A Home Away From Home in Whistler
My life as a professional skier and founder/CEO of Discrete Clothing takes me all over the world, usually visiting exotic locations in South America, all over the USA, and around Europe. One place that stood out for me last winter was Whistler, British Columbia, Canada. I have been there a few times and most recently accomplished a pretty famous ski cliff called “Air Jordan.” And let me say there is no place on earth like Whistler; it’s a mixture of Aspen, Hollywood, and Tijuana.
Whistler is located in Canada’s coastal mountain range, 120 kilometers north of Vancouver (approximately a two-and-a-half-hour drive). It’s a beautiful drive with stunning views along Highway 99.
There were too many highlights of the trip. One was being treated to an insane dining experience at Bearfoot Bistro in Whistler Village. Bearfoot has all the offerings you could ever ask for, no matter your pallet. The meal began with a visit to the Belvedere Ice Room. The coldest vodka tasting room in the world at -32˚C, it provides a pretty rad zone to take in this unparalleled opportunity of learning about vodka’s from across the globe.
The actual dinner was more of a journey than a meal. The exceptional seafood and wild game found in British Columbia was complemented by the best Wagyu beef, Perigord truffles, Berkshire pork, I could go on…. I chose a three-course menu, and the restaurant’s wine director paired wines for each dish.
To top the meal off, I was invited into the wine cellar, which consists of more than 20,000 bottles of the world’s best vintages, and learned about a tradition that dates back to the Napoleonic Era, when cleanly sabering the top off a bottle of champagne meant good luck in the battle to come. Everyone should learn how to saber. The founder of Bearfoot Bistro, Andre Saint-Jacques, has the world record for the most champagne bottles sabered in a minute: 20 bottles. That dude knows how to party.
During my trip I also visited the Dubh Linn Gate. At this laid-back place you can easily approach some of the warm locals. This pub was designed for the type of person that believes “Guinness is good for you,” which the Dubh Linn Gate definitely does. The bartenders pour beer from 25 taps, with more whiskey and scotch than you can shake a stick at. The kitchen is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., so grab a steak or a Guinness Pie; this place has it all with live music to boot. What a killer spot.
Can you imagine waking to two massive mountains at which to go ski? The combination of Whistler Blackcomb is amazing. There is a combined 37 lifts, 469 average inches of annual snowfall, 200 plus total trails, and 17 mountain restaurants. Whistler Blackcomb gets double thumbs up.
I prefer the Glacier Express on Blackcomb; hiking the famed “Spanky’s Ladder” gives you access to some of the most classic extreme skiing, which I prefer, in the area. Ruby Bowl and Diamond Bowl are my favorites.
Everything in Whistler seemed to have an enchanted nature about it on the mountain. Even with the wild buzz of the village not too far below, everything up on the mountain has an exceptional calm to it.
Accommodations in Whistler were at the Westin Resort & Spa, just steps away from both mountain gondolas and in the center of the excitement of the village. Condé Nast as has twice named the Westin the No. 1 ski resort hotel in North America.
The highlight of this trip for me was attending Sherpas Cinema’s “Into the Mind” movie premiere. I was lucky enough to be featured in the movie for my Air Jordan maneuver. The venue for the premiere was at the Whistler Conference Center, located right in the village. Sherpas Cinema is based in Whistler, so as you can imagine there was a lot of excitement around this premiere. In Sherpas’ debut movie, “All I Can,” the company won Powder Magazine’s Movie of the Year. Not an easy feat. The energy in the village that night was all time, and they delivered one of the most impressive movies ever to grace a movie screen. I was proud to be a part of it.
After a couple more great days skiing the massive ski resorts, I tried out the Scandinave Spa, situated just north of Whistler Village. A beautiful cedar forest, overlooking the incredible vistas of Whistler Blackcomb’s valleys, surrounds the pools. I found the bath experience cleansed my mind and body and brought on some intense relaxation. I loved the silence of the Scandinave Spa facilities; it brought on some elusive inner stillness.
To sum up the trip, it was truly world class, from the social opportunities and the great food to the beautiful mountains. It’s unbelievable to me that I can now say I somewhat feel at home in Whistler; it’s just incredible.