The Hills Are Alive … in British Columbia

Talk about alpine scenery, the Fitzsimmons Range in British Columbia has it in spades. A hike along the high trails will have you singing ‘The Sound of Music’ in spite of yourself. Whistler and Blackcomb, the two most well known mountains, not only have the best skiing in North America but are a major attraction for summer activities. Mountain bikers love it here. For a brief period, wildflowers abound. To boot, the hiking is exhilarating. Views are simply majestic.


blackcomb lake

Blackcomb Lake

By the way, Whistler Mountain wasn’t named for an explorer, like places tend to be around these parts, but after the hoary marmot. Its whistling calls can be heard throughout the range.

Hoary marmots sunning outside Blackcomb Peak facility

Poutine Dog at Zog’s (Whistler, BC)

Poutine is a dish that got its start in Quebec and has become quite popular and widespread throughout the rest of the country. French fries are topped with a brown gravy and cheese curds. Ever curious, I had a substitute—a poutine dog at Zog’s, a hot dog with gravy and curds. With fries, you can at least dip them in the gravy and maybe spear a curd or two, before putting them in your mouth. With a dog, there’s a challenge since you have to put your mouth to the bun and bite, but with all that gravy slipping through my fingers, I resorted to fork and knife. Personally, the combination of gravy and curds do nothing for me. Canadians love the stuff. Maybe if the gravy were tastier, it would be a little different.

Poutine dog at Zog’s (Whistler Village)

4340 Sundial Crescent
Whistler, BC V0N 1B4

Peak 2 Peak (Whistler, BC)

View from the gondola connecting Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains

An acrophobic attraction at Whistler is the Peak 2 Peak, a gondola ride that connects the tops of Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains, constructed for the benefit of skiers. It takes 11 minutes to cross. The towers at each end span 4.4km (2.7mi) and, at one point, hovers over 1,400ft above Fitzsimmons Creek below, the greatest distance of any lift on record. It also boasts the longest span between two towers in the world at 3km.

Even though it was July, colder than usual temperatures preserved the snow pack at the higher elevations, enough that the hiking trails up there remained closed.

Colder than usual temperatures kept the snow pack on the ground and trails closed

Outside the Whistler Mountain restaurant, there is a large inukshuk made of stone pieces, mounted on a concrete foundation and otherwise not visible from the gondola station.

Inukshuk on Whistler Mountain

The view of the Fitzsimmons mountain range was spectacular from either venue.

Dinner at Mongolie Grill (Whistler, BC)

Dinner was at Mongolie Grill, a variation on the typical Mongolian grill where they charge you by weight ($3.75 CDN per 100 grams). The sauce options were above average. Our total for the grill came out to about $34 CDN, rather pricey compared to what you can get in non-captive areas.

Mongolie Grill
201-4295 Blackcomb Way
Whistler, British Columbia  V0N 1B4

Breakfast at Pacific Bistro (Whistler, BC)

Smoked salmon benedict

For breakfast, we went to Wild Wood Pacific Bistro whose specialty is eggs Benedict. One good policy of theirs is that you can get a half order, which let each of us try different ones, rather than split the same one. Mine was a smoked salmon, my wife’s, the ham. The hollandaise was a good one (not great), not enough butter or lemon juice. The potatoes were below average, not even crispy on the outside and mealy on the inside.

Ham benedict

Dinner at Elements Urban Tapas Parlour (Whistler, BC)

For upscale tapas dining, you can’t go wrong by dining at Elements Urban Tapas Parlour in Whistler. On the outskirts of Whistler Village, it features locally produced foods in a menu that changes frequently. We arrived early to beat the expected crowd, which never materialized. Perhaps it was the season. We didn’t complain though, because the food was of generally high quality.

The standout entrée was the steamed mussels whose broth was so delicious that we polished off a basket of bread to sop it up with, creamy from coconut milk and redolent of lime and lemongrass.

Steamed mussels in a lime and coconut milk curry broth

Impressive in presentation was a salad tower of stacked tomato and mozzarella slices, sprinkled with pumpkin seeds and drizzled with pesto and olive oil. This was a refreshing salad, innovative and good.

Tomato and mozzarella tower with pumpkin seeds and drizzled with pesto and olive oil

Not as visually stunning was a spinach salad with feta and pumpkin seeds. The emphasis, as I gather it is for most dishes here, is on freshness and presentation, but the salad was fine though not particularly memorable.

Spinach salad with feta and pumpkin seeds

Better was the grilled pork chop, topped with tomatillo salsa and goat cheese, served with grilled asparagus and a polenta uniquely spiced with ancho chile powder. The chops sported nice grill marks and was nicely seasoned and smoky. The asparagus, however, was overly charred and limp.

Grilled pork rack chop, tomatillo salsa, grilled asparagus and ancho-spiced polenta

Elements Urban Tapas Parlour
4359 Main Street
Whistler, BC V0N 1B4