Summer in Vancouver and Whistler: Day Two
Olympic hype two-years in its rearview, British Columbia is steering a course back to the four-season recognition it deserves. If you think winters here rock, wait till you experience summer.
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Eat: Before leaving Vancouver, fuel up at the tiny Japanese-anime-inspired Dose Espresso Bar. Located on West Broadway, it is a bit out of the way coming from Coal Harbour but the coffee and the superfriendly baristas make it worthwhile—regulars come from all over the city to sip on Dose’s espresso and special blends, such as the Nutella Mocha.
Getting there: Since the upgrade of the Sea to Sky Highway (Hwy 99) prior to the Olympics, there are several options for going north. If you just want to come along for the ride and enjoy the stunning landscape (canyons, blue mountains and emerald green temperate forests), take the train or bus.
Get front row seats onboard The Rocky Mountaineer Whistler Sea to Sky Climb train, a three and a half hour ride, and keep your camera at the ready. The train leaves from North Vancouver but a motorcoach picks up from downtown Vancouver. There are daily departures, except Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and two service classes: Whistler Classic (breakfast or light meal plus non-alcoholic beverages, $150 one-way, $262 return) and Whistler Dome (breakfast or afternoon tea, complimentary beverages, $262 one-way, $404 return).
For buses, you can either take the Pacific Coach’s WhistlerExpress (one-way starts at $48 and roundtrip at $87) or the Greyhound Canada (one-way starts at $21 and roundtrip at $42)—both take about two hours.
If you’d like to be behind the wheel, there is no lack of car rental companies. AVIS offers a One Way Round Trip-deal where you can rent a car for 24 hours in each direction from YVR or Sea-Tac Airport to Whistler and return (rates start at $95).
Luncheon: Accessible just off Hwy 99 when you pull into the resort town of Whistler, the local favorite Rim Rock Café matches its down-to-earth vibe with divine seafood. Newbies and long-time residents are treated to dishes such as the Rim Rock oysters with smoked salmon, Gruyère cheese and Béchamel sauce. Still got room left? Top it off with the sticky toffee pudding.
Photo: Kevin Little
Stay:Golden Dreams Bed and Breakfast—next to Whistler Village and a short walk to several hiking trails—is in the perfect location. Snuggle up in one of the three themed rooms—Black Bear, Rainforest or Wild West—after soaking in the outdoor hot tub. (Rates $112 to $144 per person/per night. There is two-night minimum required on the weekends).
Photo: Ann Spence
Once you arrive at the resort, go for a walkabout in the land of black bears, red-tailed haws and great horned owls. Ride the Peak2Peak Gondola, an engineering wonder linking the peaks of Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains, to access more than 31 miles of hiking trails.
Photo: Paul Morrison
Yodeling might come naturally as you trek the High Note Trail across rugged terrain and alpine meadows, with a picture-perfect backdrop of the Cheakamus Lake.
Photo: Paul Morrison
Still got the ski bug? Swap your hiking boots for ski boots and work on your summer goggle tan while cutting fresh tracks at the 7,000-year-old Horstman Glacier, offering 1160 vertical feet. Rub shoulders with ski wonder kids, as they flex their new moves at the Camp of Champions and Momentum summer ski camps. Skiing on Horstman is open from June 23 to July 29 from 12 pm to 3 pm. After making turns, treat yourself to a beer on the deck at the Hortsman Hut. It might be high summer, but après is a must.
Photo: Hans-Erik Hedberg
If you want to get up close and personal with the elements, sign up for the guided three and a half hour scrambling tour to the top of Whistler Mountain. As you scramble along the ridge, the reward is instant—epic panoramic views of the B.C. Coast Mountains.
After all the action, relax any sore muscles at the 20,000 square feet outdoor Scandinave Spa. Let the Finnish Sauna, the steam hut and hot waterfall work their magic. You’ll feel as good as new come dinnertime.
Photo: Scandinave Spa
Dine: On Friday through Sunday evenings, the Roundhouse Lodge hosts “Mountain Top BBQs” and live music. Friday and Saturday menus offer slow roasted pork and BBQ prime rib while Sundays feature Pacific seafood.