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Adventure needn’t be daring. adventure need only be exciting. for activities on every level of enthralling, Canada’s capital of adventure goes by the name of British Columbia.
For the Mild and Mellow: NHL ICE-HOCKEY MATCH
It’s just hockey. In Canada, you don’t need to specify the ice; it’s a national given. It’s also a national obsession.
Imagine 18,000 passionate fans screaming in your ears, the thwack of puck on stick and the constant hiss of razor-sharp blades slicing through ice. If you’re lucky enough to be in Vancouver at the same time as the Vancouver Canucks, throw down your Canadian bucks and buy tickets to a game.
At the Rogers Arena, the atmosphere is guaranteed electric, with erratic bursts of 80s rock music, bellowing fans and a heady mix of popcorn, beer and hot dogs. Gather rink-side 30-minutes prior to opening face-off and watch the players go through their warm-ups. If you hear the sudden ‘thfffft’ of a wayward puck, you better dive behind the perspex.
For the Tame But Game: DISCOVERING STANLEY PARK
By wheel or hooves. That’s how you want to explore Vancouver’s Stanley Park. Because four-hundred acres is no easy distance on foot. Not unless you have a hankering for a heel blister.
Rent a bike, re-live your roller blade days or partake in a horse-drawn tour with two handsome shire horses. Navigate the 8.8km seawall – and dedicated bicycle path – that flanks the city waterfront; absorbing ocean views and shiny skyline vistas.
Alternatively, join 20 others on-board a vintage horse and trap. You’ll trot by the cluster of eight First Nations totem poles, rose gardens and urban green spaces frequented by Canadian geese and ring-necked ducks. With mountain peaks standing steadfast in the distance and gleaming rock-studded water, don’t worry about your wheels or your ride, just settle your gaze on that view.
For the Fun and Fearless: NORTH SHORE MOUNTAIN BIKING
Start with the Boogieman, tackle Stupid Grouse and then conquer Severed Dick.
Boasting a showcase of leading – and unusually named - mountain bike trails, Vancouver’s North Shore harbours some of the most challenging off-road mountain-biking in the world. Trails are cut from age-old logging routes by and die-hard mountain bikers forging their own clandestine routes in the forest. From easy cross-country paths to technical downhill, the terrain is a natural labyrinth of logs, boulders and ravines, combined with man-made obstacles and muddy gullies. The Boogieman is a difficult beast, hindered by rock faces, whereas Stupid Grouse, albeit obstacle-ridden, enjoys a graze-deterring mossy forest floor. But if you’re looking for something a little rowdier on your wheel rubber, venture further into Mt Seymour; confronting Severed Dick if you dare.
For the Bold and Gusty: HELI-SKIING IN WHISTLER
The pinnacle of any high-octane ski experience, heli-skiing combines the very best of two adrenalin-pumping experiences; high-altitude helicopter flights with off-trail skiing. So if the snow-shrouded mountain scenery doesn’t steal you of breath, the fast descent down its freshly powdered slopes surely will. High in Whistler’s backcountry, where there’s nothing but virgin snow and hair-raising gradients, heightened senses are a given - get ready for the rush.
If you’d like a little more time to gather your thoughts and to appreciate Whistler’s exceptional beauty, swap the heli-skiing for snowmobiling. Novices can take lessons or picturesque mountain tours, while veteran powder hounds can book snow safaris through the most spectacular white playground in the Northern Hemisphere.
For the Daring and Raring: GROUSE GRIND HIKING TRAIL
The Grouse Grind challenge. Are you game? Or deranged? Because either works.
If you possess equal measures madness, muscle and fitness, Vancouver’s Grouse Mountain hike is infamous for being one of the cruellest workouts in the city. A near-vertical 2.9km climb, comprising 2,830 steps, your heart will be pounding within minutes. Two hours later, sweat drenched, thighs shaking and face grimacing, you’ll reach the mountain’s summit. Hopefully!
There’s a reason The Grouse Grind is referred to as ‘Mother Nature’s Stairmaster’ and that’s because Mother Nature is a merciless wench. Thankfully, humans built the SuperSkyride Aerial Tramway. A downhill descent is strictly forbidden, so you might as well hitch a lift back to the city. Soak up the views of downtown Vancouver and the surrounding islands. There’s a cold beer at the bottom and you’ve earned it.
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