This month, Seattleite will feature a series of articles by Jon Meyer, our official Food + Travel Aficionado. Mr. Meyer recently completed a most excellent excursion throughout British Columbia, and has returned to the United States with tales of fine cuisine, outdoor adventure and charming encounters. Without further ado, here is the first installment of Jon’s Adventures in Canada.
WHISTLER BLACKCOMB SKI RESORT
For 2011 winter enthusiasts in Whistler, life is good. Actually, it’s absurdly good. The 2010 Olympics were a great success — and now, this famous region of British Columbia is on the world’s lips more than ever. Just as importantly, the base pack is also solid. If you can believe it, there will be snow to slide on (whether you ride or ski) throughout the summer. The lovely idea of mountain biking and traversing the Blackcomb glacier in the same day will be very much a reality.
Speaking of the Blackcomb glacier. It was only five years ago that I first hiked to its entrance, and found myself looking at one the most epic scenes of my ski-driven life. All around, jagged mountains stood next to one another, shaping a beautiful swath of downhill awesomeness that simply awaited a courageous push (on my part). My friends and I went cautiously at first, and then aggressively three more times that day. It was the best run we could find, and we were going to stick with it.
Five years ago, there was a crucial decision to be made: Do we attempt to experience both mountains in one day, wasting precious time voyaging between necessary lifts, or just commit to one? Fortuitously, in this age of engineering (and 4600 meters worth of cable supported gondolas), it took merely an hour to go top to bottom to top on Whistler, catch a fifteen minute Peak to Peak carriage ride over to Blackcomb, and be on my happy, well-rested way to the glacier. A true game-changer.
Part of my contentedness was also due to a meal at Steeps Grill, where the house specialty of red wine-braised short ribs and grainy mustard spaetzle (German egg noodle – Lecosho does a dandy version) helped fortify my own red meat for the hike down (or up) memory lane to the glacier. Standing atop Blackcomb, I clicked into my Salomon rentals, crested the ridge, and took my favorite run on the planet all over again, no more than sixty minutes removed from Whistler’s furthest base at Creekside.
I spent the rest of the afternoon smirking in astonishment of Peak to Peak’s execution as a whole, and how it allows vagabond riders like myself the opportunity to cover large amounts of terrain in relatively such little time. Those I shared lift rides with (a sweet, procrastinating Swedish masters student, a former ski-racer from Philly and two dads from Bellingham, among others) have apparently reached the same conclusion. Whistler, for the rest of 2011 and beyond, will continue to be the winter enthusiast’s paramount choice.
Jon’s Adventures in Canada will appear every Thursday during the month of June.