Last year I have taken up a lot of new hobbies. One, to help pass the time in a world of a pandemic. And two, to continue to learn and grow, despite the world being on standby. But I digress. One such hobby I have proudly latched on to us snowboarding. So when getting restless and in need of an escape, I looked to my board and began planning a little snowboarding trip to Whistler. The two hour drive is enough kilometres to be classified as a much needed getaway. A getaway during the dreariest of all the months: February.
And any extended drive deserves the proper vehicle, so we loan the 2021 Nissan Rogue in a champagne hue, and off we went. With its spacious cargo room, back seats that fold down, and a covering to keep your cargo discreet; the Rogue was an asset on this excursion, where we had to transport our multitude of equipment to and fro.
From eco mode getting out of the city and on to the highway, to sport mode on the sea to sky, and finally snow mode when we got into Whistler Village; the Rogue handled all the terrain we threw at it, and well.
We set out from Burnaby a little after 9am, planning on catching the last few hours of the mountain’s opening. Whistler Blackcomb is only open from 8:30-3:00pm. This is so that if anyone goes missing they have the time to search for them before nightfall, as the mountain is huge and there is a lot of terrain to cover in a rescue search.
Tickets aren’t cheap, but they are guaranteed. If you don’t end up using them for whatever reason, you simply get a refund for your troubles, no questions asked. At the other ski hills I have visited, all sales are final regardless of circumstances. So we booked the Friday and the Saturday, with the option to cancel on the latter depending on the weather conditions and how we felt after a day of boarding.
Snowboarding is a tiring sport, you can only do it for so long. And as a beginner, who is still working on her heel and toe, even less so. We would take the main gondola up to the very top and from there take the green whiskey jack trail mid way, thrice. Doing so before going all the way to the bottom and finishing off at Whistler Village, for our last run. And at this point I was spent. Multiple breaks were necessary and the need to sit and be off my feet, plenty. The result: a tiring and constructive day with the sore muscles and jelly-like limbs to prove it. Well worth it if you are going to maximize a $150 or so ticket to ride and board. In consideration of our fatigue, we decided to make our two day into one (getting our refund in full from customer service, with no fuss, no muss).
This experience is well worth it in my opinion. If not so once a year, once in your life time. Whistler is a five star ski resort that ski and snowboard enthusiasts travel great distances for. Why not take advantage of what is in your very backyard? The views and the surreal feeling of being on a giant mountain, such as this one, is like no other.
And then there were the one of a kind weather conditions. We witnessed mini blizzards and tornadoes to shake us on the chair life, and to chase and board along with. Both of which I doubt is available at a smaller mountain. This is an experience that is worth the travel time for. Especially after I learned that the tornadoes are called snow devils, and deemed a very rare occurrence.
And if you plan things right, you can end your day with a drink and a snack and one of their many patios. The one at the very end of the village, with a view of the mountain base is Longhorn’s. We grabbed a two top on the patio and relaxed with a couple of pints in amber and blonde ale. And accompanied it with carbs in a classic gravy soaked poutine and breaded chicken strips with more fries. I can think of no finer way to end our tiring day, other than being seated by one of their fire pits for ambiance.
From there it was check in at our hotel. We would spend the night, anticipating a second day on the slopes. So reserved one of the least expensive suites, from one of the hotels closest to the gondola.
We choose our stay at Whistler Village Inn and Suites, liking the idea of one of their studios. Which included a patio, fire place, living room space, and kitchen to utilize during our evening stay. All this only to realize that the patio view is of a back alley. The fire place only takes real wood logs, (no one has those lying around). The living room included some of the most uncomfortable sofas and chairs with little back support and not enough butt room to be able to fully recline. And the kitchen housed some of the most worn out appliances. Not to mention I had trouble looking for cutlery and dishware, wondering why they didn’t have any in a studio they advertised with kitchen; only to realize everything was in the dishwasher and not put away.
And then there was the space saving Murphy bed that we folded down. It was not firm enough, but I am sure better than the fold out couch. The pillows were decedent, but I wanted better than the two scratchy throws for blankets. Luckily with the heat cranked on full, warmth wasn’t an issue.
Noise was though. Each suite shared an entry way with another, and it wasn’t sound proofed. We could hear our neighbour’s comings and goings, as well as their louder conversations. Just like I am sure they could hear us playing video games into the wee hours and watching television to sleep to, to drown out their sounds.
The suite met our one night needs, though truth be told, I will spend more for a better experience and accommodations in the future. At least the washroom was clean, the towels were plentiful, the shower head had good pressure, and the hair dry plenty of heating power.
For dinner and breakfast the morning after, we would grab some premade food from the Fresh St. Market, at the heart of the village. A full rotisserie chicken, a hard and raw potato salad, and a cheesy sun dried tomato penne for sides. This was paired with plenty of tea, boiled water, and Gatorade to replace our spent liquid and electrolytes from today’s workout.
For breakfast it was a ham and cheese sandwich with pickles, enjoyed with hotel brewed coffee, served with their cream powder and sugar.
Then it was time to check out and stop for provisions, for our drive back home. Pure bread is the local’s go-to for savoury and sweet pastries and bread, paired with a large hot chocolate with marshmallows. We grabbed a box of goodies that included a sundried tomato brioche, their nutty brownies, a cream filed cinnamon and sugar bun, and a lemon and pistachio frosted cake.
And so ended our quick getaway, with warm and safe drive home in the 2021 Nissan Rogue. Taking advantage of the empty roads and the clear skies, pulling over from time to time to take it all in. Sometimes you need to travel a little to appreciate what you have in the comfort of your own home. Thank you Nissan Canada for the great cruise.