I am absolutely thrilled to have on the blog today Shawna with Emma Westchester, who tells us all about Whistler mountain, and why it makes for such a fabulous ski vacation.
Whistler is one of the largest ski resorts in North America, and is located on the west coast in Canada, just north of Vancouver. I’ve long heard from family and friends on the west coast that it’s an amazing resort, and Shawna tells us all the reasons why.
Before I share my interview below, some of you might be wondering – who and what is Emma Westchester? Emma is actually a fictional character, based on two women who live in Westchester, NY – Erin Baker and Shawna Lubner. They are both moms: Erin is a stay-at-home mom, and Shawna works a full-time corporate career in Telecommunications in Manhattan. Though they have very different “day” jobs, both share a zest for life in and outside of the family, and started the lifestyle blog, Emma Westchester, to share their experiences and tips. From restaurant recommendations to shopping to travel, they have “MomsLikeUs” (their signature phrase) covered!
Shawna describes herself as the “accidental Suburban mom”, after having met her husband and moving out to Westchester to raise their son. They are all avid skiers, love the après-ski lifestyle, and love to travel internationally. They have been to Whistler several times, and can’t get enough of it.
Below is my interview with Shawna – forget East Coast skiing, Whistler sounds incredible!
How did you decide on WHISTLER as a destination to take a family vacation?
My husband is an avid skier. Raised in Germany he learned to ski in the ALPS and was a ski instructor as a teenager. Living in NY there is not great skiing in our area, unless one enjoys really cold and icy conditions. As a couple we travelled frequently to Switzerland and Austria to ski. The only ski resort that we would regularly go to in North America is Whistler. It’s simply AMAZING.
One of the largest skiing areas in North America, Whistler has something for everyone…from expert/advanced skiing to beginner level at all ages. Over the years I’ve noticed that the resort has expanded to cater to more than just ski enthusiasts (offering tons of activities for the non-skier/snowboarder).
My husband and I have been going to Whistler for the past 15 years and when our son was born we couldn’t wait to take him. The first “family” trip was in 2011 when he was six and we have been going back annually.
What time of year did you go and how was the weather?
Depending on the year can be mild or extremely snowy but never brutally cold or windy like it is on the East Coast.
Where did you stay and how did you discover it? What were the accommodations and amenities like?
There are so many types of accommodations, however we prefer the full-service hotels staying in the Whistler Village, staying either in a Deluxe Studio at the Westin Hotel or Executive Suite at The AAVA Hotel.
What kind of activities did you do on the trip?
SKI, EAT & SHOP
When we first started going to Whistler, my husband would heli-ski, however it’s become much more commercial where just about anyone can go and not very challenging. For the more advanced skier, we would recommend off-piste backcountry skiing with professional guides. My husband’s favorite ski guide is Guillaume Otis, owner of Coast Mountain Guides.
What were the highlights for you? And the kids?
The joy of sharing one of our most favorite sports with our son and having him learn with the kindest, most skilled instructors. No tears, lots of smiles and laughs. The Whistler Ski School is simply the best. They have perfected teaching a very difficult sport to children (and adults) as young as 3.
How was the food? Did you discover some favorite restaurants?
US Ski Resorts are not known for food on the mountain nor have very much variety at the base. What makes Whistler stand apart from any ski resort in North America is simply the vast selection of restaurants. Yes, you can still find chicken fingers and pizza, but the quality of the food on the mountain is amazing and at the level of Europe.
Cows Ice Creamery
Pasta Lupino Gourmet Whistler
Crepe Montagne (Dinner)
Gone Whistler Village Eatery (Breakfast)
Lift Coffee Company (Breakfast)
Moguls Coffee House (Breakfast)
Hot Buns (Breakfast)
What are your top tips for taking this kind of vacation?
- Schedule vacation so that you can arrive on Saturday/Sunday to get settled, pick up lift tickets and rentals (if applicable).
- Kick off the vacation by enjoying the Fire & Ice show at the base of Whistler Mountain Sunday evening.
- Enroll your children in the weeklong ski/snowboard school so that they stay with the same instructor and kids the entire week.
- If renting equipment, rent the day of arrival and keep them for the week so you don’t waste time every AM picking up and dropping off.
- When heading out for dinner, make reservations well in advance or go immediately after the lifts close, as you get closer to 7:30-8:00pm expect long waits.
- Whistler Village is all pedestrian walkable. There is no need for a car during your entire trip. Take the Whistler Bus from the airport directly to/from your hotel
Were there any challenges?
Did you feel the trip was good value for what you got?
Would you recommend this vacation to others?
Absolutely – this is a wonderful vacation for family and friends. Everyone will enjoy themselves, they don’t need to be skiers or snowboarders to enjoy themselves.
Thanks so much for coming on the blog, Shawna, and telling us all about Whistler! To learn more about and follow Emma Westchester, you can find them at:
Emma Westchester | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter
You May Also Enjoy More Travel Exchange Posts:
A Family Vacation to Adventurous Costa Rica
Family Relaxation and Adventure in Hawaii
Linking up with #FARAWAYFILES
We ski in Whistler almost every year. It’s the perfect ski destination. Our youngest started here when he was just three! Whistler Kids is the best kids ski school we’ve come across and we’ve tried a few #FarawayFiles
My brother lives in Seattle with his family and I’ve long heard about how amazing it is for families. Hope to make it there some day – thanks for the comment!
I had a great time in Whistler when I visited – thanks for bringing back the memories #FarawayFiles
Thanks for the comment – I hope to visit Whistler some day!
Oh, I would really like to visit Whistler. I have been to Vancouver and the areas around it and enjoyed the city a lot (we felt like moving there). We would like to see Whistler and a bit of Vancouver Island. #FarawayFiles
I loved Vancouver..that whole area is one I’d like to explore much more of. Thanks for the comment :).
Skiing Whistler is on my to-do list. It looks absolutely gorgeous and I’ve heard great things about the snow!! #FarawayFiles
I know me too. Hopefully we will both make it there some day!
Great to read this, Corey. I always had the feeling that Whistler was one of THE best places to ski in North America. I’ve only been to Banff – I learned to snowboard (badly!) there and I loved the town of Banff and the fact that you could see moose walking down the roads. The scenery was pretty stunning too and I thought the Canadians were just lovely. Great share for #FarawayFiles
Thanks Clare. I’m dying to visit Banff! I didn’t know you could see moose walking down the roads – that is so cool!
We are not skiers, but… We would LOVE to visit Whistler, winter and/or summer. The area seems so beautiful and, being strangers to snow (we live in Texas!), we’d like to see a lot of it – though only for a little while. 😉 Plus, what better place to become skiers? Definitely on our To Do List. #FarawayFiles
Thanks for the comment! I know, I am dying to visit Whistler, have heard so much about it!
I haven’t been skiing in Whistler with the kids – but what a great reminder of how amazing it is up there! The area is also wonderful for summer hols with the kids with hiking, mountain biking and nature exploring and the same fun village atmosphere. Thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles Corey and thanks to Shawn for the inspiration. Cheers from Copenhagen. #FarawayFiles, Erin
Thanks Erin. I can imagine it’s amazing year round, which is good to know, because having had my ski accident and surgery two seasons ago, not sure I’m venturing back out!