Like most of the rest of the world’s population, you might not be an Olympic-quality skier or snowboarder. That’s just a darned shame, but it’s certainly no reason to miss out on the wonders of Whistler, B.C. this winter!
If you’re worried the crowds might be crazy as sports enthusiasts hurry to the slopes to watch the world’s greatest athletes competing, you’ll be pleased to know that, according to local experts, while the competitions are expected to draw vast crowds to the competition slopes themselves, the rest of the vast Whistler Blackcomb complex – one of the best skiing areas in North America – will likely be under-populated. Grab your skis and take advantage.
Whether you’re keen on downhill skiing or prefer to hit the terrain parks on your snowboard, Whistler with over 8,100 skiable acres is magnificent. The recently installed in Peak-2-Peak Gondola makes it fast and easy to move between the two mountains, literally doubling the downhill dimensions of your days on the hills.
For those who really want to get away from their fellow skiers, there’s the Whistler Fresh Tracks program. Get up at whatever crazy hour appeals to you, take advantage of the early loading privileges and ride the gondola to the top for a hearty breakfast buffet. Then, stuffed with bacon, eggs and a pioneering spirit, you can head out to make your mark on untouched snow, getting in the first run of the day, without any company at all!
If skiing isn’t your forté, you can still celebrate the great outdoors with a snowshoeing adventure or even a Ziptrek Ecotour. Unlike most ziplining companies that focus simply on sending participants flying, Whistler’s Ziptrek Ecotours guides provide an interesting environmental introduction to the wilderness through which you’re zipping.
Cold is definitely at the heart of a Whister holiday, but if you’re a delicate blossom who thinks snow looks its best through a window, you might love a Sno-Limo Mountain Ecotour or a Sno-Cat tour, both of which allow you to enjoy the spectacular scenery while staying relatively warm inside mountain-crawling vehicles. (Note: some vehicles have open windows, so check first and dress appropriately!)
Whether you do your exploring on skis, snowboard, or snowshoes, from the taut cables of a zipline stretching between towering trees or from the cozy confines of a mountain climbing vehicle, you’ll want to toast yourself at the end of the day in one of Whistler’s many great restaurants, cafes and bars. Be sure to try Garibaldi’s in Whistler Village – voted North America’s best mountain bar by Skiing Magazines and listed in the top ten apes ski spots in the world by Forbes Traveller Magazine.
The great thing about Whistler is that enjoying outdoorsy days doesn’t mean that you have to bed down in a warming hut by night. The Fairmont Chateau Whistler, at the base of the slopes is one of the most famous hotels in western Canada. Whether you’re stomping in at the end of a big day on the hills, brushing the snow from your jacket as you enter the lobby or dressing to the nines to enjoy a delectable dinner in the elegant Wildflower dining room, the Chateau is the place to be. The atmosphere is a welcoming blend of five-star sophistication and an outdoorsy understanding of guests who arrive with wet boots and snow in their hair.
Thinking about a ski holiday this winter? Why not Whistler?
Looking to book a trip to Whistler or British Columbia? Check out the tripatlas.com/new Trip Builder where you can connect with travel agents who will give you custom prices on your trip.
Liz Fleming is an award-winning Canadian travel journalist who specializes in adventure, health and wellness and learning travel. For more from Liz, go to: Liz Fleming’s Travel Tales