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Where to Stay
As of this morning (February 13th), there were lots of rooms available in Whistler, ranging from a three-star stay for $143, to $436 for something similar. Try the usual sources (kayak.com, expedia.com, hotels.com, etc.) but most listings require you to call ahead to double-check for vacancy. For later in the week, it gets tougher, but at least you’ll be paying double or triple the normal rack rate. A better option may be to go for a private rental via rent2010.net, which is showing plenty of last-minute deals.
Like any other ski town, you can eat a $45 cut of beef tenderloin. And it will be good. You can go high-end at restaurants like Araxi which uses locally-sourced ingredients and regional fish and game. The Bearfoot Bistro’s similar fare, with a special, prix fixe menu for the games, is also a good option. But Whistler has much more, such as two great sushi bars: the legendary and crowded Sushi Village and the less heralded Sachi. On the more casual side (read: cheap and good), there’s Pasta Lupino’s fresh pasta and sauces, made in house the day you’ll eat it, and Splitz Grill for the best burger in town.
Whistler has a legendary party scene, mostly because the village is purpose-built for eating and drinking. If you finish your day at Creekside, have a beer and order fall-off-the-bone ribs at Dusty’s, just steps from the base of the Creekside gondola. Skiing at Blackcomb? Merlin’s, at the base of the Wizard chair, is ideal for drinks and fried treats. Then there’s Citta‘s central location and heated patio, which is always hopping. Same goes for the nearby Amsterdam. If you’re up all night, dance your face off with the famous go-go dancers of Tommy Africa’s or hit the Savage Beagle.
Where to Ski
The Olympic effect is real. Bookings are typically down because most skiers assume that it’s too crowded. This is partially true: Skiers see that security is high and that the sateelitle trucks spilling out gel-coiffed on-air personalities. But outside of this circus you’ll find that the mountain—what you came here for—will be nearly empty. Especially Blackcomb. If it’s clear, get up to Spanky’s Ladder and ski rock-lined bowls like Diamond and Ruby. The other big gathering point will be Seventh Heaven, a sparsely-treed face that can be good during a storm. (It’s snowing right now, as a matter of fact.) Or you could ski Blackcomb Glacier—yes, an actual relic of the Ice Age with a lift near the top of it. And these are only the three most famous areas of Blackcomb. Make friends with a local, buy this detailed guidebook, or get this excellent map of all the classic ski descents which you can buy here. A little inside dope and you’ll see why Whistler draws so many skiers move here and never leave. Or you could watch the whole thing on TV and miss out.