Bears, Bikes and Gondolas

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Photo courtesy Whistler Blackcomb.

Green season is your opportunity to experience the wildlife, glaciers, rainforests and trails of the Whistler Blackcomb mountains.

Bears.
Visit bear dens and wander through pristine alpine meadows and old growth western hemlock forests. Learn how conservation and enhancement initiatives help to sustain healthy populations, and how mountain resorts are continually redesigning recreational experiences to ensure a sustainable future. Whistler and Blackcomb mountains are home to up to 50 black bears and cubs that have adapted to feeding, mating, and hibernating within ski area habitats. This is the only population of black bears in B.C. that has been studied for over two decades. Travel in a comfortable 4×4 vehicle through a maze of ski area roads that traverse the largest concentration of mother bear ranges in the region. Bear feeding patterns shift from valley bottom to higher mountain elevations as the summer continues, and the tours follow this progression allowing access these hidden scenic alpine ecosystems and natural habitats any time of the summer. Take an even closer look with short walks to bear feeding sites and bear family daybeds, and wander through old growth forests where bears have hibernated through many winters.

Experienced and qualified team of guides boasts a wealth of knowledge of Whistler’s flora and fauna, ecology and bear biology for a truly incredible outdoor learning experience. Here’s a report of a recent bear-viewing outing:

-9 bears last night/6pm on Whistler-Blackcomb, May 30.
-1st mating seen last night between the oldest female bear, Marisa (23yrs+) and large-alpha male, Skinner (15yrs+).
-6pm tour – highest bear activity (currently 25 bears active in ski area).
-Bears seen at 6pm…and all sightings < 10m to truck.
-Marisa and Skinner – 1st mating of season.

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Skinner and Marisa mating on lower Blackcomb during 6pm tour, May 30. “I see bears as such loners that when you get the opportunity to see courtship/mating…it’s such a sweet moment.” Photo by Michael Allen. Courtesy Whistler Blackcomb.

Eco Tours:
Climate Change Tour.
Climate change is the most increasingly important environmental issue of our time. On this tour, guided by Whistler Blackcomb’s environmental manager, you will enter the alpine where you will visit a glacier, nature’s most sensitive ecosystem to temperature change. You will learn how landforms are continuously changing and how Whistler Blackcomb works at reducing its carbon footprint.

Alpine Ecology Tour.
Join a leading conservationist and get a closer look at the wildlife, vegetation, and glaciers while learning about Whistler Blackcomb’s unique alpine ecosystems. Wander through colourful alpine meadows and view wildlife as you learn how conservation and enhancement initiatives help protect biodiversity and support healthy wildlife populations.

Marisa and son rest in a small stand of “escape” trees on lower Blackcomb. Bears are lethargic at emergence and it takes their bodies a couple of weeks to regain normal daily activity. She has produced 10 cubs and this 2013 son is her 7th litter. She will break up with him in June, breed, and possibly have her 8th litter of cubs at 24 years old next winter. Photo by Michael Allen. Courtesy Whistler Blackcomb.
Marisa and son rest on lower Blackcomb. Bears are lethargic at emergence and it takes their bodies a couple of weeks to regain normal daily activity. She has produced 10 cubs and this 2013 son is her 7th litter. She will leave him in June, breed, and possibly have her 8th litter of cubs at 24 years old next winter. Photo by Michael Allen. Courtesy Whistler Blackcomb.

Hike.
The world record-breaking PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola transports hikers to over 50km of trails that combine to create some of BC’s most spectacular hikes and iconic vistas. Get up-close and personal with the volcanic Black Tusk peak, take in vistas of ancient glaciers in neighbouring Garibaldi Provincial Park, explore the edges of pristine alpine lakes and experience Whistler Blackcomb’s famous alpine wildflower season.

Bike.
The Whistler Mountain Bike Park opened on May 16. Manager Brian Finestone put his army to work in preparation for opening day. The troops were rallied and reported for duty. The battle against the elements to perfect the trails has begun.

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