Whistler, Canada offers Top Notch Skiing, Lodging, Dining, Activities- March 2017

Whistler Lodging
Upon flying into Vancouver I caught the Pacific Coach Whistler Express (www.pacificcoach.com). The beautiful drive was about 2 hrs with fantastic views of the ocean and water.  I checked in at the Crystal Lodge and Suites and was very impressed. The room was comfortable and clean and the front desk representative was very helpful. It was so convenient and perfectly located about a 2min walk from the Gondola.  This Lodge has it all with a gym, heated pool, Jacuzzi and ski valet. There are 20 plus on site retail shops and restaurants and shops inside the lodge.  The lobby is very spacious with a fireplace and couch. The lodge recently completed a $1.9 million renovation, the south wing. It has become an international destination for leisure travelers.
 

It has the reputation of being at the center of it all.  Featuring traditional hotel rooms to incredible mountain view suites.  With complimentary wireless internet with free computer use in the lobby. Conveniently located in the heart of Whistler Village and at the base of Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains, guests are ideally situated to enjoy all that Whistler has to offer. Choose your mountain adventure, relax in our heated outdoor pool, hot tub, sauna or fitness centre or enjoy one of the many dining and retail options that are on-site. Are you looking for location, amenities, service, luxury and value in Whistler Blackcomb? Look no further … the Crystal Lodge in Whistler has it all. The Crystal Lodge “At the centre of it all”.

   

Crystal Lodge and Suites earned a 2016 Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence for great travel reviews.
to see more go to www.crystal-lodge.com. phone 800 667-3363. twitter@crystalwhistler  Facebook crystal lodge whistler
 
Aava Lodge is another convenient place to stay in the village   The room was very comfortable and the staff were very helpful.  They have a gym, jacuzzi and heated pool.
The breakfast buffet in the cabin across the street is not to miss. The fresh organic eggs, potatoes, perfectly cooked bacon and the best healthy fruit muffins you will ever have.   The Aava Whistler Hotel is just a 2-minute walk from Whistler Village and a few more footsteps to the lifts of Whistler & Blackcomb Mountains. Experience Whistler’s culinary excellence and vibrant nightlife.
Whether for business or fun, the Aava is the perfect hotel to relax in style. Guests of the Hotel have access to their complimentary GoPro Hero 4 HD cameras to capture their holiday on video and images while in Whistler.  They have a Nespresso Cafe in our lobby and lots storage in our bike vault. The Aava Whistler Hotel is pet friendly and offers free WiFi throughout the hotel.
The Mountain:

They have skiing and snowboard lessons. All guests check in at guest service. Then they have  you meet with the instructor. Then the group heads up to the gondola with amazing views. Lessons start at the red carpet up to a small mountain to learn to balance and stop.  The lessons include a break for lunch. Then back up again for more fun. These lessons are a great way to get started. If you already have experience, both mountains offer a free host to show you around each morning at 11:15am by putting you in groups that fit your level. This is a great way to get oriented and introduced to the mountains but these are not lessons.

 

The variety of terrain, multiple access to all types of levels, the many tree lines and incredible snow make this the Top Resort in N. America and I can see why.  Pretty much every lift is high speed and there is skiing for everyone.  One of the best runs I have ever taken was the Peak to Creek off the Peak Chair all the way down to Creekside.  That will take you a good 10-15 minutes minimum if the snow is good.  I luckily did it on a groomed day and it was a blast.  Otherwise, it can be a thigh burner.

It is very easy to get around both mountains and doesn’t take that much time as they are very convenient and well-planned.  For a real treat,  try the fresh tracks, which gets you up on the gondola starting at 7:15am to have a breakfast at the Roundhouse.   Then be the first one to hit the slopes at about 8:15am when the bell rings.   You will get the best runs of the day before it gets chopped up or skied out.   This offer is approx. only $20 and remember the Canadian dollar is not as strong as the US dollar so everything is a bargain at this time.

Whistler is a year-round leisure and meeting destination located in the Coast Mountains 120 kilometres (75 miles) north of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and was the site of the alpine, Nordic, and sliding events for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Whistler has a range of accommodations totaling 10,000 bedrooms, more than 24 hotels as well as an extensive range of townhomes, condos, B&BS and chalets. Whistler offers a wide selection of restaurants, bars, spas, boutiques, and activities from world-renowned skiing and snowboarding, mountain biking and golf, to hiking, rock climbing, and water sports. Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains feature 3,036 hectares (8,171 acres) of terrain and receive an average of 1,163 centimetres (38.2 feet) of snow annually. The Resort Municipality of Whistler is home to a diverse community of more than 10,000 permanent residents.

Whistler Blackcomb is consistently ranked the Number One ski resort in North America. With more than 8,100 acres of terrain, variety is an understatement. There are steeps, deeps, chutes, bowls, glades, superb corduroy, long cruisers, high alpine and gentle rollers. And the numbers speak for themselves: one vertical mile drop; two side-by-side Mountains connected by a pedestrian village; more than 200 trails; three glaciers; 37 lifts; and 16 alpine bowls.

Whistler Blackcomb – The Big Picture

Last year, Whistler Blackcomb celebrated its 50th anniversary and reflected on the people and moments that contributed to the resort’s development. During the 2016.2017 winter season, Whistler Blackcomb takes a big picture look at the future of skiing and snowboarding industry with the hope of gaining perspective and generating conversation.

www.whistlerblackcomb.com/BigPicture

The official website and call to action for Whistler is www.whistler.com and 1-800 WHISTLER and Whistler Blackcomb is www.whistlerblackcomb.com

There is a fantastic Fire and ice show every Sunday when it starts getting dark featuring acrobatic skiers doing flips and tricks through a fire ring.
 
The Peak to Peak Gondola was put in right before the 2010 Olympics and provides access to each mountain from high altitudes with beautiful views.
Breakfast Options:
Don’t miss the Wild Wood Pacific Bistro for breakfast or dinner.  For breakfast try the thick cut French toast with pure maple syrup or the egg scramble potatoes, onions and mushrooms with a side of toast and bacon.
The atmosphere was relaxed and the service was very good. Its located in the Crystal lodge Lobby right across from the front desk.  www.wildwoodrestaurants.ca
 
 
Blacks Pub is located near the Black Comb Gondola. Blacks Pub is a great place to get your day started.    A skiers favorite serving all the popular breakfast foods from delicious oatmeal, eggs, potatoes, French toast, pancakes, waffles and more located right next to the blackcomb gondola.  www.blackspub.com
 
   
Elements located in the Summit Hotel was my favorite breakfast.  The place is small but don’t let that fool you as the serve delicious unique items try their stuffed French toast with pure maple syrup and smoked salmon bagel and cream cheese they also have a selection of egg benedict dishes.
The real winner on the menu is the baked egg frittata with potato tartlet with a variety of preparations.  I recommend the crab meat roasted tomatoes and spinach frittata. The hostess Kara was very welcoming and our server Robbie was amazing and funny. They have a nice selection of coffees and teas. I like the matcha latte as well as the fresh squeezed grapefruit juice.  www.elementswhistler.com
 
Stonesedge
Fabulous stop and beautifully decorated with grey stones on the outside.  Start with Greek yogurt bowl with fruit and granola.
 
That is a meal in itself.  For a hearty dish, try the unique potato pancakes that will fill you up for sure.  Other items include eggs prepared a variety of ways.  It has been open since July 2014 by husband and wife team Jim button and April Solonyka.   More at www.stonesedgewhistler.com
Ingrids- Stop by for a healthy sandwich or wrap for lunch.  They serve an array of veggie and chicken options, pasta salads and other specialties.
Crepe Montagne- I didn’t make it there but heard great things about the savory and sweet crepes besides other options.
Dinner options:
Beacon:
Beacon Pub Eatery is located right on the village stroll about a 2 min walk from the Crystal Lodge. Start with there humma-ganoush which is a mixture of eggplant, tahini, chickpeas, and spices served with grilled naan.
   
For appetizers try the seared sesame crusted albacore tuna. Do not miss there signature burger with grilled onions cheese, arugula and mustard aioli on a pretzel bun.  The cedar plank fresh sockeye salmon had a maple soy glaze and was cooked to perfection.  See more at www.beaconwhistler.com
 
Earls:
Earls is located also about a 2 min walk from the lodge and had a big remodel in the last year to give it a updated modern look. It was very hip place full of energy and TV’s. For appetizers try the fried calamari, and the delicious dynamite sushi roll.
The kale salad with chicken and Brussel sprouts is not to miss. For entrees go for the fresh salmon over the asparagus and rice and there signature slab of pork ribs with potato salad and coleslaw.  enhance your fantastic meal with a glass of wine or one of their signature cocktails.     More at www.earls.ca
21 Steps:
  
This popular establishment serves a variety of dishes in a cool modern atmosphere. Their modern comfort food is created daily from scratch by chef Owen Jones and his team.  That explains why they have been in business for over 20 years.  Start with Their 21 signature salad which mesculin greens with goat cheese pecans, orange with basil oil and balsamic. Add their tasty prawns to enhance the salad or their Kale salad.
 
With many great options for your main course I suggest the fresh Icelandic Cod or my favorite the Braised Australian Lamb Shanks. Slow cooked in a curry pineapple sauce with rice.  Enjoy a glass of wine to accompany your meal.  Our server Leah was very attentive and the manager Stacy was very hospitable. This place is not to miss.  It is located on the 2nd floor ironically 21 steps up hence (the reason for the name of the restaurant) with glass window and beautiful views of the village.  they go out of their way to make sure you have a great dinning experience. www.21steps.ca
 
Red Door Bistro-
 
This was my favorite dining experience with nothing taken away of any of the other fabulous restaurants.  Besides the great food, the experience to sit a the chefs counter and watch the 3 chefs doing their thing was fantastic. Seeing what goes into preparing gourmet dishes from start to finish was amazing to watch and then of course eat.
Start with the tender and delicious sautéed calamari (the best I have had in a long time) and the beet/goat cheese salad.  With so many great options for dinner, the seafood bouillabaisse and the ever delicious veal porterhouse with their famous potatoes and asparagus.   www.reddoorbistro.ca
Wildwood Pacific Bistro
The breakfast was so good, I had to go back for dinner before the Fire and Ice show. Start with the sautéed prawns as they had a nice array of appetizers including salads an soups.  I ate in the bar area lounge and was served well and entertained by witty bartender Kenny.
He also suggested the curry bowl with fresh salmon, rice and veggies.  Great and flavorful.  I enjoyed watching some sports on the tvs while chatting with Kenny but you can enjoy your meal in the main dining room as well.  End with the sticky toffee pudding with one of your favorite after dinner drinks.  More at www.wildwoodrestaurants.ca
Basalt
   
Owner Michael Guy has a gem of a place right next to the Crystal Lodge   This quaint establishment offers some unique and tasty options.  The popular meat cuttacurie with a variety of pork ,beef, duck and even duck salamis.  The kale salad was great as well to start.
   
The two winners were the trout tartare and the steelhead entree over crab mashed potatoes and green beans in a butter sauce.  Enjoy one of their specialty cocktails such as the expresso vodka pick me up to start and the Canadian Chardonnay with the fish.
Try some cheese or dessert to finish your meal with a glass of ice wine. My sever Olivia was super knowledgeable, friendly and accommodating.   More at www.basaltwhistler.com
Activities-

Ziptrek Ecotours.

I was reluctant to go on this tour as I have been ziplining 2-3 times before and it didn’t wow me.  Well, hat is until this tour. Between the beautiful scenery, speed and diversity of the different zip lines, my fantastic guides Jojo and Keegan, the easy yet adventurous walks to each line.  Go over the high trees at a decent speed while turning, going upside down or just facing forward without having to worry about braking.  This company has created their special system so the guides do all the work.  This blew away my expectations for the approx 3 hours and this tour is not to miss.  Check in at the bottom of he Carleton at their activity desk. Experience the exhilaration of flying as you glide across Ziptrek’s network of ziplines suspended high above the Fitzsimmons Creek that divides Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains.

Ziptrek offers an entertaining combination of high-wire adventure and ecological exploration on a choice of 3 guided zipline tours.  We went for the Eagle Tour which has 5 zip lines and 4 treetop bridges that took about 3 hours.  The Bear Tour is more like a light adventure.  The TreeTrek Canopy Walk offers a guided interpretive adventure across a stunning network of suspension bridges, suspended stairways, boardwalks and ground based trails, with no zipping required.   More at www.ziptrek.com

 
The other fantastic activity I did was Canadian Adventure wilderness snowmobiling tour.
Meet in the Carleton (next to the Gondola) downstairs at their activity desk to check in. Then take their 20 minute shuttle drive to the snowmobile area where you get all he necessary attire and instructions before heading out on the trail.  Follow the guide until you get to the open area to speed around for a bit.   Overall very fun and I highly recommend it especially on a weekend day when there a a big crowd on the mountain.  Ride a single or double snowmobiling machine More info at www.canadianwilderness.com
We ended up visiting the Avello Spa at the Westin Hotel with your purchase of a massage and bath you get full access to the gym, pool, spas and steam room.  I tried the milk bath which was about a 15 min soak and very relaxing you don’t need to shower afterwards and your skin will fill very smooth. for more information go to www.whistlerspa.com phone 877 935-7111
One other spa that you need to drive to but offers massages and a variety of amenities (hot tubs, cool plunges, steam rooms, saunas, rest areas and more) is the Scandinave Spa   www.scandinave.com