Kicking off a new series on Miss604.com called Top Five I’ll be featuring my personal picks for things to see and do in various BC communities in 2010. Having recently spent the last two weekends in Whistler, it’s a natural starting point for the series. These are my Top Five picks for spring and summer 2010 activities.
Peak to Peak
There’s not another experience like it as the Peak to Peak will sail you 1427 feet above the valley floor between Whistler and Blackcomb. The ride lasts about 11 minutes and the views are simply breathtaking — especially if you wait for the special silver car to come around as it has a glass bottom.
Although it’s currently closed for regular maintenance, the Whistler Blackcomb Peak to Peak gondola will re-open for the summer season on May 22nd. Once you make it across, there are plenty of hiking trails (from easy to moderate) on either side where you can check out glacier-fed lakes, wildlife, and indigenous plant species.
I’ve been fortunate enough to experience many spas in BC but Scandinave certainly stands out. Think of the lovely Grotta at Tigh-Na-Mara on Vancouver Island but then take that outdoors and make it about 3 times larger. The Scandinavian approach offers several pools in which you can soak, all at various temperature levels. This is complimented by a wet eucalyptus steam room as well as a dry Finnish sauna. Rotating through these rooms and the pools rejuvenates and detoxifies your skin and body. To top it off, they have a private snowy hillside setting and a dining area inside featuring goodies from Bearfoot Bistro. The main feature is the outdoor sauna, steam, and bath experience however they also offer massage treatments. It’s definitely worth treating yourself and if you’re a local, you can get a “season’s pass” to visit the pools as often as you like, at a discounted rate.
Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre
Sitting at the base of the Upper Village on Blackcomb, this is one of our favourite places in the area. Not only is it situated inside a beautiful building where glass and wood meet in stunning design but the history, heritage and culture that it exudes is priceless.
Learn about the Squamish and Lil’wat nations (upon whose territory the ski resort lies), browse historical artifacts, wander through galleries and even take an interpretive forest stroll. The Cultural Centre is definitely something for young and old to enjoy.
Whatever you do in Whistler and regardless of your budget, head out for a meal at least once during your visit. From the amazingly delicious Avalanche Pizza to premium dining at Araxi and Bearfoot Bistro, there’s something for everyone. Last weekend I was introduced to the dangerous magic of a “Sake Margarita” at Sushi Village, which is the ultimate aprÃ¨s-ski / pre-party destination with some rather creative sushi rolls on the menu. For brunch check out Elements in the Summit Lodge or head to Creekside for a classic diner experience at Southside.
As a special bonus I’ll also include Grilled Fromage in Squamish for your drive to or from Whistler.
It’s worth stopping in and trying one of 50+ kinds of grilled cheese sandwiches that they have to offer. That, and the cheesiness of the entire diner will certainly bring a smile to your face.
We were in town for the Telus World Ski & Snowboard Festival and I admit, I hardly witness any slope-side action because there was also so much going on in the village. Whistler’s festivals always include outdoor adventure and plenty of entertainment all day long. I missed the photography showdown but we attended the opening party, the Schick Fashion Exposed fashion show, the Chevy Test Drive, State of the Art, and plenty of outdoor concerts.
Upcoming festivals in Whistler include the Childrens Art Festival July 17th and 18th, Kokanee Crankworx August 7th until the 15th, and annual events that are always covered on Miss604.com such as Cornucopia and the Whistler Film Festival.
For more information about Whistler you can follow them on Twitter @WhistlerBlckcmb or @GoWhistler.