Sporty Squamish, British Columbia

Desperately seeking an adrenaline rush during your time off? Then grab your things, load up a Chevy Colorado (you need its truck bed for all your gear after all), and make the drive to Squamish, B.C. Just an hour from Vancouver, this city is known as the outdoor adventure capital of the country so the only issue you’ll have here during your sporty vacay may be finding enough time to fit in all of the ways you want to work up a sweat.

Where to stay

If you’ve got the Chevy Colorado truck bed tent, then you can really get your dose of Mother Nature by camping. Should you need accommodations, though, the Executive Suites Hotel & Resort feels like a souped up version of a cabin, ie. rustic and surrounded by trees and mountain tops in the distance, but with all the comforts of a hotel. The rooms are large (which you need when you’ve packed so much gear, and there’s a full kitchen so you can prepare snacks and a fridge to keep your beers cold. And if trying SUP (that’s standup paddleboarding, for those in the know) is on the agenda, you can rent a board from the hotel for a bargain cost of $30 for three hours.

What to climb

There are plenty of advanced climbs in the area, but if you’re a newbie (or if your girlfriend is a bit squeamish of heights but wants to try climbing), the Via Ferrata at the Sea to Sky Gondola is the perfect introduction to the sport. This climb, which just launched, includes a 60-metre climb; that’s the most fear factoring moment. But the sturdiness of the “iron path” (that is, the iron rungs you use to climb as you methodically clip and unclip carabiners from your harness along the cabled route–this is what defines via ferrata climbs) makes most everyone feel quite confident and comfortable on this easy climb to the summit.

Where to paddle

When you need to come down from your adrenaline rush, a session of standup paddleboarding will do the trick. When doing SUP on calm waters such as the gorgeously clear and peaceful Brohm Lake, it can be quite meditative as you move slowly through the water and find your balance, both literally and figuratively. A pro from Sea to Ski Adventure Company can teach  you the very basics (from how to get on your board to how to turn). If you’re up for more of a challenge, let your guide know and if the weather is right, they may take you to the Squamish River instead.

What to hike

First timers to Squamish are practically required to complete the right of passage of hiking the Stawamus Chief (that’d be the mammoth three-peaked mountain you’ve been driving by). But don’t underestimate this hike just because everyone seems to do it; it’s an advanced hike. As always, pack water and snacks and wear sturdy footwear (preferably hiking boots, but you can get by with running shoes) as you will be tackling not just trails, but also steps, ladders and doing some chain work as you climb up steep rock faces. Reaching the summit of the first peak will take approximately two hours, with the third peak being the tallest and most difficult hike given the distance. At the peak, you’ll discover an unforgettable view so bring your camera and you may even encounter speed flyers taking off from the summit.

Where to drink

Your trip can’t be all fitness and no beer now. After all, you do need to replenish your carbs. The place to grab a cold one is Howe Sound Brewery in downtown Squamish, which has been in the brewing business for 19 years. Worked up a major appetite as well as being thirsty? Go for their beer pairing with your dinner here; you may be surprised how well their malty King Heffy Imperial Hefeweizen goes with their famous deep-fried cheesecake.

Karen Kwan

Karen Kwan is a freelance writer based in Toronto. Her work has appeared in Flare, Elle Canada and, Glow, Metro, Huffington Post Canada, Travelife and Travel + Escape. She also runs her blog,, where she writes about health, beauty, fitness and lifestyle.

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