Whistler Trip Planning

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Well just about everyone is going to be headed up there the february break, so here is a compendium of notes:

# Unless you have a Nexus card, don’t just go to Blaine and pray. Consider taking one of the alternative like the Aldergrove-Lynden crossing which is about 10 miles further inland on WA-539/Canada-13 or if you are really conservative, take the Sumas-Abbotsford which is even farther in at WA-9/BC-11. These are less crowded
# In terms of eats, check out “Earls”:http://earls.ca, we’ve been to the one in Chilliwack, but there are lots on the way to Whistler along Trans Canada Highway 1. For instance in “Surrey”:http://maps.google.com/maps?q=10160+152+Street%2CSurrey%2CBritish+Columbia at 10160 152 Street, Surrey, British Columbia or “Burnaby”:http://maps.google.com/maps?q=3850+Lougheed+Highway%2CBurnaby%2CBritish+Columbia just off exit 27 at 3850 Lougheed Highway, Burnaby.

Now is the time to make reservations for dinner since it will be so crowded, some top choices from “Whistleralacarte.com”:http://www.whistleralacarte.com/dining.html or as “Scuba Mom”:http://www.scubamom.com/travels/whistler/restaurants.htm mentions, most of these restaurants deliver. There is also a big grocery store in Village North.

# “Trattoria Di Umberto”:http://www.umberto.com/truck.htm has fine northern italian food and you can reserve online or at 604-932-5858
# “Teppan Village”:http://teppanvillage.com has the great throwing of food Japanese thing. Lots of fun. Unit 304 of 4293 MOuntain Square at 604-932-2223
# “Quattros”:http://www.quattrorestaurants.com/. Also italian but a little more expensive

There are a bunch of places that are fine if you like meat and fish and don’t like pasta like “Araxi”:http://araxi.com but not so good if someone in your party only likes food that isn’t meat or fish.
Now if you are mid week and want something fun and simple then there is:

# Earl’s again at Whistler
# Old Spaghetti Factory. They don’t take reservations
# Mongolie Grill. Which is a mongolian grill, it is fun and casual.
# Shushi Village is that is all you want. The Combination A platter is the best choice.
# Avalanche Pizza is probably the best place for a ‘shroom ‘za
# Southside Diner. Apparently, decent mac and cheese. In Creekside.
# La Brasserie Des Artistes. “Virtual Tourist”:http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/North_America/Canada/Province_of_British_Columbia/Whistler-911656/Restaurants-Whistler-BR-1.html says the best place for breakfast

The mountain of course is itself huge, but “Skinet”:http://www.skinet.com/skinet/travel/article/0,26908,933430,00.html has a good summary of how to optimize times on busy days. The main idea is to get up early to be at the gondola at 830AM, have an early lunch at 1130 and then get off the mountain early. They also have some great recommendations for where to eat on the mountain as it is so huge and cold that you’ll need to stop a lot!

Day One Early risers can track laps on the day’s best snow before lift lines get clogged. Blackcomb is easier to navigate, so start there and get at it early. The ticket window under Whistler Village Gondola opens at 7 a.m., one hour before all other ticket outlets. Get in line for Blackcomb’s Excalibur gondola between 8:15 and 8:45. Take the Accelerator chair, then cut over to Solar Coaster Express. Check the lightboard and ski warm-up laps on whatever has been groomed in the Solar zone. Then fan out to Seventh Heaven, Crystal Chair and the Glacier Express. For a taste of the high alpine, intermediates should try Seventh Heaven’s Cloud Nine. Advanced skiers with powder skills will be awed by a wide-open cruise down the middle of Blackcomb Glacier. Experts will have their dance card booked with Couloir Extreme, Secret Chute, Pakalolo and the four big, steep bowls (Garnet, Diamond, Ruby and Sapphire) accessed via Spanky’s Ladder. Lunch on Blackcomb is best eaten early (before 11:30) or late (after 1:15). Crystal Hut is the most charming. Or, make a reservation for white linen dining at Christine’s in the Rendezvous (604-938-7437). Throughout the day, keep your eyes on the lightboards, and go wherever it’s least crowded, making sure to avoid Seventh Heaven completely when lines are long.

Day Two Again, ski early and rest later-you won’t regret it.Today, it’s Whistler Mountain. Take the Whistler Village gondola to the Roundhouse. Skate over to the lightboard to look at the daily grooming map. Take your first several runs off the Garbanzo, Emerald or Big Red chairs on whatever is freshly groomed. Intermediates who want to cruise should continue to explore the vast offerings in between the Roundhouse and Olympic Station. More adventurous skiers should head to Harmony (for intermediates and experts) or The Peak (experts only) to access Whistler’s six high-alpine bowls. For lunch, ski to the Creekside base area via Franz’s or take the new Peak to Creek runs and have lunch at Dusty’s or Zen Sushi. After lunch, head up the Creekside Gondola, then the Big Red Chair. If the afternoon is bright, experts should head back into the high alpine. If the weather is bad, stay midmountain and ski the trees.

Day Three If it’s a Monday, sleep late and don’t worry about beating the crowds. Head back to Whistler and play in the bowls. West Bowl is a good bet for powder. Harmony’s Horseshoes are for those who like to show off. Symphony Bowl is readily manageable by intermediates. Take your lunch and cocoa breaks at the Roundhouse Lodge or the Chic Pea.

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