This week we decided to head up to Whistler for the weekend. We left home on Friday afternoon and came back late in the day on Sunday. Little did we know it was Crankworx up there! The weekend was filled with activities and the town was alive with thousands of people who had headed up to the mountain for Crankworx, which was held in France July 6-14 2013 and Whistler August 9-18 2013. When we drove up on Friday we had no idea what we were driving up to. This event was born in Whistler BC and it is a 10-day multi-disciplinary mountain bike festival celebrating epic endurance, supreme flow, monster air and vertical-dropping riding.”
This year was the 10th year of competition and the downhill, slope style and enduro legends of the world battled for free ride glory. Dennis and I stood there in awe watching the daredevils come down the hills. There were thousands of people lining the hills and cheering on their favorites as they literally came flying down the hill. We only saw a couple of crashes, but the competitors got up and walked away seemingly un-injured. For those of you who are mountain bike enthusiasts, I recommend you make the effort to participate or at least come up and join the spectators next year. www.crankworx.com
Here’s a photo of the people lined up to go up the chair and ride their bikes down the hill.
Before we headed up to the mountain, I made a reservation at one of our favorite spots for dinner. We found 21 Steps Bar and Kitchen about three years ago and we go there for dinner every time we visit Whistler. It is known as a place to go for “modern comfort food”. The menu offers a selection of small sharing plates as well as full dinners. I’m not sure we’ve ever had a full dinner because there are so many tantalizing items on the menu that we have only had the sharing plates. This weekend was no different; we started with a bowl of marinated olives, followed by steamed mussels in a coconut curry broth, fried goat cheese with roasted garlic and star Anise and Orange Braised Pork Ribs. Everything was delicious as it always is. http://www.21steps.ca/Welcome.aspx From the town center you can look up and see the bar, it’s 21 steps up:
We wandered around town looking for a place to go where we could listen to some music but the bars and nightclubs were packed with young athletes and spectators and it was going to take a long time to get into any of the establishments we might have wanted to visit, so we went back to Club Intrawest and made it an early night.
We have another favourite place we go for breakfast called Ciao Thyme-Bistro. You are guaranteed a wonderful breakfast but be prepared to wait for several minutes to get in. The only meal we’ve had there is breakfast but they serve lunch as well and if it’s as good as their breakfasts you’ll be very satisfied. Here’s a link to their website: http://ciaothymebistro.com/ Dennis had the traditional eggs Benedict but I couldn’t resist their Portobello Mushroom which included a Portobello mushroom, grilled asparagus, roasted tomatoes and two poached eggs with a house cut salsa and rosemary roasted hash browns. It was a wonderful twist to a breakfast omelette and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Breakfast was enough to carry us through until dinner so we didn’t stop for lunch. We were going to go for a bike ride but once we were suited up and ready to go, the rain started and we decided to wait it out. That took longer than expected so we decided rather than riding our bikes, we’d go for a walk up to LostLake and along the lower Panorama path back to town. We came across several signs on the path saying “caution, tiny toads crossing the path – proceed with caution”. We weren’t sure it was for real but we saw several of these tiny toads crossing just around the signs. They are migrating from LostLake into the forest at this time of year – who knew?? Unfortunately I forgot my camera but other astute tourists had their cameras: http://www.tripadvisor.ca/LocationPhotos-g154948-d155559-w2-Lost_Lake-Whistler_British_Columbia.html#49847707 These toads are about the size of a beetle so if you are not looking down before you take a step you are likely to squash one of them. These photos in tripadvisor were taken last year which suggests this migration takes place every year around this time. Our walk lasted about an hour and a half and was very enjoyable. We ended up in the village around 5:30 just in time to see the downhill performance of some of the Crankworx competitors. It was an amazing site and we found an unobstructed viewpoint.
By the time we got back to Intrawest we were hungry and looking for a place to have dinner. We decided to go somewhere close to the Club so we went to Milestones and had a lovely dinner. Our table faced the hill and we watched all kinds of people walking their dogs up the ski hills and playing mini golf.
Sunday Morning we had to check out of the Club by 11am and we wanted to go somewhere new for breakfast. We asked Brodie, the desk clerk, where we should go and he suggested we try “Elements”. He said it is a place where the locals go and it was in behind the Market Place in the Village North. I thought I had an idea where it was but boy was I wrong! We had to ask four people before we figured out where it was. Brodie was correct it is behind the Market Place but it is well hidden and you really need to look for it.
Here is a photo of the sign but to make it easy, find the Summit Hotel and it is between the hotel and Northlands First Aid center. I am telling you, it is definitely worth the exercise to find it! I had another portabella breakfast with roasted vegetables and some crumbled goat cheese in a frittata. Elements has been voted Best Tapas by the locals in the annual Whistler Pique News Magazine since it opened in 2005. It also runs a close 2nd for Breakfast just behind the Wild Wood Pacific Bistro (which just happens to be owned by the same long time Whistler residents). If their tapas are anything like their breakfast, 21 Steps will be in a run for their money in our minds. We are going to have to try them for dinner next time we are in Whistler.
Squash and Chirizo sausage hash Portobello & tomato with Chevre cheese Frittata
They even had gluten-free items on their menu!
After breakfast we headed back to the Club and took in the Farmer’s Market on the way back to the car. The Farmer’s Market was very busy, and there was lots to look at and taste. We purchased a couple of things and spoke to several vendors, who make sure they are participating in this market each week. They do pretty well on Sundays in Whistler.
We left Whistler around 2pm and had a leisurely drive home to Vancouver. Even though it was crazy busy up there, we had a wonderful weekend and came home feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. I’m afraid this week all you’re getting is some photos of our fabulous breakfast at “Elements” but I’ll make it up to you next week with some wonderful recipes for Sunday night dinner.
Don’t forget our weekend Retreat at Bowen Island this fall. It is a women’s retreat meant to rejuvenate you and kick start your personal plan for a fresh start to healthy living. Please visit our site for more information: https://sites.google.com/a/nourish2flourish.ca/rejuvenate-me/sessionsElement
There is $100 off registration if you book before September 6th!