Although the world’s powder hounds might cringe, we honestly admit that we prefer visiting Whistler in the warmer months. Sunny skies, temperatures pushing 30 degrees Celsius, lounging lakeside and a boisterous patio scene draw us back year after year. With this fairly relaxed itinerary, free of all that skiing nonsense, we are able to focus our attention on another famed Whistler attraction –food.
Indulging in Whistler’s world-class cuisine will cost you less this spring. From May through June the majority of the resort’s restaurants are participating in the annual Dine In Whistler promotion and offering a multi-course menu priced from $19 to $49. We recommend splurging on the $49 menu to sample some of Whistler’s finest:
Aura – Culinary Perfection
Aura restaurant in Nita Lake Lodge is truly an unforgettable culinary experience. Ingredients for the restaurant’s creative, thoughtful cuisine are sourced seasonally from local farmers and artisan producers, and picked from the hotel’s rooftop garden. While the menu is ever changing, the exceptional quality and commitment to the food’s true flavour are unwavering. Vidal Ice Wine & Quebec Foie Gras Bombe with Fresh Brioche, and Crispy Pork Belly with Parsley and Hazelnut Salad, Meyer Lemon Spaghetti Squash and Green Beans are two of the outstanding dishes on this month’s menu. From a breathtaking lakefront setting to the flawless food, Aura is pure perfection.
Araxi – Honoured as Whistler’s Best
Earning the esteemed Best Restaurant, Gold award by Vancouver Magazine for 2011, Araxi, a Whistler powerhouse for more than twenty years, draws inspiration from the area’s bounty for each culinary creation. Spring and summer beckon foodies to the restaurant’s lively wrap-around patio for sipping, supping and revelling in the vibrant village scene. Our favourites on Executive Chef James Walt’s Dine In menu include the Dungeness Crab Egg Crepe Roll wrapped with cold smoked wild Tofino Chinook salmon with chives, trout caviar and citrus sauce, and the Wild Cultivated Mushroom Risotto.
Bearfoot Bistro – Show Stopping Extravagance
A romantic dinning room, complete with pianist tickling the ivories awaits you at Bearfoot Bistro. Our three-hour meal commenced by sabering (then drinking) a bottle of champagne in the restaurant’s formidable cellar, stocked floor to ceiling with more than 20,000 bottles of wine. Following our delicious and decadent meal, which included ice cream freshly made tableside, we bundled up in Canada Goose down parkas and headed to the -18 degree Celsius Belvedere Ice Room for a vodka tasting. Dine In highlights include the Barbary Duck Leg Confit served with warm beluga lentil tiroler and bacon vinaigrette, and Albacore tuna with grilled squid, white bean purée and pequillo pepper olive crostini.
To ease any guilt associated with over indulging, head up the mountain for sightseeing and hiking in the fifty plus kilometre trail system. Alternatively do what we did and plunk yourself in the Peak 2 Peak Gondola ride to take in the 360-degree alpine views. The pure exhilaration of hanging 436 metres above the valley floor in the world’s longest unsupported tram is sure to burn as many calories as a leisurely trail walk. We feel the best vantage point on Blackcomb is tucked safely inside Christine’s restaurant with a BC wine flight and Grilled Cheese Sandwich with applewood smoked cheddar, fontina and raclette cheese grilled with in-house roasted ham, arugula and fresh vine tomatoes.
Our digs for the weekend were in the contemporary Evolution, a first-class all-suite resort located in Whistler Creekside. Although somewhat removed from Whistler Village centre, Evolution provides a quiet, relaxed atmosphere and is only steps from the meandering trails that loop Lost Lake. To work off the few thousand extra calories consumed during our weekend of feasting, we donned swimsuits, grabbed some towels and rented bikes from CanSki to explore Creekside, the Valley Trail system and Whistler’s lakeside parks.
A lower priced, more central, alternative is the Adara Whistler Hotel, with rates starting at only $100 per night. This funky boutique hotel is located in the heart of Whistler Village and features complimentary Internet access in all guestrooms.
We left the car at home this time to travel onboard the Rocky Mountaineer’s Whistler Sea to Sky Climb. Throughout the relaxing three-hour journey we happily munched on a gourmet champagne breakfast and enjoyed the passing scenery of Howe Sound, Shannon Falls, Mount Garibaldi and the Cheakamus Canyon. On the return trip, while sipping afternoon tea and nibbling on finger sandwiches and scones with clotted cream and preserves, we caught sight of more than one hundred colourful kite boarders and windsurfers catching a ride on The Spit at the mouth of the Squamish River, which is considered a mecca for windsport enthusiasts.
As Vancouverites we feel Whistler is the perfect BC Getaway, offering a multitude of activities beyond dining. From river rafting to golf, spas to shops and pools to patios there is an array of recreational pursuits to enjoy for families, singles, couples and of course foodies.
Arrival’s Tips: Before You Go…