I’ll start this review with a disclaimer – I’m not a skier and if I never saw snow again it wouldn’t bother me in the slightest. But knowing that not all Babyologists are beach-obsessed like me, I have turned my attention to family skiing holidays in Canada. And because I can’t be relied on for noticing the finer details of a family skiing experience, I’ve asked my good friend Margaret for the low-down. She’s Canadian. She’s an ace skier. Her kids could practically ski before they could talk. Oh, and she’s a big fan of Whistler.
Four Seasons Resort Whistler is a pocket of luxury in the rugged Coast mountains. With easy access to the world-class ski slopes of Whistler Blackcomb (site of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games) and dozens of exciting seasonal activities on offer, Whistler is a sensational destination for families that love the outdoors.
The Four Seasons Resort Whistler has more than two hundred and fifty guest rooms and suites, each decked out in rustic (but luxurious) chalet style – cosy wood interiors and gas-burning fireplaces, spectacular views from carved wooden balconies and access to a fully heated pool, three hot spring-style outdoor spas, the fitness centre, day spa and more. Notably, the Resort also offers private residences with up to four bedrooms, gourmet kitchens and dining areas, ideal for large families.
Children are extremely well catered for at the resort. Rooms are equipped with all the necessities – from baby bathtubs and high chairs through to cots and strollers plus lots of thoughtful extras – nightlights, children’s toiletries, colouring books and crayons, DVDs and board games. There’s also the added touches of child-sized bathrobes and slippers and special children’s and teen menus available.
My friend Margaret notes that the personalised concierge service (always on hand to arrange everything from dinner reservations and babysitting through to organising your ski hire) and the fact that the Mountain Product Store is conveniently located in the hotel (so you don’t have to put on lots of layers to fetch anything) sets your stay at the Four Seasons Resort Whistler apart. Add to this the fact that all your equipment can be hired through the resort, allowing families to travel light.
So how can families fill their time at Whistler? Be assured, there’s no shortage of things to do! The range of organised seasonal activities is incredible – from bear watching and glacier hiking to kid’s luge, dog sledding and horse-drawn sleigh rides. Naturally, instructors are also on hand for ski and snowboard lessons, snowmobiling, snowshoe tours and snow tubing.
Whistler is not just a winter destination. Canada boasts beautiful natural scenery and it can be explored on foot, by bike, by kayak or by car. Apart from exploring the regions cultural and sporting history at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre and the Whistler Museum a ‘must-do’ on any visitor’s list is the Sea to Sky Highway. The highway runs between Vancouver and Whistler and offers breathtaking views of the mountains, the Pacific Ocean and numerous waterfalls.
Lastly, for the thrill-seeking family, whistle through Whistler with Ziptrek Ecotours. You’ll see Whistler’s temperate rainforest from above on an exhilarating zip-line tour – an exciting and unforgettable experience! Ziptrek Ecotours are suitable for children aged six years and over.
Bookings for the Four Seasons Resort Whistler can be made online. Rates begin at CA$305 per night however various packages are available which include lift passes, ski hire and more. The Private Residences begin at CA$2350 per night. Note that in most circumstances, children eighteen years and under can share their parents’ room at no extra charge. Complete your travel plans by booking your flights to Canada through the Flight Centre online service.