To say that experiencing the Sea to Sky Gondola was a transformative experience, would be an understatement. It’s hard not to feel all the things I most love feeling: alive, free, adventurous, exploratory, and joyful, when I’m spending time in nature. Doing so in a whole new setting over 800 metres above sea level (even higher than the Stawamus Chief trail I’d hiked a few years ago, which is nearby and can be seen from the top of the gondola and a viewing platform) increases those feelings ten-fold.
Today, I did something I’d been wanting to do since it opened in May, 2014—check out the Sea to Sky Gondola. Maybe a foggy, intermittently rainy day in early December doesn’t sound like the best day to enjoy the trails, views, and delicious food that the Sea to Sky Gondola offers, but it was pretty much perfect.
Read on to see why a trip to the Sea to Sky Gondola is a magical/transformative experience any time of the year.
Adventure starts here
It’s an absolutely breathtaking drive to Squamish from Vancouver on the Sea to Sky Highway, whether you take your own vehicle or hop on the shuttle bus at one of the many downtown Vancouver pick-up spots. Get directions and information on the shuttle service.
The Basecamp Café is cozy and welcoming. There are plenty of vegan/vegetarian/gluten-free options available and delicious hot and cold drinks to enjoy before or after your trip on the gondola. I love how the general manager, Kirby, made a special mention of the fact that the natural environment and choosing local food (as well as baking/cooking in-house) were important considerations for their planning.
Magical ride, beautiful year-round
Weather is unpredictable, but you can check the Sea to Sky Gondola page for up-to-date information on weather and trail conditions. Today, it was foggy as we rode up on the gondola. But, we could still make out trails on the mountain, different peaks, the Howe Sound, and so many gorgeous trees. The ride takes between 8 and 12 minutes.
Adventure for everyone
From temperate rainforest at the bottom of the gondola, to sub alpine at the top, there are adventures available for the entire family and every skill level. If there had been snow, we would’ve gone snow-shoeing, but the guided tour that Arron (the tour guide and head rescue guy) gave us was a lot of fun and also really informative. I bet he knows a lot about the wildlife and biological aspects of the area around the gondola, if someone wanted to learn more.
The Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge was fun to walk across and pose on. It hardly shook at all, due to the super-strong cables. It gets very windy up here, so this is important. This bridge can be accessed by strollers and wheelchairs, so everyone can enjoy it. Both the Spirit and Panorama trails are also accessible.
The Christmas-ified Spirit Trail had a “selfie station” set-up, which we all made good use of:
Other than snow-shoeing, there are plenty of hiking trails open during the winter season. There are also many fun indoor activities, like Storytime at the Gondola, a Holiday Concert, Santa Brunch and Photos, and Traditional Fondue Dinner. There are evening meals and activities planned throughout the year. Just check the events page to learn more.
Speaking of meals, I am so blown away with how accommodating everyone was to my vegan diet! The rest of the members of the media and I were treated to a fondue lunch (they gave me a delicious soup instead of the cheese fondue), followed by a chocolate fondue dessert course (they made me vegan chocolate fondue). I also had a soy milk latté and was given a delicious vegan hot chocolate in a souvenir thermos. It’s so important to have delicious, filling food when you’re out adventuring. I can’t wait to go back to the Summit Lodge to try more food and drinks!
If you’re looking to give your loved ones the gift of adventure /gift them an experience rather than something physical, season’s passes and annual passes make great gifts. I’m seriously thinking of gifting myself with a pass! I can’t wait to bring my friends and family to the Sea to Sky Gondola. Check out the website for all the information you’ll need to plan an awesome day of adventure!