Hey nothing like hanging out at the no. 1 resort in North America. (OK, folks from Jackson Hole, Killington, Mammoth, Snowbird, Snowmass, Squaw, Su Valley, Taos, Vail, etc. will argue about that), but a pretty darn good spot. In any case, being here during a massive recession with the Canadian dollar down 35% is wonderful. Here are things to do in order:
- Private lessons. Sounds silly, but I’m amazed at the instructor quality here. Find someone like my buddy Peter who has devoted his life to skiing and teaching his kids and get their recommendations. Guys who were impossible to book a year ago are now available. A week of privates is worth about five years of falling down the hill. In this case, it is not about costing less (the best folks are $650 a day!), but about the real point. Learning.
- Ski-in/ski-out Condos. While the Four Seasons is great and one of the top hotels in the country. Now you can get a two bedroom ski in/ski out condo for CAD 300 a night. That’s kind of amazing. Believe me you’ll love the convenience. I like using alluradirect.com which lets you rent directly with owners. You can see the individual units, email folks with questions. And see what i open. Really convenient. The main whistlerblackcomb.com site has more listing but it is more anonymous.
- Have a concierge. There are lots of folks who will book things for you, but having someone to help is really good. It used to more important when booking restaurants was impossible. But now, unless you are going to Araxi, it is pretty easy. Great places include Umberto’s Trattoria, Earl’s and Teppan Village and Sushi Village for casual. Fancy places are Araxi and big Umberto’s. Dont’ forget Cows which has the best ice cream, but make sure to ask about nuts if you have an allergy. They put walnuts in strawberry ice cream for goodness sakes.
- Visit the IGA. One of the great things about this mountain is the grocery is actually decent. Or if you’ve got a car, then go to Nesters which is just down the street and has fresh baked things and in general feels more granola.
- Get your skis waxed. A good performance wax lasts five days and is important. Also on bright sunny days, get your camera and enjoy it.
- Enjoy the restaurants. Man, Whistler traffic feels down, but the restaurants are really less busy. Favorites include Trattoria Umberto (very decent fresh pasta if expensive), Araxi (expensive still, but you can get in there), Teppan Yaki Village which is great japanese steakhouse entertainment), Mountain Cafe (very decent wild meats like bison, rabbit, etc., CAD45 entree, main and dessert). Finally there is the old standby Earl’s.