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Whistler: play hard – relax hard!

Guest blogger Tash McGill got to sample the best of Whistler…

Waking up in Whistler is outstanding on any given day, especially when your California King bedroom has an enormous in-room spa bath on one side (perfect for soothing away the aches from a hectic day on the mountain) and a startling view of the mountain on the other.

I was tempted to lie in bed all day enjoying the view – but Whistler is the kind of place you come to play hard before you relax.

Wildplay! Pic Rick Graham

When the summer season hits, it’s all go-go-go, whether or you’re on the ground or 50ft in the air. The  scary news is that you don’t need to be up a mountain to get that high. We raced to Wildplay Whistler (since closed down) to play in the 900-year old Douglas Fir treetops.

Of course, it really depends on your idea of play. I think this is a particularly creative form, especially considering it involves putting on a harness to climb up, over, through and hang on for dear life on their amazing zipline obstacle course! An experienced guide takes you the whole way through the course which got progressively more challenging as we negotiated our way through what seemed to be impossible pathways. What a thrill – only slightly less thrilling was the little 9 year old who blitzed us at every turn.

Down from the treetops the action didn’t have a chance to stop – so with much anticipation of how the arms would be aching – we were off for more canoeing and biking, this time on a stunning lake and small river. We were once again looking out for bear cubs on the side of the lake only to mistake a small log for a cub. Let’s blame it on the sunshine, the boogie and the glare.

A peaceful canoe ride took us past a few features of Whistler’s long popularity with travelers and young people – including an old lodge and some original settler cottages. Then, onto the bikes which would eventually lead us to our reward for all that hard playing.

Scandinave spa. Pic Rick Graham

Some quality relaxation at the Scandinave Spa and believe me, I was prepared to give relaxation everything I had, especially when Swedish massage and sauna was on offer.

The Scandinave Spa should not be rushed – this is a quality experience for all the senses, built into the side of a small hill with terraced pools, gardens, relaxation rooms and views of the stunning surrounds. The Nordic way begins with sauna or steam room (both options are available) for 15min, followed by a plunge into an icy cold pool before retreating to the warmer pool for 5mins. Take a breather in the sun or in one of the conservatories – then repeat the whole cycle 3 – 5 times (or until it’s time for your massage).

Not for the fainthearted – the catch is, you must be silent! But it’s hard to stop yourself from having a wee giggle about whether the Scandinave Spa will deliver a Sven to complete the all-important massage. I was not disappointed when Sven turned out to be an Ivan, all 6ft something of him. By the end of the session I was floating on air and convinced I wasn’t going to feel a single twinge of muscle ache the next day.

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Hi, I'm Megan Singleton and I'm the word slinger of this travel blog as well as on radio in NZ every Sunday. Former Travel Editor at Yahoo NZ and current freelance writer for a few newspapers and mags from time to time, I set off on this travel writing journey 20 years ago and I've pretty much always got a suitcase half packed (or half un-packed!) I'd love you to join me on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for my newsletters if you want loads of travel tips, advice and deals!