A Weekend in Whistler and Learning to Ski

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Riding the Peak 2 Peak Gondola between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. It holds two world records for the longest free span between ropeway towers (1.88 miles) and highest point above ground (1430 feet). Luckily we did not plummet to the ground as I originally feared!

With our countdown to our Ohio move getting closer, my husband H and I are trying to visit as many Pacific Northwest destinations as possible. Our list includes old favorites as well as new places we’ve been eyeing to go. Last weekend we finally made the pilgrimage to one of the top ski destinations in the world – Whistler, BC.

This trip was a milestone for me because up until a few years ago I did not know how to ski. When we moved to Seattle in 2013, I decided it was finally time to learn. Seattle is famous for our dreary winters and what makes them slightly more bearable is escaping the rain to ski on the mountains. Because when it’s raining in the city, it’s snowing in the Cascades. It’s the silver lining that us Seattleites use to cheer up our sun-deprived selves!

The first time I (attempted) to ski was at Snoqualmie, a mountain 45 minutes east of Seattle. With my oversized rental skis and boots on, I clumsily got on the first lift I saw with H by my side. When we reached the top, H got off the lift but my body froze. I clung to the chair as it turned to descend back down the mountain. All of a sudden, the chair jerked and the entire lift came to a screeching halt. The chair operator ran over to me, instructing me to let go of the chair so he could catch me below.

After patting myself on the back for surviving the ride, I unpleasantly discovered the lift I haphazardly chose to ride led to a steep blue run (not a good beginner run). What normally would be a five minute run for most skiers took me 30 minutes of face planting down the mountain. I alternated between crying out of frustration and laughing at the absurdity of my lack of coordination. Needless to say, it was a rough start. But the only place to go from rock bottom is up, right? Three years and several ski lessons later, I am proud to say I have dramatically improved.

But I digress, back to Whistler! We drove up from Seattle on a Friday night to Pemberton, a town 20 minutes north of Whistler that’s nestled in a beautiful valley. On Saturday morning, we arrived at the slopes as soon as they opened and skied until closing. Although the snow conditions were icy, it was still an amazing experience. Skiing those big, wide runs while looking at the gorgeous scenery was pure heaven. We skied one run from the top of the mountain to the base – it took 36 minutes of straight skiing! It felt like all those years struggling to ski finally paid off. I didn’t even fall once!

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Pitstop on the Sea-to-Sky Highway between Whistler and Vancouver.

The next day, we drove back through Whistler and south towards Vancouver. The highway between the two cities is known as the Sea-to-Sky Highway and it’s breathtaking. While we drove it Friday night, it was too dark to enjoy the view. On Sunday afternoon, we took our time “oooing” and “ahhing” around every corner. We lucked out with sunny weather that made the view even more spectacular.

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Taking a lunch break at Granville Island Public Market in Vancouver.

We stopped in Vancouver at Granville Island Public Market for lunch. I always go to Granville Island Tea when we visit. They have an incredible masala chai tea, which is a black tea with milk and spices they whip up hot in a blender. Next to Pike Place Market, this is one of my favorite city markets. After lunch, we continued our drive back home to Seattle.

This weekend in Whistler taught me that I am now a bonafide skier who actually enjoys skiing! It took a lot of time and practice to build up my skiing confidence but I’m glad I finally got here. Nothing worthwhile is easy, right? It also reminded me how much I love Canada and Canadians, they are such lovely people. Now I’m plotting our next trip back to Whistler before we move!

Have you been to British Columbia or thinking about going? Would love to hear your favorite spots and tips!

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