If you follow my Facebook page or personal profile, you may already know that I have just returned from a fantastic week in Canada – focused primarily on skiing on the western side. When the opportunity arose through work to travel to Vancouver, Sun Peaks and Whistler I leapt at the chance to go and I am so thankful that I did as it was a truly amazing and very special adventure.
Vancouver is a great city, we enjoyed lunch on Granville Island at the popular ‘Sandbar’ seafood restaurant and then checked out the Granville Public Food Market (amazing produce at terrific prices!) before heading into town to check out the city. Our tour took in Gastown – the ‘trendy’ but oldest part of town which is home to great bars/nightclubs and a great social scene, Chinatown and the main city areas and we then visited Flyover Canada (a great attraction that takes you on a ‘ride’ over Canada, took in the 360 degree views at Harbour Center Tower, Robson Street (shopping, museums, galleries) and the beautiful Stanley Park. We even got to see ‘Grey Enterprises’ – the building featured in the recent ’50 Shades’ movie!
It was then time to take in the ski resorts, so we flew from Vancouver to Kamloops and then shuttled to Sun Peaks where we stayed for three nights. Sun Peaks is great, a real ‘ski in ski out’ resort with three mountains of skiing that suit skiers of all levels. The village itself is picturesque and beautiful, exactly as you picture a snowy, alpine village with a number of hotels, restaurants, ski shops and galleries/gift shops.
The hotel and motels were great, and close to the village are also a wide variety of condos and apartments so there is ample accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets. We stayed at the Coast Sundance Lodge which was great as we skied right out from the front door of the hotel, but I would also recommend the Sun Peaks Grand Hotel for a full hotel complex and the Kookaburra Lodge if looking at more apartment style.
As well as skiing, we were able to experience snow mobiling, which was absolutely brilliant. This was a two hour tour spent driving individual snow mobiles through the mountains travelling at your own pace, so exciting for us ‘speed demons’ but also fine for those that wish to take things a little slower. At the top of the mountain they prepare a mountain BBQ dinner under the stars, which was lots of fun.
In Sun Peaks there are also options to dog sled, ice skate on the village rink and enjoy a whole range of snow and nature activities.
The journey between Sun Peaks and Whistler took almost five hours by shuttle, but I am so glad that we took this option. The drive through the Rockies was spectacular and photos really cannot do justice to the breathtaking Canadian mountain scenery. I have never seen such stunning lakes, mountains or alpine terrain, definitely worth the drive!
Whistler Village certainly lived up to expectation and is one of the most popular ski resorts for Australians to travel to each year. It’s a fantastically ‘cool’ and trendy scene and the village is filled with restaurants, shops and bars galore, lots to keep everyone entertained. The Village is easy to navigate as everything is fairly compact and again there are numerous accommodation options to choose from (my picks here would be the Hilton, the Westin, Delta Whistler Suites or the exquisite Fairmont Chateau). We were blessed to spend three luxurious nights at the Fairmont which is situated at the base of Blackcomb Mountain and a five minute easy walk into the heart of the village. The others I have mentioned are all situated in the heart of the village at the bottom of the Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains.
Whilst in Whistler we skied both the Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains, took a AWD tour (these vehicles similar to quad bikes and this was another brilliant adventure for us ‘speed demons’!), tried our hands at zip-lining (5 flying fox runs between and down the mountains – incredible!) and enjoyed a fabulous 7 course degustation dinner, with accompanying wines, at the Bearfoot Bistro. And we really didn’t scratch the surface, as there is SO much to do!
The Canadian people are terrific, very easy going and similar in nature to we Aussies! The Canadian countryside is spectacular, a little slice of perfect heaven and something everyone should see if they get the chance. And there are so many activities and experiences on offer.
It was certainly an amazing week away and one that I’ll cherish for a long time to come. I certainly have no doubt that it is an area that I shall return back to one day – one of those great destinations that leaves an imprint on your heart and a place that you could visit time and time again.