Whistler: A Fresh-air Paradise

In a challenging travel year, the local ski resort offers delicious, calming and socially distanced options

In a challenging travel year, the local ski resort offers delicious, calming and socially distanced options

Between its endless hiking and biking trails, two world-renowned ski hills and more outdoor restaurant patios than you could hope to visit in a weekend, Whistler makes the perfect spot for a socially distanced getaway.

1. Where to stay

Whistler’s village is home to all types of accommodation: Airbnbs, hotels and even the Pangea Pod Hotel (for those looking to spend more time outside their room than in it). However, if you’re looking for a luxurious and quiet getaway, look no farther than the Fairmont Chateau Whistler. Located at the base of Blackcomb Mountain, and a (very) short walk from the main village, the Fairmont has all of the best that Whistler has to offer, with less foot traffic.

Masks are required in all common spaces of the hotel—minus the two bars, two restaurants, and pool—ensuring that you’ll feel safe and comfortable throughout your stay. Speaking of the pool, the indoor/outdoor pool and the hot tub remain open, albeit with a limited capacity. Once you check in, you can book your 90 minute time slot, up to a maximum of one per day. Upon arriving at the pool, a concierge will take you to your lounger where you can order snacks or drinks before cooling off (or warming up!) with a dip.

2. Get your blood pumping

Adrenaline seekers have plenty to try in Whistlerdownhill skiing in the winter and downhill biking in the summer, not to mention the longest zip line in Canada (or America!) Clocking in at over two kilometres The Sasquatch by ZipTrek EcoTours takes one and a half hours to complete and offers views from 7,000 feet. Those looking for a less dramatic excursion should check out the Whistler Train Wreck trail. About a 15 minute drive from both Whistler and Blackcomb, Train Wreck trail is a two kilometre march through dense West Coast forest, leading to a series of abandoned train cars, each of which is covered in multi-coloured graffiti. This walk is perfect for any fitness level, and you’ll likely see young children, dogs, strollers and bikers along the way.

3. Unwind and unplug

No trip to Whistler is complete without a stop at the Scandinave Spa. The expansive property offers a traditional Scandinavian experience, with a series of hot and cold instillations (including a cold plunge pool), as well as relaxation areas. No-talking and no-cell-phone rules are enforced throughout the spa, making for an extremely tranquil environment to mediate, read or simply be. Health is the number one priority here, and the Scandinave Spa has instituted new, enhanced cleaning protocols since reopening in July. Additionally, all staff are required to wear masks, and the outdoor walkways are marked for one-way travel. They have also limited the number of guests allowed, so if you’d like to avoid a wait list either book a massageensuring a space in the hydrotherapy bathsor arrive early.

4. Enjoy local cuisine

Whistler has long been considered a mecca for good food and libations, and luckily COVID-19 hasn’t changed that (much). Stroll around the village and you will see increased patio space wherever possible. Take Araxi Kitchen and Oyster Bar, located right in the middle of the village. The restaurant has significantly expanded their outdoor seating, making al fresco dining at one of the province’s most lauded restaurants accessible to all. Grab a table outside and sip on a handcrafted cocktail while indulging in their show-stopping chilled seafood tower and you’re sure to attract some jealous glances from passers-by.

For dinner, stay close to home and book a table at The Wildflower, located inside the Fairmont. Offering both indoor and outdoor seating, The Wildflower is the perfect place to finish your day with a glass of B.C. red. The restaurant has an aggressively local menu, offering everything from Pacific halibut to duck straight from the Fraser Valley. However, you can’t go wrong with one of their signature steaks. After all, you’re on vacation.