Whistler

It was hard to say goodbye to this incredible place. We had the most wonderful time in Whistler!

We arrived in Whistler at night after a long day of traveling (just the kids and me- Chris went a few days ahead of us for a conference), and the little town was beautifully lit with Christmas lights and so charming. Being dark, we couldn’t see the mountains very well that surrounded us, so the first morning when we awoke it was such a wonderful surprise. It was even more beautiful than I had imagined. Our first venture out was to Mass at Our Lady of the Mountains. It wasn’t the smoothest morning we’ve had getting to church, being in a new timezone and tired from our travels. Also, the kids were anxious to explore the beauty around us that we could now clearly see, so when we mentioned Mass, well, it wasn’t the best response we’ve ever gotten. Needless to say we were a little disheveled but got there on time. As we waited for Mass to begin, the priest came up to us in our pew and said, “How wonderful is this holy family! Would you be willing to bring up the gifts for us today?” I hesitated just a minute because I wasn’t sure he was actually talking to us. “Holy” isn’t exactly the word I would’ve used to describe us that morning. I pulled myself together and smiled and of course accepted the invitation. How sweet it was that our first memory here would be of participating in a special way at Mass on the Solemnity of Christ the King.

We rented a cabin in Whistler Village just minutes from everything. It was charming and comfortable, but the best part of it was the hot tub, which got plenty of use!

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Catching snowflakes in the hot tub...

Catching snowflakes in the hot tub…

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We started each morning with the very best donuts we’ve ever had at a cozy little bakery in town…

Maple Bacon filled donut...donuts do not! get better than this

Maple Bacon filled…donuts do not get better than this.

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Landon loved the Creme Brulée donut.

My morning regular...soy cappuccino and the best berry tart I've ever had...yum!

My morning regular…soy cappuccino and the best berry tart I’ve ever had…yum!

Even the basic sprinkled donut was amazing.

Even the basic sprinkled donut was amazing (yes-I tried them all).

Have I said enough about donuts? Ha!

But the cabin and the food were only a small part of what made this vacation so great. The natural setting of Whistler Blackcomb is unparalleled. I’ve never seen a more beautiful place. Chris sent me these pictures from his drive up the mountains from Vancouver while we were still home in Minnesota waiting to join him:

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Those were taken on his phone probably halfway up the mountains. Doesn’t do it justice at all, but in person it was breathtaking. We found it was difficult to take pictures that showed the beauty of the mountains as we experienced it, because they are just so big, and it’s hard to get a good vantage point that captures it. I guess you’ll just have to go!

We were lucky to experience the last of Fall weather and the start of winter during our time here. We took the most beautiful hike we’d ever been on. We were hiking for a couple of hours, but even little Gigi had no trouble keeping up.

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White fungi on the trees made it look like they were dressed in snow and ice...so pretty.

White fungi on the trees made it look like they were dressed in snow and ice…so pretty.

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We ended our hike at Blackcomb Creek, but I could’ve done it all over again. I can’t tell you how many times Chris and I said things like, “This is so (insert adjective for beautiful, amazing, etc…) to each other.

The village itself was charming and picturesque and full of friendly people and cute shops.

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We were attempting to gather for a photo when I noticed a rainbow above us.

We were attempting to gather for a photo when I noticed a rainbow above us.

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Whistler village lit up in Christmas lights.

Whistler Village lit up in Christmas lights.

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We never officially celebrated our 17th Anniversary (Oct. 8), so Chris and I managed to sneak in a date night while the kids watched a movie back at the cabin. This was the view from our table.

We took a Tree Trek Tour one afternoon which was really fun. We decided on this particular option in lieu of zip lining  so that we could do it together as a family instead of splitting up (only the two older boys would’ve been able to Zip line). Wouldn’t ya know, little Gianna fell asleep on the short ride up the mountain, and Chris ended up carrying her for the majority of the time. Still fun, though!

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View from high above Fitzsimmon's Creek, which flows from the glaciers separating Whistler and Blackcomb mountains.

View from high above Fitzsimmon’s Creek, which flows from the glaciers and separates Whistler and Blackcomb mountains.

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As I mentioned earlier, we got the best of both world’s as far as the weather on this trip. The night before we were supposed to leave, the snow finally came, and Whistler Mountain was set to open a few days earlier than advertised. There had been speculation floating around the village for a week or so, but we knew it wasn’t certain that we’d be there when it actually did. When it became official, we changed our plans just a bit. Instead of leaving for Seattle early Wednesday morning, Chris and the boys left early to hit the slopes while I checked us out of our cabin. The girls and I spent the afternoon in the village. We found some fun ways to pass the time- story and craft time at the local library where we met some lovely people, and of course, one last stop at the bakery where we played hang-man and tic-tac-toe for literally hours that felt more like minutes.

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Feelin’ like one of the locals making crafts at the library:)

I asked the boys to take pictures up there. It was cloudy, so hard to get much with a phone camera, but here are some shots from the gondola:

img_2910 img_2909 img_2908 img_2907 img_2906 img_2905Braedan Braedan[/caption]

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According to Chris and the boys, it was simply amazing. The most beautiful and most fun snowboarding they’ve ever done. And to make it even sweeter, the mountain was covered in fresh powder…can’t get much better than that!

To wrap it up, I’ll just add that on our way out of Whistler towards Vancouver, our rental van got a flat tire- which we had fixed at a local shop in Squamish which was already closed, but they agreed to help us anyway (LOVE those Canadians!).

We finally made it into Seattle around 10:00 pm and checked in to our hotel. The kids were too tired for the hot tub, which says a lot. We spent the next day (Thanksgiving day) driving around the city in the cold and rain. We made it to the Public Market, but almost everything was closed for the holiday. I insisted on a picture, and this is the one and only photo we took in Seattle:

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Chris, the girls and Braedan forced a smile, but Hunter and Landon’s expressions say it all.

We had our Thanksgiving meal at Buca restaurant and spent the rest of the night at the pool, doing laundry and packing for long flight home the next morning.

Even with our failed attempt at a memorable ending in Seattle, I am more than grateful for the memories we made on this trip. If the talk among the members of my family is any indication, more visits to Whistler are in our future.

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