By Amanda Ross
Whistler, Canada, routinely conjures up dreams of epic powder, but this world-famous ski destination is a year-round attraction. As the weather warms up, down coats are swapped for T-shirts, hot cocoa for cool cocktails and the mountain runs transform into hiking trails with breathtaking views of the area’s evergreen forests and azure lakes. And now, thanks to a vision for Whistler village that’s more chic than quaint, both visitors and locals can look forward to fine dining, design and art every day of the year.
Best for Cool Camping
No need to rough it while in the great outdoors. On the outskirts of Whistler Village sits the new Camp Lifestyle & Coffee Co., a concrete-cool shop “for the sustainable camper” (and stylish lumberjacks) that includes a café (Camp Grounds) and a design space (Camp Home) with Canadian-made goods like Woodlot candles and Loyal Loot log bowls, as well as an outdoor area (Camp Site) offering a fireside spot for making s’mores.
Best for a Sweet Start
A healthy day starts at Fairmont Chateau Whistler’s new dedicated juice-and-coffee bar in the recently renovated Wildflower restaurant. Smoothies are chock-full of superfoods like kale, avocado and spinach, and each carefully crafted cup is sweetened with honey from the hotel’s own rooftop hives. Come summer, fresh local fruit, like raspberries and strawberries from nearby Pemberton, join the mix.
Best for a Spa Day
Scandinave Spa, which used to see its Nordic-inspired outdoor pools used as a post-downhill detoxifier, has been transformed into the perfect warm-weather oasis. With a 4,000-square-foot (372-square-meter) addition completed this January, adventurers can rejuvenate post-hike/bike in its new eucalyptus steam room, Finnish sauna and yoga studio – all set against the postcard-ready cedar and spruce forest.
Best for Fine Dining
Ever since it opened in 1981, Whistler’s dining heavyweight, Araxi, has dominated the culinary scene. Now, Bar Oso next door extends the institution’s storied reach. Offering Spanish tapas for easy sharing (Iberico ham, seafood escabeche), the pint-sized spot – helmed by Araxi chef James Walt and chef de cuisine Jorge Munoz Santos – is a glam but intimate space clad in mirrors and dark walls.
Best for Upscale Art
One doesn’t expect to find fine art tucked away just steps from a ski lift, which makes the hotly anticipated new Audain Art Museum all the more exciting. On those rare days when outdoor activities don’t appeal, this 56,000-square-foot (5,202-square-meter) ode to the art of British Columbia is the perfect cultural sojourn. The artwork comes from the extensive personal collection of local philanthropist Michael Audain, and includes everything from early 1800s Aboriginal masks to contemporary photographs by Vancouver artist Jeff Wall.