Vancouver Magazine - Best of the City 2016 - - Contents -

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.

Scan­di­nave Spa

Peak 2 Peak Gon­dola

Black­comb Lake

Whistler Moun­tain

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,...

Le Scan­di­nave Spa

The Stawa­mus Chief

Alice Lake


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