Beaches In Whistler, Part 1
To most people, Whistler equates Winter. Endless snowfall, epic backcountry, a gnarnia of Winter Wonderland proportions. However, those who have stuck around after the snow has melted, and after the tourists have locked their cabins and vacated their holiday homes for the sunny climes of Vancouver or Seattle, know there’s more to Whistler than snowflakes and ski-dooing.
The month of May is a ‘down-season’ time, or for many Whistlerites, ‘bikini-ready-season’. The perfect opportunity to pound the valley trail, slay the mountain-bike trails or ramp up the body beautiful techniques in preparation for baring it all at one or many, of the lake-side sand-spots between July and August (and parts of June and September if we’re lucky!), arguably the world’s shortest, yet most celebrated and utilised Summer periods. Here’s your guide to making the most of our ‘beaches’ in Summer, whatever your pleasure, fetish or past-time.
Our lakes are somewhat.. refreshing. Most of them are glacier-fed, or at the very least, completely frozen over in Winter, and with Summer air temperatures rarely breaking 30 deg C for more than a couple of days consecutively, the water can range from shocking to pleasantly invigorating. For avid swimmers, the latter is a little more acceptable, and the gorgeous Alta Lake usually gets to a level that supports long-distance swim missions.
Being one of the larger lakes, Alta offers a number of entry points but the best route would be from Lakeside Park, a family-friendly locale, where your friends can chill on the sandy shores or grassy knoll. They can also be on hand to watch your precious towel/bike/gear whilst you freestyle it over to the Blueberry docks to the right, the art-house dock ahead or all the way to Rainbow Park, a solid 1.5km swim diagonally across the lake. Boats and motorised barges troll the water, but at a slow pace and are always a welcome sight when swimmer’s fatigue starts to set in. Always let a buddy know where and when you’re going.
For BBQ’ers and Family-time:
South of the Village, next to the community of Creekside, Alpha Lake Park has a little something for everyone. Offering a kid-friendly section in the sand, complete with rocking horse toys circa 1982, to a beach volleyball court and a dog-park, this little gem has picnic tables and BBQ spots which you can fire up to enjoy some delicious bratwurst by the lake. The grassed area at Alpha Lake Park is perfectly suited to an Ultimate Frisbee match or a quick game of hide-the-sausage, if BBQ produce is all you happened to bring.
Wayside Park, a short stroll from both Lakeside and Alpha Parks, is a small but punch-packing beach with kayak and canoe rentals for the active lot and plenty of long-lasting sunshine for those seeking some colour. There have been numerous times when not-so-smart people have unwittingly poached the nearby private docks, assuming that they would be garnering the most sun-time. They have subsequently been the ones looking forlornly over at Wayside Park, at the lucky lot who secured a spot on this sun-soaked beach whilst the swiftly setting sun casts long shadows on their not-so-wisely-chosen locales. Stick to Wayside for the best in tan-lines, ice-cream consumption and sun-scoping.