How about this for an Insider Tip: $10 frozen turkeys at the annual Whistler Turkey Sale.
Sure, Thanksgiving in Whistler has all the expected elements of reflection and family and being thankful for what we have and where we live, but up here the long weekend is mostly about getting crazy good deals on gear for the upcoming winter. And that’s where the Turkey Sale comes in.
The Whistler Turkey Sale (October 5-8, 2012) is a giant winter gear sale/swap that occupies a 20,000 square foot tent at the base of Blackcomb Mountain. It’s legendary and has been around forever (I got my Salomon Force 9 rear-entry ski boots there in 1991 for 60% off). From slightly used kid’s skis and boots to brand new outerwear and snowboards to demo skis to long forgotten treasures from the past… if you need it, chances are the Turkey Sale has got it.
Including, for the first time ever, actual Turkeys. On Saturday only, Whistler Blackcomb is selling 100 frozen, 10-15 pound turkeys for just ten bucks each, with all proceeds going to the Whistler Food Bank. Considering Whistler is a town full of Thanksgiving orphans who’ve left their homelands for a winter of ripping pow and living the dream, that might be the deal of the event.
Turkey Sale madness starts Friday Oct 5 at noon when locals, season pass and Edge Card holders will peruse the goods. Longtime local ripper Goldie Smith is hitting up the Turkey Sale early to hunt for a very specific ski. “The Rossignol Experience is good for the older generation,” he says. “I’m gonna try and track them down.”
Saturday through Monday the sale is open to all. Whether you have a plan of attack or just want to browse, there will be plenty of options but Whistler’s shopping action is not confined to just the giant tent, nor are the good deals. Almost every store and shop in town is getting in on the Thanksgiving spirit.
“Everything in the store is on sale,” says Jenine at Evolution in Whistler Village. “We blow out last winter’s stuff 50-70% off and this year’s bike stuff is 30-70% off. It’s the annual Shoot the Turkey sale.”
“Yes, everything is on sale,” agrees Will at Comor Sports. “We have Ride Machete boards at $299, down from $500 and ladies Luna skis, for a ridiculous price. I’m not sure how ridiculous but it will be ridiculous. I might even do some hula hope dancing or something to make it even more ridiculous.
Another tip for savvy shoppers, lots of Whistler shops will unload the last of their 2011-12 demo skis and boards this weekend, so get there early. “We still have good deals on last year’s demos,” says Marcus at Fanatyk Co Ski and Cycle. “The K2 ObSethed skis or the 4Frnt Renegades will go quick, I bet. Those are both great skis for Whistler pow days.”
At Showcase Snowboards all their last season’s stock is at the Turkey Sale so they’re focusing more on what’s new this winter. “For outerwear anything Gore Tex is hot this year,” says Sarah. “And we have great new Burton boards for women and kids. The Lipstick Board is amazing and they have Grom boards with Toy Story topsheets that go all the way down to 80cm.”
“Floppy toques are still in,” adds Jenn, “and Sandbox helmets are always popular.” Showcase also has the cheapest Kraft Dinner pasta in town, if you missed out on a ten dollar turkey.
Those who do have a hankering for some stuffed bird but don’t feel like cooking will find no shortage of Whistler restaurants serving up a traditional Thanksgiving meal. The Insider’s choice would have to be perennial award winner Araxi.
Chef James Walt is the king of locally sourced ingredients and he’s offering Thanksgiving Dinner for just one night, Sunday October 7th, with a menu that includes Pemberton’s North Arm Farm Squash soup, Fraser Valley Organic Turkey with fresh herb stuffing, Pemberton carrots and brussel sprouts, and a local sugar Pumpkin Tarte to round off the evening (and you can order an extra tarte on the side too!)
Of course, Whistler is no two-trick pony. There’s plenty more to do this weekend than simply shop, eat and lay around (although all of those things rule.) The Whistler Farmers Market runs Saturday and Sunday this weekend and on Saturday Oct 6 the Whistler Arts Council kicks off their 30th annual Performance Series with the Barney Bentall Quartet live in concert at Millennium Place. Bentall is a renowned Canadian singer/songwriter who is equally comfortable rocking out, twanging the blues or laying down those jazzy autumn riffs. Get tix and more info at the Arts Council site.
The Arts Council is also hosting a super cool local photography exhibit Out of Bounds: Tales from the Backcountry featuring gnarly ski and snowboard photos from local photographers. The show runs all month at Millennium Place but the big launch party is Oct 11, 2012. head in and vote on your favourite shot anytime and you could win a Prior snowboard.
Whistler also has plenty of other activities that can help break that turkey hangover so get that old wicker basket out of the attic, stuff it with weird gourds and fake plastic vegetables, appreciate what you love, and have yourself a happy Thanksgiving.