Sunday, January 8, 2012

Whistler B.C., 2012

We've been in Whistler, B.C. for a few days. David loves-loves-LOVES to ski, as do my brother and sister-in-law. Gregg is also a skier, and though I do not enjoy it, I enjoy being with my family, so I go along for the company. We have taken this trip together five times, staying in different condominiums and getting better acquainted with the area, as David's love for skiing has grown.

On our first trip, in 2002, both of the children took ski lessons. Katie turned 7 on that trip, and lost a tooth.
David is in the bottom row, middle
Katie is the one in the middle
I can see that loose tooth in front, ready to come out
This year, David invited his friend from high school and college, Charlie, with whom he skis at Schweitzer when they are in Spokane. They are well-matched in terms of ability (and sense of humor). Charlie had never been to Whistler before, so it was our pleasure to have him with us and to introduce him to the area.
View of Blackcomb Mountain from the condo we rented
Unfortunately, my brother injured his arm and shoulder in a fall during Christmastime, so he was unable to join us on the trip. Though we missed his humor and his intense enjoyment of skiing, we did manage to have fun, but Whistler is certainly not the same without "Jimus Maximus." We were able to skype with him and share some laughs; I am happy to say that his arm is healing.

My parents generously treated us to two wonderful dinners while we were away. Since our next-door neighbor, Kim, has strong ties to the Whistler restaurant community, she gave us a couple of gifts to deliver to friends of hers who are in the restaurant business up there.

After unpacking the car, settling into the condo and taking a walk through Whistler Village, we ate dinner at Caramba!, and had the pleasure of meeting Kim's friend, Mario (who owns Caramba! in Whistler Village and La Rua restaurant at Blackcomb base). Mario is a gracious and generous host. Our food was delicious, and the deep dish apple pie was out of this world. The atmosphere in Caramba! is warm and cozy, with a real wood-fired pizza oven generating heat and adding to the casual feeling of welcome. We would recommend Caramba! to anyone visiting Whistler.
Having dinner at Caramba!
The first day of skiing was a pretty good one for the group. This resort has the distinction of having the most ski-able terrain in North America. Having said that, it does not always have good weather, good visibility or dry snow. Whistler-Blackcomb has a website on which you can check the weather at four different points on the mountains, as well as finding any activity you would like to pursue there. On this trip, there was little new snow at the mountains' base, and visibility was not great for the skiers, but snow conditions up high were good.  At mid-day, Gregg decided to move over from Whistler mountain to Blackcomb, which he prefers, while David, Charlie and Caroline skied together on Whistler.

That night, we ate dinner at Le Gros, taking another gift to Kim's friend, Pascal (the owner).
Obviously, Pascal is a character. His hat plays music and the legs do a dance
Le Gros is in an alpine-style house, with fireplaces and tall windows, soft lighting and delicious French food. We all enjoyed our dinner there, watching the snow fall lightly as we ate.
Gregg, me, Charlie, Caroline & David at Le Gros
The next day, Gregg decided to go snowshoeing with me, and take a rest from downhill. We had discussed taking a cross-country skiing lesson, but I really enjoy snowshoeing for its simplicity and directness, and Gregg agreed, so we rented snowshoes, got a trail pass and a map, and set out. It was snowing lightly when we left.
Gregg on the snowshoeing trail
I am the 3rd person in the family to use this ski parka, and it is still going strong (& warm)!
On the trail around Lost Lake
We walked about 5.2 kilometres along trails which form a loop around Lost Lake. It was a blast! I would love to find a snowshoeing group to join while my family of skiers are on the mountain. I just don't care to go downhill fast, so all of the expensive gear and lift tickets are wasted on me.

After we returned the snowshoes to the rental hut, Gregg and I walked to the village and ate lunch by the fireplace in a brew pub. Then we did a little bit of shopping, came home and got into the hot tub (each condo in this complex has its own tub outside). It was still snowing lightly while we were in the steaming tub - that was a novel experience, and really refreshing! Then a shower, and the skiers called to ask us to pick them up from the mountain. It was like a little honeymoon day, just for the two of us. I am so happy that Gregg wanted to spend the day with me.
On our last night, we ate at Bavaria restaurant. It has a lovely, warmly-colored interior, excellent waitstaff and delicious food. Their specialties are wild game, fondue and schnitzel. Each one of us tried something different; the boys had kangaroo meat and wild boar (I am not kidding)!
Thank you, Grandma & Kappa, for being with us in spirit and in generosity! We thought of you (and Jim) each day on our first vacation of the new year.

When we arrived home, the proof of my book was waiting for me. I have some final changes to make, and will let you know when it's ready on It should be completed in a couple of weeks!


Elizabeth said...

You all look radiant in these pictures, and despite my own aversion to skiing, I wouldn't mind hanging out with all of you at those restaurants!

Ellen said...

What a lovely trip you had! I enjoy the beauty of snow, the utter quiet when it falls...many fond memories of skiing. Sadly we haven't gone as a family in many, many years. The cost of lodging and skiing is crazy. Tim has taken Ryan up for a day leaving early in the morning and coming home in the early evening....I would enjoy learning to do some snowshoeing. What a relaxing time that would be.

Busy Bee Suz said...

I had to put on a parka and socks just reading much snow!!!!!
I would love to visit this area. IN THE SUMMER. I'm not one for cold air, and the skiing would most likely kill me.
Love seeing the kids from their first trips; SO cute.
Love the photo of you and could he not want to spend every day with YOU??? You all look wonderful!
A great start to the new year? I say yes!!!
Can't wait to get your book!

Kay said...

Looks like a beautiful trip. Love the winter lodge'y looking area...seems quite cute and fun. : ) So glad you could enjoy some time together as a family and as a couple. : )

kj said...

karen, your friendship with allegra is a joy for me always. i did not know about katie until i've come here tonight. my heart breaks. i have a daughter and this is a pain so clearly understood , one mother to another. katie is a doll--her vibrant kindness shows in every way.
with love

Dawn ~ BJSMomma said...

What a wonderful trip....sounded and looked DIVINE!


Karen said...

I am back from my travels and caught up with you again. The Whistler trip sounds heavenly. The image of walking through the snow to those cozy restaurants with roaring fires and yummy food was powerful. I am sitting here salivating! Glad you had such a sweet holiday and hope your new year is full of good things, not the least of which is that FINISHED book! Almost there. Amazing. Miraculous.

Jim said...

What a great trip! And the FOOD! Now I will have to get some snow shoes, crazy that I don't. You have convinced me!
Last time I was in Whistler was 1980, before the village was even there! I will never forget it. It was during Easter week and was probably one of the last skiing days of the year. It was breathtaking, as you well know.