Whistler BC — there’s no better place to spend the upcoming long weekend.
If you caught this column last week, you know that the best place to stay in Whistler in the spring is the Nita Lake Lodge. Check out the full review for all the juicy details. But once you’re ensconced in your paradise by the lake and mountains, you get to fill your days with all that Whistler has to offer.
Start with a rich espresso at Fix Café located on the ground floor of Nita Lake Lodge. They pull the best shots in Whistler, and you’re gonna need a swift caffeine kick to power you through your day’s epic adventures. Next up- borrow a couple of Nita Lake’s free bikes from the front desk, and cruise the bike path up to Whistler Village.
Whistler Village boasts some of the best people-watching in North America because it is filled with a cultural mélange of revelers from all over the world. Bunnies in bikinis stroll by with mountain bikes slung casually over their shoulders, and you’re guaranteed to see more than one mountainboy metrosexual in a spandex tuxedo. Once you’ve had your fill of the scenery, you’ve got plenty of options. Shop for next season’s outerwear at deep discounts because sale. Sale. SALE! is the name of the game during the off-season.
Alternatively, sign up for a Ziptrek journey that speeds you back and forth between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains and provides quite a thrill as you reach speeds over 50 miles per hour while peering down at the river below. If you’d like to take in the verdant mountain scenery at a slightly slower pace, consider the Peak-to-Peak gondola. From a safe cushion inside a state-of-the-art gondola, check out the mountains and valleys for miles around. If you want to bike with the bunnies, prepare yourself to cover over 4800 feet of mountain bike park terrain, all serviced by lifts and boosted by gravity.
If culture is your thing, you can learn more about the native history of Whistler and its surroundings by visiting the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre. The centre has a great café with First Nations inspired cuisine, and the exhibits are always fascinating. The centre is easy walking distance from Whistler Village, which makes your day that much easier.
If you do feel like exploring by car, consider visiting Pemberton Distillery, home of Schramm Vodka – certified organic potato vodka. Pemberton is a charming town where much of the produce for Whistler restaurants is grown. It is located about 25 minutes north of Whistler.
At the end of the day when you’re tuckered out and in need of a pick me up, there’s no better place than Bearfoot Bistro. Some call Bearfoot a restaurant, but those in-the-know call it a lifestyle. At Bearfoot, you’ve merely to choose your mood, and whatever activity your heart desires will soon follow. They have Canada’s only sub-zero vodka tasting room called the Ice Room. The walls, floor, ceiling and bar are all carved out of ice, and vodka from the world over lines the walls. Frozen temperatures bring out the nuances of vodka like you wouldn’t believe, and let’s face it, not a whole lot sounds more fun than taking shots at an ice-carved bar. Oh, and don’t worry, Bearfoot provides Arctic expedition grade down coats so that you stay toasty inside all that ice.
Bearfoot also boasts a well-stocked wine cellar that is a sight to behold. They even have swords on hand so that lucky guests can saber their very own champagne bottles. But what remains beneath all Bearfoot’s admittedly exciting bells and whistles is the sheer quality of the food. They incorporate modernist culinary techniques into classic recipes using decidedly Canadian ingredients and the result is a meal it would be impossible to forget. Because it’s the low season, Bearfoot is offering 3-course menu specials like Lobsterfest, where you get to choose three menu items (this one is lobster-focused) for only $29.95.
If you’re splashing out, the Chef’s Tasting menu is the way to go. Five courses stretches to more like seven with additional amuse bouches and bites here and there, plus it’ll keep you in the hot seat for longer so you are sure not to miss out on any of the evening’s action. Don’t miss the well-curated selection of oysters, house-cured duck prosciutto, or black cod, and absolutely save room for dessert. Tableside desserts just got a lot more fun, with liquid nitrogen ice cream made before your very eyes in the convenience of your seat.
There’s rarely a time when Whistler isn’t the place to be, and this season is no exception. The activities I’ve described are merely the tip of the iceberg on all the fun you will have mountainside, so what are you waiting for?