Tag Archives: Whistler

Whistler Vacation

Whistler is one of Alex’s and my favorite places to visit and ski. The village is adorable and the mountains are extraordinary – Whistler Blackcomb is the largest ski resort in North America! We thought it would be the perfect destination for our first family-of-three vacation. Alex and I hadn’t been there together since 2013, though I was there last winter with my dad. While the trip was very different than we expected, we had a great time and we’re scheming on making an annual family Whistler trip every winter.

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Our trip began on Friday morning – we had gotten pretty much everything packed up the night before and were hoping to wake up and load up the car and then hit the road before Ben took his morning nap so that he could snooze in the car. The timing worked out really well, but I woke up feeling like I had been hit by a train. I was operating at about 20% and that’s being generous. Alex took one for the team and by some miracle we were out the door by 9 and Ben quickly fell asleep, as did I.

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The drive to Whistler is 4.5 to 5 hours, depending on Vancouver traffic and border wait times. Once you pass through Vancouver the drive is absolutely breathtaking along the Sea to Sky highway. Sadly I did not enjoy any part of the drive other than when it was over. By then I was feeling better but not 100% {by the next morning I was fine}.

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This was going to be our “big vacation” and we had reserved a condo for a full week – Friday to Friday. We scheduled a babysitter for three days so that Alex and I could ski. In addition to downhill skiing we brought our cross country gear so that we could take Ben out too. We’ve heard from several friends that there is a lot to do with babies in Whistler and we were really excited to experience that first-hand.

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The condo we stayed at had a really good location for being a young family in Whistler, though it wasn’t as close to the lifts as we had hoped. It was situated just outside the village, quite close to the Olympic Plaza, which has a skating rink, a sledding hill, and a playground. It was also near the library, a grocery store, several coffee shops and other great restaurants. Next time we visit we’d opt for a place closer to the gondola and more in the heart of the village.

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Our first full day was great – the sun was out and it had snowed a few inches overnight. Perfect for exploring the village and doing some sledding!

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Day two was scheduled as a ski day. We requested a babysitter through a local service, confirmed with her the night before and much to our surprise, she never showed up! Our “Plan B” was pretty okay and we spent another day in the village and went cross country skiing.

{Coffee on the couch instead of skiing!}

{Coffee on the couch instead of skiing!}

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{Coffee on the couch quickly turned into boozy hot drinks on the patio…}

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{We skied around Lost Lake – it was a short 2.5 mile trail and by the time we made the first loop the trail was getting icy so we opted to call it quits. This trail was a little more hilly than the one we’re used to at home and I wasn’t very comfortable going downhill with Ben on my back.}

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We were able to flex our skiing schedule a little bit and the babysitting service managed to switch us to a different gal who did show up on Monday morning so we could go skiing. Alex and I were more apprehensive about leaving Ben with a babysitter than we expected – something about a stranger and being in another country, not to mention we were going to be skiing, was a little weird. Once she arrived in the morning she put our nerves at ease and we hit the slopes.

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What ended up being our one and only ski day was terrific. We skied our hearts out! We skied on Blackcomb Mountain and covered it top to bottom. The sun was out, the snow was soft and we were ripping it up. The combination of being there on a Monday at the end of March meant we skied right on to the lifts every run – we got so many runs in that we found the time to take a much needed coffee break.

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{One of our favorite areas was the new Crystal chair – we found some powder pockets and skied in an area that had been hit by a forest fire, which provided a perfect gladed run through the trees with some nice soft bumps.}

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At the end of our ski day we were very happy to get back to a content Ben who had a great day with his Aussie babysitter. She offered to come watch him the next evening for us, so we happily took her up on that so we could have a date night together. We went out for a glass of wine first and then headed to a fancy restaurant for dinner. It was a great night!

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Taking Ben to restaurants is totally hit or miss {mostly miss right now} – he’s got to be in the right mood and he’s not particularly fond of sitting still {just like his mama!} so it’s not always fun for anyone. If we can get him in the right mood he’ll just sit there and munch on a pickle or a french fry or whatever we’ve got in a similar shape/size. But mostly he just wants to get down and crawl around and say hello to the other diners.

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We had some really terrific food while we were in Whistler. In past years Whistler has not been my favorite ski town for good food but it’s starting to move up the ranks. Some of our favorites were a bakery called Pure Bread {should have been named “Heaven”}, an adorable creparie called Crepe Montagne, as well as Araxi and Basalt, where we went out for our date night.

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Wednesday ended up being our last day in Whistler, though we were booked until Friday. Ben somehow contracted hand, foot and mouth disease which is a really awful and highly contagious virus that’s very common in young children. After a couple hours Wednesday morning we pulled the plug and started packing up to go home. Since home is so close for us we thought we’d all be more comfortable there and saw no point in staying in Whistler.

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The drive home was slightly better than expected, though I spent most of it in the back seat with Ben so I could be there if he needed some comfort, which he undoubtedly did. On the drive home we decided to stop at the famous Tim Hortons because we had heard it is the cat’s meow. Turns out it’s Canada’s version of Dunkin’ Donuts and we’d have been much better off stopping just about anywhere else. Otherwise, the car ride home was mostly uneventful and we made great time. We were fortunate to arrive home to a clean house with banana bread in the oven – our nanny stayed at our house while we were gone.

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All in all, even though our trip was very different than we had expected, we had a terrific time and I’ll look back on it with many positive memories. We’re excited to get back up to Whistler!

Whistler Ski Trip

While Alex is off in eastern British Columbia on a ski trip with our friend Patrick, my dad flew out for a long weekend with me in Whistler, on the west side of BC. Alex and I had been to Whistler several times before, but it was my dad’s first trip to the magnificent mountain. He says he’ll be back for sure!

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Whistler is just north of Vancouver, British Columbia and is about a 4.5 hour drive from Seattle. It is also the largest ski resort in North America, offering more than 8,000 acres of skiable terrain {Vail “only” boasts 5,000 and until this year, was the largest resort in the US} across the two mountains {Whistler and Blackcomb}. It is so expansive and I am certain a person could spend an entire season skiing there and not ski the same run twice.

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It’s a toss up between here and Jackson Hole which one is my favorite destination, but Whistler is a very special place for Alex and me {and now my dad understands it!}.

{Best mountain hot chocolate is at Whistler!}

{Best mountain hot chocolate is at Whistler!}

Our trip was great, albeit a bit short {and sadly the snow kept flying as we left and we missed a couple consecutive powder days}, but we had a really nice time skiing together. The conditions were much better than I had expected, given the recent warming trend in the west. We were blessed with fresh snow on our first day, as well as untouched snow on the upper mountain the second day.

We spent our first day skiing exclusively on Blackcomb Mountain. Since my last trip to Whistler there was a new chairlift that had been added and it opened up a completely new section of the mountain that I had never skied before. The wind was howling that day, so we didn’t get to ski the upper mountain at all, but that wasn’t a problem.

{I've got to believe this guy is approaching 50 days on skis this year...}

{I’ve got to believe this guy is approaching 50 days on skis this year…}

Our second and final day was spent on Whistler Mountain. We took the Peak 2 Peak gondola from Blackcomb to Whistler that morning and spent most of the day either in the Symphony Amphitheatre area or on the Peak chair. The snow conditions were great for the most part, albeit low visibility in some places, and we had an excellent time exploring the mountain.

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In addition to skiing, we spent some time in the village and relaxed back at the condo we rented. We also brought Jackson with us and he and I took some nice walks on the snowy trails where he was able to run around and play ball in the snow. It took him a while to settle into the new space, but once he got tuckered out enough he seemed pretty comfortable there. I think he was just as sad as we were when it came time to head home and leave the snow behind.

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My dad’s trip came to an end with a really nice dinner in my neighborhood, joined by my two cousins, Chris and Jon. And then he was off… I have a feeling our next ski trip together will include a little one, so things will certainly be a bit different in the future, and until then, we’ve got the memory of our Whistler trip.

Party Weekend in Whistler

Whistler is one of Alex and my favorite places to vacation, so we were more than happy to attend our good friends’ Carrie and Patrick’s combined bachelor/bachelorette party in Whistler this past weekend. Their wedding isn’t until September but they share a love of skiing and actually got engaged just over a year ago at Whistler, so a bachelor/ette party up there was a perfect idea for them. The weekend was mostly spent as one big group of around 25 people, but Saturday night after dinner the girls split off and did their own thing while the guys gave Patrick a bachelor night on the town. Patrick had strict instructions that all of the guys should arrive with a mustache and that the game of gnar would be played on the mountain. We all knew it would be a fun weekend with those prerequisites!

The boys sporting their 'staches

The boys sporting their ‘staches

We made awesome time on our drive up to Whistler (4 hours!!), checked into our hotel and somehow managed to score a free upgrade to a one bedroom suite. Alex credits “the power of the ‘stache” for our win. There were five couples that were able to arrive on Thursday and make it a long weekend, so we met up with the other four couples in Carrie and Patrick’s hotel room for some drinks before going out to Black’s Pub for dinner.

Friday morning we woke up to a beautiful blanket of fresh snow. We knew that the Cascade mountains were expecting a massive snowstorm, but Whistler was only expecting a couple inches. We were pleasantly surprised to find ourselves with around 8 inches of light and fresh powder when we got off the gondola.

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The upper mountain never opened on Friday, due to high winds, so Saturday was epic. Our first run of the day was off of Spanky’s Ladder on Blackcomb Mountain and it was one of the best lines I have ever skied. It was worth the gnarly hike up the ladder to get there! We continued to lap the Glacier Chair all morning before taking the Peak 2 Peak gondola from Blackcomb to Whistler Mountain to join the rest of the group for lunch. After lunch, the fog rolled in and my legs called it quits pretty quickly so Alex and I headed down to our hotel room for a quick dip in the hot tub and a power nap before the bachelor/ette festivities began.

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Saturday was the big party night. We started our evening as a co-ed group at 21 Steps, a restaurant that Alex and I enjoyed with his parents during our Christmas trip to Whistler. I think everyone agreed it was as awesome as we had originally thought. From there, the boys split off and went to smoke some cigars and drink whiskey, or whatever it is boys do at a bachelor party. The girls went back to Carrie’s room and had junk food, Skittles shots and played some girlie bachelorette games together. It wouldn’t have been a bachelorette party without going dancing, though, so we hit up some live music at Dubh Linn Gate before meeting up with the boys around midnight.

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The bachelorette!

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Before heading back to reality, the group got together for one final event on Sunday morning. We met at the Fairmont for their world-class brunch. We were seated in their private dining room and feasted on an incredible assortment of everything you could imagine. The prime rib and Yorkshire pudding were my favorite “lunch” items and surprisingly, the pork sausage was my favorite “breakfast” item, along with roasted tomatoes and sauteed mushrooms. Who knew.

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Alex and I are always sad to leave Whistler. It is truly one of our favorite places we have ever been. It feels like home to us. We hope to someday be able to live somewhere comparable, but for now, Whistler is only a 4-5 hour drive away….

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