Calgary, Banff, Whistler, Vancouver
Distance Banff – Whistler 795 km. When we left Banff, it was snowing heavily. It turned out that in Canada, roads are not cleaned. I had to go on a rut done by cars. Slippery, snow drifts, disgusting visibility on mountain roads – it became clear that it would take a long time to go.
With difficulty we got to the city of Golden – and here a surprise awaited us. It turned out that the road (hi-wei No. 1) was blocked due to bad weather, according to the road workers, until the evening or until tomorrow !!! Nothing to do, had to hang in Golden. After talking with the old-timers, we found out that the road is blocked regularly once or twice a year (you have to get in this way), that the road is often blocked in both directions (that is, in Golden you can get stuck permanently) and that the road can be blocked for several days ( and two, and three, and four) depending on the weather.
Golden is a real bear corner, there is even a restaurant with that name there. The tourist booklet pleases guests with descriptions of bears, grizzlies and wolves, which can be found in the vicinity. But the town is still very pretty, in the style of typical Wild West settlements. There are also ski slopes here, and the ski area is quite large. That is a place worth visiting. As we feared, we didn’t open the road in the evening, and we spent the night in Golden at a motel.
The next morning we set off again. We managed to drive another 150 km, and stumbled upon the next cordon in the city of Revelstock. By that time, this was news number 1 in Canada – roads were blocked, a large number of people and cars were stuck in the Rockies. Revelstock is also famous for its ski slopes, and in particular for powder and the huge opportunities for off-piste skiing.
Finally, the weather had mercy on us, it became warm, the snow melted, the roads opened, and we were able to reach Whistler in the evening!
Whistler, located 120 km from Vancouver, is known as one of the best ski resorts in North America. Vancouver is the capital of the 2010 Olympic Games; part of the competition will be held in Whistler.
To say that we really liked Whistler is to say nothing. It was comfortable both physically and psychologically. Warm, comfortable, comfortable, beautiful. The village, as if descended from a New Year’s card – Christmas trees, garlands, lights. Beautiful, fun, and even somehow elegant. The central part is pedestrian, houses (hotels) are located in an artistic mess, each time they went in new ways. Probably, all hotel chains are represented in Whistler – Hilton, Marriott, Best Western, Holiday Inn, etc. But the prices are quite high by Canadian standards. Among the vacationers are many Americans. We really liked the restaurants in Whistler – wherever we were perfectly prepared, a lot of seafood (affects the proximity of the ocean), good service.
We stayed at the Pan Pacific Mountside Hotel. Room price was high ($ 260), but the hotel was worth it. Located a few steps (10-15 meters) from the ski lift, skiing is also almost to the door. Spacious room with a high ceiling. Fully equipped kitchen – with stove, microwave, dishwasher, etc. What is nice, the maids clean not only the room, but the kitchen too. In addition, there is a gas fireplace – the firewood in it is not real, but the fire is real. In general, fireplaces in Canadian hotels are not uncommon. In small hotels, real wood fireplaces.
The hotel has a very good steam bath, an outdoor heated pool, but the main post-ski entertainment is a hot tub – an open-air hot water pool.
As for the skis, Whistler was no worse than the Austrian resorts (except for the absence of mulled wine). There are many routes in Whistler, they are located on two mountains – Whistler and Blackcomb. At Blackcomb I liked the upper ski area. It is served by tows, but the tracks there are interesting. I especially liked one – an absolutely sheer wall, but so snowy that it was not at all difficult to go down it. The snow above is soft and fluffy, as we have in Sheregesh, it holds very well (and my skis were prepared specifically for such snow, so it was the most comfortable skiing here). The bottom is warm (0 + 3), so the snow is a little viscous and heavy. The lower part of Blackcomb was liked less because the tracks there are gentle and monotonous, although, apparently, many of the tracks were closed due to weather conditions and the danger of avalanches.
The second mountain is Whistler. In the upper part we were not able to ride, because it was closed due to avalanches (there are also a large number of tracks). But the rest was enough for us. The tracks are long, with an interesting relief. The snow is fluffy, so you can safely go to black. As in Banff, a large number of boarders. Many skiers who go down in absolutely incredible places – among the trees, on the rocks, on the rocks. We saw a disabled skier – he raced on one leg (!), And very quickly and beautifully.
On the evening of January 11, after skiing and taking a steam bath in a hot tub, we left for Vancouver. In Vancouver, stayed at the Pan Pacific Hotel. The hotel is in the very center of the city on the seashore, but is more likely to hold conferences, etc.