Magazine article Sunset

Whistler High & Low: How to Live It Up-Or Score Some Olympic-Size Deal-At the West's Biggest Ski Resort

Magazine article Sunset

Whistler High & Low: How to Live It Up-Or Score Some Olympic-Size Deal-At the West's Biggest Ski Resort

Article excerpt

TWO YEARS AGO, Whistler's spotlight was focused on one thing: Olympic gold. These days, the legacy of the Games lives on (recreational skeleton, anyone?), but the resort, just two hours north of Vancouver, B.C., continues to shine with sparkly new restaurants and bars--including an uber-chic, ice-cold vodka tasting room. But don't start worrying that Whistler's gone all Gstaad. While no ski town of this caliber is cheap, this is Canada, so there's a refreshingly down-to-earth vibe, with bargains to match. Here's where to splurge and save.

* Prices are in U.S. dollars.

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High

Stay

At serene Four Seasons Whistler, you'll drop a bundle on room-service breakfast, but you're so close to the slopes, you can roll out of bed and hit the lift in the time it takes most people to park. When you're done, a ski valet meets you with hot chocolate and whisks your boots away to warm them for the next day. From $400; jourseasons.com/whistle

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Explore

For $222, score a day of private powder with an Earn Your Turns backcountry tour from Whistler Alpine Guides (whistlerguides.com). To relive the Games, splurge on a two-hour skeleton experience at Whistler Sliding Centre ($147; whistlerslidingcentre.com) and take two thrilling head-first solo runs.

Apres

Shrug into a seven-layer duck down parka and sip shots of vodka in the blue-hued Belvedere Ice Room, kept at an arctic -13[degrees] F. Housed inside the Bearfoot Bistro, Whistler's best spot for oysters and Champagne, the former cigar room holds a rotating collection of more than 60 vodkas. Tasting $47/4 vodkas; 4127 Village Green; 604/332-3433.

Eat

Alpine Tea at Fairmont Chateau Whistler (about $25; begins in early 2012; fairmont.com/whistler) is perhaps the only place in town where you can eat tender scones and Devonshire cream in your ski boots. Aura (2131 Lake Placid Rd.; 604/966-5700), the exceptional restaurant at Nita Lake Lodge, uses molecular gastronomy with the right amount of restraint in its dinner menu ($208/5 courses for 2, including wine). Start with the housemade charcuterie.

Spa

Indulge in the $242 British Columbia hot clay treatment at the Four Seasons Whistler's spa, which starts with a salt rub and ends with a heavenly massage and a cup of Mountain Berry tea. …

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