It’s known as one of the hottest ski destinations in the world. (In the past week in February, both the Beckham family, and Bill Clinton were spotted here.) Host to the 2010 Winter Olympics, Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains are a must-see when visiting Vancouver. You can do it as a speedy day trip (the drive is approximately two hours from downtown) but there’s lots to see and do year round. In February, here’s what I did in 24 hours.
Getting there: The views of Howe Sound along the Sea to Sky Highway drive (officially Highway 99) are spectacular. And mid-week February, the ski hills were practically deserted!
To make the most of the views along the way – and not risk bad weather (Whistler had a lot of snow this winter) – I took a Greyhound Bus from Vancouver. The trip takes about 2 hours and costs approximately $40 return.
Stay: There are many world class resorts and private chalet rentals in Whistler. I chose the Fairmont Chateau Whistler for its amazing location at the foot of Blackcomb. Book early though – the resort was sold out the next day.
Bring your bathing suit for a dip in the Chateau’s outdoor hot tub at the bottom of a ski run.
Do: I’m more about the apres than the ski so there’s lots of great bars and lounges. During the day, check out the Scandinave Spa, skate or play with the kids at Olympic Plaza or take a hike on the local trails. The best shopping in Whistler Village is casual West Coast outdoor gear – go figure.
Eat: Whistler Village is packed with coffee shops, gastro pubs and fine dining. There are plenty of mediocre places to eat so make sure you book at least one good meal in advance. I had one of my best in recent memory at Araxi Restaurant and Oyster Bar. The venison with parmesan polenta and brussel sprouts was gone before I had a chance to snap it. And for dessert, check out Pure Bread for brownies and cheese cake. Chocolate is my favourite food group, and these treats were worth the calories.
Ski getaways are what this BC resort is famous for. Try to go mid-week during peak winter season. There were no lineups for the chairlifts and the skiing was perfect. However, I love the area even more in the summer. You can still take the gondolas and chairlifts up to dip your toes in snow, but at the foot of the mountains, you’ll find incredible hiking and cycling trails, lake swimming and spa treatments.