earlier if you want to get a few laps in. If you want a leg burner to compliment your day, head up peak chair and do a Peak to Creek lap (the longest run on Whistler Mountain). That will be more than enough for you to get what you need.
You have an epic ride out to Creekside, chug some more water, high-five your friend and get back in your car. Your heading north to Pemberton. In about 35 minutes you will arrive. Park at the base of Mackenzie FSR, you can peddle uphill from here. Pemberton is more intermediate and advanced riding, with technical trails. Some notable trails that locals enjoy are Bob Gnarley, Hawaii, and Creampuff. It is possible to shuttle up to the top of the FSR, if you don't feel like peddling up (might be nicer on your body after you have just hiked and skied).
It stays light until 7pm now, so no need to rush!
Your legs are probably shaking but you feel so good! As I mentioned, there is a short window where you can complete a TRIPLE ACTION DAY. You can of course hike and bike on the same day in the summer, but adding skiing in, is pretty amazing. Depending on what month you do such a day, you may even be able to finish the epic day with a jump in the lake. Generally, in May the ice has melted and the sun is strong enough to allow for it to be an enjoyable experience. If it is March or April, head to the nearest local pub, like The Pony and reward yourself for a job well done with a refreshing beverage of your choice. TRIPLE ACTION DAY deserves a celebration! Now head home, and get the best sleep of your life.
Here is a rough timeline to best complete your day:
7am: wake up
8am: drive to Squamish
9am: start the hike
10am: top of third peak
11am: head down
12pm: back in car
1pm: arrive in Creekside, and head up the mountain
3pm: ride down, drive to Pemberton
4pm: arrive in Pemberton, bike up mountain
6pm: ride down
7pm: drive back to Whistler
If you complete a TRIPLE ACTION DAY, I would love to see. Please send me pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org so I can feature them on this blog, with your permission.
Watch the full day of adventure: TRIPLE ACTION DAY via YouTube.