How many times did your cellphone ring today? How many items did you cross off your to-do list? Does the sound of the clothes dryer finishing a cycle make you grind your teeth in despair? Did you eat lunch in your car? Not counting that post-Halloween party hangover, when was the last time you did nothing, said nothing, and took a few hours for yourself? Perhaps that time is now.

Winter in the mountains is a season of silence. The landscape freezes up and the snow gives everything a buried, muffled stillness. There are few places as quiet or peaceful as BC’s coastal rainforest under a fresh blanket of snow and Whistler locals each have their own favourite spot to relax and reconnect.

Personally, I like riding the Whistler Village Gondola all alone on a stormy day. It’s 28 minutes of time for myself, time to take a breather and watch snow-pillowed treetops pass underneath, time to empty the mind for a few moments and ponder life’s important questions— “Should the next run be West Bowl or Frog Hollow??”

Others like to go a bit deeper into the solitude. My buddy Chili Thom is a landscape painter who literally needs to escape out to nature regularly in order to decompress and find inspiration for his next canvas.

“I can paint from a photo,” Chili explains, “but the best work comes from actually experiencing a series of moments like the sun sinking behind a snowy ridge or clouds filtering down into the trees. Just being out there is so calming—no cell phone or emails… it’s a recharge.”

Not all of Whistler’s top peace and quiet spots require a long hike into the hills however. Watching a late-night snowfall under the giant floodlights of the day skier parking lots can become a Zen-like optical illusion. Or in this week’s Whistler Sabbatical Project video local snowboarder/photographer Chad Chomlack finds his own piece of solitude at the Scandinave Spa, a Whistler favourite.

Just a few miles north of the village, The Scandinave is a 20,000 square foot hydrotherapy facility featuring saunas, steam rooms, hot baths, cold soaker pools and a near-silent atmosphere (talking and interacting are not encouraged.) The hydrotherapy technique involves warming the body in either a steam room or hot bath, then cooling off in a cold water plunge pool or shower, then resting and relaxing while your system recalibrates. The hot/cold process stimulates circulation and metabolism, the relaxation in total silence reboots the body and gives the mind a chance to slow right down.

Soaking it all up, Chad unplugs from his everyday routine in order to reconnect with himself and his Scandinave experience sounded so good I decided give it a shot on my own. (See video below)

Silence may be golden but in Whistler in the winter, it’s buried in white. Up here peace and quiet exists everywhere in the mountains, the forests, or the baths of the Scandinave Spa. So this winter why not unplug, relax and reconnect? And then ski your pants off. That’s the Whistler way.

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Feet Banks moved to Whistler at age 12 so his parents could live the dream and ski as much as possible. He ended up living it too. After leaving home Feet did a few good stints in warmer climates and 4 years of writing school before returning to the mountains to make ski movies, hammer out a journalism career and avoid the 9-5 lifestyle as long as possible. He’s been a hay farmer, a hole digger, a magazine editor and has a jump named after him on Blackcomb Mountain, Feet’s Air. It’s tiny.