Liz Laing nestles in at Nita Lake Lodge in British Columbia’s winter wonderland.
Now that it’s November, summer already seems like a distant memory for those of us in the northern hemisphere. That means the search is on for the ultimate winter playground. So here’s a haute tip: point your skis, snowboard or snowshoes towards one of the world’s most coveted mountain resorts, Whistler Blackcomb, where the snow is already falling, turning the region into a winter wonderland.
Since you’ll be flying into Vancouver on your way to Whistler, make the most of your visit and get a good night’s rest at the stylish Loden Hotel, before catching the Whistler SkyLynx the next morning. The Loden is a downtown boutique hotel, and a welcome retreat for the weary traveler, with cozy down comforters, marble bathrooms and a deep-soaking tub.
A night in Vancouver means a chance to experience dinner at award-winning Hawksworth Restaurant, the best restaurant in Vancouver. After a quick walk from the hotel, you’ll soon be indulging in contemporary Canadian dishes (foie gras parfait anyone?) from chef/owner David Hawksworth, whose culinary talent shines through each artful creation.
The next day, after a 75-mile scenic bus ride along BC’s rugged coastline, you’ll arrive at Nita Lake Lodge, a luxurious lakeside property with spacious suites, a full-service spa, excellent restaurants and gorgeous views of the mountains, lake and forest. Each suite is furnished with a king-sized bed, double soaker tub, glass-enclosed rain shower, heated slate bath flooring and a fireplace. You’ll also find a fitness facility with personal trainers on-site, as well as a yoga studio (a great way to get ready for skiing). Tucked away in Whistler’s Creekside, Nita Lake Lodge is only a five-minute stroll to the gondola at the base of Whistler Mountain and a complimentary shuttle can take you into Whistler Village anytime. The lodge is situated in a perfect location – close to the slopes, yet away from the crowds in a tranquil lakeside setting.
Enjoy the lake view while eating dinner at Aura restaurant, which specializes in modern Pacific cuisine made with locally sourced ingredients, including some from their own rooftop garden. Your fine dining experience will be further enhanced by a superb selection of wines. Stand-out dishes include: Kusshi Oysters with yuzu ginger motoyaki sauce and black tobiko and Wild Salmon, roasted with tamarind glaze and served with green papaya and root down napa slaw, organic black quinoa, grilled corn, cilantro and yellow carrot puree.
The best dining in the village is found at Alta Bistro, a modern French bistro, which features seasonal dishes, amazing handcrafted cocktails, organic wines and micro-brews. Be sure and order the Alpindon Cheese and Bread Pudding (with goat cheese, celery salad, beet vinaigrette and garlic toast) that takes comfort food to a whole new level.
In the morning, grab a latte and a freshly baked muffin at Fix, Nita’s on-site café that offers house-made pastries, sandwiches and plenty of healthy, gluten-free options. Enjoy a nice morning stroll around the lake on the Valley Trail, which connects all of Whistler’s lakes and parks. (In the spring and summer months, take a paddle boarding lesson on Nita Lake and glide across its sparkling surface.)
While most people come to Whistler to ski, you’ll find plenty of winter activities for non-skiers too, such as: snowshoeing, snowmobiling, ice skating, tubing, zip lining, sleigh rides and a winter sightseeing tour (no skis required). The more adventurous can test their mountaineering skills on an ice climbing tour with Whistler Alpine Guides Bureau. Beginning December 15, don’t miss the free Fire and Ice Show every Friday at 6:30pm, on Skiers Plaza in Whistler Village (base of Whistler and Blackcomb gondolas).
Discover why Whistler Blackcomb is consistently ranked as the No. 1 ski resort in North America. With more than 8,100 acres of terrain, skiers will discover all kinds of chutes, bowls, glades, long cruisers and rollers, throughout 200 trails and a one-mile vertical drop. The two side-by-side mountains (Whistler and Blackcomb) are connected by the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola, which offers panoramic views of snowy peaks and icy glaciers of the Coast Mountain Range. Wait a few extra minutes for one of the silver, glass-bottomed gondola cabins and enjoy a view from below as well.
After a long day of skiing or snowboarding, unwind at The Spa at Nita Lake Lodge and indulge in a deep-tissue massage to ease your muscles, then soak them in the outdoor Jacuzzi tubs with serene mountain views to complete your relaxation. This winter haven is truly heaven on earth.Book your Whistler trip by November 15 and save up to 39% with the “stay and ski package.”