There are so many positive and intriguing adjectives that can be used to describe the ski/snowboard town of Whistler in British Columbia, Canada – quaint (the village), lively (the atmosphere), breathtaking and sublime (the mountains), heavenly (top of the mountains) and memorable (all of it!). This blog is almost difficult to write because it’s hard to put into words the feelings you get when you spend some time in this magical place. So – the following is a guide to making a fun visit, but you really have to get yourself there in order to truly appreciate what it has to offer (like most places I suppose, but especially so for this one).
This blog features the best things to do in the winter months, however over the years it’s established itself as a great place to adventure all year round. It’s world renowned for it’s mountain biking, and has a bunch of top notch golf courses. Stay tuned for a spring/summer/fall edition of this blog later in the year.
But for now…winter…
Whistler is the ultimate family destination because it offers so much to do and has so many lovely places in which you’ll want to spend some time, that even if a family member doesn’t feel like hitting the slopes, they’ll be happily occupied. That said, it can get really pricey around the holidays and in January so if budget is a factor, book a stay early to mid December (prices are cheaper until about Dec 20) or beginning of April if snow conditions still look good. And, like any ski resort area, regardless of your budget, try to book so that you’re skiing/snowboarding during weekdays versus weekends so that you don’t spend half your time waiting in ski lift lines. (That said, one of the benefits of Whistler is that there is such a vast amount of ski-able surface area that once you’ve reached the top, you’re unlikely to be in a crowded area).
My favourite hotels are the Fairmont Chateau Whistler (great service, ski-in location, ski/snowboard valet, comfortable rooms, cheery atmosphere); Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside (all suites with small kitchen area so it’s great if you want the flexibility of cooking your own food, also ski-in location, also comfortable and clean rooms); and especially the Four Seasons. The Four Seasons in Whistler does everything really well. It offers a chalet vibe that you want during your ski vacation, with small trendy decor details that add a modern touch. Speaking of details, they have those in spades – from a DIY Smores station by the fire, outside in the courtyard, to specialized and usually themed mobile bars (my latest trip, it was a Cognac and cigar bar), to the most decadent and delicious hot chocolate and hot cookies waiting for you at the ski concierge. If I had to pick just one place to stay in Whistler, I would pick the Four Seasons.
Whistler and Blackcomb mountains are going to be the highlight of this trip, so the following restaurant and activity suggestions will simply be the icing on the cake….but if given the chance, we might as well eat the best icing too right?!
Splitz Grill for: a delicious burger and fries for lunch or a casual and quick dinner.
Rim Rock Café for: a fancy, lingering, delicious dinner. Solid wine list, cozy atmosphere and menu items like venison, duck and salmon. Make reservations in advance.
Scandinave Spa for: the ultimate outdoor spa experience. Set amongst trees, with views of the mountains, rotate between hot tubs, cold plunge pools, saunas, steam room and a heated relaxation room. You can spend a good two hours doing just this, but if you want even more, book a massage with the reputable massage therapists (if you book a treatment, the waters are included; if you go for just the waters the price ranges between 35 and 60 dollars depending on which time of the day you go). A must après-ski activity!
The Green Moustache: cold pressed juice, and healthy vegan dishes right in the heart of the village.
Three Singing Birds: A very charming gift shop with a lot of very charming cards and gifts, many of them made in Canada. A must visit if you want to buy something for a loved one, or bring something home like a piece of jewelry, luxury candle or a witty postcard.
Pure Bread: for the most delicious pastries, desserts and lattes. This sweet spot features in my Vancouver blog as well, because it’s THAT GOOD.