An April 2002 trip
to Whistler by jim
Quote: I needed my annual ski fix and had always wanted to go to Whistler...and the skiing was fantastic! I had the good fortune of being able to enjoy the super-luxury Fairmont Chateau Hotel.
For some specific skiing highlights, try the following:
- Go up to the glacier. It isn’t the best skiing, but the views are incredible, the snow is amazing, and it is a unique challenge due to the ungroomed conditions.- My favorite runs included Southern Comfort (off the 7th Heaven Chair), Cruiser (off the Jersey Cream Chair), the runs off of the Glacier Express Chair (you don’t have to go all the up to the glacier), and the runs off the Crystal Chair (there are fewer people on the runs).
One other highlight was the Fairmont Hotel. This was one of the most incredible hotels I have stayed at. I can’t recommend this hotel enough.
Don’t miss First Tracks. It may seem a little hard-core, but it is definitely worth getting to the Whistler lift at 7am and paying extra for First Tracks. You are the first up the mountain and the first to take the runs in the morning. As an added bonus, a very nice breakfast buffet is provided in the lodge at the top of the mountain as part of the . One warning, don’t make the mistake I made and eat too much!
Don’t be discouraged by the weather. If the rain, fog, or clouds set in, go higher. I couldn’t believe how different the conditions were depending on where you were on the mountain.
As for the room, I still chuckle when I think about it. I had a suite that was twice the size of my apartment in New York. It had an entrance area with a separate bathroom, a living room (complete with desk, couch, TV, and fireplace), a very large bedroom, a huge walk-in closet area, and an amazing master bathroom (complete with shower, hot tub, double sinks, and separate toilet area).
But it was actually the little things that made my room and stay so special. Just to list a few of the special touches:
When you turned on the lights in the bathroom, they started out very dim and gradually got brighter (great for early morning).The towels were placed on an electronic towel warmer.The bathroom was well stocked with the best lotions, shampoo, toothpaste, lip balm, etc.Every night, the weather forecast and two bottles of water were brought to the room.Everywhere you went, the staff knew your name and treated you magnificently.The room had high-speed internet access (make sure you bring your Ethernet card and adapter if you want to use it).The fitness room had everything you would ever need, including robes, towels, and locks, as well a wide range of cardiovascular and weight machines (and free weights).Ski storage was provided at the bottom of the hotel (making it even easier to get back to your room and relax). The hotel was only 100 yards from the lifts. I could go on, but you get the picture.
When it came time to eat, the hotel had several options. For a casual environment, try the Portabello restaurant (it had a really nice, affordable breakfast buffet). The more formal dining room was a bit more upscale but still very comfortable. I spoiled myself and ate at the hotel several times.
Finally, you should try the spa. It is top-notch and worth every penny (and you will spend a lot more than pennies). I got an Ayurvedic Treatment ("a balancing treatment for the mind, body and spirit"). Specifically, I got the Swedana treatment: a 60-minute massage, 20 minutes in a cedar steam cabinet customized with herbs and oils (picture my body in a cedar steambox with my head sticking out), and a full-body exfoliation. It really was fantastic.
It is pricey, but I can’t recommend this hotel enough!
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 15, 2002
Fairmont Chateau Whistler
4599 CHATEAU BLVD
Whistler, British Columbia V0N1B4
4272 Mountain Square
Whistler, British Columbia VON 1B4
Restaurant | "Rimrock Café and Oyster Bar"
The food was very nice. We tried the appetizer sampler which included selections with a local flavor and some Asian inspiration. My favorite appetizer item was the shrimp tempura sushi. As for entrees, you have several meat and fish dishes to choose from. I chose the fish trio (three different fish selections) because I couldn’t decide which I wanted more. It was a good choice because everything was delicious. The prawns with risotto was also very nice (I even preferred it over my fish entrees). Everything is beautifully displayed and very flavorful.
The service was excellent. Our waitress was very friendly, attentive, and right on with her recommendations. The ambience was also nice (very relaxed, lots of wood – like a ski lodge, a fireplace with a roaring fire). All of this contributed to an excellent dining experience. This is a great place for a romantic dinner, a get-together with friends and family, or even a nice business dinner.
The only downside is that the restaurant is not in Whistler Village (it is about five minutes away in the Creekside portion of the mountain), no big deal if you have a car or don’t mind taking a taxi or shuttle bus.
2117 Whistler Road
Whistler, British Columbia V0N 1B2
The service was spectacular. Each time, my waitress was so attentive I almost wished she would stop asking if I needed any help. Most impressively, everyone was super-friendly and seemed genuinely eager for me to have a nice dining experience. The ambience was also very relaxed and the rustic décor made the Portabello a fun place to eat. There were a lot of families eating here, which makes sense given the relatively inexpensive meals and very casual atmosphere. Don’t make the mistake I made and wait until your third day to discover the Portabello.
Fairmont Hotel in the Upper Village
Whistler, British Columbia
Attraction | "Whistler/Blackcomb Resort"
Make sure you go up to the glacier. It isn’t the best skiing, but the views are incredible, the snow is amazing, and the skiing is a unique challenge due to the ungroomed conditions. It is easily manageable for a decent intermediate skier and the easiest route down is marked by blue stakes. You do have to walk up a small hill at the end of the final t-bar lift, but this just adds to the allure of the glacier…it’s worth the extra work. Of course, if you are an extreme skier, the glacier offers all you can handle and more.
My favorite runs included Southern Comfort (off the 7th Heaven Chair), Cruiser (off the Jersey Cream Chair), the runs off of the Glacier Express Chair (you don’t have to go all the up to the glacier if you take this chair), and the runs off the Crystal Chair (there are fewer people on the runs).
One word of caution, don’t get cocky when skiing here. Every time I let my guard down, I ended up crashing (and consequently laughing at myself). There is always a series of bumps, spots of poor visibility, or the errant skier lurking to throw you a curve. Stay alert and ski hard and you will reduce the number of stupid little spills.
For a special treat, don’t miss First Tracks. It may seem a little hard-core, but it is definitely worth getting to the Whistler lift at 7am and paying $16 extra for First Tracks. You are the first up the mountain, and the first to take the runs in the morning. As an added bonus, a very nice breakfast buffet is provided in the lodge at the top of the mountain as part of the $16. One warning, don’t eat too much!
My final analysis of Whistler/Blackcomb is to prepare yourself for great skiing, lots of challenges, few frills, and friendly people. No matter what level of skier you are, the mountain has something to offer (and to kick your butt if you’re not careful). There is no more beautiful scenery in the world, and I will make a trip back to Whistler as soon as possible.
Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort
Whistler, British Columbia
Charlotte, North Carolina