November 16th, 2012
So far, our kid-friendly travel itineraries have taken us to New York and Portland; this week, it's a snowy family retreat to Squamish/Whistler. Don't forget the mittens!
The Four Seasons Resort Whistler is incredibly kid-friendly, with plush bears and owls offered upon check-in, free games and movies to borrow for snowy nights, and pint-sized slippers and robes for trips to the hot tubs. Not only do kids under five eat for free in the hotel restaurant, there are also programs in peak season where kids can make S'mores in the fire pits or create pizza with the chefs in the hotel kitchen (offered on-the-house). Did we mention the custom cookies, iced with our kids' names, waiting in the room? Hey, what about us poor adults?
Stop in Squamish on your way up to Whistler...
Eagle-watching in Brackendale, “Winter Home of the Bald Eagle.” These giant birds arrive in December and hang around for a few months to feast on fish. Go to the Brackendale Dyke, off Government Road, for some great spotting and free use of telescopes on weekends. But be careful of salmon road kill, the birds like to drop the remains in unexpected places.Find a map here.
The Polar Express is a train ride departing from the West Coast Railway Station. A 50 minute ride (including a stop for hot chocolate and cookies), followed by a trip to the “North Pole” complete with visits to Mr. and Mrs. Claus. Expect to spend two hours enjoying this magical trip. To buy tickets for December 1-2 or 8-9 ($24-$39) visit http://www.wcra.org
warm up and eat
Howe Sound Brewery has a restaurant that accommodates kids and their beer-connoisseur parents. Try the beer battered fries poutine ($10) and the locally-made Christmas Ale, made from four different malts and a blend of spices ($6.50 a pint). http://www.howesound.com/
—Alexandra Suhner Isenberg
March 29th, 2012
With the best Spring skiing conditions in years, it was time to hit the slopes. The vacation-planning company Enjoy Whistler has local experts who craft itineraries that can save you time and money, plus experience more of the mountains. We put ourselves in their capable hands:
Off to the Callaghan Valley for an epic day in the Whistler Olympic Park, where the cross-country tracks ($22) are for all levels. But weilding a rifle in the marksmanship portion of the Olympic biathalon course had us shooting sharp ($10/round). www.whistlerolympicpark.com
Our junior suite at the Westin Resort and Spa had an amazing view of the Blackcomb gondola and managed to feel as cozy as a cabin while offering the amenities of a world-class hotel (like its own daycare). It’s home to Whistler’s most lovely lobby, an oasis of fireplaces, couches, and fragrant bouquets of sweet peas. Westin Resort and Spa, 4090 Whistler Way, 604-905-5000, www.westinwhistler.com
Nothing beats heading up Blackcomb in the sun when there are five feet of fresh powder. And when the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival arrives (April 13-22) there will be even more to love.
Kids will love a apres-ski sleigh ride at Nicklaus North golf course complete with hot chocolate, warm blankets, and a pair of horses called Tom and Jerry. www.blackcombsleighrides.com
The set menus at Alta Bistro open up the local larder with a rutabagga soup from Pemberton’s North Arm Farm, and charcuterie made by nearby Nita Lake Lodge. Owned by seasoned locals, it’s the toughest reservation to get in town. Alta Bistro, 4319 Main St., Whistler. BC, 604-932-2582, www.altabistro.com —Sarah Bancroft
To book and view Whistler experiences, visit www.enjoywhistler.com
November 5th, 2010stay
Whistler’s best kept secret—till now—is Nita Lake Lodge. New ownership has brought in a killer kitchen brigade, an Ayurvedic spa, a rooftop garden and has stocked the lake with trout (they’ll even loan you a rod and tackle at the front desk). The large and luxurious rooms with lakefront views are just as inviting as ever. Rooms from $189. Nita Lake Lodge, 2131 Lake Placid Rd. Whistler, B.C., 888-755-6482, www.nitalakelodge.com
This serene part of the Valley Trail calls for biking or cross-country skiing, and once the lake freezes over, look for ice hockey games organized by the Lodge. In summer, the pretty Alta Lake park and playground with boat launch is just steps away. In November, it's wine-tasting time at Cornucopia.
Nita Lake’s Aura restaurant serves up locally foraged mushrooms, Pemberton-grown heirloom beets and artichokes from the Lodge’s own rooftop. Bison flatirons, Sloping Hills porchetta and side-striped prawns are the smartly-sourced support staff to the vegetable-forward menu.
Cozy up by the fire in the Cure Lounge at Nita Lake where the thick-cut buttermilk onion rings ($5) are not to be missed. On tap is France’s Kronenbourg 1664—a match made in heaven. Or Whistler. It's all the same to us.
May 6th, 2010
If your mountain biking regimen includes a pre-ride prayer asking whoever’s up there to help you make it down in one piece, the Trek Dirt Series is your saviour.
Learn an entire season’s worth of skills (from basic climbing to riding down drops) and bond with fellow mountain bikers at the all-women two-day weekend camps ($315). Participants are split into groups according to experience so no need to fret if you’re still working on the basics. The camps also include bike maintenance clinics, fit workshops and social time to talk shop and show off your new skills.
The first Canadian camp runs May 15 and 16 in North Vancouver followed by May 29 and 30 in Whistler, July 10 and 11 in Calgary and August 21 and 22 in Canmore. For a complete schedule go to www.dirtseries.com
January 9th, 2009
If your little ski-wee is already threatening to board out of bounds, you need to know about this.
Just be glad they aren't "budding" anything else—yet!
Available at Advanced Kinetic Systems, 6-1212 Alpha Lake Rd., Fuction Junction, Whistler B.C., 604-905-1223, www.akswhistler.com
Or order online ($20 shipping to Canada) at Peak Ski Shop.