Whistler is definitely going to be one of those destinations that my family will visit over and over again. Traveling there is relatively easy and pain-free, and I especially love that it’s the same time zone as Northern Cal. It is also incredibly family-friendly, to my surprise. The Whistler Village was buzzing with children of all ages while we were there, soaking in all the festivities that Christmas + New Years week had to offer there.
We spent our second day there just strolling through the village, visiting its cute boutiques and admiring the idyllic scene all around us. There was a small children’s park, outdoor ice skating rink, and a mini snow hill in the Olympic Plaza, where we spent much of our afternoon and early evening at.
We finally hit the slopes on our third day there. Bridgette and Alan signed up for ski and snowboard classes through our hotel’s concierge the day prior, but the whole process was somewhat of a nightmare. The lack of communication between the concierge, ski school, and the equipment rentals made us run around frantically the morning of in order to get signed in, fitted for our gears, and into the classes on time. It was frustrating to say the least, so I would highly recommend that you get all your equipment rented and classes paid for before the actual class date, no matter what your concierge or ski school staff member tells you.
We took Bridgette skiing for the first time when she two years old, in Idaho, but she didn’t like it very much then as she barely managed to stand in her skis. It didn’t leave much of an impression with her, so we were eager to see how she’d take it this time, nearly 4 years later.
She looked so darn cute with her ski gear on, and I waved excitedly to her as she disappeared amongst the sea of children. Alan headed up to the black runs for his advanced snowboarding lessons, which left me by myself, skiing in Whistler. It almost felt surreal. It had been years since I last skied, and I found myself standing there, heart pounding, as I tried to figure out which lifts to get on. Here’s the map that I was trying to decipher:
As you can see, there were about a million runs on both these mountains combined, and I wanted to be absolutely sure that I wouldn’t be caught on a black by myself. I asked around and took the “shortest” lift which ended up to be about a 15 minute ride up Blackcomb Mountain. It was freezing, and I thought we must have been half way up Blackcomb already, but when I referred to the map again, we were still quite close to the base!
Paying close attention to the signs, I made sure I went down the green or blue runs as I slowly made my way downhill. Being that it was the busiest week of the year for Whistler, I was amazed at the emptiness of the slopes! The base was incredibly crowded, but because there were so many different runs between Blackcomb and Whistler Mountains, everyone was spread out nicely and it never at any point felt even slightly crowded.
After going down my first few runs, I gained confidence again and picked up momentum. I felt like I was flying! I stopped from time to time though, as I couldn’t help but snap photos of the magical view surrounding me. The beauty was truly breathtaking!
After skiing the first few hours solo, I took a break and went over to the Kids’ Ski School area hoping to catch a glimpse of Bridgette in her class. I caught them right when they were taking a break too! 🙂
I went back down to the base for a quick sandwich and hot chocolate before meeting up with Alan around 1pm. He had finished his class and was super excited with the new tips that he learned. A seasoned snowboarder, he ofcourse wanted to go down all the black runs, but in an effort to spend some time together, we decided to go on the blues. 🙂
This time, we took several lifts to get much higher up Blackcomb Mountain, about three quarters of the way up, where the view was even more spectacular!
We decided to take the Peak 2 Peak Gondola from Blackcomb Mountain to Whistler Mountain, as it is famous for its dramatic views. It is approximately a 10 minute ride with a 360 degree view of its alpine environment and surrounding peaks. It also holds world records for the longest free span between ropeway towers. The ride was a bit uncomfortable since we were in snow gear and had our equipment with us, but the view was well worth it. I didn’t get a window seat, unfortunately, so I wasn’t able to take any good pictures.
Since we were three quarters up Whistler Mountain, it took a little over 1 hour to ski back down to the base of Blackcomb, which was both thrilling and exhausting. We only stopped briefly along the way, as we had to hurry back down by 3:30pm to pick Bridgette up from her ski class. I was skiing so fast down the blue runs that I really thought I was flying at times! Definitely got my adrenaline fix that day….
All 3 of us enjoyed our day so much that we felt a bit regretful about having planned only one day of skiing/snowboarding for this trip. Next time, we’ll definitely have to plan multiple days on the slopes. That night, we treated ourselves to a lovely dinner at the nearby Fairmont Chateau, where we also got to see their life size gingerbread house!
Stay tuned for Part IV where I’ll post pictures of Alan’s first thrilling skeleton ride and our zip lining adventures!