Whistler is known for world class skiing, having the finest art galleries and restaurants, and of course an après like no other resort, but did you also know it was named after a rodent!?
Hiking on Blackcomb Mountain last summer up Decker Loop, I was in pure bliss inhaling the fresh air, basking in the sunshine and just starting to feel the ache in my legs when suddenly I looked to my left and saw the biggest hoary marmot I have ever seen! It was as cute as a button (a very large one at that), but nonetheless it was a sight I have been waiting for over 25 years to see. Taking a much needed break from foraging on leaves and flowers I found this hefty herbivor tanning itself on the big boulders in the alpine which they do almost 50% of their time, a life I would gladly accept. When I got home later that day, intrigued by the most exciting wildlife sighting I had seen all summer, I read up on my newly discovered friend and found we had some things in common.
Their social behaviour is similar to mine, in that they enjoy play-fighting, social grooming, nose-to-nose touching, and females like to ward off intruders around their home (yes, they’re tough mothers!). But most of all they LOVE Whistler, afterall the mountain originally called London Mountain, was later changed to Whistler because of our silver-haired friends and their high pitched whistle-like call. You could say that they are Whistler’s mascots, and they were in fact during the 2010 Olympic games if you recall the furry marmot mascot named Mukmuk.
As they hibernate for 6-8 months of the year, the best time to catch a glimpse of these wondrous animals is in the summer months. And you would think that Whistler is their mountain of choice, however, it happens to be on Blackcomb’s unique boulder fields that they prefer to bask in the sunshine and summer heat. I can see why though, as it is one of the best spots to chill, take in the views and breath in that fresh mountain air. Our furry friends have it all figured out, like this one here braving the storm.
On your next trip to Whistler, why not head up the mountain and join the hoary marmots for a day out in the alpine. If you’re lucky, you might also catch a glimpse of the many Whiskey Jacks and Black Bears that call these amazing mountains their home. But if you can’t get out for some reason, we are happy to bring the wildlife to you. You can view Whistler’s wildlife from the comfort of your own home by shopping Heidi’s gallery.