As one of the world’s top ski destinations, Whistler needs no introduction. Canadians and international visitors alike flock to the idyllic resort every winter, captivated by the spectacular views, luxury accommodation, top restaurants and, of course, access to those perfectly powdered slopes. In recent years, summer, too, is busy in the village, with festivals and sporting events drawing crowds nearly equal to the snowy months.
After our recent jaunt up the Sea-to-Sky Highway, we checked into the Crystal Lodge, conveniently positioned in the very centre of the village. Known to be Whistler’s first hotel, the lodge was originally conceived by decorated Canadian Olympian Nancy Greene back in 1986. After settling in, we made our way to dinner at Basalt Wine and Salumeria, located on the lower level of the building. Featuring an open kitchen, the warm space is wood-dominant with copper accents and walls lined with an impressive wine display. Opting for the breezy patio, we opened with a gorgeously arranged board decorated with meats including the Finocchiona (a fennel seed treat from Italy) and Quebec cheeses like the walnut-speckled Frère Jacques. Then, on to a glass of Chardonnay from Okanagan-based winery Tinhorn Creek with pea coconut soup and, to finish, a phenomenal serving of cornmeal and cumin crusted snapper.
After a dreamy night’s sleep we bid good day with a tasty crab benny at the hotel’s Wild Wood Pacific Bistro before a little perusing of the many nearby shops (Lululemon is just a quick skip away). And because one doesn’t visit Whistler without some sort of outdoor adventure (you’d be crazy not to!) we signed ourselves up for a Blackcomb Glacier Jeep Safari by Canadian Wilderness Adventures. Zig-zagging up the mountain, our knowledgeable guide pointed out landmarks and kept us company with local facts. We even spotted some marmots, whose high-pitched whistles, we learned, were the inspiration behind the famous resort’s name.
After returning to base, we grabbed lunch at Beacon Pub (don’t miss the scrumptious roasted butternut squash salad) before completing our visit with a spin up the Peak 2 Peak Gondola (photo by Tourism Whistler / Mike Crane), connecting Whistler and Blackcomb mountains and offering 360-degree views of the stunning glaciers, forest and multiple lakes below. Ah, a summer weekend well spent. —Rachel Johnston