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Fairmont Chateau Whistler

In the Upper Village of Whistler, two-way fireplaces in the suites of this homey castle warm both the living room and bedroom. Wake up to a wide window view of evergreen trees, the mountain or the villages full of restaurants, shops and art galleries. Take a pleasant stroll there across a raging stream.

Shopping is hard to beat in the Fairmont itself. Resident artists take turns rendering their creations in the lobby for sale in the gallery. Roy was sculpting a bear out of soapstone, a loving process that takes a week. On the Gold Level, service is at your beck and call and they always call you by name. The Chateau chefs create superior dishes in all the dining venues from breakfast buffets to lunch on the course and Bison in the Grill Room. Chef Anup Chaubal is a pastry savant concocting cute sugar coated blueberry pie lollipops or an elaborate representation of the local river scene with colorful, tiny flowers on the shore.

Canadian Coastal Mountains

Snow capped mountains, deep forests and glacier views are as intoxicating as the refreshing crisp, and cedar soaked air. This is a super, natural, magnificent backyard for skiing, zip lining and hiking. Hit the trails to find Lost Lake and other landscape wonders.

Jack Nicklaus North

Whistler

All aboard a floater plane to fly over the mountains and lakes for a bird’s eye view. The glaciers are so close you feel like you might reach out and touch them. Take off from Green Lake next to Jack Nicklaus North course for this unforgettable affordable flight. Wave to the photographers as the pontoons glide back on the crystal turquoise water.

Colorful bear molds serve as tee markers. For a forward combo, it is the red and green show. The best of the scenery occurs on many holes where the mountain backdrops contrast with the green lake, so colored by the glacier fed streams. Bright blue Stellar Jays complement the stellar views but watch your food as they are watching you for their chance to grab it off the cart. Watch along 15 and 16 as Harbor Air seaplanes depart and return on the water

The Bears

Signs everywhere instruct how to not interact yet remain calm with the creatures we all liked to cuddle as kids. Oh, they love to play with the pin flags and eat daisies per the comical untouched photos. It might seem like false advertising if not spotted but they are out there, on trails and on the courses. The answer to the age-old question, “Does a bear sh** in the woods?” is a maybe, but now we do know they do it in the fairways passing through.

“Whistler’s Attitude” – Golfers’ birdie glees echo through the trees and chalets peek through the evergreens on this valley course. Number 11 is a double crosser – creeks that is. To open the trashcans, you must be smarter than the average bear they are meant to keep out.

The Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Club

This course is the king of the mountain at Whistler. The first few holes climb up and over glacier streams as steam rises from the course in the morning hours revealing golfers in the mist. The sound of rushing water comes with a brisk chill from the glaciers down the mountain. In late September a few of the logo lupines still bloom. Imagine the purple permutation along all the fairways in spring. For special tournament events, the Fairmont chefs might arrange tables with flowers and a culinary station beside a tee box serving special bites and treats. It was inspirational on the par 3, hole number 6 where Alexi advised an 8 iron – spot on for four pars.

ATV Salmon Bake

Gear up and take a safety lesson and test drive before this fun ride ascending the mountain passing all the ski runs, the bobsled ride, beneath the zip liners and stopping at various points for backward views. You can’t help but fantasize about swishing down the snowy Blackcomb paths. Crystal Hut at the top of a peak delivers a magnificent view of Whistler where the salmon, wine and desserts are served accompanied by notes of a guitarist. It was pretty magical on the day of the first snowfall with temperatures dropping at every switchback curve. If open air is not your style or you crave more speed, watch for the Fairmont’s future Porsche experience offering.

Scandinave Spa

Nestled in the forest of the coastal mountains, Scandinave is a silent spa. Silence is stressed like a gag order and every area is monitored to ensure compliance and complete relaxation. You can find yourself or lose yourself, your choice, but you cannot speak. This is a challenge if together with others, especially with humorous friends. It is also difficult to keep quiet when taking the first icy cold plunge, as this is the therapeutic sequence – hot therapy, such as Jacuzzi or sauna, then cold therapy such as the arctic falls and then relax. Repeat, repeat and repeat in different pools and cabins. Oddly, the cold part becomes natural after sequencing and the result is simultaneously soothing and invigorating. Just bring your swimsuit. Locker keys, 2 towels and a robe are provided to enjoy the baths. Massages are optional during or after to cap off the experience, but reserve ahead.

Biking with Jennifer

You may not have the joy of Jennifer as your guide like we did but you can rent a bike with another guide or go on your own. Jennifer warmed us up by whizzing to the golf course and around the Passivehaus. She asked what kind of biking we like and when we said we had never gone mountain biking, she took that as a green light. The single trail was full of rocks, roots and skinny wooden bridges. Up and down we twisted and turned. We always thought when hiking in Arizona that the mountain bikers were crazy. Now we know it’s kind of true but understand the desire. The key is to develop a relationship with the bike and the path, to learn about one another and grow into dance partners. Biking is the number 2 sport in the region, following skiing/snowboarding to which there are similarities. Balancing, shifting, and love of speed are required. If you’re starting out, it’s ok to go part way Flintstone style, one foot often on the ground. Second time, probably not.

Whistler is one of those corners of the earth on many bucket lists. It is so amazing that words and pictures cannot possibly capture the exhilaration of being there.

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