British Columbia’s coastal rainforests are a sight to behold and up in Whistler, you can take a tour through — and over — the tress to discover more about this sensitive eco-system. ZipTrek EcoTours, the world-famous zipline company, offers TreeTrek tours which guide you up and around their Blackcomb Mountain courses, but keep your feet on the ground (or at least keep something under your feet).
On a recent trip to Whistler with a group, we participated in an abridged tour with Operations Manager, Brent Macdonald. Before we even hopped on the Ziptrek shuttle bus over to Blackcomb from Whistler Village, Brent talked extensively about the company’s eco-consciousness and how they hope their practices — or at least their awareness — can rub off on their guests. “We get them in a beautiful, natural environment and hopefully that makes them more susceptible to the idea of sustainability.”
Climbing up past the Whistler Sliding Centre, the Ziptrek shuttle carries TreeTrek and Ziptrek passengers. TreeTrek-ers follow a series of elevated boardwalks and suspension bridges between platforms that surround hearty Douglas Firs while information signs and guides provide an education on the sensitive environment. 200 feet up, this adventure is open year-round and is family-friendly — but be warned, it may create to a strong desire to escalate to ziplining.
From offering water from a tap on the tour (served in paper cups) to using untreated wood in all their boardwalks, ZipTrek is “off the grid”. They use micro hydro power, solar panel (you can see panels down on some of the zipline support cables) and wind power to create all the energy that their tours use. Brent said they they could also take out the nails, pack up and leave everything — letting all of their boards fall to the forest floor — and the Western Red Cedar planks would return to nature.
Rain or shine, the tour provides cover under the soft needled canopy, and the fresh scent of the rushing Fitzsimmons Creek below combined with the mulch of the forest floor will remind you why you live in this super, natural province.
TreeTrek tickets are $39 for adults, $29 for youth, children and seniors. You can also purchase a Peak 2 Peak combo pack and take the record-breaking gondola between Whistler and Blackcomb before or after your adventure.