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5 Tips to Avoid Traffic at Squamish Valley Music Festival

How to Avoid the Squamish Valley Music Festival Traffic | Stay in Whistler

If you remember last year, many of us were delayed up to four hours in baking-hot and stagnant traffic backed up at far back as Britannia Beach, 12kms south of Squamish. This year, don’t be that guy. With the incredible line-up including Eminem, Bruno Mars, Arcade Fire, Arctic Monkeys and more, you can expect that this party is going to be BIG! Planning ahead can save you some time, and maximize your festival experience.

For those of you who are well acquainted with the mass exodus of people entering and leaving Squamish for the Squamish Valley Music Festival, here’s a couple of tips to avoid the bumper-to-bumper traffic jams.

1. Head up a day or two early

Get ahead of the crowd and arrive a day or two early in Squamish. There are a number of hotels and campsites in the Squamish and Whistler area for you to stay, and plenty of attractions to explore. Here you can not only beat the crowds, but make friends and get the inside scoop with the locals.

With over 35,000 people moving in to this tiny town, you’ll want to grab all the supplies you need and scout for where you’ll need to go. Heading there a day or two early gives you ability to scout around the town for some places to acquire adequate camping supplies, food and beverages for your three day music intensive. That way, you will be to go-to-guy for the local lowdown.

2. Ninja Attack from the North

Maybe consider doing a road trip with your favourite festival besties and take a trip north of Squamish. For folks entering Squamish south bound from Pemberton and Whistler you’ll be breezing through on the highway smoothly. Barely 1% of any of the festival goers enter Squamish from the north, so this will be plain sailing.

3. Stay in Whistler with and arrive by Shuttle Bus

No really! With shuttle buses running for the festival, you’ll get the best of both worlds when you stay in Whistler! Avoid crazy line-ups at the festival food trucks, get a warm shower, no scary late night portable toilet experiences, just hop on the bus and head to your hotel room.

4a. Head over to the Whistler after-party

With nearly 99.9% of the 35,000+ festival go-ers travelling southbound at the end of the festival, how about go against the grain?  Spend a couple days in Whistler for the after-party or just to relax and unwind. Whistler in the Summer offers heaps of activities such as biking, ATVing, canoeing, bear viewing, lake parties and so much more.

4b. Detox at the Scandinave Spa

This is more of “Tip 4 part B”, but on the same reasoning as going against the grain, head north to a spa!

Let’s be honest, after three days of camping in the West Coast’s largest and loudest music festival, and eating festival food, you may want to cleanse and detox. Scandinave Spa will offer you a haven to relax any achy camping muscles and sweat out your pores, and rest your ear drums. Plus, Scandinave Spa have a delicious cafe with lots of raw, green organic goodness to restore you from the inside out! Lovely jubbly.

5. Road Trip to North for a West Coast Tour

The beauty in Squamish does not just stop there. There are lots of places, provincial parks, activities to be done north of Squamish, up through Whistler and all the way up to Pemberton, Lilloette and all the way back down through Hope or Kamloops

And there you have it! Don’t be that guy stranded in the backed up traffic jam, keep it moving and spend more time enjoying this music fest!

Find out more about the Squamish Valley Music Festival on our Events Page.

Valentine’s Day in Whistler

Taking a stroll through Whistler Village as snow gently falls to the ground holding the hand of a loved one is definitely a romantic experience. And while the village and its views may be inherently romantic – there are things to do while in Whistler that can make your experience all that more amazing.

Top Ten Most Romantic Things To Do in Whistler for Valentine’s Day

  1. Couples Massage at the Taman Sari Royale Heritage Spa
  2. Couples Bungee Jumping
  3. Tandem or Twilight Ziplining Tour
  4. Snowmobile at Sunset
  5. Moonlit Dog Sledding Tour
  6. Skating at the Whistler Olympic Park Outdoor Rink
  7. Explore Food Together at Elements Urban Tapas Parlour
  8. Horse-drawn Sleigh Ride with Fondue and Hot Chocolate
  9. Soak in Summit Lodge’s Outdoor Hot Tub or Heat Things Up in the Natural Cedar Sauna
  10. Experience Whistler’s Adventurous Side with Skiing and the PEAK 2 PEAK


Summit Lodge & Spa wants you to take home the experience of a lifetime, so call our friendly and helpful front desk staff to facilitate in booking these activities and more – 1 (888) 913.8811.

Summit Lodge Romantic Getaway from $160

» One night accommodation for two with parking
» Sparkling wine & Rogers’ Chocolates upon arrival
» Breakfast for two at Elements Urban Tapas
» Complimentary 1pm late check-out

Call 1 (888) 913-8811 to Book Today

Ashley Barker Photography

If you’ve skied Whistler – then like me, you’ve probably sat at the top of Whistler Mountain, looked out over countless mountain tops, and had your mind blown by the awe-inspiring beauty that lay before you. And although I can truly appreciate the scenes before me, any attempt I make at capturing these images with a camera tend to end up in the “disappointing is an understatement” department.

So it is with huge respect and admiration that I look upon the work of accomplished photographer and Whistler local,  Ashley Barker. Her images seem to resonate with vivid truth and are so full of life that if I let my mind wander, I can actually feel a brisk mountain breeze. Unlike some photographers who seem to have singular style, Ashley excels in an array of photography – and is sought after for everything from weddings to commercial product shots to action/adventure.

While Ashley has worked with many clients in many different industries, even lending her lens to capture the spirit of Summit Lodge & Spa, her photography is largely renowned and coveted within the mountain culture world.

Formally trained, but passion driven – Ashley, only in her mid-twenties, has broken through the seemingly impenetrable male-dominated world of lifestyle/action photography. An accomplished athlete in her own right, Ashley braves the conditions to get the shot. With over a decade of experience under her belt and 8 published magazine covers, Ashley’s clientele is impressive and includes such big-wigs as TransWorld Magazine, Snowboarder Magazine, Golden Ride Magazine, DC, Quicksilver, Billabong and many more.

I could go on and on about how Ashley’s work is important for female photographers everywhere or how she is a photographic ambassador to the natural world or that she is simply an awesome Whistler local, but in an effort not to expose the “photographers-crush” I clearly have – I’ll simply leave you with a Q&A from a previous interview and links to her portfolio and photography blog.

Sharp Shooters: Behind the Scenes with TransWorld’s Elite Senior Photographer Ashley Barker

Q: First Cover?

A: Snowboarder 2007

Q: If I were a camera, I’d be a ______.

A: Leica

Q: Best excuse for blowing the shot.

A: I didn’t hear you call dropping on the radio

Q: One accessory you can’t shoot without

A: The rider

Q: Black & White or Color?

A: Black & White

Q: One tip that changed your career?

A: Backlight

Q: Advice for up-and-comers?

A: Take risks and don’t shoot stock

Q: Top three photographers?

A: Richard Avedon, Annie Lebowitz & David LaChapelle

The Legendary Fire & Ice Show

Every Sunday the base of Whistler Mountain is ablaze with astounding athletic talent, heart-stopping pyrotechnics, booty-shakin’ fire spinners, beat-driven DJ’s and a jaw-dropping firework display. The epic Fire & Ice Show is a unique Whistler experience and a must-see while in town. Young and old alike will enjoy this cirque-on-skis show that is guaranteed to impress.

Top members of Whistler Blackcomb’s Ski & Snowboard School perform extraordinary feats of anti-gravity through rings of fire. Dancers and fire spinners move to the beats showcasing amazing talent, coordination and obviously no fear of fire! The evenings events finish with a first class display of fireworks that is sure to delight.

This legendary show is now an annual on-going event and is completely FREE every Sunday evening at 6:30 PM. Dress warm, grab a cup of hot chocolate and prepare to be amazed!

TIP: This is an awesome photo opportunity so don’t forget those cameras!

Underground Tuning

Who knew ski/snowboard tuning was such an art? I didn’t – until I was introduced to Summit Lodge & Spa’s very own in-house ski/board tuning technician, Yohann Sheetz  – owner and hands-on technician of Underground Tuning Ski & Snowboard.  A new addition to the personalized services Whistler Summit Lodge & Spa offers.

Born out of ingenuity and an understanding of good customer service, Underground Tuning made its debut years ago in the underground parking lot of The Listel (hence the name). According to Yohann, a guest of the hotel (where he worked at the time) asked him to arrange having their skis waxed. The guests gave Yohann a bit of money for the job. Instead of taking it to a tuning shop however, Yohann knew he was capable himself and decided to purchase a block of wax and an old iron. The guests were very pleased with the quick turn-around and quality of the job. So, with the same block of wax, he offered the service to other guests that were passing through and the response was excellent.  People obviously liked having their skis tuned from within their own hotel, and the by-hand approach offered good quality. From there he struck a deal with the hotel to offer the service and he set up shop in the underground parking lot.

He worked through The Listel for a couple of years until the circumstances (and management) of the Listel changed, and he decided to take some time, do some travelling and visit his home in Quebec. Shortly after his return to Whistler, he was approached by Summit Lodge to offer the same service on location within the hotel. He explained that he was happy to do so – as several former customers had expressed disapointment from not being able to receive his service and the new location in the secure equipment locker is a lot better than an underground parking lot!

Now, I’m not going to pretend that I am an expert in this field, so when I asked Yohann what makes his little operation different from the bigger shops in town – he explained the technical process. In simple terms, bigger tuning stores use a machine to wax skis and boards and this process isn’t ideal for longevity and performance.

However,  it wasn’t this process that got my attention – but how all of his motivations seemed to be rooted in good old fashioned customer service. He antidotally noted that he prides himself on remembering which skis & boards belong to which guest – he jokes that it’s a good thing because guests often forget their room number. He also mentioned how it pleases him to know that the locker is secure and that his customers equipment is safe.

When asked if he has plans to expand, Yohann says that he is content with the size of his operation as it allows him to be a one-man (plus dog) operation and that each ski or board that passes through his door, receives his individual attention.  As a result of the pride in his work, Yohann has built a loyal following of customers who have followed him from The Listel underground to his new location here at Summit Lodge & Spa.

Once I spoke to Yohann, it was no surprise to me that Summit Lodge & Spa snapped him up the first chance they got. Not only is he truly a nice guy, but his dedication to quality work and overall genuine customer service, is in keeping with everything that embodies the ideals and mission of a truly Boutique Hotel experience and that of Whistler Summit Lodge & Spa. So go visit him, and treat your equipment to the best service available in Whistler!

Yohann’s Waxing Tips:

1) Wax new equipment. Off the shelf products are machine tuned and waxed, a process that is simply inferior to hand waxing – this will greatly increase the life span of the product.

2) Wax your equipment often. I asked around and the norm for waxing seems to be a couple of times a season – when really they should be waxed every 4 – 5 uses. When the equipment has not been waxed the underside loses its ability to maintain the wax and creates a porous surface that does not hold the wax evenly. This will lead to premature decay of the underside resulting in lost performance and life span.

Underground Tuning Ski & Snowboard Info:

Yohann Sheetz – Owner & Technician
Ph. (604) 938-3686
Located in the entrance way of the Summit Lodge & Spa
Open 7 days a week
Drop Off: 2 – 7 PM or call for other times.
Pick up: 8 – 10 AM

Whistler for the Holidays

Twinkling lights and snow covered trees, make Whistler so incredibly beautiful this time of year. But it’s the activities and events that really shine! Besides strolling the village and enjoying the epic skiing to be had, what else is there to do? With an events and activities list as long as Santa’s, you are sure to have a fun-filled stay!

Here are just a few of the Must-Dos going on in Whistler over this festive season.

How about experiencing the rush of a lifetime, literally – with the launch of the Skeleton Slide Experiencedoffered at the Whistler Sliding Centre. Participants start at the Maple Leaf Start, about 1/3 of the way up the track, navigating through six corners and reaching a maximum speed of up to 100 kilometres per hour.

This experience of Olympic proportions is expected to book up at record speeds, so hurry and don’t let this amazing opportunity pass you by. All puns intended.

Perhaps pyrotechnics is more your speed?  How about watching world-class athletes flip, jump and twist through rings of fire. If so then you’ll certainly enjoy The Fire & Ice Show. This hot little freebie returns to the base of Whistler Mountain every Sunday at 6:30 p.m. starting December 18.

New for this year is Whistler’s outdoor skating rink, located at the Whistler Olympic Plaza in the heart of the village. Beginning in mid-December, skating at Whistler Olympic Plaza will take place daily between 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Public access to the rink is free and skate rentals are available for $5 between 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. and in the evenings from 6-9 p.m.  Private functions may be held during the holidays, so check with the visitors centre for specifics.

Whistler Presents: The Whistler Holiday Experience. Back for another season of fun, fun, fun! This event runs from December 16 – January 2 (excluding Christmas day & New Years Eve) and is FREE. Open between 10 AM & 6 PM, features include a mini putt course, table games, bouncy castles – (and not the little ones you find at birthday parties, we are talking BIG here), crafts and video games.

Whistler Presents: New Year’s Eve Celebrations will take place at indoor and outdoor venues between 7-11 p.m. on December 31. This alcohol-free evening of family entertainment and celebration includes a number of activities, concerts and fireworks. Tickets are available in Whistler at the Whistler Visitor Centre, Millennium Place and the Meadow Park Sports Centre.

Whistler First Night 2012. Join visitors and locals and say goodbye to the old and welcome the new. This is an alcohol-free evening which promotes a “Celebration of the Arts”.  The evening will be filled with fun and fantasy, featuring a program of great live music, storytelling, art workshops and street entertainment for people of all ages. Read more about this event.

The Party Goes On, and On…

If you’re a full-grown human without offspring for the night, then you probably want to get down and boogie on New Years Eve – and there’s is no better way to experience Whistler’s legendary nightlife than with Whistler Club Crawl. These professional partiers offer the best deal in town – for $60 you get: 5 drink tickets, free VIP access to 4 or 5 bars/clubs, line bypass & even dinner – plus you get to party the night away with a bunch of new friends! Buy Tickets Here.

Finally, what is Whistler without a little yoga? Check out Loka Yoga School’s New Year’s Eve Celebration and bring in the new year Namaste-style. And don’t forget to ask Summit Lodge about our complimentary Yoga Kits – available for guests to borrow at no charge.

So, whether you plan to enjoy iconic outdoor skating, watching the mountain night sky explode in fireworks, or simply hitting the slopes – Whistler Summit Lodge & Spa is always happy to help plan your activities. Ask for the Holiday Fun Flat Sheet upon arrival. See you soon!

Are you looking for Whistler Hotel accommodation for the holidays?

The Summit Lodge offers a great location in Whistler Village. View our rooms and suites and experience our great amenities.Contact us today for rates and more details.

Luxury Whistler Getaway

Whistler is the ultimate getaway destination – year round – and for all budgets. But if what you fancy is a luxury getaway, look no further than this little mountain village. From award-winning 5 star restaurants to a plethora of extravagant activities, Whistler has it all.

Perhaps you’re looking for the “Best Present Ever” this holiday season? Well, why not consider a memorable vacation for your loved ones. While planning a vacation can be a bit overwhelming, we have put together a few ideas that are sure to make your stay beyond amazing.

Tips for the “Best Ever” Luxury Vacation in Whistler

  1. If you’re a skier or snowboarder, explore Whistler Blackcomb with a private guide or lessons.The beauty of this is you not only get your very own Whistler Blackcomb expert to show you the best and most powder reliable spots, but you also bypass any lift lines!
  2. Don’t spend a beautiful morning arranging rental gear – have it delivered right to your room.Professional fittings can be arranged and when your trip is over, all gear is picked-up. Hassel free rentals.
  3. Experience Whistler from all angles. Join one of Whistler’s scenic helicopter tours and explore the Coastal Mountains, one of the most glaciated regions in the world.
  4. Did you bring your favorite K9? While you’re on Whistler Blackcomb Mountain or exploring Whistler Village, let your pet enjoy all that Whistler has to offer too! Dog walking services are available and include pick-up and drop-off.
  5. Enjoy an amazing culinary experience with Whistler Tasting Tours. This eclectic evening takes you to four award-winning restaurants to enjoy a 4-course meal and some sweets, wine pairings are optional – but suggested!
  6. What is a vacation without the chance to relax and renew? Experience Scandinave Baths – the age-old Finnish tradition of soaking in soothing outdoor baths, both hot and cold. Hydrotherapy has been proven to be restorative and rejuvenating.

View a list of Winter Whistler Activities or call  888-913-8811 and speak to one of our staff directly. They will be happy to help you.

Where To Stay

Obviously I am going to suggest Summit Lodge & Spa – but there are more reasons than just to plug this beautiful boutique hotel.

Firstly, the Taman Sari Royal Heritage Spa is second to none. The spa environment is so serene and relaxing and you will be glad that you only have a few steps back to your hotel room. View Summit Lodge Spa Packages.

Secondly, the hotel staff are amazing. Summit prides its self on offering personal service – from welcoming your pets, free of worry (or charge) – to just being really helpful and warm.

Finally – the Executive Studio Suites really are beautiful. Great care has been taking into ensuring the hotel is on par with metro high-end boutique hotels. With art installations, in-suite fireplaces, Jacuzzi tubs and a fully equipped Kitchette, Summit lodge & Spa itself is a destination worth visiting. View a full list of Hotel amenities.

While visiting this world-class resort is an incredible experience in and of itself, with these luxury getaway ideas, you are sure to make the best present ever, even better!


Defining a Boutique Hotel

Travelling “Boutique” is fast becoming the vacation-style of choice. The travel-savvy seek out unique and interesting hotels to create the ultimate vacation experience.

Where did it all begin?

The term “Boutique Hotel” was coined by entrepreneur Steve Rubell when he and his partner, Ian Schrager, opened the first Boutique Hotel in New York in 1984. The term was used to describe their new hotel as being more like a boutique as opposed to a department store. The concept emphasized personal service and attention to detail – and guests loved it.


So, with that in mind – what defines a Boutique Hotel today?

Generally speaking, a Boutique Hotel is an intimate, usually luxurious or unique hotel (You can expect a little of the unexpected). Always individual, Boutique Hotels focus on offering their services in a comfortable, welcoming yet genuine environment and often go above and beyond the usual expectations of temporary living spaces.

Also known as “Design Hotels” – these interesting accommodations are typically themed, stylish and artistic. At Summit Lodge & Spa, Local artisans are showcased throughout the lobby and within the rooms themselves. Original paintings by renowned artists, such as Kal Gajoum, adorn the walls and make this boutique hotel a contender for artistic display within the lively Whistler art scene.

What makes Summit Lodge & Spa a Boutique Hotel?

Simply put, we understand that nothing compares to genuine, individual service from people who truly want to make your stay more than just where you sleep – it needs to be an experience in and of itself.

When you arrive you can expect to greeted by warm and welcoming staff. Each of the 81 suites are beautifully and individually decorated with original Whistler Art and contemporary furnishings. You will not miss the comforts of home as each suite offers a cozy fireplace, a soaker tub and a kitchenette for those inviting nights you wish to stay in. If you have a pet, bring them along – Summit Lodge & Spa is very pet friendly!

If a unique hotel experience is what you desire while in Whistler BC, look no further than Summit Lodge & Spa. Located right in the heart of Whistler Village, each detail has been carefully thought out to offer a one-of-a-kind stay. We truly understand the essence of what you expect from your Boutique Hotel.

First Night Whistler 2012

Whistler’s First Night is a family friendly New Year’s Eve Celebration that takes place in Whistler’s Village Square and the Whistler Conference Center.  Join visitors and locals and say goodbye to the old and welcome the new. This is an alcohol-free evening which promotes a “Celebration of the Arts”.  The evening will be filled with fun and fantasy, featuring a program of great live music, storytelling, art workshops and street entertainment for people of all ages.

The evening starts at 6:30pm on December 31st allowing enough time to explore and experience the celebration around Whistler Village. Whistler Village’s perimeter will be secured for the evening and tickets are required.  Tickets can be purchased in advanced for $15 adults and $8 for children 12 years and under.  Tickets can be purchased in the evening for a fee of $20 adult and $10 for children 12 and under.  Children 2 years and under are free.

Activities in the evening include a Creative Zone located in the Grand Foyer of the Whistler Conference Centre. The zone features fantastic craft zones to show off your creative prowess, and a fairground atmosphere with jugglers, clowns, face paints, pantomime, bouncing castles, live music and much more! This will be a great place to meet kids and adults from Whistler and beyond!

For the teenagers there will be a Youth Zone Night Club at the Whistler Conference Centre. This is the party to be at for under 19’s and there will not be a parent in sight! This will be a fun evening and young men and women will be able to dance the night away, play some wicked games and try their luck at the door prizes.

First Night offers a 9:30pm countdown for the younger participants in the crowd that can’t quite last until midnight.  There will be a firework display to ring in New Year and live performances on two stages.

Tickets will be available on December 1st at the Tourism Whistler Activity Centre (Located at the TELUS Conference Centre) or at the Whistler Visitor Information Centre (Located at Whistler Bus/Taxi Loop).

For more information visit Whistler First Night.

Are you looking for Whistler Hotel accommodation for New Years Eve?

 The Summit Lodge offers a great location in Whistler Village. View our rooms and suites and experience our great amenitiesContact us today for rates and more details

La Nina is Back

The countdown to official opening day for Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains on November 24th is on! The mountains have already received lots of snow.  This early snow fall is in part due to La Nina.  La Nina is when the ocean surface temperature across the Pacific Ocean will be lower than normal by 3-5 °C.  The effect of La Nina is an increase in precipitation – and more snow!

The snow base at Pig Alley (1,650 meters on Whistler Mountain) on November 4th was at 52 cm (20 in) and is growing fast. The snow keeps falling!  Check out the latest conditions on the mountain with the live webcams.  Stay in touch as the mountains may open earlier for skiing with all the new snow that has fallen.

If you are looking to come to Whistler and experience the fantastic early skiing conditions, stay at the Summit Lodge and Spa and save with our incredible rates.  We are offering 30% off winter bookings valid for stays between November 25th to April 30th (some Blackout dates apply).  This is offer is only valid for booking made by November 15th – so hurry! There is also 50% off parking.  For more details visit our specialspage.

In addition to our great rates and specials we include the following with all reservations:

  1. FREE wireless internet (value of up to $15.00/day)
  2. Dogs stay FREE (value of up to $35.00/day)
  3. Fully equipped kitchenettes in every room
  4. Complimentary Shuttle to Ski Lifts (winter season only)
  5. FREE Ski Storage (value of up to $6.00pp/day)


Below are recent images that were taken on Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains.

snow nov 11

snow nov 11 02

Photo Credits:
Manny Mendes Dos Santos / CoastPhoto.com
Doug MacFarlane

Are you looking for Whistler Hotel accommodation for your ski vacation?

The Summit Lodge offers a great location in Whistler Village. View our rooms and suites and experience our great amenitiesContact us today for rates and more details