West Coast Adrenaline – BC is For Thrill Seekers

No matter what the destination, there will always be certain types of vacationers: sun-worshippers, souvenir hunters, destination diners, shutterbugs, museum-junkies…

But now, a new brand of tourist is emerging – a brave, defiant Mountain Dew-swilling kind of traveler with a thirst for adventure, an undying desire to push the envelope and an unexplainable need to scare the living daylights out of him or herself. We call you folks Adrenalists; and British Columbia has a gamut of thrills and spills to keep your pulses racing. Here are some of our favourites…

How does roaring through the treetops sound? Ziptrek Ecotours in Whistler is happy to strap you in and send you hurtling through some of the most beautiful rainforests in the province. The two distinctly thrilling packages are: The Bear Tour which features astonishing aerial views of Fitzsimmons Creek, courtesy of five incredible zip lines connected by a web of suspension bridges, trails and dizzyingly-high boardwalks and The Eagle Tour which is comprised of five new zip-lines, including a 2 thousand foot monster that boasts a twenty-story descent. This is the closest you’ll ever get to being a flying squirrel.

Maybe you’re less flying squirrel and more spawning salmon. The Whistler area is also home to some of the most thrilling white water rides in the country. From family-friendly to breakneck crazy, there’s a raft (and a lifejacket) with your name all over it. Whistler Whitewater Rafting tackles the best of the Green, Lower Cheakamus, Elaho and Squamish Rivers, as does Elaho Exhilarator White Water Rafting and Whistler River Rafting. Wedge Rafting has trips that leave the Whistler Resort Village Base five times-a-day. Have a fearless youngster in your group? Cheakamus Splash River Rafting for Families provides children as young as five years old with the time of their lives. Has the fresh air got you hungry? A day out with Canadian Outback Rafting includes an amazing BBQ buffet.

While we’re still in the neighbourhood, Coast Range Heli-skiing offers the ultimate backcountry experience, dropping small groups of 4 or 5 (plus a guide) onto some of the most spectacular mountain and ski terrain in the world.

Take things to even greater heights from Vancouver by jumping out of a perfectly healthy airplane. Skydive Vancouver brings the thrill of the freefall to newbies via a first time tandem jump, but after that, it’s all you! The Accelerated Freefall Program fast-tracks the brave through the hoops they need to ‘jump’ through in order to enjoy solo skydives. Their fleet consists of 4 planes including a 10 pax Pilatus Porter as well as Cessnas that operate from their own airfield and runway. This facility has everything you could want from onsite parachute packers and videographers to gear sales, showers and kitchen facilities. And conveniently, the Abbotsford Drop Zone is just 45 minutes from downtown Vancouver. Not far away in Pitt Meadows, Pacific Skydivers Ltd. Has worked for over 2 decades with the Canadian Sport Parachute Association (CSPA), to bring the thrill of skydiving to beginners and pros alike. With jumps from 10 thousand plus feet, you’re guaranteed a freefall of well over half a minute before the canopy-opening and the peaceful float for the last 5 thousand feet. Tandem and solo jumps are available as well as thorough instruction. Take a trip to Victoria on Vancouver Island? Victoria Skydiving Adventures Inc. on Vancouver Island brings you some of the most amazing views of the Gulf Islands and the distant Olympic Mountain Range as you hurtle towards the earth. The first jump includes ground instruction and a solo jump from 3 thousand feet with a qualified instructor activating your chute upon exit. Maybe you’ll miss the thrill of the freefall, but your first jump is solo!

We completely appreciate that many of you may not be quite ready for such a leap of faith… Fear not! There’s always bungee jumping. Relying less on the laws of aerodynamics and more on the quality of the elastic band tied securely to your ankles, this gift from Oxford University (thanks, chaps) has a strong foothold in British Columbia with many popular locations offering brief freefalls to those with any lemming-like impulses. Whistler Bungee is the only site province-wide that is open 365 days-a-year. Nowhere else will you know the thrill of racing earthwards amid a blur of old-growth rainforest and basalt column cliffs. But for the total bungee experience, one has to make the short journey over to Vancouver Island. And is it ever worth it… Wild Play Element Park in Nanaimo is home to some of the most unique thrill-rides you’ll ever experience. Imagine over 17 acres of fir forest complete with an aerial adventure course, a king swing, a zip-line and of course, the bungee zone. Because you haven’t lived until you’ve jumped off a bridge and hurtled toward the Nanaimo River at 50 kilometeres an hour. Once you’ve done this, taking your clothes off shouldn’t be that much of a stretch. Test this theory every Valentine’s Day when brave exhibitionists jump for free! The other attractions are no less thrilling with the TreeGo adventure course providing 2.5 hours of high-altitude fun, the King Swing that reaches speeds of 140 kilometeres-an-hour and the Zip Line that arcs across the canyon, reaching speeds of 100 kilometers-an-hour!

Since you’re on the Island, why not experience the Zenish beauty of Long Beach on Vancouver Island’s Pacific Coast. Stop in at Storm, the Tofino Surf Shop where, for modest daily rates (and a reasonable damage deposit) you can rent all the gear you need for a day out on the waves. Storm has it all from body boards and surf boards to wetsuits and flippers. While the best waves occur during the winter and fall season, the area is a favourite with locals and visitors alike all year round. Just don’t be fooled by the warm sunshine. The water temperature fluctuates only 2 degree between winter and summer. It’s not worth cutting corners on your rentals. Storm also provides boots and hoods – might as well stay comfortable while you’re waiting for your set to roll in. This is truly an experience not to be missed. There’s a uniquely peaceful thrill in padding out onto the warm, endless sand, board under your arm as you gaze through the morning mist at the crashing surf – followed by, of course, the entirely different thrill of carving along the perfect wave…

British Columbia is thrilling no matter how you choose to vacation. We’re betting that our ideas got your pulses racing!