Last Christmas, we went to Whistler, BC. This is a beautiful place north of Vancouver, popular for skiing, snowboarding, and mountain biking during the summer. It was our first time there, and we loved it.
Last November, my family and I spent Thanksgiving in NYC. This is where my two older kids live now. We took a plane from Seattle, WA, and after six hours and 3 mediocre movies, we arrived in New York’s John F Kennedy airport. During our time in NYC, my family and I talked about the idea of spending Christmas in Germany. My wife and I had been exposed to a few YouTube videos showing the Christmas markets in Germany, and we were enthusiastic about going there.
Unfortunately, COVID happened, and as with many plans in the past two years, we decided to avoid air travel. The news about the Omicron variant and how some European countries had started to impose rules for travelers again is why we chose to avoid going there.
Whistler was not the first place we thought of. We toyed with the idea of visiting Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, or staying home in Seattle. But after looking at the cost of plane tickets to go to eastern Canada and the possibility that COVID travel restrictions could arise again, we decided to stay on the West coast and avoid air travel, but for real this time.
After looking at a few places, I ran into some travel videos about Banff in Alberta, Canada. But then again, the distance is the reason we didn’t go there. A bit too far for winter driving. What else could we do? We liked the idea of going to Canada, just not driving for too many hours, and we definitely wanted to avoid air travel. This is where Vancouver comes into the picture.
Since we live in Seattle, WA, visiting Vancouver is a must. It’s a great city, they have great food, and it’s very close to us. Vancouver is a 2.5-3 hours drive from Seattle. That’s close enough for a weekend or even a day trip. We have been to Vancouver many times, so we looked around this city to find out what else we could visit in the area. As soon as I started looking for places to visit near Vancouver in winter, Whistler came up.
Whistler is a town north of Vancouver, home to Whistler Blackcomb, one of the largest ski resorts in North America. I did some research, and after a few days, decided to make a reservation at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler hotel. After reading online reviews and viewing photos of this place, the decision was easy. It looked magical and almost perfect for a Christmas holiday.
Two of my kids had skied before, and the rest of us had not. So I booked a ski lesson for the family… when in Rome. To be honest, not all of us were excited about the idea. In fact, I almost canceled the ski lesson just minutes before it began. The weather wasn’t great that morning, and it felt like a good excuse to cancel the whole thing and instead do something “easier.” Oh, boy, am I glad I didn’t cancel it.
We got to the Fairmont Hotel in Whistler the day before Christmas Eve. Before that, we spent a few days in Vancouver, just eating and doing some last-minute shopping. When we arrived at Whistler, the mountains, the snow, the hotel, everything was exactly how we had imagined it. It is a winter wonderland.
The hotel was tastefully decorated, it felt warm, and everything around it was beautiful. Our rooms were perfect, and the ambiance was what we were looking for. It felt like a Christmas holiday from a movie, but it was real, and we were living it.
After our first day there, we found out about the village. The hub of Whistler is a compact, chalet-style pedestrian village at the base of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. This place is full of shops, restaurants, and amazing views all around since it’s at the base of two beautiful mountains.
We had a great time, and I think we’ll be back there again. Perhaps in the summer to check out the area without snow. In Whistler, there are many places to stay like hotels, cabins, chalets, etc. But you have to book them with time in the winter season. It’s a popular place for skiers and snowboarders.
If you go there during the winter, I recommend the ski lessons if you are not familiar with this activity. For us, it was a great way to spend the day together, at the mountain, and learning to ski. It was a lot of fun. Also, our instructor was great. He was patient, very present, and a great teacher. It was an enjoyable day.
The cost of staying in Whistler varies, and while it is expensive in general, some places are affordable if you don’t want to spend too much. There’s also the option to make a day trip to Whistler from Vancouver without staying overnight. You can either drive to take a bus from Vancouver. There are many buses between Vancouver to Whistler every day. You can get the bus schedule from here.
We had a great time, got to visit a new place, learned to ski (beginner level), took many photos, and, more importantly, generated new memories. Whenever we travel somewhere, I remember the phrase “collect moments, not things,” and I cannot agree more.