VANCOUVER, British Columbia When most people think of Whistler,
they imagine miles of ski trails covered in deep, powdery, snow.
However, summertime in Whistler has a host of soft-adventure
activities as well.
Austin-Lehman Adventures, based in Billings, Mont., seeks to
satisfy a dilettante’s desire to have it all by crafting a tour
that includes rafting, hiking, biking and paddling, and at the same
time, nonstop service that will please even the most demanding
Included in the price of the trip ($2,900) is lodging, meals and
gratuities. Guests stay in one of the best hotels in the area, The
Fairmont Chateau Whistler Resort, where each room comes with a view
of the mountains outside.
And on an Austin-Lehman’s trip you’ll see plenty of mountains.
On a recent hosted trip, a typical day included a guided tour
through the Alice Lake Park rainforest, followed by a trip down the
Elaho River. At the end of the float trip a fully catered barbeque
was waiting that included fresh sockeye salmon from the area.
Another day the group enjoyed a guided hike to the top of
Whistler Mountain. While the hike itself was rather strenuous,
snacks were served on silver trays at the summit.
The fourth day of the trip was the most active. The morning was
devoted to canoeing across Green Lake, then, after another catered
picnic on shore, the group paddled to a waiting van for a drive
north to Pemberton where mountain bikes were geared up. We then
rode for almost 15 miles (over flat roads) through a lovely valley
from Pemberton toward Upper Lillooet Park.
Although 15 miles might sound daunting, a support van cruised
along with us, offering anything we might need.
The best part of the trip was that at the end of the day, when
our muscles were aching, there was nothing like a soak in one of
the many hot tubs at the Fairmont Chateau. If more than a soak is
required, the hotel also has the Vida Wellness Spa, perfect for
massages, facials and other pampering.
On this trip, Austin-Lehman guides constantly proved their
mettle, as guests peppered them with questions ranging from the
possibility of bear encounters to the reason for the chalky look of
the rivers and lakes (limestone runoff from the glacial scrapings).
Their experience, commitment to detail and good humor created an
easy atmosphere for everyone.
Dan Austin and Paul Lehman said they added this tour in
southwestern British Columbia to their list of adventures for the
traveler who is comfortable in mountain shorts during the day and
“smart, casual” attire in the evening.
Elegant dinners are served in one of Whistler’s renowned
three-star restaurants. Keep an appetite for seafood, as the nearby
Pacific Ocean provides local menus with salmon, crab, halibut and
At the end of the trip, the Austin-Lehman motto will ring truer
than ever to your clients: “The toughest part is going home.”
Austin-Lehman recently announced that it has upped its travel
agent commission from 12 percent to 15 percent on all trips booked
before Dec. 31, regardless of departure date even for trips taken