Whistler Christmas: Local Last Minute Gifts
Just being in the mountains for the holidays is the best gift a person can receive but it can be tricky to fit the mountains under your Christmas tree. To help out The Whistler Insider took a stroll through the Village and came up with this unique and local last-minute gift guide. Good luck! (And if all else fails you can’t go wrong with the gift of Heli-skiing!)
For the Kids
Teenagers can be a finicky lot but one thing we know about the youth of today is they love to take pictures of themselves. In a world of “selfies” and “sick-gnar Point-of-view edits” no gift will stoke the teen ripper on your list like THE POLE. It’s a lightweight telescopic pole that fits in a pocket or stretches out to 72 cm(28”) to ensure your kid’s POV cam is at the perfect distance to get the shot. Montreal designers Platinum Distribution, in a stroke of genius, also placed a little fisheye mirror at the base of the camera mount so riders can see what the camera sees and make sure all their radness is in the frame. $39 at TMC Freeriderz
Radar the Rescue Dog
For younger kids less consumed by the digital revolution nothing beats a good book. Radar the Rescue Dog is a locally penned tale about a group of youngsters who travel beyond the ski area boundary and the canine hero that saves the day. It’s not a super quick read but the story has some good messages about mountain safety, fun artwork and the dog, Radar, is based on a real Whistler rescue dog.
$15 at Armchair Books
Made in North Vancouver by a “cottage industy” family run business, these incredible slippers combine traditional knitting techniques from Ireland with moccasin tricks from the Canadian Arctic and the result is a soft, comfy, warm slipper that won’t fall off your baby’s feet. They have adult sizes as well and you won’t find a better slipper in town.
$27 and up at Amos& Andes: The Whistler Sweater Shop
For the Hard Core Rider
You can tell a hard core from a poser by whether or not they wax and tune their own boards. Chocowax is made-in-Whistler, chemical free, packaged in recycled paper and foil and carries a special minus-ion charge to basically eliminate friction and give you the speed you need. And it smells like chocolate. Ask the clerk which of the three temperature options will work best for you.
$24.99 at TMC Freeriderz
Black Tusk Jerky Mountain Mix
Backcountry enthusiasts are all about food that gives them the most energy for the least weight and locally-made Black Tusk Jerky has both bases covered and then some. Sweet Chili Mountain Mix is a blend of sweet and spicy jerky made from BC grass-fed beef mixed with various nuts, dehydrated blueberries and a pinch of dried chili flakes. It’s the ultimate high-protein, high-energy backcounty snack with a little added zing that lets you really know you’re alive.
$7.99 at The Whistler Grocery Store
For the Sweet Tooth
Mind-Blowingly Good Baking
Christmas baking is a tradition that’s hard to pull off in a hotel room. Luckily Purebread is Whistler’s hottest new bakery serving up sweet, scrumptious and highly addictive baked treats that make it very difficult to buy just one. They sell gift cards too so you can stock up or keep coming back for more.
$ How much have you got? at Purebread
Box O’ Chocolates
There’s a reason chocolate always goes over well; because it’s awesome and it releases happiness chemicals in your brain. A variety box of sweet BC-made chocolates from the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory is a fast and easy way to knock someone off that last-minute list. They also have chocolate roses, made-in-house fudge and all sorts of other delectable treats. A bonus is their location right near the Whistler and Blackcomb gondolas so you can get some shopping done while still in your ski boots and save on valuable après time.
$ Prices vary at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
For the Intellectual Adventurer
The Oil Man and the Sea
This hot new non-fiction from local author Arno Kopecky recounts a first-timer’s sailboat journey up the west coast of British Columbia into the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest, one of the world’s last great swaths of untamed wilderness. It’s a classic Canadian adventure story told with humour and insight that also shines light on the risks of oil tankers in the area and the culture of the indigenous peoples who have inhabited that shoreline for millennia. A must-read for the informed outdoorsy types on your list.
$24.95 at Armchair Books
For the Gentle Souls and Culture Lovers
Few things are as BC-iconic as a Cowichan Sweater. Hand made by Vancouver Island’s Cowichan First Nation peoples, these sweaters have been capturing the hearts and warming the bodies of BC’s locals and guests for hundreds of years. The style is instantly recognizable as a piece of true Canadiana, plus they’re warm as heck, durable, and easy to cram into a suitcase for the flight home.
$300-370 at Amos& Andes: The Whistler Sweater Shop
Original “Toad Hall” Poster
Whistler’s roots have a healthy dose of free-spirited Hippie in them and back in the 1960s most of those hippies hung out in an old logging camp out at Green Lake in a kind of lawless commune of good times, great skiing and nudity. When it all came crashing down (go progress!) many of the locals gathered in front of Toad Hall, a building erected in 1936, to pose naked for a photo that came to symbolize the era and spirit of early Whistler. More than a few of these “vagrants” went on to become prominent contributors to the evolution of Whistler and the Toad Hall poster is a must-have for any local ski cabin.
$20 at the Whistler Museum
For the Luckiest Person On Your List
Hel Yes Snowboard
Nothing says, “I love you” like new skis or a board. The Hel Yes is local rider Helen Schettini’s pro model from YES Snowboards. With a pipe-and-park background, Helen is now one of the best backcountry snowboarders in the country and she worked closely with long-time Whistler board designers to ensure this one rides smooth and perfect in the mountains she calls home.
$519.09 at The Circle
The future of pow is all in the “Schmear.” Whistler skier Sheldon Steckman designed an entirely new ski, the world’s first “omni-directional” pow ripping utensil. Reverse camber and sidecut means the base is essentially curved like a spoon allowing the skier to drift through turns rather than carve them. “It’s turns more like a speedboat than a race car,” Sheldon explains. Check out this catskiing video to see the Wayne’s in action or give them a try for yourself by booking a trip with with Powder Mountain Catskiing. Garywaynes are a boutique ski designed mainly for pow but if you are serious about your ski quiver, this is a must-have.
$799 made to order at Garywayneskis.com
Johnny “Foon” Chilton is a celebrated local ski mountaineer with a number of big first descents in the area. He’s also a fine carpenter and his skis are made from locally sourced wood, the actual living fibers of the Whistler-area mountains. Foon understands the connection that’s possible from ripping big forest pow lines on skis made from the forest itself just as he understand exactly what a ski needs to be able to do in any terrain. Every pair is hand-made at his Pemberton workshop and built with a sense of history, ecology, art, craftsmanship and sweet pow-ripping action. Johnny makes a kid’s ski as well.
$600 for the Kids, $1199 and up for adults at Foonskis.com
This list is far from complete. There are over 200 shops in Whistler so the chances of finding something perfect is pretty high. So get out, browse, peruse and remember, it’s the thought that counts. Merry Christmas everyone!