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Whistler, British Columbia travel guide

There may be no better time to visit Whistler in British Columbia.

Aside from the fact that it’s prime ski season, thanks to a strong U.S. exchange rate, it’s like the Canadian resort town is on sale.

Breathtaking mountain views, new restaurants and a friendly village only add to the value.

Where to go

Before you hit the slopes, you'll need to
Photo Credit: Tourism Whistler

Before you hit the slopes, you'll need to coordinate gear. Rental shops are aplenty, and Black Tie Skis (866-360-6433, blacktieskis.com) is a reliable and convenient choice, providing free delivery and custom fittings right in your hotel.

Once you're ready to ski or snowboard, head to Whistler Blackcomb (800-766-0449, whistlerblackcomb.com), the largest ski resort in North America, where you can explore both Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain. Between the two, the terrain is coursed with so many trails -- from alpine bowls to glades to groomers -- that it's impossible to ski them all in one trip.

If you're a fan of the Winter Olympics (which partly took place here in winter 2010), you can spend the whole day skiing with an Olympian (book at 877-730-7669), like former alpine skier Britt Janyk, who can whisk beginners and experts alike along hidden trails.

When you're finished with the slopes, head to Scandinave Spa Whistler (8010 Mons Road, 604-935-2424, scandinave.com) for some post-ski R&R, from outdoor salt baths to indoor saunas.

Where to stay

For a central stay in Whistler Village, the
Photo Credit: Tourism Whistler

For a central stay in Whistler Village, the contemporary, pet-friendly Adara Whistler Hotel (4122 Village Green, 866-502-3272, adarahotel.com) has all the usual perks, like free Wi-Fi and coffee, not to mention complimentary chocolate chip cookies.

For more luxe accommodations, splurge at the Four Seasons Whistler (4591 Blackcomb Way, 604-935-3400, fourseasons.com/whistler), which has a heated outdoor pool, provides a Ski Concierge to relieve you of your skis directly at the gondola entrance and offers free shuttle rides into Whistler Village. And don't miss the complimentary s'mores happy hour.

Where to eat

Some of Whistler's best eats are served on
Photo Credit: Green Moustache via Facebook

Some of Whistler's best eats are served on the mountain. At Rendezvous Lodge, casual bites range from bumped-up ramen to a hearty pulled pork poutine.

If meat is off the table, head to Raven's Nest (at the top of Creekside Gondola on Whistler Mountain), one of the first ski lodges to serve exclusively vegetarian fare like vegan meatball subs and veggie chili.

Down in the heart of Whistler Village, stone walkways are lined with bars, lounges and fine dining, where attire is mostly snow-gear friendly. For espresso, visit Mount Currie Coffee Company (103-4369 Main St., 604-962-2288, mountcurriecoffee.com), which crafts every cup with Pallet, a Vancouver-based roaster. And for lunch, The Green Moustache (122-4340 Lorimer Road, 604-962-3727) specializes in nutrient-rich meals like its veggie- and quinoa-based Buddha Bowl, perfect for a much-needed boost on the slopes.

A deserving staple in Whistler's finer scene, Araxi Restaurant and Oyster Bar (4222 Village Square, 604-932-4540, araxi.com), from the Toptable Group, harvests local ingredients each morning for dishes like butternut squash soup and wild mushroom risotto. Toptable's latest venture, Bar Oso (604-962-4540, 4222 Village Square, baroso.ca), serves tasty Spanish-style small plates prepared directly in front of you by the charming chefs.

For dessert, Bearfoot Bistro (4121 Village Green, 604-932-3433, bearfootbistro.com) treats guests to a showstopper: When you order the nitro ice cream, fresh bourbon vanilla cream is coated with liquid nitrogen tableside for a frozen delight.

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