Monday, May 30, 2011

Vacationing in Whistler with a 2 year old

There aren't many tours to take or activities to join when traveling with a 2 year old. Whistler is no exception. When I researched and planned our trip there for the end of May, I discovered that a lot of cool tours like zip-lining, adventure zone for the kids, river rafting, and bear safaris had an age limit of least 4 years old. It turns out because we were going near the end of May, a lot of the summer activities like the mountaintop barbecue was not even opened yet. In fact, there are stores in the village that are closed until June. It's slow season right now in Whistler!

We went to Whistler with Tristan for a week, from Sunday to Sunday. We made the best of it and ended up having a good and relaxing time. As I mentioned in my last post, there were lots of dining specials so that was great. Especially because we ate out A LOT. I saved ourselves a few meals going up since I cooked a huge batch of fried rice shortly before we left for Whistler. I made us what I call, mountain retreat granola for snacks and brought along a couple containers of frozen food. We went grocery shopping beforehand as well so we had fresh bread, milk, and fruit. We were only able to do this because Whistler was a 2 hour drive away from Vancouver. In fact, I think it took us more like 1 1/2 hours. Our room did not have a kitchen but there was a small fridge, microwave, and dishwasher. The dishwasher was just a waste of space, in my opinion.

Over the course of the week, we did a lot of things. We were never bored. Our resort was just minutes away from the village so we walked a lot. We took pictures and stopped by many coffee shops. Tristan played in the nice park in the village. We cruised around and got more activity information and then planned our week day by day while we sipped on coffee. We ended up taking part in two paid activities: 1) TreeTrek Canopy Walk and 2) Peak 2 Peak sightseeing.

We observed the weather like a hawk and chose a nice morning for the TreeTrek tour. ZipTrek, the company that offered this tour, was very accommodating and lent us a hiking backpack to carry Tristan in. We also had a car seat for him inside their shuttle bus. There was no charge for the backpack and because we could carry Tristan, there was no charge for him for the tour :) For those who are too big to carry, kids need to be at least 6 years old to participate in this tour. We had a good time and Tristan was well behaved. The tour lasted around 2 hours.

The Peak 2 Peak opened for the summer season on May 28th. Since we were leaving on the 29th, we had to go on the 28th. I feel a bit foolish because I noted down all the great hikes on the top but there is no hiking at all this time of year. The top is covered in tons of snow and there is skiing until August. I thought maybe some of the popular trails might have been shoveled. No chance! We enjoyed the 20 minute private gondola ride up to Whistler Mountain from Whistler Village and then the 11 minutes Peak 2 Peak gondola ride across to Blackcomb Mountain. We ended up going back and forth a couple of times since we wanted to ride the silver gondola with the glass viewing floor. Tristan really enjoyed riding in the gondolas too. The views from above the mountain was amazing. It wasn't that cold up there but then again, I was wearing a ski jacket. I realized during our trip that I under packed and would freeze up there. Luckily, there were tons of sales for snow gear and apparel right now :) Not all the restaurants on the mountain were opened either. Again, it was slow season. We bought some mushroom soup and fed Tristan inside one of the eating areas while we watched the snowboarders and skiers go down the mountain. It was winter wonderland up there and it snowed too!

It's funny to think we walked and played in the snow on top of the mountain because in the valley below, we were hiking and swimming. In fact, one of Tristan's favorite activities in Whistler was swimming. We took advantage of the heated outdoor pool at our resort and on the day it rained, we went to the Meadows Park Sports Centre to swim indoors. We bought a inflatable life saver for Tristan and he was able to float and move all on his own in the pool. It was the best $1.50 purchase we made at the dollar store :)

Here are some of the other things that we did:
  1. Running while pushing Tristan in the jogging stroller (11.4KM, more on this later)
  2. Hiking to Nairns Falls (1.5KM one way, highly recommended for toddlers!)
  3. Whistler library story time
  4. Dine out event at Edgewater Lodge Restaurant
  5. Watched DVDS together in our room (free to borrow from the resort)
  6. Shopping in the village
  7. Drove south looking for hiking trails (ones we wanted to do were closed:()
  8. Visited Lost Lake Park, Rainbow Park (flew a kite)
  9. Drove to Pemberton and had coffee
  10. Took advantage of many daily dining specials (e.g. $10 pasta Thursdays at Quattro)
  11. Sleep! Lots of sleep!
Whistler was fun. Jean-Louis and I have only been there once for a weekend and it was during the winter season. This was our first trip in the Spring. We had never gone up the mountain either so that was new. The lakes and parks in the valley and in the nearby area are stunning. The food was delicious and luckily for us, didn't cost us an arm and a leg. Tristan more or less ate well. He was really okay to dine with. Surprising.

Since we shared a room, it was hard to do other things when Tristan fell asleep. It was hard for him to sleep while we were still up. The simplest solution was for all of us to sleep at the same time. That meant keeping Tristan up a bit later every night and we had to sleep earlier every night at around 10:30PM. No matter when we slept, Tristan would still get up at 7 or 6:30AM. After a week of all of us together, I'm ready to give it up. Tristan was still a handful here and there so I'm glad this was just a vacation. We're so glad to be back home in Vancouver and back to our routine! You never know how much you miss home until you leave it for awhile :)


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