We got back on Sunday from a few days at Whistler, where we spent some days of vacation with my brother and his family. While we all never felt very rushed, we managed to get quite a few activities in while we were there, including a gondola and chairlift trip up to the top of Whistler mountain, a ZipTrek tour in the forest above and around the Fitzsimmons river, a hike to Lost Lake, a couple of movies (“Get Smart” at the local cinema, “Jumper” on DVD) and several lunches and dinners out. My niece Renata also got in a couple of sessions on the bungee trampoline, which helped her to bounce a couple of stories (at least) into the air. While I can’t document all of it in pictures and video, here are some high points (sic):
I also thought I’d include a few ZipTrek videos. This gave me a chance to try out Flickr’s video features. I’m not including one that I can’t seem to flip horizontally (my Sister-In-Law held her camera sideways and no matter what I do, including changing the file and saving it to a new movie, the uploaded file seems to revert to that orientation).
Here’s Pam sliding on the wire across the Fitzsimmons River:
Now, from the point of view of a participant. Need I add that this is a blast?
In addition to the rides up in the trees (about 5 times over the river and back), you get a bit of an ecology lecture about the area and some tips on what you can do to be more ‘green’. I really like ZipTrek, who seem to practice what they preach, in terms of an ecologically-aware business. Aside from the vans that they use to transport people to and from their sites (and I heard that once there are electric ones or perhaps hybrids that will serve in this capacity, they’ll switch to those), they are pretty gentle on the environment. They even have a small water-driven generator via the river that provides most of the electrical power for the A-Frame where they house their offices, train employees, and end some of the tours. Our tour leaders were college students majoring in Eco-tourism and Geology, and they made sure that none of us were ever in danger or uncomfortable, despite what looks like an ‘extreme’ sport.
In addition to some good meals together (Monks up there is very nice and beautiful to look at; Pam’s Halibut dusted with porcini mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes was superb), Pam and I also had an excellent celebratory dinner of our third Anniversary of coming to Canada on July 5th at Il Caminetto , one of the restaurants of Umberto Menghi (his Il Giardino and Umberto’s are both downtown). He’s one of the three celebrity chefs in the White Spot commercials, (the other two are Rob Feenie and John Bishop) always talking about ‘the sauce’. We ate a light dinner; Pam chose a subtly flavoured Roast Cornish Game Hen atop chickpeas and mixed vegetables, and I had a simple but perfectly done homemade Fettuccine with cream sauce, peas and prosciutto along with some excellent wine: A good BC Pinot Gris made by the Pentage Winery from Skaha Bench in the Okanagan, as well as an intense Italian Muscat for dessert . I’ve become a big fan of dessert wines, and sometimes prefer them over a cake or tart.
So for trying of celebrity chef restaurants in the area, we are now 2 out of 3. I guess a visit to a Cactus Club would now count for Rob Feenie, since he has become the ‘food concept architect’ of that chain. That’s what the articles say, at any rate.
A nice time was had by all (I think), and we feel pretty lucky to have this beautiful resort area so near to us (for those who don’t live in Vancouver, depending on traffic and construction on the Sea-to-Sky Highway, it’s about a 2 1/2 hour drive from the city). My brother summed up Whistler by and large better than I could: “It’s a bit like Disneyland for adults.”