The Weekend Warrior’s Guide to Whistler
Guest Author: Vince Shuley
Not long ago The Whistler Insider extolled the advantages of “Ditching the Weekend” and embracing the “mid-week warrior” lifestyle. That’s all well and good but the reality of most city dwellers (and many mountain dwellers too) is that from Monday to Friday work needs to get done to keep the world turning and keep the wolves from the door. You may get away with the occasional sick-day pow fest but for most of the snow season your on-hill enjoyment will take place during those 26 weekends of the winter.
Unfortunately most of the working world is on the same schedule, so it’s crucial to know how to make every minute count before the drive down the Sea to Sky Highwayback to work. Check out a few local tips in this guide to Whistler Weekend Warriorism:
Beat the traffic
Come in to work at 7 AM on Friday morning. Bring your boss their favourite flavour of matcha-latte, beg, lie, steal, just do whatever it takes to leave early on Friday afternoon. If you can roll into Whistler before 5 PM, you’re laughing. Alternatively, get to bed early on Friday night and start your drive in the wee hours of Saturday and you can be standing at the lifts waiting for them to open just like a die-hard local.
Keep up to date on road and snow reports by listening to Mountain FM on your way up and follow GoWhistler on Twitter for cyber updates on weather, events and conditions. If there is a big snowfall the local snow fiends will be coming out of the woodwork so arriving early is integral. We shouldn’t have to tell you but, YES from October to March you need snow tires!
You made it, now you’ve got to find a place to park and boot up. The Creekside parkade is convenient for getting a quick upload on the Creekside Gondola, but can get congested at the end of the day (a good reason to stay for more après or an early dinner). The Day Lots next to Whistler Village can be worth the eight bucks of paid parking if you want to walk less distance, or keep driving up to Base 2 on Blackcomb for a quick walk to the Excalibur Gondola. (The best way is to just get a hotel when you arrive Friday night and walk to everything you need all weekend long.)
Similar to the 9-5 world, the lunchtime rush between 12 and 1:30 PM can be hectic at the on-hill restaurants. Solve that by taking a lap down to Dusty’s, Merlin’s or the GLC where there is plenty of seating earlier in the day or take your lunch early at the Roundhouse, Glacier Creek or Rendezvous by 11 AM. For more early bird tips check out The Insider post Early Bird gets the Pow: Whistler Truisms Revealed.
When après rolls around, the slopeslide patios at the GLC and Longhorn can get busy but just shoulder your skis and walk down the Village Stroll a few hundred metres for an equally satisfying après experience without waiting for a table. The Beacon Eatery and Stonesedge serve great food, cocktails and excellent selections of B.C. craft beer. Stonesedge even have the bacon straws for their caesars, which is always worth the extra walk. There are plenty of other dining options all over Whistler Village.
Go Back to Snow School
You may think that you’re too good for lessons, but did you ever consider joining a small group of like-minded skiers for the privilege of ducking lift lines all day long? Whistler Snow School offers instruction for anything from a 1/2 day lesson to multi-day specialty camps allowing you to gain valuable coaching and increase your vertical mileage to the level of weekend warrior stardom.
The same goes for the kids, after all, they would probably rather ski with a group of kids their own age and a cool instructor dressed in a Pokemon costume anyhow. Club ski programs are incredibly good value and free up your time to get the maximum amount of shred time on your weekends.
Even if you’re already a black-diamond ripping, pow slaying, true Weekend Warrior that thinks you know all the hidden stashes on the mountain, think again. The very experienced coaches at Extremely Canadian will get you the goods and make sure you are up to the task with their two-day Steep Clinics. This experience will send you home with stories of how you descended some of Whistler and Blackcomb’s most technical terrain, perfect for the Monday morning water cooler chats.
Plan Your Exit
You may be in the mood to party on Saturday night, but if you want to get the most out of your Sunday hit the slopes early so you can call it a day early and beat the Sunday afternoon southbound exodus, which starts to get hectic around 3 PM. If you feel like après is absolutely necessary (it often is) then stay longer in the Village for dinner and you’ll have a congestion-free drive home after about 8 PM. Obviously, someone has to abstain from drinking in order to drive the vehicle but the best option is to simply stay another night. Sick Days are a constitutional right aren’t they?
Find out everything you need to know about Whistler, including good last-minute accommodation deals, at Whistler.com