After our adventures in Vancouver, this Four Seasons Journey in Whistler presented a few more daring “firsts” for me. Such as riding a snowmobile to the top of a mountain, discovering what makes a good long bone, and walking through a hotel lobby Julia-Roberts-Style wearing nothing but a bath robe. After a relaxing and scenic ride along the Sea-to-Sky drive to Whistler, we checked-in to our rooms at Four Seasons Whistler, helped ourselves to a cup of their famous hot chocolate and went for a tour of their residences.
Where Four Seasons Vancouver was very modern and eco-chic, the lobby in Whistler was warm, inviting and earthy. Exactly what you’d want to come home to after a chilly day on the slopes. One hallmark of Four Seasons is the way they capture the essence of the location’s environment in their decor.
When our new Vancouver friends learned we were headed to Whistler, they didn’t mention the awesome views or the skiing. Instead, the first recommendation out of everyone’ mouth was “you must try the hot chocolate in the lobby at the Four Seasons!” Yes, it’s that good. I swear they must melt a bunch of Toblerone’s and add in some Godiva to achieve the nutty creamy chocolatey goodness. No powdered mix here.
I prepared for our ski and spa adventure, but with a view like this, a fireplace roaring, and room service, it was hard to convince myself to leave the room.
The residences are just as luxurious and stunning as the hotel … but with much more room. Just look at the appliance here … built-in cappuccino maker … Viking oven with gas range … I have kitchen-envy …
After we “oohed an aaah’d” over the residences that were WAY outside of a travel writers budget (a girl can dream, can’t she?) we suited up for taking a snowmobile ride up the mountain for dinner.
Now, I had no idea this was going to be an adventure sport. I was thinking of a relaxing scenic ride up the mountain … moonlight glistening on the snow and deer frolicking by. Instead it was more like an escape scene from a Bond movie (albeit in slow motion). Riding a snowmobile I guess is a lot like riding a motorcycle. You’ve got to throw your weight into it in order to turn. Considering that this machine weighed about 10x what I do, it involved dangling over the edge of the seat, fingertips barely clutching the handles, and one foot going airborne. Top that with it being dark, not seeing where you are going, and every once in awhile having your headlight illuminate the steep edge of a black diamond trail … I was totally freaked out. I survived. I didn’t flip the thing. But I was embarrassingly slow. I blamed my snail-speed on being a Florida girl and apologized to the more adventurous Denver boys being me. But I was smiling the whole way! I swear! I know you can’t see it behind that helmet, but there is a smile there.
The fondue at the top of the mountain was worth the effort. We all packed into a little cabin and helped ourselves to some wine (to calm my nerves) and fondue (to warm our hands and fill our bellies).
Yummy hot cheesy goodness …
There was live acoustic music, endless cups of hot chocolate and stories and laughter among new friends. I almost forgot that I had to go back DOWN the mountain the same way.
Oh well. I ignored the fact that the cold weather and white-knuckling the handlebars made me loose all feeling in my fingertips and just stayed focused on one thing … at the bottom of this mountain was my cozy room … with a fireplace … and a hot bath! Now, about the bathtubs at the Four Seasons … typically, I start bath, can go and check on email or tweet for 20 minutes while it’s filling. But this thing filled up lickety-split. It wasn’t even 5 minutes before I heard a weird gurgling noise and ran into the bathroom to find that I was about an inch away from flooding my room. AAAARGH!
I let it drain a bit, then soaked away my snowmobiling nerves to start fresh for some ski and spa fun the next day.
The following morning we had breakfast at a ski shop, Can-Ski, and suited up for a day of skiing. I got to try on this awesome Bogner jacket. Price tag? About $3000. Oh yeah, it’s sexy. But if I paid that much for a jacket I’d frame the thing rather then subjecting it to me falling in the snow a half dozen times or lugging skis over my shoulder where they’d snag the hand sewn embroidery.
Speaking of lugging ski’s … I don’t think I could ever ski again without a ski concierge. What is a ski concierge, you ask? Well, let me explain …
(Side note: Here I’m showing off my glittery boots. Anything with glitter is AWESOME)
Instead of lugging your gear from your condo or hotel room, the Four Seasons has a “ski concierge” at the bottom of the mountain (both Whistler and Blackcomb) waiting to check-in your gear and hand you a cup of their fabulous hot chocolate. The best part is you can easily switch back into your regular boots so you’re not walking around the village like a robot. (Yes, walking in ski boot makes you do a funky robot walk.)
As a novice skier from Florida, I decided to take some lessons with Annie (@AnnieFitz). At first, I was a little nervous as loaded us up on a gondola to get up to the beginner slopes. But I learned there are plenty of spots on the top of the mountain to catch a great view without having to ski down and was really impressed with how many options there are for dining on the mountain.
A must-do while in Whislter is the Peak-to-Peak gondola. And you don’t need skis to enjoy the view. Just walk on and enjoy. Transporting you from the tip of Whistler to Blackcomb, this gondola is a world record breaker as the highest and longest unsupported gondola in the World. It sounded scary … I had to try it.
What amazed me the most about Peak-to-Peak is how calm and quiet the ride is. Most gondola’s and chair lifts have a somewhat bumpy ride when going over the support towers … but this was extremely quiet. The day we were on the mountain we missed the “above the clouds” experience that Whistler is known for, but instead had an amazingly clear view of the valley.
Annie and I waited in line an extra 30 minutes to experience the “glass bottom” gondola on the Peak-to-Peak. I have to say, it’s not worth standing in line for. We spent most of our time looking out of the side windows at the horizon.
Whistler and Blackcomb are huge mountains. Even if you are a expert skier, I think you’d need at least a full week of skiing to check out all the runs.
Since I’m not an advanced skier, I thought I’d share a link from fellow travel bloggers, The Traveling Canucks, who are skilled enough to glide down slopes that are not just a black diamond, but are labeled as “most dangerous” with a skull and cross bones to make sure you get the point. (Traveling Canucks Photo Essay of Whistler)
Next post, see photos of me walking around a hotel in my robe and find out more about the “Long Bone” that was on the menu at the Four Seasons …