Less than 12 hours before my departure from New York to Whistler, my Wall St. banker ski buddy called me with a crisis.
& # 39; I'm so sorry, Sean, but Venezuela is going through the pipes. The bank wants me to stay. I'm not going to get Whistler. & # 39;
In other words, go whistle.
The itinerary was simple: fly first Thursday morning, stand on the slopes for fourteen. Ski all day Friday, Saturday, Sunday and go back to New York on Monday.
By pure happiness I had a friend who was willing to step in to replace my bank friend; the only problem was that she wasn't such a competent skier – the route would have to change.
Whistler, located in the spectacular Coast Mountains of British Columbia, just two hours north of Vancouver, is Canada & # 39; s favorite year-round destination. There are two majestic mountains with a lively village base, epic skiing and snowboarding, four championship golf courses, unbeatable shops, restaurants and bars, accommodation for every budget, hiking trails, spas and perhaps the best mountain bike park in the world
The Village has 200 shops, boutiques, galleries, jewelers, clothing and equipment specialists to keep you busy. Expect big names such as Patagonia and Helly Hansen, and local favorites such as Armchair Books
Whistler & # 39; s busiest time is the ski season from December to March. Many hotels offer ski packages and incentives around that time. The skiing can last until the spring and summer (the World Ski & Snowboard Festival is held in April), because Whistler sees extremely heavy snow in the colder months
The combined ski terrain offers more than 200 runs accessible via 37 lifts. One, the three-kilometer-long PEAK 2 PEAK gondola, joins the two mountain peaks and is & # 39; the world's longest unsupported lift range. These excellent technical features combined with the variety of terrain – wide open bowls on Whistler Mountain and the Horstman Glacier on Blackcomb (where you can ski all year round) – and world-class care keep Whistler a favorite for serious skiers. Unparalleled views that extend to the Pacific Ocean, lots of terrain for all levels and a charming full-service resort village right at the base make it an equally good choice for families and casual skiers.
If your idea of the perfect holiday includes less crowds both in the mountains and in the village, abundant availability of accommodations and reliable snowfall (an average of 2.4 meters or about 8 feet in November only), then the early season may be your ideal time to visit
The PEAK 2 PEAK gondola of more than three kilometers joins the two peaks of Whistler and Blackcomb and is & # 39; the world's longest unsupported lifting range. It takes 22 minutes for a tour and offers a beautiful 360-degree view of Whistler Village, mountain peaks, lakes, glaciers and forests
Whistler was the Host Mountain Resort of the Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games in Vancouver 2010, the first time the International Olympic Committee granted that designation to a community. Whistler organized the alpine technical and speed events, the sliding events in Fitzsimmons Creek, the Nordic events in the nearby Callaghan valley and all Paralympic events except the opening ceremonies, sleigh hockey and wheelchair curling
& # 39; At night Whistler Village comes alive with apres-ski. Bars and restaurants cater for every budget and enjoyment is guaranteed
The great thing, as I soon discovered with Whistler, is that it is not only the best ski resort in North America with Olympic origins, but also the widest range Once in life activities – and all based on the magical Whistler Village. It promised to be dreamy things and we couldn't wait to arrive.
The journey from New York to Whistler comprises two flights: one to Toronto and then one to Vancouver. From Vancouver it's a two-hour bus ride north to the spectacular Coast Mountains. Thanks to the time difference of two hours you can leave at the crack of the day from the east coast and be realistic on the slopes by 3 pm.
We missed the last run of the day unfortunately due to delays in Toronto, but made up for it by booking at The Sundial Boutique Hotel – the most convenient location of all hotels in the village of Whistler and a stone's throw from the Whistler and Blackcomb Mountain gondola. We were guaranteed the best possible start in the morning.
In addition to & # 39; Luxury by the Lifts & # 39; the private sundial is known for its warm, 5-star personal service and rooftop hot tub, as well as 49 spacious suites with gourmet kitchens, gas fireplaces and stunning views.
What better way to start the morning than with an Irish breakfast? In addition to the sundial, we were at Dubh Linn Gate Irish Pub for a full Irish breakfast complete with soda bread and Barry's Tea. The pub is designed and handmade in Ireland, with the fixtures and fittings and all transported to the Pan Pacific Whistler mountainside. It also plays daily live Celtic music for those who want to come in for an apres-ski pint of Guinness or an Irish coffee.
From the Dubh Linn Gate we walked to the Salomon store of Whistler Village where we rented our skis before we carried them just a few meters to the base of Whistler and Blackcomb – the two adjacent mountains that have more than 200 offer marked runs, 8,171 hectares of terrain, 16 alpine bowls and 3 glaciers combined.
Connecting the two mountains is the PEAK 2 PEAK gondola – & # 39; the world's longest continuous lift system, which takes 11 minutes to take skiers from one side to the other.
This is the view from one of the 49 suites at Sundial Boutique Hotel – and you also get a balcony! Not only is the Sundial most suitable for the slopes, the rooms are also equipped with kitchens so if you don't feel like going out after a hard day on the slopes, or want a little budget, you can create something indoors and then settle down on Netflix on the wide screen
The view from Sundial is simply amazing. You feel like you are in the heart of everything and & # 39; in the morning you can pick up your & # 39; s from below and walk directly to the lifts – it's hassle-free skiing at its best
The rooms feature gas fireplaces that contribute to the entire Whistler ski lodge experience
Breakfast and dinner at home, if desired
Don't mind if I do that! Some suites have hot tubs where you can relax with a drink after a long day on the slopes and watch the sun sink into the mountains
A panoramic view of the hotel and the rooftop hot tub. from here you can see how handy it is for the lifts
My friend, after not skiing for a couple of years, was of course a little nervous, so we started carefully, taking the easy green slopes and going to the blue when we got back to business. We were also lucky: Whistler enjoyed his best season ever – the powder was deep and soft and the weather sunny with blue skies. This year they predict more of the same.
Although I missed not attacking the steeper slopes, what I could appreciate was the pure quality of the runs, now that I had time to consider them well while we were working down. These are not 10 minutes of sailing up and down – these are long, winding, scenic routes that intersect with dozens more on the way, giving the skier an infinite number of different paths to the bottom.
At 3 p.m. we decided to call it a day and handed over our skis in The Sundial where we went to the hot tub and watched the last skiers make their way through the two mountains and into the village of Whistler. The hotel undoubtedly has the best view of the two mountains and you can easily spend the entire afternoon in the hot tub and just take everything with you.
Dinner was at Earls in the Village, where the patio is one of the last to catch the setting sun before it disappears behind the mountains. It turned out to be a sleek, luxury chain that serves gourmet burgers, global comfort food, cocktails, wines and beers.
We were in bed at 9 p.m. – the fresh air, exercise and different cocktails made better of us.
Christine & # 39; s is Whistler & # 39; s most exclusive ski-in restaurant. Make a reservation for lunch and then plan your morning ski route around it. Be careful how much wine you drink – there is still a long way to ski when you leave
We were up at 6:30 am and booked Fresh Tracks for the 7:00 am which gives early risers the chance to catch the first lift and hit the open descents on the upper half of the mountain – but not before a mountain-size breakfast buffet that is the conversation of Whistler Village.
One thing of attention with Whistler skiing is the huge size of the two mountains, or rather: 8,100 acres of terrain and the one vertical mile drop. It's just huge.
Every year the resort attracts around 3 million visitors at the end of March. But if you shoot on one of the 200 paths or get one of 37 lifts, you notice how calm it feels. You don't waste time in long lines for the lifts and you don't bump into skiers coming down. The space is yours and freedom feels incredible.
Despite a huge breakfast at fourteen we were ready to refuel. There are a number of excellent mountain restaurants to choose from – and they all offer fantastic views. However, Christine is by far the best.
We took the peak to peak gondola across Whistler to Blackcomb Mountain and skied into the restaurant at 6,102ft.
The ingredients are super fresh and brought up daily from Whistler Village, while the famous Christine & # 39; s Bloody Mary is almost a meal in itself with a thick-sliced bacon grater standing high in the glass.
Main courses range from CAD $ 30 for a beefburger to CAD $ 36 for the stewed pork cheek. Warning: it gets very busy and it's worth reserving a table in advance to avoid disappointment during the day.
After Blackcomb skiing down and enjoying the atmosphere and view at Christine for a few hours, the Whistler experience really begins to sink.
One thing we noticed when we entered the bars in Whistler Village to taste the après scene was how international the resort is. Whistler attracts Australians, British, Europeans, South Americans and of course Americans and Canadians.
I have skied Aspen, Deer Valley, Vermont and now Whistler and nowhere near this beautiful resort in British Columbia for atmosphere. It is precisely this mix of people that makes it so special. And only in Whistler will you find pancakes, poutine and raclette for Canadians and Europeans, Fry-ups, soda bread and great Guinness to keep the British happy and great pies for the Australians.
Speaking of pancakes, after such a large meal at Christine we decided to keep the light on and dove into it Crepe Montagne for a banana caramel and a sweet strawberry. Delicious. Thank goodness we burned so many calories during the day.
Hover over ancient forests and between mountain peaks while having Whistler Fly along one of the longest and highest cable cars in Canada
The closest to flying you'll ever get: side-by-side cable cars mean that you and a friend can fly together through the interior of BC
Whistling by Whistler: it may look daunting, but as soon as you start zipping over the mountains, you scream with excitement
Our last full day in Whistler and we decided to view some off-slope activities that the resort is so famous for. For those familiar with Instagram, Scandinave Spa from Whistler a giant bell will ring. It is a Scandinavian outdoor pool with various hot pools, cold plunges, waterfall showers and saunas located on the edge of the lost and cedar forest of Lost Lake Park, about a 20-minute taxi ride from Whistler Village. The spa encourages silence to find & # 39; the inner silence, leading to complete relaxation & # 39 ;. The setting is really pleasing to the eye and it is no surprise that this is one of the most Instagram images of Whitsler.
Jump from one bath to another along the heated path that cuts through thick snow, the experience will make you grin from ear to ear, just like we do. The experience was so spectacular that we found it hard to remain silent.
In addition to the baths, there are also massages and various treatments available which, after a few days of skiing in Whistler, are exactly the ticket.
We left feeling super relaxed, which was probably the best way to approach our next activity: the longest, highest zipline in Canada with Superfly Ziplines.
The tour starts with an adapted 4×4 climb from Rainbow Mountain (dress in extra warm clothing, it was very cold) for a gradual descent over five cable cars and different mountains in the hinterland of BC.
Out of sheer excitement / fear, there's nothing like hanging in a harness on a steel zipline and shooting over a trench 200 m below at speeds up to 75 mph.
Experience the age-old Finnish tradition of soaking in soothing outdoor pools at Whistler's most unique spa. The Scandinave Spa combines rustic elegance with majestic scenery in a peaceful, secluded setting
Enjoy the baths or add a massage for complete rejuvenation. Outdoor swimming pools are available all year round, with heated solariums for relaxing and a café for refueling. A bad ecperience pass during the high season (November 1 – March 31) costs $ 85 ($ 95 Saturday)
The spa is one of the most Instagram images in Whistler – and it's not surprising. It really is a winter wonderland that makes you feel super chilled and in love with Whistler
The contrast between the warm baths and the ice-cold environment makes your body tingle and you simply feel great
Soaking in the baths is the perfect remedy after a few days on the slopes
Day or night the view of the baths carved in the forest never gets boring and is worth every penny
For our last night, we decided to treat ourselves and headed for the Four Seasons, one of Whistler's most exclusive hotels.
The hotel was very luxurious but quite pricey, especially when you consider that it is not in the heart of the village, rather a shuttle service and therefore no ski-in, ski-out like the smaller, less expensive hotels in the village.
What started as a potential disaster, what my ski buddy canceled on me at the 11th hour, turned out to be one of my favorite ski trips so far – and before that I notice Whistler and my replacement friend who stood so briefly .
What we realized is that Whistler deserves its status as the best ski resort in North America, but it is so much more. It felt more than just a ski vacation, it felt like a winter adventure vacation.
That's the setup with the winter wonderland setup like Whistler Village, everything is on the doorstep and hassle free – and you don't have to be a millionaire to pay it all.
If you are looking for the perfect skiing holiday and a little bit more – Whistler is for you.
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