Whistler Valley holds a secret most visitors never glimpse: It is magical and magnetic not because of anything manmade, but because of the sheer enormity and beauty of the basin's natural mountain landscape. At the uncomplicated Edgewater Lodge, two miles from the congested bustle of Whistler Village, this is a secret impossible to overlook. The 12-room inn and restaurant perch on a serenely quiet, 45-acre peninsula of land that extends into glacial-fed Green Lake. "The view is like the horn of plenty," says General Manager Jay Symons. Symons owns the lodge with his father, Randy, who bought the parcel in 1965 and left it in its natural state for 30 years. The single-story, prow-shaped, shorefront lodge opened for business in March 1995. The rooms (either a single room or a bedroom with den and deck) are comfortable but basic¿until you climb into bed. From there, every guest can see the long alpenglow on Whistler and Blackcomb, the lights of snowcats tracing the runs at night, moonlight on the water and an occasional train passing on the far shore.
The centerpiece of the hotel is its 48-seat, lakeside dining room, with high vaulted ceilings, walls of glass and a dazzling menu. Chef Thomas Piekarski brings his German background and Swiss training to a menu he calls "West Coast continental." Translation: fresh B.C. salmon and organic, farm-raised venison (the specialty of the house). On snowy nights, diners fill the candlelit room, marvelling at the setting and melting into Piekarski's subtle flavors while snow falls softly on the lake.
A hot tub by lake's edge, an artesian spring burbling out of the ground, horse-drawn sleigh rides and cross-country skiing from the front door fill out the amenities¿an array that is perfect for romantics and other lovers of peace and quiet. "People who want a swimming pool and a big screen TV are not our clientele," says Symons. Rates run $68-$140 per night, including a fresh-baked continental breakfast for two. Good dogs are welcome for an additional $14 per night. Contact: 888-870-9065 or 604-932-0688; www.edgewater-lodge.com.
Of the nation's 7.4 million downhill skiers, 60.5 percent use the Internet, giving skiing one of three highest Web usage rates for sports with more than 7 million participants. Source: National Sporting Goods Association