We’re delighted to welcome a new voice to our blog for 2017! Loren Christie is a Canadian travel expert and can often be seen and heard on TV and radio in Canada sharing his knowledge, so we’re super excited to have his writing here too.
Over the year he’ll be sharing some great insider tips to seek out those special experiences and to really make the most of your time in Canada. First up, a trip to Whistler where you can have an amazing time, whatever your budget!
Originally opened in the winter of 1965-66 and founded on the dream of one day hosting the Olympic Winter Games, British Columbia’s Whistler Blackcomb is a mecca for skiers of all styles, skill levels and budgets.
I recently checked out Canada’s premier ski resort – both as a prince and a pauper – to discover how much a ski vacation would set you back. Depending on your choices, it could be anywhere between $250 CAD and $10,000 CAD!
From Vancouver International Airport (YVR) it’s a quick shuttle to the Helijet terminal. My five passenger helicopter ride to Whistler cost almost $4,000 or $800 per person if you are fortunate enough to have fellow travellers to split the costs. If that’s too rich for your tastes, look for the Pacific Coach Lines shuttle bus just outside YVR’s International Departures Area. After $84 and a brief stop in downtown Vancouver it is a pleasant three-hour drive to Whistler Village.
The opulent yet cozy presidential suite at the Four Seasons Resort & Residences Whistler will set you back at least $3,000 a night. For a cheaper option check out the Hostelling International hostel at Cheakamus Crossing. Once used to house athletes during the 2010 Winter Games, it was an affordable $39 a night during my stay. My cheery room came with three bunk mates and a shared bathroom.
Hitting the Slopes
Who better to give me a lesson as I hit the slopes than an Olympian? I spent my day with Britt Janyk, one of several Canadian athletes who participate in the Snow School’s exclusive Ski With An Olympian program. She gave me great tips and some fun Olympic insider insights. Cost was $899 plus lift ticket. If you want to forgo the A-list lesson head to the top of the Whistler Village Gondola for a complimentary tour of the mountain with a Mountain Host. Get your ski legs by getting oriented around this massive ski resort while hearing some local lore. Lift ticket packages vary in cost, but plan to pay at least $100.
Araxi Restaurant & Bar is reputedly Gordon Ramsay’s favorite restaurant in Canada. During the Olympics, medalists were invited to come in to this award-winning Whistler favourite for a celebratory glass of champagne. My five course meal included BC sablefish and saddle of rabbit. Meal costs will vary but expect to pay $150 per person. For something lighter and cheaper, head to the Whistler Visitor Centre and meet Rosie. The owner of Sushi to Go may barely eat sushi herself but her creations are legendary in the Village. You can eat in or take out. A few pieces of sushi and a dynamite roll cost me $12.
If these tips and suggestions have tickled your fancy to try a new angle to Whistler, talk to us today to make your next trip to British Columbia extra special.