Why Don't You
Enjoy Dinner with the Pros
Story by Dee Raffo
Food purgatory — an affliction suffered by many each time they’re handed a menu. However, there is a way to bypass it, and that’s to let the professionals decide. Winemaker Dinners are multi-course culinary experiences that marry the talents of a chef and winemaker. In Whistler, the all-important addition of a spectacular location adds another level to these decadent evenings.
On the tranquil shores of Nita Lake sits one of the most picturesque patios in Whistler. This is where Aura Restaurant at Nita Lake Lodge hosts its five-event Sip & Savour Winemaker Dinner Series. With a focus on seasonality and the light, fresh flavours of summer, Executive Chef James Olberg works alongside guest winemakers from around B.C. including La Stella Winery, Painted Rock Estate Winery, Meyer Family Vineyards, and Burrowing Owl Estate Winery, wrapping up in September with the 2017 European Winery of the Year, Fontatafredda from northeastern Italy. nitalakelodge.com
Elevating the dinner experience by 1,850 metres (6,069 feet) is the Sunrock Vineyards by Jackson-Triggs Winemaker Dinner at the end of July at Steeps Grill and Wine Bar, inside the Roundhouse Lodge on Whistler Mountain. Enjoy a stunning gondola ride up the mountain before you indulge in a six-course meal by Chefs Vinnie Hall and Steve Bjormark accompanied by Troy Osborne, director of viticulture, west, Arterra Wines Canada. whistlerblackcomb.com
Executive Chefs James Walt and Quang Dang of Araxi Restaurant presents a longtable event in late August in the lush fields of North Arm Farm in Pemberton, 20 minutes north of Whistler. The imposing Mount Currie rises behind diners as they relinquish their taste buds for an al fresco, four-course, family-style feast, paired with wine. araxi.com
Get Culturally Connected
Story by Dee Raffo
Although a lot of Whistler’s activities are adrenaline-fuelled, there’s another side to this mountain resort that invites you to slow down, take a minute, and breathe in the beauty around you. If you calm the pace you’ll notice that Whistler has 55 public art pieces scattered around the valley, hidden in forested groves, decorating pathways, and adorning bridges and buildings. The complete list can be found at whistler.ca/publicart or you can explore Art Whistler’s Culture Maps for locally curated, self-guided walking routes in the Village, and art-filled bike ride or drive suggestions in the wider valley.
You might also see yellow banners fluttering in the breeze, diamond-patterned crosswalks, and bright yellow chairs — these are the markers for the Cultural Connector, a pathway that links six of Whistler’s arts and culture venues. These include the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, PassivHaus, Audain Art Museum, Maury Young Arts Centre, Whistler Public Library and the Whistler Museum. Each venue has its own events calendar with the Maury Young Arts Centre, home of Arts Whistler, acting as a hub. All the arts and culture news in Whistler is then collated for the community in a free, seasonal publication called the Arts Scene. artswhistler.com
Another fascinating way learn about Whistler’s heritage is to join a long-time Whistler local on the Whistler Museum’s Valley of Dreams Walking Tour, which departs daily at 11 a.m. throughout June, July and August from the Whistler Visitor Centre. Hear tales of the pioneers, the mountains and Whistler stories from the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. All tours are by donation, are easy walking and approximately one-hour long. whistlermuseum.org
Embark on an E-bike Adventure
Story by David Burke
Electric-assist bicycles (e-bikes) are revolutionizing the way we get around, and visitors to Whistler can explore trails in the Coast Mountains on e-bikes of the knobby-tired variety. Canadian Wilderness Adventures (CWA) soft-launched The Great Canadian E-Bike Adventure Tour in mid-2017 to rave reviews. The guided tours take place in the beautiful Callaghan Valley, allowing guests 14 and older (minimum height 5 feet, 2 inches) to explore the trails and experience scenic vistas, waterfalls and other sights. The valley includes some stands of 1,000-year-old trees, and a visit to the breathtaking, 140-foot-high Alexander Falls is a highlight of most tours.
CWA’s Giant e-bikes have full suspension, and the electric-assist systems allow riders to pedal up hills with relative ease. With more help for less experienced riders and less for those who prefer more of a challenge, they are the perfect option for groups of varying abilities. “As long as you’re able to pedal a bike and go on some gentle rolling sections, you’re great,” said Kristal Taylor, CWA sales and marketing manager. “The e-bikes help you get up and down the hills with less effort. I can’t say they [clients] won’t have to work at all, but it just lightens the load.” Visit canadianwilderness.com.
Whistler Olympic Park (WOP), which hosted the Nordic events during the 2010 Winter Olympics, rents out e-bikes for up to two hours to summer park visitors. Pristine Madeley Lake and the top of the Olympic ski jumps are just two of the destinations guests can visit within the park. Silke Jeltsch, communications specialist for Whistler Sport Legacies, said the summertime trail network was being expanded for 2018 at WOP, which is open from June 29 to September 2. WOP recently purchased a new fleet of e-bikes with tires that are slightly larger and wider than those of a normal mountain bike. Visit whistlersportlegacies.com.
Navigate Your Canoe Down a River
Story by David Burke
What exemplifies “Canadian summer fun” more than paddling a canoe across a lake with dramatic views, and down a mountain stream past a beaver dam and lush, green forests and wildflower-lined banks? In Whistler, the most popular way to enjoy such an experience is with a paddle down the River of Golden Dreams. Several companies offer guided tours that take around three hours, including approximately 2.5 hours on the water.
The Canadian Wilderness Adventures (CWA) tour can accommodate between two and 40 guests aged 6 and above. All safety equipment is included, and guests will receive instruction on the strokes needed to manoeuvre their tandem canoes down the river, which winds its way from Alta Lake toward the take-out just past Meadow Park. CWA takes guests across Alta Lake past the original site of Rainbow Lodge, which was operated by Myrtle and Alex Philip (who gave the River of Golden Dreams its name) starting in 1914. Once on the river, there is a beaver dam and another section where paddlers might need to “portage” their canoes — i.e., lift boats out of the water and carry them a short distance downstream. There are some twisty sections, and depending on water levels, the river can be a bit pushy, requiring paddlers to use the proper strokes to manoeuvre the canoe, said Kristal Taylor, CWA sales and marketing manager. “We do recommend a guide, as it’s not as easy as some might think.” Visit canadianwilderness.com.
Backroads Whistler also offers private guided and self-guided River of Golden Dreams canoe and kayak tours. Guests taking one of the self-guided tours should have some river-paddling experience, and all paddlers receive an orientation session at the starting point at Lakeside Park. There are several daily departure times for the Backroads Whistler tours, and transportation is provided back to Whistler Village, or to Lakeside Park where you can enjoy the beach and picnic area. Visit backroadswhistler.com.