Thinking about winter too often this summer? Do you give your skis those long glances normally saved for loved ones? Well, I've got something for you to do together this summer. That's right, you and your skis are going to Whistler, British Columbia. Yeah, you heard me right: The same Whistler that is the premier destination resort in the winter is also the place to get your Alpine fix in the summer.
Located just 50 miles north of Vancouver, Whistler is easier to get to than the remote locations of the western Rockies and, unlike its southern brethren, offers skiing through July. Granted, we're not talking about any serious pow and the open terrain is limited to the Horstman Glacier on Blackcomb Mountain, but the glacier is bigger than most Eastern and Midwestern resorts. The glacier is mainly used by summer camps with kids bashing gates, ripping moguls, or hucking kickers, but if any of that covers your skiing preferences, then you're set. The trip to the glacier consists of three lifts and a bus ride each way, but the scenery alone should cure any bouts of boredom on the 45-minute trip. You may even see some of the burliest Whistler locals (mainly brown and black bears) sunning themselves on the rocks under the lifts.
The glacier closes at the end of July with the Whistler Open. The Open brings in the sickest new school flyers to the glacier to compete for over $6,000 in cash and prizes. Get up to the glacier early to ski in the morning, then watch the show and grab a burger at the High North Grill.
After your quads recover from their off-season ambush, it's time to experience what truly makes Whistler the place to go this summer: the nightlife. Check out La Bocca, Sushi Village, Mongolie Grill, or Whistler Chinese Garden for dinner. They are all located in the village and offer good eats at decent prices. After that, head to Le Brasserie for a pitcher (or four) of Kokanee. From Le Brasserie's porch you can gawk at all the Vancouverites who've come to Whistler to get away. If you can still hang after all this, then you deserve Tommy Africa's. The Southern Pacific décor and retro '80s play list always pack 'em in, and the crowd is strictly A-list with pro shredders Shane Szocs, Mike Douglas, Aaron McGovern, and Josh Loubek regularly holding court.
Even the pros mentioned above don't make it to the glacier the day after nights like these. So if your head is spinning, head to Crepe-Montagne for breakfast. Their crepes are the best, and the coffee is strong. They'll get you back to feeling foolish enough to keep trying those 540's in the pipe that ate you up yesterday. So grab your skis, your irrationality, and your imagination. You are going skiing in July.