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Whistler in Winter

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Whistler in Winter
Ever wonder what it would be like to ski a vertical mile or explore over 8,000 skiable acres? You’ve come to the right resort.
By Crai Bower, AFAR Local Expert
Photo by Mike Crane/Tourism Whistler
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    The Mountains
    Trying to ski everything Whistler Blackcomb has to offer is an exercise in futility. Over 8,000 skiable acres means that every skill level gets a generous helping of fun and challenging runs. The hard-core guests will find plenty of fresh tracks by jumping into the Glacier, Whistler, and Bagel bowls, and the seven-mile-long Peak to Creek run on Whistler Mountain is a must. (Hire a snow host or instructor if you want to find the secret runs.) Fundamental improvements are underway, too, including an overhaul of learning areas as well as a significant boost to the grooming fleet to keep the slopes at their best.
    Photo by Mike Crane/Tourism Whistler
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    It’s All About the Après-Ski
    Patio-hopping is a serious sport in Whistler. Start your après-ski rounds at the Garibaldi Lift Company (GLC), located slopeside on Whistler. Then it’s on from Tapley’s to Merlin’s to the undiscovered Bearfoot Bistro terrace, which is awesome when the sun’s out. Whistler Creekside has its own thing going on at Dusty’s patio. The heated seats outside the Roundhouse Lodge encourage lingering.
    Photo by Chad Chomlack/Tourism Whistler
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    Pre-Season Festivals (Bring Your Skis)
    Cornucopia, Whistler’s food and drink festival, offers close to 100 events over 10 days every November. In addition to crazy good food and wine, there are seminars, workshops, and dinners with leading Canadian chefs and sommeliers. Of course, you’ll want to hit a few parties, including Araxi’s "Bubbles" and whatever Bearfoot Bistro’s stirring up. The Whistler Film Festival in early December features scores of international film premieres with an emphasis on Canadian productions. The WFF has grown in stature but it's still intimate enough that cinephiles can find plenty of opportunities to mingle with actors, producers, and auteurs after panels and screenings or just around the village.
    Photo by Mike Crane/Tourism Whistler
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    Relax and Rejuvenate
    There’s no better place in town to rejuvenate than Scandinave Spa, the Nordic-inspired set of hot and cold pools, steam rooms, and brisk waterfalls set against a fir forest. Clear your senses with a eucalyptus steam followed by a series of hot baths. A pleasant nap in the quiet room can restore the energy sapped by a day on the slopes or last night's après-ski carousing. Another way to recharge: Soak in the hot tubs and splash with the family in the aquatic play area at the Meadow Park Sports Centre.
    Photo by Scandinave Spa/Tourism Whistler
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    Whistler Dine Around
    Whistler has a reputation as a restaurant village and offers more outstanding cuisine than most medium-size cities. Dining starts on the hill with white-tablecloth service at Christine’s (Blackcomb) and Steep’s Grill in the Roundhouse Lodge. Both kitchens highlight local produce, fresh wild-caught fish, and free-range meat. Four Seasons’ Sidecut remains Whistler’s best steak house. Bearfoot Bistro’s Melissa Craig continues to offer the best dining experience in the village.
    Photo by Joern Rohde/Bearfoot Bistro
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    Explore First Nation Culture
    Mild weather, a 12-month salmon buffet, and a natural geographical barrier barring more aggressive nations to the east meant the area's indigenous Salish people lived a lifestyle of abundance. Visit the Squamish Lil’wat) Cultural Centre to see how the experience of a permanent home translated into the community's elaborate potlatch gatherings and some magnificent artwork. Rotating exhibits inform guests about the Squamish and Lil'wat First Nations experience. The Audain Art Museum displays one of the world’s largest aboriginal mask collections.
    Photo by Justa Jeskova/Tourism Whistler
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    Whistler Olympic Legacy
    Whistler’s Winter Olympics legacy permeates the village, where you can still see the Olympic rings among other symbols left from when the world competed here in 2010. Today skiers and snowboarders can follow the Dave Murray Downhill run on Whistler to get in the spirit, but there’s probably no thrill that equals a ride down the Whistler Sliding Centre bobsled track, still the fastest in the world. The Public Bobsleigh Program sends the brave down that course at 90 mph against upwards of 4 g-force. The brave and crazy can take on the 10-turn course on a skeleton bobsled, headfirst and with your chin about five inches from the ice!
    Photo by Mike Crane/Tourism Whistler
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    Zipping Through Winter
    Ziptrek, North America’s first zip line, remains open all winter long. If you think soaring above Fitzsimmons Creek is fun in the summer, try zipping along at 75 mph for more than one mile in the heart of winter. (Bonus points for catching a snowflake on your tongue.) A ride on the Peak 2 Peak Gondola, sharing the space with skiers and snowboarders, allows a thrilling vantage point to view the glorious winter mountainscape.
    Photo by Mike Crane/Tourism Whistler