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Credit: Lisa Manfield

Bearfoot's gondola dinner was an experience guests won't soon forget

Whistler's Bearfoot Bistro hosted lucky guests to a unique dining experience - dinner 1,427-feet above the ground on the  Peak-to-Peak gondola

On any average day, dining at Whistler’s Bearfoot Bistro is an experience to be remembered, but on June 29, the award-winning restaurant took its cuisine to new heights – literally.

Known for its mouth-watering dishes, unique culinary experiences and community involvement, Bearfoot’s commitment to excellence on every front has won the restaurant numerous awards, including Best Whistler 2014. And a meal prepared by chef Melissa Craig, or a visit to the restaurant’s Belvedere Ice Room for a shot (or three) of ice-cold vodka, are sure to make an impression on even the most seasoned fine diners. But that hasn’t prevented owner André Saint-Jacques from dreaming up new ways to capture diners’ hearts – and stomachs.

So when it came to elevating Bearfoot Bistro’s offerings even further, he took the challenge literally – into the sky. 

On Saturday, June 29, 2014, the Bearfoot sent its gourmet fare precisely 1,427 ft above the Whistler valley for SkyHIGH, a one-of-a-kind fundraising event benefitting the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation.

The event brought the Bearfoot team along with 250 donors and diners to the top of Whistler Mountain for a first-of-its-kind dining experience: a six-course meal served aboard the Peak-to-Peak gondola.

SkyHIGH gondola

Attracting a range of local business owners, CEOs and media personalities, the event sold out 25 gondolas, each seating 10 people. Each gondola was transformed into a celestial dining room, fitted with a table, chandelier and streaming music.

While the Peak-to-Peak, a 4.4-km ride that connects Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, normally crosses the valley in about 11 minutes, on this night it was slowed down to 16 minutes to allow diners time to savour each course as they ogled the impressive views from above.

And savour they did. With courses ranging from house-smoked sockeye salmon with crème fresh and Vancouver Island black cod with Dungeness crab cream to foie gras terrine with chanterelle mushrooms and braised veal cheek with mustard jus, the food was as stunning as the view.

At each landing, wait staff sprung into action, clearing dishes and serving the next course in a mere 90 seconds, while gondolas continued to move around the tower. It was an impressive feat for the Bearfoot to add to its growing list of accolades, made all the more admirable by its foundation in charity.