Here’s the thing about Whistler: it is both nearby and a world away. Kevin remarked on our way up on Friday that we aren’t “Whistler people.” He meant that we never come up here without reason and it’s true. But a quick couple hours up the Sea to Sky Highway and it feels like you’re in a totally different place. And it’s beautiful. Not matter how beautiful you’ve heard, it is even more so.
As non-Whistler people, we’ve only been here of our own volition twice over the nearly eight years since we started dating. Once was in early December of the year we met. The other time, we came in May with my brother and his girlfriend. Both trips were quick getaways, one, maybe two nights. Two additional times, we’ve been here for lacrosse work and/or the BCLA AGM. This weekend was our third BCLA trip.
I spent a lot of time here in my twenties. A girlfriend had a huge house on the outskirts of Whistler Village and I spent nearly every string of days off I got from work living in it. I hung out with her and her daughter’s local circle and I made my own network of friends that was largely composed of young transplants from Ontario and Australia. As a resort town, there is a lot of this – young people from all over the world attracted by tourism-based service jobs and barely able to make ends meet. In many cases, they pile into rental places, sleeping two or more to a room and get creative with adding beds wherever possible. I once had a friend who lived in a closet – literally. It isn’t ideal as a long-term plan, but it’s certainly fun in the short-term!
According to Whistler.ca, the Resort Municipality of Whistler’s municipal site, Whistler is home to nearly 12000 residents and sees over three million tourists each year.
Whistler became an international ski destination in the 1980s and 90s and took a world stage during the 2010 Olympics when it hosted alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, biathlon, Nordic combined, ski jumping, bobsleigh, luge and skeleton events. Like in Vancouver, remnants of the Olympics pepper the scenery.
There are small boroughs surrounding the centre of the action, but Whistler Village is where it’s at. In the summer, this is a hub for mountain biking, hiking, shopping, dining and other tourist endeavours. In the winter, it’s all about snow sports and après snow sports.
Everywhere you go in this area, everywhere you turn, the natural scenery is outstanding. The Village is nestled in such a way that wherever you look, mountains are towering over you. Having grown up surrounded by mountain scenery, it’s easy for me to take them for granted in the city, but up here, they’re just astounding!
Whistler has a laid back vibe no matter where you go. We stood waiting to be seated at a table in a restaurant that was more than half empty for ten minutes and at least four passes by the hostess on Friday afternoon. Firmly committed to our city expectations, we eventually left and found someplace else to go, but while we were being ignored, I could help but smile to myself. Ah, Whistler. Nobody is in a rush, everyone is friendly, jeans and a down vest are the uniform.
- Delta Whistler Village Suites. Granted, we were part of a large party, but they went above and beyond with their hospitality. Mountain views are sacrificed at this time while some construction is going on, but the rooms are spacious, comfortable and the location is convenient.
- Brewhouse. This is a long-standing fave for good, hearty meals because their menu is always so diverse and their food is delicious. I had a salmon burger on this trip and it was out of this world. Kevin had good old mac and cheese with bacon and blue cheese add-one and he said it was great, too. They always have a good selection of great beers made in house, too.
- Purebread. Ooof. I’ll be honest, I’m not a big pastry person. I’m happy with just a cup of coffee or tea and don’t need a sweet to go with it. At Purebread, though, they make it impossible to not get carried away. We were steered here by the concierge at our hotel who gave us directions to Starbucks that we’d asked for, but gently offered this suggestion instead. I used the excuse of sharing with a friend to try both the apricot rosemary pastry and the peanut butter slice and I’m so glad I did! (There are also three Vancouver locations if you don’t want to go as far as Whistler.)
- Green Moustache. After a weekend of decadent eating, I was happy to come across this place. There are a few of them all over, but I’ve only ever seen them at an expo. Cold-pressed juices and freshly made to order juice shots, I was in my element and opted for a beet based juice and a lemon, ginger, apple cider vinegar, cayenne “flu shot.” It definitely got me in balance again.
- Take a walk. Whether a quick stroll through The Village, to the base of a mountain or along any of many hiking trails in the surrounding area, the air is clean and the scenery is beautiful.
What do you love most about visiting Whistler? Which are your local recommendations?