Outdoors

Road Trip

A weekend in Whistler

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Next time you need a weekend away, cross the border, head north on Highway 99 for Whistler, BC and don’t stop until the views get your heart racing.

Between the sheer granite cliffs, deep blue Pacific Ocean, heavily forested Gulf Islands, and the massive mountain ranges, this is a drive to cleanse the soul, rejuvenate the heart and sweep all worries to the back of your mind. Add some snowshoeing, a peak-to-peak gondola ride in Whistler, an unforgettable steakhouse experience, and a cozy night away at the Crystal Lodge and you have the recipe for a perfect break.

Nestled in the heart of Whistler Village, the Crystal Lodge is just a few steps from the gondolas and restaurants, with ideal proximity to the Whistler vibe. You’ll feel that ambiance as soon as you arrive via a mixture of international accents, skiers in colorful snow gear and a feeling of anticipation and celebration in the air.

We grabbed a coffee at a nearby cafe and watched as tired skiers, snowboarders and children carted their gear home after a day on the slopes. Later, from the lodge’s bubbling hot tub, we marveled as the sunset cast an orange light over the snowcapped mountains and the serene evening quiet descended over the village.

That night we made our way to Hy’s Steakhouse, a Canadian favorite and an ideal venue for steak aficionados willing to pull out all the stops. The upscale eatery delivers the ultimate in buttery-soft steaks, and our dessert, bananas foster, was a dramatic finale of flames as our server prepared it tableside.

We chose soft adventure on the slopes the next day, taking the gondola partway up for a snowshoe tour deep into the forest. Stepping gingerly over snow-covered streams, we were surrounded by pine trees, the stillness broken only by the bark of a lonesome crow and the sound of snowshoes padding on fresh snow.

If you’re not into skiing and snowboarding, snowshoeing is the next best way to experience the mountain close-up.

To get a sense of the enormity of the mountain range, we embarked on the peak-to-peak experience, a magnificent journey from Whistler Mountain to Blackcomb Mountain on a glass-bottomed gondola.

Whisked high above the clouds, we had views that were utterly spectacular: mountain peaks dusted with snow, pine trees with trunks half-buried by snowfall, and in the distance, the village of Whistler reduced to tiny proportions from the mountain peaks. It’s an exquisite journey, a feat of engineering well worth the entry fee, which, thanks to the favorable exchange rate, isn’t too hard to justify.

Whistler is a difficult place to leave—a venue where the atmosphere of relaxation and rejuvenation is contagious and where the worries of the real world slip seamlessly away. It helps that the drive back to Washington is also breathtakingly lovely.

Cruising south down the curves of Highway 99, into the Lower Mainland’s delta and back onto the Interstate, we were reminded anew of the beauty and bounty of the Pacific Northwest and of how privileged we are to call this part of the world our home.

For more info, go to http://www.whistler.com, www.crystal-lodge.com, or http://www.tagwhistler.com

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7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

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