How long have you lived in Whistler?
I've spent 4 and a half years calling Whistler home. My first stint was 12 months, and then after heading back to Australia for a little over a year, I gave in to temptaion and returned in the summer of 2007 to live the dream for a second time.
What is your favourite thing about the resort?
Apart from the world class mountains to ride in the winter, and world class golf courses to smack the ball around in the summer, it's definitely the people. Everyone is so down to earth, relaxed, and always here for a good time. People in the same place for the same reasons is a recipe for good times! I've always used the example that in cities around the world if your in a bar and a guy knocks you from behind and spills your drink you usually end up in a fight. In Whistler, you are more likely to end up best mates with the dude, even end up sharing a house with him, and spend the rest of the season riding together! Alright, that might be a bit of an extreme example, but you meet the best crews of people here, it's hard to go wrong. If you see how emotional people get at going away parties in this town you'd see what i mean!
Where is your favourite place to eat on mountain?
The Crystal Hut on Blackcomb hands down! The waffles there can't be beaten. Or a steak sandwhich if waffles aren't your thing. It's the perfect place for a pitstop after a few laps of the Glacier or Spanky's. If i'm riding on Whistler, there is nothing better than grabbing a couple of slices of Pizza in the Roundhouse, and heading towards Seppo's Bar for one of Matty Bailey's world class special spiced Double Ceasars, which are like a meal in themselves. Problem is, after having one, it's hard not to have another one, then another, then another. Makes for a pretty epic ride out at the end of the day.
And where’s the best food in town?
For apres food, my first port of call without fail is the Crystal Lounge for the cheapest and best wings in town.... EVERY DAY!! The wings are that good in the Crystal it's packed every day, so much so that people even give up their last run or two so they can get in there before the lifts close, otherwise you won't be gettin a seat. A hidden gem in Whistler is the Den Restuarant at Nicklaus North Golf Course clubhouse. It's well worth the short trip out of the village, if it's for nothing more than a burger and fries, or a fancy meal, you can't go wrong out there. If money wasn't an option, i'd go for steak at Hy's Restaurant in the village every night of the week. Lastly, Ingrids for a quick bite, or Fat Tony's for a slice of beef and blue on the way home from another night on the town!!
Where would you ski on a powder day?
Hopefully where no one else is!! I'd start the day with a quick lap or two in the Excelerator Trees and In the Spirit whilst waiting for the patrollers to do their thing and get the Alpine open. If you can get the Crystal chair before a million other people hit the line-up there, it's worth the wait to get some of the fresh pow around CBC, and the trees around Riders Revenge and Log Jam. The alternative is to get up to Spanky's and try be as close to the front of the line as you can, cos it's hell for leather trying to climb the ladder once patrol give the all clear. Once you've got the climb done, your in for some of the best in-bounds terrain you will ever see! It's even worth the 5km cat track out at the end of it. If I was on Whistler, Flute, despite the little hike, is awesome. Million Dollar Ridge is another favourite over there if your happy to take the risk and duck the ropes!! There are plenty of hidden secrets out there, but if i told you where they were, they wouldn't be secrets would they!
What is your favourite run in the ski area?
Within the ski area, it would be Spanky's on Blackcomb, or Flute on Whistler. Some other favourites depending on the conditions would be Fraggle Rock (you won't find this on the trail map, but it's inbounds...!), Patrol Trees, The Chimney. If your looking for a bit of a speed run to get the juices flowing, Rock and Roll, Twist and Shout are pretty slick, as is anywhere over in the 7th Heaven area. On Whistler, Christmas Trees, Sun Bowl, Raven into Ptarmigan, or if it's snowed, get in line for the Peak Chair, turn right off the top of the chair and the options are endless. There is nothing like being first down Shale Slope with the crowd watching in the chair line-up!! And if you do get stuck in the line, take bets on how long it will be before someone hits Air Jordan!
If you were to spend a full day treating yourself, what would you do?
If I wasn't riding, the first thing i'd do when I was roll over and go straight back to sleep! I'd then head into town for brunch at Wildwood, ordering the Egg's Benny straight up! I'm not much of a spa guy, but I hear people raving all the time about the Scandinave Spa, so maybe i'd head out there and check that out to see what all the talk is about. After that i'd probably head back home for a bit of a nap, maybe jump into the hot tub at home with a couple of cold cans of Kokanee. It'd be then hitting up one of the fancy restaurants in town, probably either Hy's, the Rimrock or Bearfoot Bistro. If i was to be able to stay in a luxury hotel for the night it'd be up to the Fairmont to call it a night. Otherwise, i'd stop in the Crystal Lounge for a few more drinks and catch some live music, then home (via Fat Tony's for pizza of course!)
Any advice for families coming to the resort?
Yep.... take the to The Old Spaghetti Factory!! The best value restaurant in town, and always accomodating to the family environment. You get so much food in there it's not funny, the value for money is incredible. It's always busy though, so be prepared for a bit of a wait or get in early. There are heaps of cool things for the families to do in Whistler. The kids ski school program, Whistler Kids, is one of the best getting around. The instructors must be amazing, as every day when i'm riding around you see the Whistler Kids in their coloured bib's ripping the place to shreds. There is also the cinema which is a bit of a family favourite.
Where do you like to go for a few drinks after a hard day skiing?
As I mentioned earlier, the perfect apres starts around lunchtime at Seppo's Bar at the Roundhouse on Whistler. Then after the ride down, it's straight to the Crystal Lounge to see Jono and the crew for the perfect combination of the best and cheapest wings, and best and cheapest jugs of beer in town. It's always a battle to find a table in there! Another favourite would have to be the GLC, especially on a Sunday when the Hairfarmers are playing - there wouldn't be a better apres band in the world. If there is still a bit of sun kicking about, Citta's is the best patio in town for a beer and a people watch!
Where would you take beginners if you had some to stay?
I'd take them straight the the Olympic Chair area on Whistler. Although it's usually pretty full of beginner lessons, and people spending more time on their ass rather than standing upright, it's the best place on the mountain to learn. There are a couple of magic carpets and then a slow moving chair to get them up to scratch. Then if they pass the test there you can take them up the Emerald Chair later in the day to get amongst the mayhem. My advice would be to keep them away from Blackcomb, as there isn't a great deal of beginner terrain over there. If you didn't like them much, you could tell them that black means easy and green means hard. Actually, don't do that, it'd be more trouble than it's worth!