Winter in Toronto is a dry kind of cold that makes me want to curl up and never leave my bed. Besides, I was born for warmer weather. But give me a ticket to go skiing in Whistler and I’d jump to take the next flight out!
Whistler is the perfect destination for a magical winter vacation. It’s a picturesque scene of frosted mountains and snow-covered landscape. But there’s so much more to it than what meets the eye. There’s some kind of magic in the air during the winter months that made me never want to leave.
I think I have it figured out… This destination specializes in creating unique winter experiences that can change anyone’s mind about going down South. As you walk through the village or share a gondola with other skiers, you’ll hear languages from all around the world. This gem of Canadian mountains welcomes all kinds of tourists with its rich style and worldly class.
I can go on for days about why I’d go back in a heartbeat… But without further ado, here are 5 great reasons why you should reconsider a beach vacation this winter and detour to BC’s Sea to Sky Country.
1. Sea to Sky Highway
Two words: BUCKET LIST! The Sea to Sky Highway is one of the world’s most scenic and romantic drives. This is where your Whistler experience starts! The highway is a picture-perfect road that passes the pacific ocean and leads right into a gorgeous mountainous region. Surrounded by ocean vistas, forests, waterfalls and snow-capped mountains, winter makes it look even more magical that it already is.
I couldn’t help it. During my drive up to Whistler, I had to step out of my car every 10 minutes to take it all in. The experience you’ll get while standing in the middle of the highway, surrounded by rocky mountains and snow-covered forests is indescribable. Park on the side of the road when possible. Take in the beauty and snap a few photos of the winter wonderland around you.
2. Superior Skiing
If you’re from the East coast of Canada or the US, you’re probably grew up skiing low altitude mountains. That’s me, the girl who’s been skiing her whole life, but never on a “real” mountain until I met Whistler. Unlike the East, Whistler and Blackcomb mountains bring skiers and boarders from all over the world! The beautiful deep powder and gorgeous open bowls make skiing naturally more challenging and far more enjoyable. Backcountry and heli skiing are also popular on some of the other mountains near Whistler for all the adrenaline junkies.
Not knowing the ins and outs before my first Whistler ski trip, I had to learn the hard way. For best performance, you’re going to want to get all-mountain skis. Being used to carving skis myself, all-mountains felt like skiing on two snowboards and I had a difficult time adjusting at first. So if you’re coming from a similar background, it’s a good idea to squeeze in a day of lessons to make your experience more enjoyable.
3. Peak to Peak 360 Whistler Gondola
This gondola ride is a fascinating way to see scenic viewpoints in every direction of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. The 360 gondola shows off an aerial view of mountain vistas, glaciers, lakes and temperate rain forests. It broke the Guinness World of Records for the longest and highest gondola ride, so it’s another bucket list item to check off during your Whistler trip.
My favourite part of this experience was going on the glass bottom gondola. It’s worth waiting for to get a bird’s-eye view of the mountains’ beautiful landscape. For me, the experience was quite humbling and unforgettable. If you’re not a skier or snowboarder, you can take a regular gondola up to Blackcomb mountain and then cross with the Peak to Peak Gondola to Whistler mountain. It’ll drop you off at the central point of the mountain, where you can enjoy a comforting lunch at Steeps Grill in the Roundhouse Lodge. In my experience with mountain lodge restaurants, Steeps Grill takes the gold medal for creating a top-notch fine-dining experience in a casual setting.
Ziping and gliding through Whistler’s temperate rain forests, I saw a side of Whistler that blew my mind! This is a unique and exhilarating way to exploring the region’s charming and snowy rain forest. The zip-lining activities also come with an educational tour of the region’s ecology and wildlife. But the atmosphere in the middle of the rain forest is what really counts. The ancient trees as old as 1100 years covered in snow and charming lichen hanging off the barks and branches, make the experience dream-like.
5. Award-Winning Culinary Experiences
At the heart of Whistler Village is an array of worldly restaurants. The village offers a variety of incredible culinary experiences to please everyone. Walking along the snowy cobble stone pathways in the village, I saw how much style and charm whistler has. What I loved most about this was how easily I was able to customize my dining experiences.
You can treat yourself to private up-scale dining, cave tours and even cooking classes. Each experience will leave you with a whole new perspective on dining in style.
If You Find Yourself In Whistler This Winter…
Get ready to eat well! If you’re a foodie like myself and truly enjoy culinary arts, you’ll appreciate that almost all the restaurants boast use of locally grown organic ingredients and specialize in comforting cuisines for cold days. Here are a few restaurants to check out during your Whistler trip:
- Araxi Restaurant – Fine dining at its finest, and my favourite restaurant in the village. Araxi has an international reputation, especially for its hospitality.
- Bearfoot Bistro – This restaurant offers fine-dining in a fun setting, while giving guests an epic Whistler experience. With its accessible ice room and oyster bar, I really liked this restaurant for its elegance and uniqueness.
- Rim Rock Cafe – Seafood lovers, this is your place! From the food to the atmosphere, it’s a true gem. Both elegant and casual, it’s definitely one of my top picks for a comfortable but fine dining experience.
- Taste of Place – This isn’t a restaurant, it’s an ultimate dining experience! Taste of Place is a unique dining program offered at the Four Seasons Resort. It involves an exclusive helicopter ride, tour of an ice cave, tastings, classes and private dining with the executive chef at the Resort.
Satisfy your winter travel bug and get out to explore one of Canada’s most precious gems! Be sure to check out daily deals and packages on accommodations and activities to help you save and customize your ideal Whistler vacation.
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