Its mountaintop beauty is so stunning, it doesn’t require any app filters—no wonder people come to Whistler to play outside. The resort city makes refuelling pleasurable, with many temples to local fine dining. And don’t miss Squamish, the adventure capital of Canada, on the drive up. As more Vancouverites relocate here, the urban culture is swiftly catching up with the endless outdoor recreation
En route, stretch your legs at Galileo Coffee ( 173 Hwy 99, Britannia Beach, 604-896-0272. Galileocoffee.com )— seriously good coffee roasted on premises; solid quiches, sandwiches, and wraps.
Whether you’re shopping or schussing, the pace is full tilt. Refuel at one of the top-tier dining rooms. Araxi Restaurant and Bar ( 4222 Village Sq., Whistler, 604-932-4540. Araxi. com) opened more than 30 years ago and remains the Village’s freshest room. Everything is anchored to local terroir through chef James Walt’s deep connection to the land and its tenders. The wine list has been nurtured since 1981.
At Bearfoot Bistro ( 4121 Village Gr., Whistler, 604-932-3433. Bearfootbistro.com), executive chef Melissa Craig turns out modern Canadian cuisine from the open kitchen. The room is known for decadent, Champagne-fuelled events courtesy of owner André St. Jacques’s impressive wine cellar. If you’re invited to the icy vodka cellar, accept a parka and take the plunge.
Sidecut ( 4591 Blackcomb Way, Whistler, 604-935-3400. Sidecutwhistler.com) chef Tory Martindale offers a snappy modern take on a classic steakhouse in the Four Seasons Hotel. Without the tablecloths and staid uniforms, the room’s relaxed style works perfectly with mix-and-match rubs and sauces for 40-day-aged Canadian prime beef cooked on an infrared grill. Think perfectly seared rib-eyes, classic T-bones, or even the “cowboy” porterhouse—a 56-ounce monster to serve four. The impressive 200-bottle wine list was designed with meat in mind.
On the way back to town, dally on the patio at Howe Sound Brewery ( 37801 Cleveland Ave., Squamish, 604-892-2603. Howesound.com) for one (or two) of their excellent craft beers: Gathering Storm Cascadian Dark Ale, Hopraiser West Coast IPA, and Baldwin & Cooper Best Bitter are year-round session faves. The pub fare is stick-to-your-ribs good. Get the Pacific cod and chips, which uses their Garibaldi Honey Pale Ale in the batter.
The problem with owning lots of outdoor gear is storage, which Squamish startup Onsight Equipment solves with its goodlooking and environmentally sustainable bags, and sleek wallets and passport holders that were once plastic water
bottles. Pick up the line at the Squamish Adventure Centre ( 38551 Loggers Ln., 604-815-5084. Adventurecentre.ca)
The granddaddy of Whistler outdoor equipment stores, Escape Route ( 4205 Village Sq., 604-938-3228. Escaperoute.ca) carries all the accessories gear fiends need to play in the mountains year round. Brands include Arc’teryx, La Sportiva, Montrail, and Scarpa.
Ideal for a lazy browse, friendly Armchair Books ( 4201 Village Sq., Whistler, 604-932-5557. Whistlerbooks.com) has utilitarian reads including local travel guides and maps, as well as more nostalgic travel writing, modern fiction, and a smartly curated lineup of nonfiction titles including First Nations history.
In outdoorsville, the options are endless, the scenery gorgeous. For hiking, you can’t beat The Stawamus Chief ( Stawamuschiefpark.ca); try the back trail of Brohm Lake up to the viewpoint. Feeling adventurous? Kitesurf- ing against a backdrop of snowcovered peaks gives 360° views from The Spit ( Tourismsquamish.com/attractions/squamish-estuaryspit). Winds pick up by noon, so hike/bike early, kite in the heat of the afternoon. Alternatively, on a scorching summer day, Alice Lake ( Env.gov.bc.ca) is a refreshing swim after an easy family hike. Check out all options at Tourismsquamish.com.
Go high for the view. Aboard the Peak 2 Peak Gondola ( Whistlerblackcomb.com) , an 11-minute, glass-bottomed ride lets you glide 4.4 kilometres (2.7 miles) between Roundhouse Lodge and the Rendezvous Lodge on Blackcomb Mountain. The Sea to Sky Gondola ( Seatoskygondola.com) in Squamish, meanwhile, lifts you 850 metres (2,800 feet) above Howe Sound between Shannon Falls and the Stawamus Chief. (The Skyride at Grouse Mountain [ Grousemountain.com] completes the trifecta.)
If Whistler/Blackcomb’s backyard is old hat, Alpha Lake Park ( Whistler.com/beaches) is quieter than other beaches. There are public tennis courts and the swimming is great, albeit bracing. (The hottest days bring snowmelt from the peaks above.)
Finish at Le Scandinave Spa ( 8010 Mons Rd., Whistler, 604-935-2424. Scandinave.com), 20,000 square feet of Nordicinspired bliss. Set aside more than the hour that your Swedish massage requires: a health-oriented bistro is attached, as are various baths and waterfalls to dally in. Or try the luxurious Spa at Nita Lake Lodge ( 2131 Lake Placid Rd., Whistler, 604-966-5715. Nitalakelodge. com), with a range of body and facial treatments that focus on revitalization using sustainably sourced, organic products from Ila and Tammy Fender. A yoga studio and gym round out the package.
Peak 2 Peak Gondola
TASTE TH IS
Artisan Breads PUREBREAD A skilled Whistler bakery serves Tart and nutty buckwheat cherry pecan, wholesome Whistler wheat, delicate lavender rosemary and crusty paesano to a devout following. 1040 Millar Creek Rd., Whistler, 604-938-3013.
Le Scandinave Spa
The Stawamus Chief