Wednesday, March 8, 2017


8,171 skiable acres, 7,494 feet at its highest peak, an epic 7-mile run, a Guinness World Record holding gondola, spruce trees as far as the eye can's not just any ski resort.  Whistler is like the A5 Wagyu of ski resorts.  I guess we've been on a roll with visiting very cold places and snowboarding once or twice a month anyway, so the sub-zero temperatures didn't scare us...especially if that meant buttery-smooth snow and wide open runs with jaw-dropping views of the Garibaldi Ranges at every turn.

I didn't realize how quick and easy of a flight it was to get from LA to Vancouver, or how close Whistler is to Vancouver.  I'd always wanted to check out Vancouver, and we've been really getting into snowboarding lately, so we booked travel to British Columbia for the second time in the same year (we were in Bamfield in August).  On the second day of 2017, we woke up at 4 AM and lugged our odd-shaped snowboard bags to the airport, taking up probably 5 or 6 escalator stairs each.  That was really the hardest part.  Checking the snowboards was a pain-free process and didn't cost any extra because we flew WestJet.  We had two days to tour around Vancouver and three days to snowboard.  At first, I didn't think that my muscles could handle three days in a row on the slopes, but I quickly realized that three days was barely enough time after we got our hands on a trail map.

There are two peaks with 200+ trails combined... 

And a 2-mile cable that connects the two.  People come out here just to ride this gondola, and I say that it is definitely worth it.  I've never seen so many trees, covered in snow, from this point of view.

We went to both peaks, but we spent more time on the Whistler Peak because the texture of the snow was a little less rocky over there.  The views were unbeatable from both sides, though.  Just breathtaking (literally!  That 7000-ft altitude!).

Of course, we had to have some poutine, even if it was just at the slopeside cafeteria.  Despite the gross sound of the word "curds," I can say that I didn't mind that squeaky cheese so much when it was paired with fries and gravy.  Gravy seems to have that sort of magical effect on things.

Wes and I both left Canada feeling really fulfilled - snowboarding here was more than we could have asked for.  We realized that we were probably quite lucky to have good weather and clear views, as it can get pretty hairy up there...although there was that middle day where we weren't quite so lucky.  Going to the tippity top of the mountain during a blizzard was probably not the smartest thing to do...but we struggled our way back down to visible territory eventually (like, an hour later).  So, I guess Whistler both spoiled and punished us.  Humbling experiences on all days.  In the end, the experience made us better snowboarders for sure.

On our first night, we took the scenic Sea to Sky Highway from Vancouver to Whistler, and arrived right as the sun was setting. We could have gotten here earlier, but we stopped to see Shannon Falls (half frozen), and shopped at this random snow sports outlet in Squamish (agh!! but the deals were so good).  We walked around the village at night - ducked into Peaked Pies for a super bomb Aussie Pie (one with kangaroo filling and one chicken & mushroom), warmed our hands with an herbal tea from David's Tea, and scoped out the grocery store, where Wes made sure to load up on his daily cold brew.  Slept early in anticipation for Day One!

We stayed at this cozy and clean AirBNB, right at the Creekside base.  We never had to ride a bus or take the car to the slopes - they were literally across the street from us.  Such a good location...also because there was a really popular pizza place right next to it!!

(that's our last dinner btw)

So...Day One!

Whistler Village, so quiet and cute in the morning.  Like a gingerbread neighborhood.
 We bought these stupid masks at that outlet store in Squamish, and they were indispensable in these conditions.  That little airhole is genius - don't care how weird it looks.

Another genius invention! Glove warmers!

Touristy photo on a real Olympic podium!

First lift ride up - the village is still sleeping in the mountain's shadow.  My jaw was already dropping to the ground here.

Here we are at the top of that famous 7-mile Peak to Creek trail, which is the highest point on the Whistler side.  Amazingly, it's an all-blue trail, not a black!  But it does feel like the blues here are like Big Bear blacks.  So awesome that these runs could be that long.

Monster icicles.

The lifts all close at 3:30, so had plenty of time to relax and snack before dinner.  We pretty much were out from beginning of the day to the end (and only did a handful of runs on this first day because they're so darn long!  It's a good problem to have.).

Dinner at Tandoori Kitchen.  Felt great digging into some homey Indian food, but our allegiance continues to lie with Himalayan Restaurant in Big Bear.  Nothing compares to that place.

Came back and relaxed to the sound of David Attenborough's voice.

Day Two!

I of course took forever to pick my yogurt at the supermarket, but I ended up grabbing a local brand called Olympic and mixed it with blueberries from....California -__- They were damn expensive, but oh well. The US dollar is up anyway.

And Wes still had his ole cold brew in weather like this... you should have seen how tough it was for him to order cold brew anywhere in Vancouver earlier that week.  It was probably funny for the workers.

The second day was a lot snowier, with a film of whiteness suspended in the air.  Our clouds of breath were as defined as our footprints.

The view from that same Olympic podium area from Day One - completely changed!

There's an entire dropoff behind us, that you can't see at all.  The Inukshuk man has a thick layer of snow on too.

But what beautiful trees closer to the bottom!

After we finally made it through the super difficult area where we couldn't see five feet in front of us, we hit some pretty flat expanses and had to scooch our way through them.  Really wanted some ski poles, and was really exhausted.

Thank God for hot cocoa!  It was absolutely, soul-satisfyingly, perfect.

After we trudged our way back home, we showered and went directly down the stairs (in just our long underwear) to Creekbread.  PIZZA!  The waiter was impressed and probably worried about the amount of food that the two of us ate: this whole pizza, two large salads (with potatoes in them), and a brownie sundae dessert, even though he said that he'd be very surprised if we ordered dessert.  The place was really neighborhood-y and cozy, we were thankful that we didn't have to go far for good food after that crazy day.

Day Three! :(

Last day.  We still hadn't even ventured over to Blackcomb yet (the weather didn't allow it yesterday), so today we took the Peak 2 Peak gondola over.  It was an awesome ride, it apparently holds a Guinness World Record.

Super relaxing and beautiful.

Yeah that's nuts, right?

The storm ended and the clouds were sitting low.  So happy for blue skies again!


We're actually on top of a glacier!

Went back over to Whistler and finished our day with our most favorite runs.

Stopped for a quick bite to eat at the Raven's Nest, which is maybe the only vegan/vegetarian restaurant on any slope that I've ever heard of/been to.  Healthiest thing we ate this trip.

Sunset.  So sad to leave such a beautiful place.

Last dinner.  Just an awesome spread from the grocery store - everything we'd wanted to buy but hadn't.  Like a barbecue salmon filet, whole roasted chicken, farro, soup, and an assortment of smoked game meat sausages.  Of course we couldn't eat all of that, but it was good snacking on the drive back to Vancouver.

Can't wait to get back into the snow again soon!  Nothing will really compare to Whistler, but this trip has only inspired us to keep chasing powder no matter where we are.

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