Wearing Vans To The Top Of Whistler
On New Years day, my girlfriend and I were joined by a couple of friends en route to Whistler to have an after-the-fact ringing in of the New Year. Originally, I was going to do a post entitled “Fondue at Five-Thousand”, but that never really panned out as the holiday hangover sapped all my motivation. I then toyed with the idea of making up a story about infiltrating an Australian snowboarding gang that terrorizes the hapless tourists of Whistler, but that was too far fetched (and a downright fabrication), so I’ve settled instead on a brief account of our trip. It was just nice to get out of the city for a couple of days.
We arrived in Whistler to crystal clear skies and some of the most beautiful scenery you might find in this fair province of ours. I’d never been up there in the winter, as I don’t partake in any winter sports and nor am I fabulously wealthy.
We checked into our suite at the Adara Hotel – an unassuming boutique hotel right in the centre of Whistler Village – and proceeded to kick off our shoes and pop open a bottle of bubbly.
The fireplace was going, there was a Canucks game on TV (which we won!), and I felt relaxed for the first time in ages. Do you ever stop and realize that you have been grinding your teeth for weeks? I had one of those moments, and it felt good to unclench my jaw and take a load off.
After a few bottles of wine, we ventured into the heart of the village for dinner at Araxi. They were loaded to the hilt, but within a few minutes we were able to snag four seats at the bar. My friend Victor, with whom I once worked at West, mans the raw bar there now, and he sent us out some sushi and sashimi to start. So good for a white boy!
We ordered a few things off the menu, all of which were great (chef James Walt’s food is always solid). I had the chance to work with him this past summer when he and the restaurant catered the VIP tent at the Pemberton Music Festival. A really nice guy, and a great chef. For the volume they do (300 plus covers that night), it makes what they do even more impressive.
Now, call me lame, but all I really wanted to do after was go back to my hotel room at the Adara, have a few nightcaps, and go to bed. But then Victor came over after his shift. We reminisced and bitched about things, as that’s what cooks do, and then it was off to sleep in a way-too-comfortable bed that made mine at home seem very inadequate.
Upon waking up, we lingered over coffee (Adara provides JJ Bean beans and a French press), and waited until the last possible second to check out. We then headed out for a forgettable breakfast at a tourist trap in the village, kicking ourselves for not listening to Victor, who recommended the Sunshine diner.
On the agenda for our final day was checking out the recently opened Peak to Peak gondola, which now links Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. The project took over a year and a half to complete, cost nearly $51 million dollars, and is the first of its kind in North America. The trip across takes 11 minutes and covers 4.4 kilometres, 3 of those kilometres being with no support from towers – just hanging cables. It is quite the trip, both literally and figuratively. Being the idiot that I am, I wore Vans up the mountain, and upon stepping outside I knew I’d made a mistake. My feet remained frozen for the next hour, and I was lucky to escape with all of my toes intact.
We made it down the mountain safely and headed back to Vancouver, stopping only for the last period of the Canucks game at a White Spot in Squamish (does anybody know what is in Triple-O sauce? It’s pretty tasty, but man do they put a lot on their burgers!). I could feel myself getting fatter, and it didn’t help that I cashed in on their offer of bottomless fries. Will I ever learn? Just because the food is there, it doesn’t mean I have to eat it.
Oh well, Happy New Year.
Owen Lightly is a boy from a small island in the Gulf of Georgia. After attending cooking school, he moved to Vancouver in 2002 to start a career in the restaurant “biz”. His website, Butter On the Endive, was created for sharing and caring.