Taking the back roads in British Columbia...Busy times in Whistler...Deal of day
WHISTLER - The Sea-to-Sky Highway between Whistler and Vancouver gets lots of accolades, and deservedly so. It's brilliant, with great views of the water and the uh, sky. Not to mention the mountains.
I came into Whistler on the weekend via the northern route, driving from Kelowna to Spencers' Bridge, then over to Merritt and up to Lilloet (it's billed as "B.C.'s little nugget," and is'nt that a great slogan?), then down to Pemberton and on to Whistler. You drive through some terrifically lonely country,with hardly another car in sight and plenty of dry rock and canyons and endless sky. Quite remarkable.
I didn't take a lot of pictures, for a change, as I was in a bit of a hurry. But the views between Lilloet and
Pemberton are terrific, as is the drive from Pemberton to Whistler.
I'll do more on the course in next April's Toronto Star Golf magazine, but I had a chance to play Big Sky in
Pemberton on the weekend, and it's a huge treat. The course is fairly straightforward, with lots of water and
some false front greens with plenty of hidden swails and hollows around the greens that make it tougher than it looks. But it's the view that'll bring you back.
Pemberton sits in a bit of a bowl, surrounded by large mountains to the east, west and north and by TOWERING Mt. Currie in the south. It's a jagged, wonderful and totally overpowering peak, and it's as dramatic a backdrop as almost anything in the Rockies.
The sun was pretty bright behind the mountain, so my pictures didn't come out as well as I'd have liked. But this photo shows the back nine, with a great par four approaching the base of Mt. Currie.
WHAT, WHISTLER WORRY?
Recession? Caramba in Whistler Village Had a 40 minute wait on Friday night. Ended up having half serving of pasta carbonara with big hunks of pancetta or ham and a big bowl of tiny olives at La Brasserie for $14.
Hotels.ca was reporting the other day that Whistler's average room rates declined 27 per cent in the first part of the year to $173 per night from $235 per night over the same period of 2008. Maybe that explains the crowds.
ALMOST TORCH TIME
Vancouver Olympic organizers say they're expecting 50,000 people for the first day of the torch relay, in Victoria Oct. 30. The Olympic flame will be lit in Olympia Oct. 22 – a month and one day from now.
WHINES ABOUT WINE
The Vancouver Sun (check Jeff Lee's excellent Olympics blog, by the way) reports that some "B.C." wines
being marketed in the province, including some marketed under the 2010 Olympic logo, may contain grapes from California, South Africa and other, foreign spots. It's not uncommon in the wine industry, but
apparently some of the wines say "cellared in Canada" yet contain grapes shipped here from warmer climes. It's one thing for a generic wine, but when it's labelled as an Olympic wine and it comes from Chile or California, it's pretty embarrassing.
JIM'S DEAL OF THE DAY
Signature Vacations is taking hundreds of dollars off select holiday season and New Year’s departures booked by today, Sept. 21. One property, the all-inclusive Ocean Sand by H10 Hotels in Punta Cana, is going for $1,298 per person, down from $1,678 for the Dec. 19 flight. That’s a savings of $760 per couple. The four-star-plus Ocean Sand by H10 is known for its kids’ program, where children ages four through 12 and teens 13 – 17 can participate in daily supervised activities. There are also two pools, an 18-hole golf course, three buffet and six a la carte restaurants. See www.signaturevacations.com.