Canada: Three apres-ski hotspots in Whistler

By James Russell

The Fairmont Chateau Whistler, Canada.
The Fairmont Chateau Whistler, Canada.

1. Dusty's Bar & BBQ
Whistler Creekside

Dusty's sits at the foot of the Dave Murray Downhill and is one of Whistler's first apres spots. It looks like a classic western ski lodge with woodbeamed ceilings and a cosy fireside. One of its signature drinks is the Canadian classic the "Caesar" - a bizarre assortment of "clamato" juice (clams and tomatoes), vodka, vegetables, chilli and meat sticks. You don't knowwhether to eat or drink it, but it's undeniably delicious.

The name Dusty's comes from the full-sized stuffed horse in bucking bronco pose that took pride of place in the bar when a mischievous drinker arrived with it in the early 1980s. Eventually, Dusty became a pawn in the intense rivalry between Whistler and Blackcomb ski patrols, turning up at the top of the mountain and dragged back down behind a snowmobile, only to have it happen all over again.

Mangy and flea-bitten, with one leg chewed off by an avalanche dog, Dusty enjoyed a brief retirement in the volunteer patrol shack before being ordered to the dump. Unable to bear the unceremonious funeral, her couriers stopped by the Cheakamus River for a parting photo, where Dusty's precarious three-legged stance let her down and she tumbled into the icy water. When a paddler reported a drowning horse, it sparked a rescue effort. Eventually her cremation was ordered, to put an end to the madness.

2. Bearfoot Bistro
4121 Village Green, Whistler

The Bearfoot Bistro claims to be the resort's premier fine-dining restaurant. A typical evening will see a five-course meal and wine pairing (a Marlborough sauvignon blanc makes an appearance), punctuated by a visit to the impressive 20,000-bottle wine cellar, where you can shear the top off a champagne bottle in the ancient art of "sabering"; and also to the Ketel One Ice Room, where you're encouraged to down four shots of vodka in under 10 minutes (it isn't for everyone).

3. The Fairmont Chateau Whistler
4599 Chateau Blvd, Whistler

Nestled at the base of Blackcomb Mountain, Whistler's landmark ski-in ski-out hotel, The Fairmont Chateau Whistler, is a classy joint. An all-season resort destination (more people stay in Whistler village in summer than in winter, lured there by the mountainbike trails, among other attractions), the Fairmont Chateau has an 80 per cent occupancy rate. Each day, staff at the hotel set up a little gazebo, where they will swap your skis and poles for a steaming cup of hot chocolate. It's that sort of place. Later, you can sit in one of the gorgeous outdoor hot tubs under falling fat flakes of snow as staff bring you a cold drink.

- NZ Herald

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