Last Friday we decided to pull the kids out of school and head up the famous Sea to Sky Highway to visit the Sea to Sky Gondola. Since it opened almost a year ago I’ve seen many of my friends streaming amazing photos from the site and I’ve been dying to get up there. So when we were invited up for the day we grabbed the opportunity to check it out.
I was excited to have the kids be on the ground and in the air exploring, what many British Columbians to be, the BEST PLACE ON EARTH. The second you ascend from the Gondola Base and start to rise over the ocean and Squamish you quickly realize, this place really is spectacular. Did you know that Squamish and the Sea to Sky Gondola were mentioned in the New York Times prestigious “50 Destinations to Visit in 2015!” We’re so fortunate to call this place “home.”
As our Gondola rose up above the trees and into the sky we were taking pictures and filming video at a rapid pace, trying to capture absolutely everything. (I took 199 photos and 27 videos) It was so hard to capture it all as the views were literally stunning for 360 degrees. From the famous Squamish Chief and spotting rock climbers, to watching boats come in and out of Howe Sound, to the snow-capped mountains and the forests below… “Wow” is all we could muster. We were practically speechless. I mean, we knew it was going to be good. But this good? Impossible. I had to make a video to share with you:
After about ten minutes we were at the top chalet ready to step out onto the mountain side. We were like kids in a candy story trying to decide what to explore first. My son and husband took off to the suspension bridge while my daughter and I went over to the viewing deck.
As I look back at my pictures I know they don’t do this place justice. You have to see it to believe it!
The kids LOVED the maps and trying to navigate where to head off to next. After a quick snack we took off for the trails and went to check out the other vantage points along the way. The kids were literally running through the trails. The trails are beautifully maintained and accessible for everyone. I think my favorite thing about the trails was their subtle signs, “Trail Love” with gentle reminders to protect this precious environment we were enjoying.
Along the way there are a ton of opportunities to learn about the environment as there are great signs with educational facts and points of interest everywhere. Whether it’s learning about the First Nations history, the trees and the forest or the ponds and the delicate habitat, they’ve really done a fantastic job of connecting visitors with our area.
Speaking of visitors, over its inaugural year the Gondola exceeded its inaugural goal of 200,000 visits before the summer was half-over. It’s received international recognition from Tourism boards from UK, Germany, Australia, Japan and even China. Visitors from all over the world are loving it! I think the best part is though that locals are loving it too, often referring to it as “our gondola” and snapping up seasons passes so they can enjoy the mountain on a regular basis. I saw just as many seasons pass holders as visitors and I love that people are out there enjoying this great asset.
I can’t wait to go back. Perhaps next time we’ll try hiking, although I’ve heard it’s a challenging two hour hike with a good part being comparable to the Grouse Grind. I’m up for the challenge, but perhaps we’ll send the kids up on the Gondola with Grandma!!!
This weekend marks the 1 year anniversary of the Gondola opening. To celebrate they are having a 1st birthday party. On Saturday, May 16th from noon to 3:00pm there will be events taking place at the Summit Lodge. There will be live music on the patio performed by Juno Award-winner Cam Salay. There will also be free arts and crafts (DIY party hats!) in the Summit Lodge, you can place a letter to your future self in the Time Capsule, take the Spirit Trail tour or join in a guided hike of the Wonderland Trail. (And of course there will be birthday cake!)
Happy Birthday Sea to Sky Gondola! Thank you for having us share in your celebrations!
When you’re there be sure to schedule time to enjoy the coolest playground I’ve ever seen…