Guest Author: Andrea Fellman
Editor-in-chief of the popular Savvy Sassy Moms blog Andrea visited Whistler recently with her husband and two kids. A keen skier with plenty of travel experience, she took the time to send us a recap of her trip, a couple of tips and her favourite little things about Whistler this time around.
Big views, happy kids - family vacation success. All photographs thanks to Andrea Fellman.
As we pulled into Whistler my son Hudson rolled down his window to try to catch a taste of the snow on his tongue. It had been 9 years since we had been in Whistler — my daughter, McKenna, was only 1 year old at that time and my son... well, he didn't even exist yet. A lot has changed since we visited last, including Whistler being a Host Mountain Resort for the 2010 Winter Games, so we were excited to see what Whistler now had to offer a family in search of that perfect winter vacation.
Where We Stayed
We stayed in the Upper Village at The Coast Blackcomb Suites at Whistler, which has everyone's favorite feature: ski-in/ski-out access. We rented a two bedroom condo, complete with kitchen, fireplace and a dreamy snow-covered view of the mountain. Every night, we retreated back to the suite to enjoy the hot tub, which was the perfect way to end a day on the mountain as a family. We were so close to the mountain we could see a chairlift as we relaxed! The biggest benefit to staying at The Coast Blackcomb Suites — besides the obvious luxury of being ski-in/ski-out — was that the rental shop was on-site. We were able to rent all our snowboard gear right there and drop it off to be stored every night. If you've ever been on a ski vacation with kids you know exactly how amazing this is!
Where We Ate
On the slopes, we stopped in at Merlin's Bar and Grill more than once, not only because it was convenient, but because we learned very quickly that they had some pretty fantastic food! The healthy snack options for our kids, who were starving after being on the mountain, were a huge hit, too. Because of its great location — in the Upper Village at the base of Blackcomb, near the family-friendly learning area and the ski school — it's the best option in the area for a bite as a family… or after you drop the kids off for a day of lessons.
Healthy food and a healthy dose of First Nation culture.
My husband and I ate lunch at Gone Village Eatery and it was one of my favorite meals during our time at Whistler. It's tucked away out of the hustle and bustle of the Village, behind Armchair Books but definitely worth the time to find it. We went sans kids, but it was another very family-friendly option with plenty of healthy choices, including a variety of soups that were perfect for warming up.
My favorite spot for Après was the Dubh Linn Gate Irish Pub, right at the base of Whistler Mountain. With live music every night, it can get packed quickly, so my tip is to sneak off the slopes early to grab a seat.
On our last night, we were too tired to head out for dinner, so we ordered pizza delivery from Creekbread. It was the perfect way to end our trip, delivery was quick and easy, and their unique topping combinations were quite impressive.
Where We Played
As much as we loved being on the mountain, everyone needs a little break from the slopes during their stay and I was so impressed with the options available to keep kids entertained. Over the holiday period the Whistler Convention Center (located right in the village) turned into a large game room for kids of all ages called the Whistler Holiday Experience. There was an entire room of jump houses, mats, mazes and toys for toddlers. Plus, for the older kids, there was mini golf, foosball and pool tables, video games, and even space for indoor soccer. My kids loved running around in here and it was so nice to finally kick off the snow boots! We were lucky enough to jump into a gingerbread man decorating session, which my daughter loved. Editor's Note: The Whistler Holiday Experience is a special area open over the Christmas and New Year period only - but we've got a bunch of other indoor activities as well.
Fresh mountain air, exercise, a little creativity - it's like camp, only you get to hang out with the kids too.
We also caught a wonderful and enchanting performance from the Squamish Lil'Wat Cultural Centre while visiting the Whistler Holiday Experience at the Convention Center. Experiencing local cultures as we travel is important to our family and this performance was a definite highlight.
Family Fun in the Village and Olympic Plaza
Simply strolling the village and hanging out in Olympic Plaza was an excellent way to spend an afternoon off the slopes for our family. My kids were easily entertained just playing on the gigantic snowbanks that pile up throughout the village — they couldn't pass one without stopping to climb to the top and slide down! Whistler Olympic Plaza hasice skating, sledding and a great playground, which happens to also make a great fort for staging a snowball fight.
Ziplining with Zip Trek
As someone who has ziplined in both Costa Rica and California, I was not going to pass up the chance to zip between the snow-covered trees in Whistler. Unfortunately, my kids were not as excited about this opportunity as their adrenaline junkie mom... so I went at it alone. I was so glad I did — the scenery was spectacular and it was thrilling to be among the snow-filled treetops.
Even the savviest, sassiest mum deserves a day off. Andrea opted for a winter zipline adventure on hers.
PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola Sightseeing
For even more spectacular views of Whistler and Blackcomb (without the fear factor of ziplining!), you absolutely must ride the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola. It's completely kid-friendly and the views were breathtaking, especially since the clouds broke up just enough to give us a peek of the beautiful blue sky.
Whether we were on the gondola catching the views, taking a chairlift to hit the slopes, catching up about our days over dinner, or soaking in our snowy hot tub, the time we spent together as a family during our stay at Whistler was just what we hoped it would be. We can't wait to make it back to this corner of the world for more exploring and adventuring with the kids!
You can check out more of Whistler's family-friendly activities at Whistler.com. Don't miss the special deals on skiing, Nordic sports and more for BC Residents on February 8, 2015 for the BC Family Day long weekend.
Source: The Whistler Insider