Four Seasons Whistler takes their recreation very seriously, asking families to fill out an Adventure Profile before you arrive. That way, a Base Camp Activity Consultant can help set up a schedule for your stay. The list of activities is mind-boggling. In summer, you can learn to ride an ATV on a hidden valley between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountain, go on a bear viewing tour in the expansive hemlock-cedar forest that rises above Whistler Village, try your luck glacial hiking with ax and crampons, horseback ride on shaded paths around hidden lakes, rock climb in nearby Cal-Cheak, raft down a river, even ski and snowboard at Horstman Glacier, open June through August.
We decided to spend our time hiking, ziplining and paddling. We dropped our bags off at the hotel and took a gondola ride to the mountain's Roundhouse Grill, where we had lunch on a patio surrounded by the snowcapped peaks. Mountain bikers zipped by, dressed in helmets, knee and elbow pads, ready to do battle with the trails. Another chairlift, the Peak Adventure, brought us to the summit, where we walked on a rocky path down 1,000 feet back to the restaurant. It was mid-August and snow was still on the ground, so we had a snowball fight.
The next day my wife and son went on the longest zipline on the continent while my daughter and I canoed the River of Golden Dreams. A bald eagle flew overhead as we grabbed our paddles and followed the current that flowed from the eastern end of Alta Lake. We were soon navigating the narrow S-curves as we cruised through the pines, with Whistler standing tall in the backdrop.
When we returned back to the hotel, it was nice to relax in the large heated outdoor pool and soak our muscles in the Jacuzzi. At the end of the week, after many hours of outdoor adventure, my wife and I hit the spa for the decadent sea-to-sky massage. This 80-minute treatment uses products that are indigenous to the Canadian west coast like clay harvested from British lakes to soothe those hard-working calves.
Most of us think of this British Columbian resort as a skiing destination, so let's talk about winter. First there's the Ski Lite program, where guests need not worry if they forget to pack their parka and skies. Pick the latest designer wear from Prada and Spyder at the Whistler Blackcomb Mountain Products store located on the lower level of the lobby. Your waxed skis and pre-warmed boots will be waiting at the hotel's Ski Concierge Shop at the base of Blackcomb each morning.
The sophisticated hotel also features a Ski Elite Program with one-on-one instruction for skiers. There's also a teenage concierge who grew up on the mountain catering solely to teenagers. He'll set your child up on a dogsledding trip with Alaskan Huskies through the Soo Valley Wildlife Preserve, book a spot on the zipline trek, which is open year-round, and, of course, give the goods on the best ski trails the mountain offers for your ability. Be sure to ask about the Fresh Tracks Breakfast. For $17 (Canadian), you get to head up the mountain an hour before it officially opens, grab breakfast at the summit lodge, and get two to three good runs in before the masses arrive.