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Wonders of Whistler

All images © Mel Hookway

The wonders of Whistler

BC, Canada

Whistler is one of the world’s great ski resorts, as the Hookway family of Sydney discovered.

Whistler has long been one of my dream ski destinations, but we decided to wait until the kids were competent enough skiers to explore the whole mountain. Another family who we have skied with previously in Australia were going for a white Christmas and asked us to join them for two weeks. The answer was “yes!”

As I was born in Cooma, we all skied from a very early age and my husband Grant started in his twenties. The kids – Brayden (9) and Maddie (11) – have been skiing since they started school. The kids did Adventure Camp for the first week and Brayden was very excited to try snowboarding for the first time, joining a group lesson in the second week. Grant did some group skiing lessons to work on his technique. The instructors were amazing and I would say that everyone’s skiing improved out of sight. The ski lessons are so well organised and the kids got a report card at the end of the week. The kids loved their ski instructor so much so they nicknamed him Freddo!

Whistler is just so fantastic. There is terrain to suit everyone: groomers, off-piste, tree skiing, hiking bowls and heli-skiing. We even did first tracks one day (after a fresh dump of snow) which required lining up for 90 minutes to be one of 600 to ski fresh tracks. It was worth it.

When we weren’t skiing, we went to the Coca-Cola Tube Park, tobogganing and shopping in the village. We could have gone dog-sledding and ziplining, but the skiing was so good we took full advantage of it.


There is plenty of accommodation around Whistler. We stayed at The Villas Snowberry on Blackcomb Way. The two families shared a three-bedroom condo with the kids all together in a room with bunks and trundles. They loved it. We had everything we needed and were just a short bus ride from the village.

As for food, we had so many favourites. Our favourite place for hot chocolate and the best cinnamon buns in town was Hot Buns Bakery. Not to be missed! Another must-try is Teppan Village, a Japanese teppanyaki restaurant where you share a table with others and have your own chef. The food is cooked in front of you and they make it a lot of fun. We had a family dinner at an Italian restaurant in Whistler Village which was also great. The food on the mountain was pretty good as far as ski food goes, although we would usually have a big brekky so we only needed a light snack. Most nights we cooked at home as there was a great convenience store in town. We did have one fancy dinner at Alta Bistro without the kids; the food, wine and cocktails were amazing.

We also loved the après beers at the end of the day at the numerous bars in the village, like Merlin’s Bar & Grill where they play live music.

Our favourite things

Mel – “I loved the beauty of the Crabapple run, so picturesque…the variety of runs like tree skiing at Arthurs Choice and hiking up the top of Flute Bowl but the thing I loved the most was my first experience of Heli Skiing. I have wanted to do this for a very long time and got the perfect conditions and courage to give it a shot. It was sensational!”

Grant – “My best skiing of the holiday is when Mel and I hiked for over an hour to the top of Flute Bowl in search of fresh powder. I’ve never done anything like this before and it was awesome to make fresh tracks”.

Maddie – “My favourite thing about Whistler was skiing with my family at the end of the holiday and showing them how much I had improved! My favourite run was Ego Bowl - it was fun with jump terrain on the side!”

kids in Whister

Bayden - “I loved the terrain parks, Emerald Express and Enchanted Forest”

We had such a magical time together. It was incredible for us all and we spent so much quality time together while having fun.

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