By David De Lalio
Living in Colorado, I’m surrounded by the Rocky Mountains. But, the mountains in Canada take scenery to a whole new level. Whistler and Banff are renowned destinations for winter skiing, but there are so many activities at these destinations in the summer too. In fact, more tourists flock to Banff in the summer months than they do in the winter. While the same can’t be said for Whistler, Canada’s premier ski destination, there’s plenty to keep you busy at this year-round resort.
Banff for Canada’s majestic mountains
In Banff, you can enjoy majestic scenery, warm weather, and a host of activities like golf, hiking, biking, and even scuba diving. Wait, scuba diving? Yep, just a short trip from Banff, you can dive in Lake Minnewanka and see the submerged town site of Minnewanka Landing, which was flooded by the building of a dam in 1941.
The famous Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel is the star attraction in Banff, with castle-like corridors, great rooms and a stunning setting, this historic hotel is enough a reason to visit Banff. Nearby, visitors can play the Banff Springs Golf Course. Originally designed as a 18-hole course in 1928, it was expanded to 27 holes in 1989.
Adventure awaits in Whistler
Not to be outdone, Whistler has four world-class golf courses from which to choose, designed by such famous names as Jack Nicklaus and Robert Trent Jones II. About half way between Vancouver and Whistler is my personal favorite, Furry Creek Golf & Country Club. Definitely worth the drive, and sure to please the avid golfer, this course has amazing scenery and some truly tough holes to ponder. It’s tough to find the fairway, due to huge elevation drops and narrow greens on some of the holes, and I found myself losing balls in the woods every now and then.
Another activity that offers great fun and education is the zipline experience at Whistler. Ziptrek Ecotours offers several zipline adventures, all led by professional escorts who guide you through the flora and fauna while zipping through the forest and Fitzsimmons Creek. For the less adventurous type, they also offer walking tours on suspended and land-based bridges and walkways.
One of the most interesting experiences on one of my first trips to Whistler was seeing people walking around in full ski gear. For the hardcore skier, hit Whistler’s slopes in the summer! The Horstman Glacier, located on Blackcomb Mountain offers year-round adventure. Adult tickets cost only a fraction of the winter season cost, and are a great value for the off-season skier.
Both destinations are a great reason to escape this summer, and for the outdoor enthusiast, there is no better place to visit in the summer.
David De Lalio is the Senior Market Manager for the Mountain Region and 5 year veteran for Orbitz Worldwide. A world traveler by the time he was 13, and an avid skier by the age of 7, travel has been his passion almost his entire life.