Pack your skis and hiking boots and head to one of the world’s most breathtaking destinations this winter.
Situated just a few hours north of Vancouver, Whistler Blackcomb is not only one of North America’s largest ski resorts, but also one of its best. Aside from its world-class ski and snowboard conditions (Whistler played host to the Winter Olympic Games in 2010), it’s become an impressively cosmopolitan ski town with top-rated, gourmet dining options ranging from classic mountain fare to Tex-Mex. As the mountain prepares to open officially for ski season (it’s officially set for November 24, but could open earlier given the favorable conditions), it’s time to start planning your trip now. Here, your guide on where to sleep, eat, and play in Whistler.
Where to Stay
The stylish Adara Hotel is conveniently situated next to Whistler’s main attractions. Located in Whistler Village, it’s minutes from the gondola, the golf club, and host of great dining options. The large, sleek rooms boast free wifi, flat-screen TVs, floating fireplaces, microwaves and minifridges, as well as tea and coffee making equipment. The lobby usually smells like freshly baked cookies because those are on hand (complimentary) for guests. Grab one on your way in from a big day of skiing or boarding, then head straight to the hot tub to recover.
Head to one of the Village’s best java shops—Mount Currie Coffee Co.— to get your a.m. fix and then spend the morning hiking to Cheakamus Lake in Garibaldi Provincial Park. It’s a relatively easy hike, and worth it for the striking scenic views of the surrounding mountains, the Cheakamus River, and the piercing blue lake. (Note: If you are there past November and before May, it might get too cold to do this hike. Make sure to layer up accordingly.) If that isn’t enough of a good sweat, go to the local favorite Jivamukti yoga studio, Loka Yoga. (If you can get in, do a class with the studio’s owner, Tina James.) Afterwards, spend some time strolling and shopping in the Village. Guys will want to make sure to check out FORLISE, Lululemon’s new creative concept shop and retail space geared specifically towards men. Inside, you’ll find workout gear, art by local talents, and fitness classes. For dinner, check out the nearby Araxi Restaurant and Oyster Bar(consistently rated one of the best restaurants in the Vancouver area) in the Village for a farm-to-table feast and an impressive wine list. Make sure to save room for dessert—the Araxi lemon tart with preserved lemon coulis is a must. Afterwards, if you really want to hang like a local, go to The Crystal Lounge for karaoke or open mic night.
If there is snow on the ground, spend the day cross-country skiing in Lost Lake Park(usually open starting in December, but check the website to confirm exact timing),which boasts incredible views of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. Or, if food is your main priority, go up to Crystal Hut for all-day Belgian waffles and hearty mountain eats at 6,000-feet up in the sky. Afterwards, head to Scandinave Spa for a massage and then soak in the mineral pools. Next, make your way to Dublin Linn Gate Irish Pub for live music and drinks by the fire, or Garibaldi Lift Company lounge bar right above the Whistler Gondola building for one of the best après scenes in the region. Before dinner, opt for a night snow mobile ride (make sure you have a designated driver) on Cougar Mountain.For your final night in town, go to Bearfoot Bistro in the Village for fresh seafood-driven fare and whatever you do, don’t forget to ask to see the wine cellar and try sabering a Champagne bottle. It's the perfect way to celebrate a successful weekend.