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Whistler, B.C., Canada
Adventure paired with elegance—that's the vibe at Whistler and Blackcomb, the side-by-side mountain pair that form Canada's Rocky Mountain ski retreat. Home of the 2010 Winter Olympics along with the world's highest vertical drop (5,280 feet), Whistler offers all of the action of the Yankee slopes with smaller crowds and lower price tags.
8:00 AM Roll Out of Bed
Make your base at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler (4599 Chateau Blvd.; 800-441-1414), where Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe boarded, Queen Latifah learned to ski, and England's Charles and his princes hid from the paparazzi. Have breakfast at Chef Bernard's (4573 Chateau Blvd.; 604-932-9795), just across from the hotel—insiders swear by their cinnamon buns.
10:00 AM Different Slopes for Different Folks
Although Whistler certainly lures its shares of scene-makers the vibe is more youthful and action-oriented. Seal snowboarded here, as did Cameron and Justin during their first winter à deux. Hit the slopes early for the best powder—family-friendly Ridge Runner on Blackcomb Mountain is tops for beginners, while Whistler's West Cirque is where snow aces make their move. Get a head start on the Olympics at the Dave Murray Course—where the downhill competitions will take place.
1:00 PM Cheap Eats
Après ski, fill up at the Splitz Grille (Main St., Village North; 604-938-9300), where a made-to-order burger and fries will barely set you back a fiver. There's a lentil burger for veggies, lamb burgers for gourmets, and grilled chicken and salmon for Zone dieters.
3:00 PM Stretching the U.S. Dollar
Now for some shopping. Ladies will love the aromatherapy goodies at Escents, which stocks a full range of essential oils, skin cleansers, and, of course, scents. Guys should make the most of the Canadian locale to stock up on fine smokes at the Whistler Cigar Company—where Havana's best are well represented.
5:00 PM A Little R&R
Retreat to the spa at the new Four Seasons Hotel (4591 Blackcomb Way; 604-935-3400), which is pure…well…Four Seasons. There are 15 treatment rooms, including two for couples, and the Aroma Stone Massage is the perfect antidote to the high-altitude chill. Or go organic with a yoga, Pilates, or acupuncture session at the Solarice Wellness Centre + Spa (202-4230 Gateway Drive; 604-935-1222).
8:00 PM The French Connection
Finish your day with dinner at Val d'Isere (4314 Main Street; 604-932-4666), where chef Roland Pfaff brings a dose of France's Alsatian region to North America. His cassoulet of frog legs and escargot is doubly tasty; less exotic is the roast loin of lamb over fava cassoulet.
11:00 PM Social Hour
Wrap it all up with a drink at Garfinkel's (#1 - 4308 Main St.; 604-932-2323), where live bands and house DJs lured Cameron and Justin.
WHO SHOULD GO:
Fans of top runs, luxe hotels, and high-end dining who prefer to "keep it real" rather than make the scene.
The sheer range of all-weather sports at Whistler/Blackcomb, from a mountain bike park at the former to the summer ski slopes at the latter.
Whistler's annual April World Ski and Snowboard Festival. Along with top ski and snowboard contests, look for snowmobile competitions, BMX biking, outdoor concerts, a film festival, and parties galore.