As I cleared customs and queued in the narrow aisle of the plane, I knew that my small horizon was bound to broaden. On route to Canadian customs, I was beyond excited to experience snow for the first time in Whistler, British Columbia. #LetsLiveLarge
GOLD COAST > NEW ZEALAND > VANCOUVER
- White Christmas
- Fresh Tracks
- Cat Ski
- Heli Ski
- Northern Lights
- Whistler Train Wreck
- Walk on a frozen lake
- Visit an outdoor spa
- Ice Caves
- Ice Skate
- Bungee Jump
- Local food and drink
TANDEM BIKE RIDING VANCOUVER:
We had a couple days to kill in Vancouver so Growing up in the tropical Whitsundays Australia, I felt severely unprepared for the cooler climate, despite loading my American Tourister to the brim with thick knits and thermals. When trying our hand at tandem bike riding around Stanley Park Vancouver, I got my first taste of the cooler climate. If sightseeing outdoors is your thing, you can see Vancouver Harbour starting at $6.67 for 3 hours (Tandem: $15.24).
- Winter Essentials: THICK gloves and coffee!
SOREL Boots available @adventuremegastore
With one month of snowboarding ahead, our next mission was selecting the perfect equipment. The best deal in town was found at ‘The Boardroom Vancouver’, where I found myself a board, boots and bindings for approximately $700.00 new (that’s less than half the RRP) – Sweeeet deal! If you like to burn money buy your gear in Whistler.
- Awesome Beginner Board: Skate Banana
- Rookie Error: Traditional Boot Lace, for learners like me, I’d recommend Dua Boa Lacing which saves time and effort every gondola ride.
TRAVEL TO WHISTLER, BRITISH COLUMBIA:
Coach services from Vancouver Central to Whistler take around 2 hours. We went with Pacific Coaches and arrived in a winter wonderland.
- $55 per adult (one way)
- Airport / Hotel transfers available
COLUMBIA Jacket available @adventuremegastore
WHILE IN WHISTLER
GUINNESS BOOK OF RECORDS PEAK TO PEAK GONDOLA:
When you purchase a season pass at Whistler Blackcomb you have full access to Blackcomb and Whistler Mountains, and the gondola which connects the two. I’d recommend riding the Peak to Peak gondola at the beginning of your journey to get your bearings on the world’s longest unsupported lift, 1,427 ft high.
- Ride time: 11 minutes
See Whistler’s back-country and the Rocky Mountains at speed with Snowmobile Blackcomb. All you’ll need is a driver’s licence to race around trails, alpine bowls and frozen lakes in small groups (feels like jet skiing on ice). I’d recommend bringing your own goggles and wearing ski / snowboarding apparel.
- Wilderness Tour Experience Time: Two Hours
- Investment: $149.00 single rider | $119.00 double rider
- Other services: Cat ski, Dog sled, ATV, & Snowshoe
Set your alarm and glide through virgin powder like a knife slicing hot butter before the crowds. When booking your fresh tracks experience you’re in for buffet breaky and exclusive access to the best snow conditions.
- Open DEC – MARCH
- Wake up call: 6:00am
- Investment: $19.95 per adult (Additional to WB pass)
On a powder day (heavy soft snowfall) in January, our more experienced ski and snowboarders gave catskiing a crack! Unless you’ve a large group of proficient snowboarders you may want to give this experience a miss, at $500.00+ a pop! If you’re planning on joining strangers to push down the price, you might become frustrated with novice riders chewing up your slope time. In our opinion fresh tracks is just as good.
If you follow the train tracks south of Function Junction you’ll find a train wreck in 1km. Beware of trains and wear warm clothes.
GREEN LAKE FROZEN:
- Best time to visit: Sunset
There’s a window of opportunity to find these beauties before the snow melts. Ice caves form naturally below 0 °C. You’ll soon find out if claustrophobia (extreme or irrational fear of confined places) applies to you.
For $5.00 you can skate Whistler Olympic Park. It is harder than it looks… We found a pro and his advice was to keep straight legs and tense your buttocks! Unfortunately, we barely graduated the beginners walking frame but it was fun nonetheless!
- DEC – MARCH
With a New Year’s promise to dive into life and say yes more often, we found ourselves at Whistler Bungee. I’ve skydived twice and bungee jumping is, in my opinion, more thrilling. When your time comes to step off the bridge with nothing to hold onto, it’s all on you.
- Investment: $130pp
Ancient cultures used spas for therapy and relaxation “Salus per aqua”… “health from water.” To test the theory, we finished our trip at Scandinave Spa. Floating half naked between spas, sauna and steam rooms we admired the stunning surrounds comfortably. S-Spa is a silent, phone and camera free haven fit for celebrities.
- Bath access (hot springs, sauna, sun and steam rooms): $60.00 pp
- Ultimate Deep Tissue Massage 90 minutes: $235.00 pp (includes bath access) – Our pick!
Swimming is probably the last thing you’d imagine on a ski trip, but after weeks of Poutine (google it) and Caesars (let me explain below…), you might feel like getting the heart rate up off the slopes. Stretch the muscles and relax in the pool or group fitness class.
- Investment: $8.50 for pool access / $2.00 on Tuesdays!
EAT & DRINK:
- Best Value: All ‘El Furniture’, feeds are $5.00 (surprisingly great portions)! This place is always packed and for good reason.
- Filler Between Lunch & Dinner: ‘Crystal Lounge’, $3.00 chicken wings are a popular menu request.
- Best Seafood: ‘La Bocca’ favourites include: Seared Salmon and Cioppino (Flavoursome seafood broth).
- Best Vegan & Vegetarian: ‘Naked Sprout’ have the best flu shots (lifesaver), hummus wraps, chilli and coconut soups. Otherwise, you’ll find ‘Raven’s Nest’ tucked away at the base of Red Chair on Whistler Mountain, with only non-vegan menu items. Other options include: ‘The Green Moustache’ and ‘The Simple Spoon’.
- Best Live Entertainment: At ‘Garibaldi Lift Co. Bar & Grill’, you can watch the WB Fire & Ice Show on Sunday’s.
- Best New Years Spot: Cosy ‘Dubh Linn Gate Irish Pub’ overlooks the foot of the mountain and has THE best fireplace for a big group.
- Local Cocktail: The basic formula for a ‘Caesar’ is pretty straightforward: clamato, worcestershire, tabasco, spices, celery salt, pepper, vodka and most importantly some serious garnish. Typical toppings: celery, olives, pickled chilli, bacon/salmon jerky and if you are lucky, deep fried chicken. Clam juice is the most crucial element, adding a more robust flavour than its American cousin – the Bloody Mary. You won’t be disappointed!
- Best Après: You’re bound to see a familiar face at ‘Longhorns’. Enjoy the vibe and bump into friends who ski in.
Thank you for visiting www.letslivelarge.com.au … next stop Samoa!