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Whistler

Small Diner, Big Flavour

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Locals and visitors alike pack into teeny Fergie's Cafe. (Photo: Darby Magill)

Locals and visitors alike pack into teeny Fergie’s Cafe. (Photo: Darby Magill)

A gastronomic gem on the Sea-to-Sky strip, Fergie’s Cafe regularly packs its teeny interior with brunchgoers who spill out onto the patio and lawn. And who can blame them? Locally sourced, homemade fare such as buttermilk biscuits, house-smoked sausage and eggs from just down the road are found in bennies, hashes, sandwiches and breakfast bowls worth setting an alarm for—no matter how early the hour. It just goes to show: good things do come in small packages.

2016 Where to Dine Awards: Whistler

From bustling après-ski spots to refined rooms, Whistler’s dining scene has tastes to satisfy every palate. Where’s globetrotting readers weigh in on the flavours that left an impression long after the last bite

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Bar Oso serves up fresh albacore tuna. (Photo: Kevin Clark)

Bar Oso serves up fresh albacore tuna. (Photo: Kevin Clark)

BEST NEW RESTAURANT

Bar Oso
Decked out in striking black-and-white tile, chic Bar Oso brings tapas-style small plates and inventive cocktails to the heart of the Village. Spanish-inspired flavours and local ingredients meet in house-made charcuterie, pintxos (small bar bites on a skewer) and chilled seafood dishes. Wash it all down with the Oso Sour, made with bacon-infused bourbon and maple syrup.
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Say Spaaaaaa

By SHERI RADFORD

The serene spa lounge at The Spa at Nita Lake Lodge

The serene spa lounge at The Spa at Nita Lake Lodge

Need to unwind? Head to The Spa at Nita Lake Lodge. Our favourite indulgence is the five-hour Winter Spa Day package, complete with hot-stone massage, facial, manicure and pedicure, but any treatment will help you to de-stress. And all services include use of the rooftop hot tubs and eucalyptus steam room, ensuring R&R aplenty. Ready, set, relax.

Wine and Dine at Bearfoot Bistro

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Guests sabre a bottle of champagne at Bearfoot Bistro

Guests sabre a bottle of champagne at Bearfoot Bistro

Want your flute of champagne, and to sabre the bottle too? Head into the jaw-dropping 20,000-bottle wine cellar at Bearfoot Bistro, and channel your inner swashbuckler by opening a bottle of bubbly with a swipe of a sword for a spectacular toast. Next, don a parka to sip 50 varieties of vodka in the Ketel One Ice Room—the coldest vodka-tasting room in the world. To finish, indulge in ice cream crafted tableside using liquid nitrogen, for eye candy that doubles as dessert.

Whistler by the Numbers

Why do we love Whistler? Let us count the ways—skiing, shopping, dining and reliving the Olympics are just the beginning. To sum up, there’s something for everyone

By CRAIG SCHARIEN

Whistler and Blackcomb mountains tower above the Village. (Photo: David McColm/Tourism Whistler)

Whistler and Blackcomb mountains tower above the Village. (Photo: David McColm/Tourism Whistler)

1 Whistler Blackcomb has once again been named the number one ski resort in North America by SKI magazine. The resort offers more than 200 unique runs, 3,307 hectares (8,171 acres) of terrain and après options for everyone.

8 Whistler was home to eight sports during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Live the dream and try everything from skeleton at the Whistler Sliding Centre to ski jumping at Whistler Olympic Park—glory can be yours.

50 The 2015-16 season marks the 50th anniversary of Whistler Mountain as a ski resort. When it first opened in 1966, there were just six runs, including Franz’s Run, named for Franz Wilhelmsen, the company’s first president.

200 If you need a break from all the wintry adventure, or just get the urge to shop, duck into one of the 200+ stores to stock up on everything from art to ski gear.

551.3 Whistler boasts 551.3 hectares (1,362.3 acres) of parkland spread across 15 public parks. Add in the area’s five major lakes, and there’s plenty to do without taking a chairlift.

6,450 Need to refuel? There’s no need to go far, or even to leave the slopes. Whistler Blackcomb has 17 on-mountain dining options, with seating for 6,450.

69,939 Whistler Blackcomb’s 37 lifts can move 69,939 people per hour. That includes the Peak 2 Peak Gondola, the world’s highest and longest lift, which spans 4.4 km (2.7 mi) between the peaks of Whistler and Blackcomb.

2,100,000 Each year 2,100,000 people from all over the world visit Whistler. That doesn’t include the more than 2,000 seasonal residents—note all the Australian accents.

Canadian Art at Adele Campbell Gallery

By CRAIG SCHARIEN

"Get a Room" by John Ogilvy

“Get a Room” by John Ogilvy

Contemporary artists evoke thoughts of the season at Adele Campbell Fine Art Gallery. A changing series of exhibitions features Canadian artists, including works by Vancouver-born John Ogilvy (“Get a Room,” pictured), who now paints on Gabriola Island, BC, and in far-flung Lima, Peru. He captures the beauty of the relationship between civilization and nature, and adds a realistic touch to his paintings by including urban features.

Whistler Celebrates 50 Years

By CRAIG SCHARIEN

Whistler Village. (Photo: Leanna Rathkelly/Destination BC)

Whistler Village. (Photo: Leanna Rathkelly/Destination BC)

Over the hill? Not a chance. Only getting better with age, Whistler Mountain turns 50 this season. After a name change—from London to Whistler, for the whistling sound made by local alpine marmots—it opened as a resort in 1966, boasting the largest vertical drop in North America. Today, after growing tremendously and merging with Blackcomb in 1997, it has evolved into the premier ski resort on the continent. Winner of numerous awards over the years, and again ranked number one by SKI magazine (the third time in four years), clearly Whistler is maturing on its own terms.

Ask a Local

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Snowshoers on one of the many trails around Whistler. (Photo: MiKe Crane/Tourism Whistler)

Snowshoers on one of the many trails around Whistler. (Photo: MiKe Crane/Tourism Whistler)

In the realm of cool jobs, we’d put Ryan Vit’s position at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler right up there with ice cream taster. As an expert in the area’s must-see spots, he ensures that visitors get the most out of the mountains as the hotel’s Experience Guide. “Some of the cool things that you wouldn’t necessarily get to see, or do—you’d have to have an inside scoop,” he says. (more…)

Gone Fishin’

By CRAIG SCHARIEN

An eager angler hooks a catch with Pemberton Fish Finder

An eager angler hooks a catch with Pemberton Fish Finder

It’s cool—you don’t have to miss out on excellent BC fishing because you’re visiting during winter. It may sound fishy, but with Pemberton Fish Finder you can visit stunning high-mountain lakes and land a rainbow trout—through six inches of ice, of course. Chilling with family and friends on the frozen lake is just about as Canadian as it gets. Ice-fishing tours are family-friendly and, if you need to come in from the cold, the ice huts are cozy.

Join the Après-Ski Scene

After a day spent playing in powder, skiers and snowboarders head down the mountain for après festivities that earned number-one ratings from SKI magazine and range from dancing-on-the-bar revelry to craft cocktails enjoyed fireside

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Longhorn Saloon’s lively patio. (Photo: Mike Crane/Tourism Whistler)

Longhorn Saloon’s lively patio. (Photo: Mike Crane/Tourism Whistler)

BEER & BURGERS
That last run down the slope is where things begin in Whistler Village, and Garibaldi Lift Co. Bar & Grill is just a sliding stop from the base of Whistler Mountain. Watch skiers from the patio or peel off layers by the fireplace. DJs and live music keep the energy high, while pitchers of beer and pub fare make it the perfect kick-off point. (more…)

Flight of Fancy

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

From November through February, nearby Brackendale boasts one of the world's largest populations of bald eagles

November through February, nearby Brackendale boasts one of the world’s largest populations of bald eagles

Birds of a feather flock together. It’s especially true in beautiful Brackendale, where from mid-Nov. through Feb., the tiny town hosts one of the largest populations of bald eagles worldwide—all thanks to the feast of spawning salmon. For a bird’s-eye view of the feathered arrivals, take a float down the Cheakamus River with Sunwolf. Expect to see dozens of eagles along the glacier-fed river, plus breathtaking views of the Tantalus Range and surrounding scenery. It’s the perfect place for nature lovers to flock together, too.

The Dog Days of Whistler

By SHERI RADFORD

A dog-tired pooch at Summit Lodge

A dog-tired pooch at Summit Lodge

If you think Whistler isn’t a pet-friendly town, you’re barking up the wrong tree. Whether it’s the middle of winter or the dog days of summer, many hotels are happy to offer all the creature comforts to Rover or Spot, for a small fee. Summit Lodge Boutique Hotel (1-888-913-8811) doesn’t charge extra for dogs, all of whom are treated like VIPs (Very Important Pets), and provides special beds, bowls and treats. Plus resident dog Talitha is always on hand to accept treats and cuddles.

Fun in the sun (and snow) with Alpine Dogs

Fun in the sun (and snow) with Alpine Dogs

To make sure your own top dog stays happy and healthy—and becomes dog-tired by day’s end—head to one of the many parks with designated off-leash times, such as Rainbow Park, Lost Lake Park, Alpha Lake Park and Meadow Park. (And since doggie-do is definitely a doggie don’t, be sure to tuck a few plastic bags into your pocket before heading out.) To give your pampered pooch extra exercise and a chance to socialize with canine chums, call Alpine Dogs (604-902-9663). Their adventure hikes are great for high-energy hounds who feel comfortable in a group, while their private walks and in-room sitting are ideal for pups with special needs or who just want a little extra attention.

Bathtime with Shampooch

Bathtime with Shampooch

After running around on muddy or snowy trails, Fido definitely needs a bath. The deluxe bathing area at W.A.G. (604-935-8364), Whistler’s animal shelter, can be rented by donation. If you’d rather leave that whole wet and wiggly process to the pros, call Shampooch Mobile Dog Grooming (604-902-5512). Shayla Libin brings her fully contained grooming van to your four-legged friend and washes, brushes, plucks and trims, magically turning dirty dogs into pristine pups. Consider it a doggie day at the spa, complete with pawdicure.

It’s true that every dog has its day—especially in Whistler.