ES­CAPE.

DREAM­ING OF A WHITE CHRIST­MAS? SKIS ARE OP­TIONAL WHEN IT COMES TO AP­PRE­CI­AT­ING WHISTLER’S WIN­TER WON­DER­LAND

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Gold Coast Eye - - CONTENTS - WORDS: NARELLE BOUVENG

Slip­ping a disk in my back three weeks be­fore head­ing off on an epic ski ad­ven­ture was a pretty cruel blow, but with ev­ery­thing al­ready booked for Whistler Black­comb, the only op­tion was to leave the slopes to the fam­ily and em­brace some gen­tle time with apres-ski.

BUT FIRST COF­FEE

Mount Curry Cof­fee has be­come a lo­cal favourite since open­ing in 2012, an off­shoot from the pop­u­lar Pem­ber­ton flag­ship store and in my view the best brew­house in Whistler. These guys knew a latte from a flat white (quite rare in these parts). As an Aussie spoiled by years of sip­ping craft cof­fees, I looked for­ward to pulling up a chair in this lit­tle bolt­hole each morn­ing to sip, watch and soothe the sting of miss­ing out on ski­ing. mountcur­riecof­fee.com

REFUEL WITH A PIE

Right next door is pos­si­bly the best value eat­ing in Whistler but also surely the tasti­est. Peaked Pies pos­sess a drool-wor­thy cabi­net stuffed with flaky Aussie meat pies. The lines to eat here can be longer than the ski queue but it’s to­tally worth it as these gourmet good­ies are baked fresh daily and go faster than a dou­ble black di­a­mond run. Try the hop­per for some kan­ga­roo in caber­net bal­samic re­duc­tion or The Ned Kelly with ground Aussie beef, ba­con, egg and cheese. My favourite is also the house spe­cial­ity and it’s topped with creamy potato, piled with mushy green peas and smoth­ered in rich, glossy gravy. I ad­mit I let it run through my fin­gers, drip off my chin and thor­oughly en­joyed it in true meat pie munch­ing style — yep, that good. peaked­pies.com

WALK IT OFF

Whistler is not only home to more than 200 trails spread across 8000 acres, but also a ta­pes­try of breath­tak­ing ter­rain with 25km of cross coun­try ski­ing and snow­shoe­ing trails in and around Olympic and Lost Lake parks. With 40km for walk­ers (and four-legged friends) on Val­ley Way, a net­work of wide trails link the mul­ti­ple vil­lages of Whistler mak­ing wan­der­ing a pretty pas­time dip­ping past whis­per­ing streams, skip­ping across brightly painted bridges and me­an­der­ing through forests of cedar and spruce. whistler.com

TREAT TIME

Ev­ery bit of ex­er­cise de­serves a re­ward and Pure Bread Bak­ery near Olympic Park is the per­fect pit-stop. Lines can be long and pro­cras­ti­na­tion painful, but if there is any truth in the say­ing that you eat with your eyes, then ex­pect an epic feast. The be­hindthe counter ar­ray of baked items is styled to make sure you go weak at the knees. If I could make one rec­om­men­da­tion it would be rasp­berry driz­zle loaf with oooey gooey ic­ing.

MOUN­TAIN HOP­PING

Wait un­til the morn­ing throng of skiers have fi­nally cleared from the lifts — with 37 op­er­a­tional lifts crank­ing, ca­pac­ity is in­cred­i­bly more than 60,000 peo­ple an hour. I timed this well and most days en­joyed a lovely lone ride up to the top on the gon­dola. From Whistler and on­wards to an ex­cit­ing cross moun­tain switch to Black­comb on Peak to Peak, the undis­puted, world-record­break­ing hero that is strung like a prized neck­lace be­tween the two moun­tains dizzy­ing dé­col­leté. Un­til re­cently Whistler Black­comb held the world record for the long­est freespan ca­ble car cross­ing, but Ebisee Ca­ble Car won it back by ex­tend­ing their freespan in Zugspitze in 2017. I have a sneak­ing sus­pi­cion Canada will win this back, but as yet, there are not solid plans that I know of. whistlerblack­comb.com

SINK INTO A SPA-AHH

A visit to the Scan­di­nave Spa was just what my doc­tor had lit­er­ally or­dered, so with swim­mers donned I saun­tered off to in­vig­o­rate my senses, pro­mote nat­u­ral detox­i­fi­ca­tion and, with any luck, en­cour­age op­ti­mal self heal­ing. This is a be­guil­ing adults-only play­ground filled with hot and cool pools, rooms that ex­hale steam, brisk wa­ter­falls and plenty of places to just rest. My first round was a rude shock, not the heat in the gi­ant bub­bly spa, but the bru­tal wake-up call via a nordic wa­ter­fall. But even I was sur­prised af­ter get­ting to round three to feel my body set­tling in and ac­tu­ally en­joy­ing the rhythm of re­lax, wake-up and re­peat. I rested in min­i­mal­ist rooms with flick­er­ing fires and gi­ant win­dows while snow softly fell out­side. I dozed to sounds of bliss­ful re­lax­ation mu­sic (si­lence is ex­pected from all guests), but the oc­ca­sional snore did pro­voke some gig­gles. A very gen­tle re­me­dial mas­sage fol­lowed and I felt re­ju­ve­nated both in­side and out. They say no hash­tags are re­quired here but I could not re­sist just one #ah­hh­maaaz­ing scan­di­nave.com/whistler/en/

I WILL FONDUE IF YOU DO

Fondue is so much fun, es­pe­cially in the snow. This one is recog­nised by Des­ti­na­tion Canada as a Cana­dian Sig­na­ture Ex­pe­ri­ence (CSE). Sit­ting atop ma­jes­tic Black­comb Moun­tain, Crys­tal Hut hov­ers at 6000ft and is a quaint lit­tle log cabin serv­ing up some se­ri­ous fondue cred. While you can choose to ride up on a snow­mo­bile we de­cided to claw our way

up on the snow­cat (bonus is you are al­lowed to drink al­co­hol if you don’t drive) and this was a per­fect op­por­tu­nity to get to know our dinner guests. By the time we had ar­rived, we were firm friends with a rau­cous all-girl crew from Seat­tle and a quiet Ja­panese cou­ple that were no doubt ques­tion­ing their tim­ing. Our night was filled with an­i­mated con­ver­sa­tion, hearty laugh­ter and plenty of wine glasses clink­ing as we won and lost chal­lenges to de­ter­mine the master of fondue. The way down was a lit­tle more som­bre, with the lurch­ing snow­cat not very ac­co­mo­dat­ing to those who had con­sumed more than a few. cana­dian01.com

SAVOUR THE FI­NALE

I had al­ready dis­cov­ered by now that apresski re­ally suited me and, while the skiers among us were com­plain­ing of aching limbs and ex­haus­tion, I was glow­ingly re­freshed, notably more nim­ble and ea­ger to fin­ish my non ski­ing soiree in style. II Caminetto, which had re­opened the week we ar­rived af­ter a ma­jor re­fur­bish­ment, is a fit­ting fi­nale. We handed our pal­ettes over to chef James Walt and were sur­prised and de­lighted with the deca­dent pa­rade of plates brim­ming with lo­cal pro­duce ex­pertly paired with wines. We spent the next few hours sip­ping French onion soup crowned with tu­ile au gratin and swoon­ing over silken pasta and zesty pizza that we thought was bet­ter than what we had savoured in Italy. il­caminetto.ca/ Travel writer and pho­tog­ra­pher Narelle Bouveng ex­plores with daugh­ters Baylee and Tiah. See more at alit­tleat­large.com

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