The Wonder of Whistler’s Night Skies

The Wonder of Whistler’s Night Skies: What you need to know to capture them for yourself

Whistler’s known for its incredible views, bolstered by bluebird days and stunning peaks. But once the sun goes down there’s nothing like the quiet of a myriad of twinkling stars peeking through treetops or the shimmering beauty of the Aurora Borealis as it dances in the sky. Throw in a backdrop like the Black Tusk, a glacier, or an ancient Douglas Fir and you may never want to see daylight again.

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Before you strap on a pack and head out for the night with your camera, here’s what you need to know:

  1. Check the weather and moon phases. The last thing you want is to be on top of a mountain in a lightning storm or taking pictures of the Milky Way during a full moon. You’ll want a clear sky with no cloud cover if you’re taking pictures of the stars.
  2. Dress for the cold. It gets cold, very cold in the alpine. Bring warm gloves, a headlamp, and a toque plus an extra layer. A warm thermos of tea or hot chocolate will keep your insides warm while you sit and wait for the ideal picture.
  3. Bring food. You’ll probably be hiking or bushwacking to get that perfect shot. All that work will build up an appetite, especially since you’ll be carrying all that gear.
  4. Speaking of gear, make sure you have it all. You’ll want a tripod to get that crisp image since there is less light and your hands won’t stay still enough for your slow shutter speeds. Bring all your lenses, many empty memory cards, and a shutter release cable so you aren’t touching the camera and making it jiggle.
  5. Scout your area during the day. This is a great time saver since you can look for ways around objects like trees, houses, mountains, boulders or chairlifts – or the best angle to include them.
  6. Download a star app. This will help you know which stars or planets you’re looking at, and help you find the ones you want.
  7. Don’t forget to tell others where you’re going. Even if you’re walking up the hill at the back of your house, let someone know where you are and when you’ll return. The smallest rock or root can be invisible at night and leave you susceptible to tripping – especially if you’re looking up. Plus it’s easy to get lost in the dark. See tip #5 to avoid this.
  8. Memorize where infinity is on each of your lenses. Focusing is one of the greatest frustrations in night photography. While each lens has an infinity mark, it may not be accurate. Take the time to memorize where it is on each of your lenses and you’ll be significantly less frustrated in the dark when it’s cold out.
  9. Be prepared to wait. Night photography is all about slow shutter speeds and long exposures. Don’t expect to snap a shot in five minutes. Commit to the night and you’ll be rewarded with the vibrant, dramatic shot that your imagination envisioned.

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    Cover image: Mike Crane

Respecting Whistler’s Great Outdoors and #GOGreen

Earn your time outside by interacting with planet Earth more mindfully in your daily life. Learn how from Whistler’s environmental experts at the GO Green @ GO Fest Environmental Expo on Saturday, May 21st from Noon-5:00 p.m. in Whistler’s Town Plaza. In the meantime, here are some wise ways to adventure in and interact with our planet:

Be Bear Smart –To avoid a dangerous encounter with black bears and grizzlies always remember to carry bear spray, makes lots of noise, travel together, avoid animal carcasses, keep your distance, never feed a bear (even if unintentionally) and pack in what you pack out. To learn about our furry friends, visit the Coast to Cascades Grizzly Bear Initiative or the RMOW Bear Smart Program at the GO Fest Environmental Expo.

Love This Place, Reduce Your Waste – Recyclables and organics are valuable resources that don’t belong trapped in our landfills. Improve your recycling knowledge at the GO Fest Environmental Expo with the AWARE Zero Waste Station, BC Recycles and ElectroRecycle. Be remembered by the memories you leave behind, not the trash!

Plant Wisely – Green your knowledge as you green your thumb by educating yourself on native, drought resistant species, and the invasive plants to avoid. Invasive species threaten our environment, economy and health. Learn how to identify and control invasive species with the Sea to Sky Invasive Species Council at the GO Fest Environmental Expo.

Adopt a Plant Based Diet – While it’s hard for many to swallow, the simple truth is reducing meat consumption is one of the most impactful environmentally conscious acts an individual can take. Learn more about stats and facts with Earthsave Whistler at the GO Fest Environmental Expo. Don’t feel like jumping into the deep end of the veganism pool? Dip your toe in instead by signing up for Meatless Mondays and see what it’s all about.

To find out more about the bountiful work Whistler is doing for the health of our planet talk to the RMOW Environmental Technician or Whistler’s environmental charity since 1989, AWARE. Get outside and play, a little more mindfully today. #GOGreen


#GOFest2016 Invites Everyone To Come Out and Play

If your 8-year-old isn’t interested in the iBubble Soccer Demo in Rebagliati Park on Sunday, May 22 you should probably check their pulse. GO Fest is going all out for family fun this May Long Weekend in Whistler, May 20-23 and the iBubble Soccer Demo (for ages 7+) is just the tip of the iceberg.

Parents will love the entertainment and immersive learning on offer all weekend. Kids can start the day stand-up paddle boarding at Lakeside Park with Backroads Whistler before swinging through the forest during The Treetop Adventure Race with the Adventure Group.

Roving characters and local musicians will animate Whistler Village, while stories from the Whistler Library Book Bike, LEGO building with the Whistler Museum, encounters with Radical Raptors’ real-life owl, eagle and falcon, and interactive entertainment for kids by Ira Pettle keep boredom at bay and the screens away.

For families that want to golf together, Nicklaus North Golf Clinics will teach participants of all ages the art of chipping and putting. Tiny aspiring snowboarders will love the Burton Kids Riglet Snowboard Park in Village Square courtesy of Showcase Snowboard, Surf and Skate Shop where kids ages three to six years old can get a taste of park life in Village Square on Saturday and Sunday.

Every adventurer will find their path for adventure at GO Fest’s Base Camp in Mountain Square. Base Camp will be hub of activity and information for all of the festival events and activities. Fly fishing clinics, including one just for women, a King of the Beach format beach volleyball tournament at Rainbow Park, yoga, the Whistler Film Festival Adventure Film Series, sailing, golfing, a digital photography clinic and art experiences are some of the many events and activities available in Whistler on May Long weekend.

Play and stay in Whistler during GO Fest, Whistler’s Great Outdoors Festival. Book by June 30 and save up to 40 per cent by staying longer through

How About Some Wild Time At #GOFest2016 and #GOGreen

The proof is in the pudding – spending time in nature makes us happier, healthier, calmer, kinder and wiser people. Spending time outdoors inspires creativity, stimulates imagination and embeds confidence in young, developing minds. Yet, the average North American child spends less than 30 minutes a day playing outside (and hours in front of a screen)!

Join GO Green at GO Fest on May 21 to connect with nature, ignite discovery and inspire actions that help protect our planet for future generations. The GO Green Nature Scavenger Hunt will take place from 1:00-4:00pm in Florence Peterson Park. Everyone can go wild outside while exploring Whistler’s natural playground! Make sure to check out the Environmental Expo around Town Plaza between Noon-5:00 pm to learn more about the environmental organizations that are working to protect Whistler’s wilderness and be inspired to play outside in new ways:

  • Dine alfresco – Pack a delicious feast to enjoy from any number of stunning vantage points around local lakes or at the top of the closest peak. Talk to Earthsave Whistler at the Environmental Expo about the importance of choosing foods that benefit our health, the environment, and the lives of all animals.
  • Dig in – Plant and take home a potted sitka rose with the Sea to Sky Invasives Species Council (SSISC) at the GO Green Environmental Expo and work your way towards building a bee and butterfly friendly garden in your yard or on your patio.
  • Tune in – Pop out the earbuds for half an hour and listen! There’s a symphony around you at all times including running rivers and the whistling wind. Water and wind are commonly used to create clean energy, learn more about this from BC Hydro at the Environmental Expo.
  • Make mud pies – Did you know the bacteria in soil acts as a natural antidepressant? Learn all about the health benefits of growing your food in nutrient rich soil with Whistler’s environmental charity, AWARE at the Environmental Expo.

The adventures are endless when you use your imagination, so come up with some of your own ways to spend time outdoors. After all, children who spend time in nature are more likely to care for the environment as adults, so help to protect our nature playground by getting the whole family outside to play today! #GOFest2016

GO Fest Keeps Long Weekend #FOMO At Bay

While many Canadians celebrate the May Long weekend by opening the cabin, barbequing or heading into the wilderness to camp, in Whistler, GO Fest, Whistler’s Great Outdoors Festival, kicks off the summer season with events and activities offering the best that winter and summer have to offer, all in one weekend.

GO Fest boasts a line-up of events and activities designed to let you get out and play on a whim with no need for weeks or months of training and preparation, or even gear, for that matter!

Solo players or friends, who thrive on spontaneity, will find their paths for adventure at GO Fest’s Base Camp in Mountain Square. Base Camp will house activities information for all of the festival events and activities, as well as the Tiger Ping Pong Tournament where anyone can pick up a paddle and join in the game. Fly fishing clinics, including one just for women, a King of the Beach format beach volleyball tournament at Rainbow Park, yoga, the Whistler Film Festival Adventure Film Series, sailing, golfing, a digital photography clinic and art experiences are some of the many events and activities available in Whistler on May Long weekend.

At 7:30 p.m. each day on the Main Stage in Village Square, free concerts by Dan Mangan (May 20), Alex Cuba (May 21) and The Matinee (May 22) will provide the soundtrack to a memorable May Long Weekend.

Play and stay in Whistler during GO Fest, Whistler’s Great Outdoors Festival. Book by June 30 and save up to 40 per cent by staying longer through

Your perfect #GOFEST2016 schedule: THE ADVENTURER

For the adventurer, Whistler definitely has no shortage of things to do and explore. When it comes to #GOFest2016, we’re excited to bring you the most perfect activities to get your heart pumping and being able to head back home on Monday feeling like your weekend is complete. Here is your perfect #GOFest2016 schedule for the adventurer:

??☀️??? #whistler #hike

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Pack the car and bring the toys (helmet, bikes, golf clubs, running shoes, yoga mat, tennis racket…). Cruise into Whistler, check in, do some grocery shopping or grab a bite to eat and get settled in.


Start the weekend by heading to the Pancake Breakfast (breakfast by donation) at 11am at the Whistler Public Library. Once finished, grab a coffee at Blenz then head to Maury Young Arts Centre to get inspired by Revolution: Whistler MTB in Photography and Art. Go easy today, you have a big weekend ahead. During the day, grab the bike (there are many rental companies available in the Village) and explore the Lost Lake trails before showering and heading to the GO Fish: Fly Fishing Demo and Lesson at Patagonia at 5pm. From there you’ll skip over to the GO Fest Mainstage in Village Square to sway to Dan Mangan at 7:30pm.


It’s time to get your heart racing with the TAG Treetop Adventure Race! Enjoy the scenery as you fly through the forest and try to nab the fastest time. By the time you’re finished, you’ll be back in time to try out the North Face Store Trail Running Tips and Techniques clinic at 2:30pm. You manage to catch an Adventure Series film: The Great Alone before you put your dancing shoes on for Alex Cuba at 7:30pm!


Start the morning testing your new skills from your trail run clinic the day before at 8am as you enter the Whistler Valley Trail Run co-hosted by Lole Whistler for a solid 10km distance. At 1pm it’s time to head over to the iBubble Soccer Demo and try your feet at something different! At 4pm head to another Adventure Film: View from a Blue Moon and Chasing Niagra before you see the final musical act for GO Fest 2016: The Matinee!

I love rocky and technical terrain! #whistler #trailrunning #ultrarunning

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It’s time to head home, but not before grabbing breakfast at the Wildwood in the Crystal Lodge in the village. Order their classic Eggs Benny breakfast to keep you full!


The weather has been beyond amazing and it’s time to celebrate with the girls in the mountains. What better weekend than #GOFest2016 to round everyone up and enjoy everything there is to offer! Here’s our suggested GO Fest schedule for your girls weekend to make the most out of it:

Getting lost at Lost Lake ? @ericka_00 @heyitsbiancah @joyanjoanne #whistler #lostlake #hiking #canada

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Cruise into Whistler, check in, do some grocery shopping and get settled in. The next few days will be packed!

Ignore the budget truck in the background #whistler @larafina001 @jdelixo

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Wake up, go for a run around Lost Lake (maybe even a quick icy dip!) then head back to your condo to shower before heading to the Pancake Breakfast (breakfast by donation) at 10 a.m. at Whistler Public Library. Once breakfast is done, head to Mount Currie Coffee Co. for a latte and a wander through Whistler Village.

At 5 p.m. it’s time to go to the Crystal Lodge Art Gallery for the Wine About Art event (Preregistration required, $50+ ). From there you’ll skip over to the GO Fest Mainstage in Village Square at 7:30 p.m. to sway to Dan Mangan.


Ease into the day with a free Vinyasa Flow class in the GO Fest base camp in Mountain Square at 8 a.m. followed by grabbing a quick breakfast at Gone Eatery. At 10 a.m. it’s time for some Stand Up Paddle Boarding at Lakeside Park (Preregistration required, $15) but don’t forget the sunscreen! 1 p.m. is movie time with the Adventure Series: Speed Sisters at Maury Young Arts Centre (Online tickets are on sale now, $12). Afterwards, enjoy the rest of your afternoon until you put your dancing shoes on for Alex Cuba at 7:30 p.m.

?#seeyastephens #stagette #bachelorette #whistler

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It’s time to head home, but not before grabbing a special GO Fest Gelato (strawberry and rhubarb – hello) at The Fix at Nita Lake Lodge then enjoying some lake time with your ladies.

Happy GO Fest 2016!

Recommended: Be sure to preregister for your wish list GO Fest activities and events. Fees may be applicable depending on the activity.

Accommodation: Make sure to book your Whistler accommodation for you and your squad today.

Cover photo credit: Tourism Whistler/Mike Crane

Whistler’s Green Giants + GO Green Fun on May 21

How much do you know about the trees that cloak the iconic mountains surrounding Whistler? Learn more on Saturday, May 21 from local nature experts at the Environmental Expo, happening in Town Plaza from Noon-5 p.m. Or spot the trees yourself with help from a local naturalist on the GO Green Nature Scavenger Hunt in Florence Peterson Park from 1-3 p.m!

Until then, here’s a teaser on a few of Whistler’s green gold giants:

Western Hemlock

Easily identifiable due to the drooping new growth found at its top or what many refer to as the “Hemlock’s hanging head”. Coming down with a cold? The tender needles can be chewed or made into a vitamin C rich tea to help boost your immune system.

Western Red Cedar

A large tree with grey, stringy bark and a wide spread trunk. The Ancient Cedars Grove on Cougar Mountain boasts Western Red Cedar trees over 900 years in age – now that’s a Whistler local! These trees have historically been used to make dugout canoes, clothing, tools, rope, baskets and medicine. British Columbia adopted the Western Red Cedar as its official tree in 1988. An Adventure Leader from the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre will guide Nature Scavenger Hunt participants through some of the nutritional, medicinal and spiritual uses of Whistler’s diverse flora on May 21.


Although not a true fir, hence the hyphen, this tree is currently the second-tallest conifer species in the world. After scraping off the bark, bears will eat the sap layer of the tree and many small mammals rely on this tree’s seeds as an important food source. Will you be able to spot the bear-scraped bark on the Nature Scavenger Hunt?

Whistler Spruce

A hybrid species unique to this region, which adopts the characteristics of both the coastal Sitka Spruce and interior Engelmann Spruce. Whistler’s got the best of both worlds!


Back running amongst the trees on the West Coast (best coast).#whistler #mywhistler #explorebc #lostlake #werunsf

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Whether your viewpoint is sitting on a chairlift looking down at the endless sea of coniferous trees or feeling small staring up at the multi-layered canopies from the rich forest floor, Whistler’s forests inspire awe. Get outside to experience and explore Whistler’s great outdoors!

What you need for your next hike in Whistler

Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just starting out, we’re proud to say that Whistler boasts a variety of options for every ability level. In saying that, the length of your hike will then influence what you bring with you but it can be safe to say that there are a few things you’ll need no matter where you’re at in your hiking ability or the distance you choose. Here are a few things we recommend having on your next hike in Whistler:

Adventures near Whistler make for a good time #rainforest #upnorth #whistler # beautifulbc

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This is a big one whether you’re going for a short out and back hike or an overnighter, proper footwear will make or break your experience. Sturdy and enclosed shoes are recommended but we don’t necessarily think you need the big and sturdy stereotypical hiking shoe. At the end of the day you need to be comfortable and something as simple as a trail running shoe with good traction and some hardiness will suit just fine for our trails. Also, some good socks won’t go astray either.


Even if the hike you’re choosing isn’t big, it’ll most likely be warm out and you may not necessarily be particularly close to somewhere food is sold. We recommend carrying some water, whether in a bottle or in a pack and a few snacks. Clif Bars, Vega snack bars, a ziploc with some mixed nuts and dates or mum’s homemade granola bars will do.


Tracking your hike might be a nice addition so that you can see where you went and show friends or to get an idea of your distance. A map is a must-have depending on where you’re going and your familarity with the trail. Your phone is always handy to have in the event you get lost or you see someone who is injured and needs assistance. Just pop your phone on airplane mode for when you don’t need it so you can save your battery. Oh and use your phone to take photos of the amazing scenery of course.


We’re not kidding and although ‘outfit’ seems like an odd thing to have on a list of things needed, it is incredibly important. You’re going to be hiking and it’s going to get warm and probably dirty. Anything moisture-wicking for outdoor activities gets a huge thumbs up, comfort is also key and it’s a wise idea to bring an additional layer just in case it cools down or you want to protect yourself a bit more from the sun.


Protect your face and your eyes! Likely if you’re hike goes into the forest you can put both away, but once you exit the covers of the forest you’re going to want your sunglasses. This is also a good time to mention to remember to slap on some sunscreen.

Lastly, don’t forget a smile. Remember to tell people where you’re going and better yet, hike with a friend! Make sure that you allow yourself plenty of time to do your hike and come back before the sun starts to come down.

Need some hiking trail inspiration? Check these 5 out.