Canada travel

Weekend in Whistler

peak 2 peak gondola whistler view

peak 2 peak gondola whistler view

I lived about 80 miles north of Seattle in Bellingham for almost 5 years, and somehow in that time I never once made it to Vancouver or Whistler. And even after that, it took another 5 years for me to finally make it over the border into the great white north. When I was younger, my family didn’t take very many vacations that required air travel. We drove everywhere from Spokane and some of my favorite memories for the Thanksgiving holiday involve going up into eastern British Columbia and staying at Radium Hot Springs and the Fairmont Hot Springs.

I loved having breakfast at this little café in Radium, and you could watch the resident herd of Big Horn Sheep walk down the highway without a care in the world. Each time we went I saw a wolf in the wilderness, so I was even more enchanted with Canada each time. The last time I was there was about 11 or 12 years ago.

And so here we are now, finally, after all this time, I have made it to the Western side of British Columbia, and up into Whistler, a ski resort of the likes that I have never experienced before.

Olympic Square Whistler

Lucky me, my partner’s previous company took a trip to Whistler and this is how this trip was made possible. Rather than stay in the same house as his coworkers, they were outside of the Village, a few minutes drive away, we stayed in the heart of the Village with his coworker and her wife in a cute little loft. If you are so lucky to be able to stay in the Village, do so. I loved being a minute’s walk from the shops, restaurants, and even the base of Whistler Mountain.

The Food

Black’s Pub
A mediocre spot for a bite to eat. I was less than impressed with the food, I ordered a pizza, it reminded me of one of those take and bake pizzas from Safeway and the rest of the table ordered burgers, but no one really finished theirs. The rose however, was good.

Amsterdam Pub
If you’re looking for a loud and fun time and you happen to be in Whistler on a Thursday afternoon…this is the place to be. Honestly can’t say anything for the food, the drinks were good and the company was better so it was all around a good time here. And there may or may not have been lots of dancing on tables to a remix of Darude’s Sandstorm. Heh.

amsterdam pub

La Brasserie
Amazing spot for breakfast. It’s small on the inside, so it was crowded. Many people tried to come into the café with all their luggage which was a little bit frustrating…it is *tiny* so just a recommendation to mindful of the space & people coming in and out. We scored a seat right away despite the small space. The eggs benedict was delicious with a side of perfectly spiced hashbrowns that had just the right amount of crunch.

Great menu in a more upscale feeling space. Hung out in the bar next to a window in some cozy chairs. This is Whistler though, so no matter how fancy it looks, you’ve got people in ski gear coming into eat and drink. Fancy attire not required!

Dubh Linn Gate Irish Pub
Probably my favorite spot for a casual bite to eat. I’m a sucker for the Irish pub feel in this place. Their rosemary garlic fries (err…chips) are fantastically tasty with their special chive & bacon dipping sauce. I could eat these until I fall over from being too full. Lots of traditional Irish pub food and of course pints of Guinness and Smithwick’s to go along with that food.

dubh linn pub

Beacon Pub & Eatery
Mostly had drinks at Beacon Pub & Eatery but tried a few appetizers. Their fried pickles were pretty tasty, and while the charcuterie board was also good, it was quite small for the price. My favorite beverage here was called a Raspberry Truffle and was a delicious, alcoholic hot chocolate that tasted like a raspberry truffle. The rim was coated in sugar. Delicious but dangerous if you have more than two, mostly for the sugar.

raspberry truffle hot chocolate

The Cellar by Araxi
My partner’s company dinner was here and since it was such a large group, we had a predetermined menu to pick from. The seafood appetizers of shrimp cocktail, oysters, smoked salmon and sushi rolls were delicious, but I expect nothing less since we’re on the Pacific Coast. It’s hard to beat the seafood here.

The charcuterie board that followed was eons better than the one at Beacon Pub, but honestly if you put foie gras in front of me, I will devour it while savoring every moment of it. The cheeses and other meats were also good, and there was plenty for one person.

The cut of meat that came next was medium rare and delicious but I am a small human and was already feeling so full. Then came dessert and I honestly can’t even remember what it was, it was also good but by this point, each course had taken 45 minutes to an hour to serve & eat, and after 3 hours, I’m done. Just done.

Things to Do (other than ski)

It has been a very long time since I have been snowboarding on a mountain and wasn’t really feeling like I wanted to jump back into it this time. I was more concerned with what kind of spa situation there was. I wanted to go to the Scandinave Spa but it was not walking distance from where we were and for other reasons I will explain later, it’s probably a good thing we did’t make the 10 minute drive up there.

Whistler Day Spa

I spent one of my mornings at the Whistler Day Spa, located in the Pan Pacific Village Centre, just a short walk from our loft in the Village. I did one of the packages which was an hour long facial and an hour long massage.

One word for my morning: H-E-A-V-EN.

I spent time before my appointment in the hot tubs outside. It was magical. It had snowed about a foot the night before and reminded me of those trips to the Hot Springs. I had the whole area to myself too so it was even more relaxing. Both my treatments were incredibly relaxing. I felt wonderfully refreshed after.

Garibaldi Lift Co

One of our friends lives and works in Whistler and Justin Martin was going to be there for the Mountain Magic Tour. So we went to the show on our last night and danced so hard. Justin Martin will be at Bass Coast Festival this summer so this was a nice “start thinking about festival season” show.

Peak to Peak Gondola

I may not have snowboarded but you can still take the gondola up one peak and then hop on the peak to peak gondola, which is the world’s longest unsupported span and highest above the valley floor for a lift of this kind. You are up there. The views are absolutely stunning — but make sure you go on a sunny day otherwise it’s not worth it. It was absolutely gorgeous.

We went up Whistler Mountain, took the peak to peak to Blackcomb then back to Whistler and down the mountain. It was cold but it was so beautiful. I am really glad we went up for the morning.

Overall, it was a really fun weekend in Whistler. We just a hiccup on our ride back home. Our car decided to break in North Vancouver, making it un-drivable, and here’s where the real adventure begins. My partner’s coworker and wife were in the car with us. There are only two seats in a tow truck and my partner’s coworker had AAA so we thought it best to have her go with him so when they had to get a new tow truck on the US side, there wouldn’t be an issue. This was 2:30-3:00 PM on a Sunday.

Myself and the coworker’s wife had to take a taxi from North Vancouver to the border, walk across the border into the US, meet coworker’s parents and then wait for my partner and his coworker in Bellingham.

At 9:45 PM, they finally walked into the restaurant we were waiting at. My partner spent the night in Bellingham as the car was un-drivable (thank goodness we have friend in Bellingham still) and I finally got home to Bellevue at midnight.

My oh my what a crazy end to our Canadian adventure!

As a side note, can we talk about this little guy’s outfit? I didn’t realize how dog friendly Whistler is. Dogs everywhere!


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