Exhale. You've survived another insane holiday season. The in-laws have gone home, the kids are back in school and you've been left wanting a reprieve from the madness. What is the the perfect antidote? Get behind the wheel of a street legal go-kart, find a stretch of open road and land up in a quaint little village with nothing on the calendar but soul replenishing adventures. Where does such a place exists? In Western Canada between Vancouver and Whistler, lives one of the most filmed stretches of highway on the globe aptly named the Sea-to-Sky highway. Recently revitalized for the 2010 Olympics, the concrete is smooth, well banked and peppered with slow car pull out lanes.
The 2019 Mini Cooper S Convertible is the quintessential road trip get-away car. With enough space for a few small humans in the back seat and a surprising amount of trunk storage (2 small duffel bags), the 2.0L turbo four-cylinder engine with 189 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque, gets it to highway speeds in about 6.8 seconds. Pretty quick, right? Add in jaw-dropping scenery, giggle inspiring twists and turns and MINI connected technology at your fingertips, you've got a pulse racing experience (and that's without the top down.)
Once in Whistler, stay at the Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside. If you book your trip during shoulder season (April - November) you can enjoy reduced rates and avoid the high season tourist overload. Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside is situated in the heart of the village and comes with a full kitchen, access to the outdoor heated pool, hot tubs and gym and has equipment rentals for all adventures in the lobby. When accompanied by an adult, children under 18 stay free and suites have balconies, beds with pillow-top mattresses, and living areas with pull-out sofas and fireplaces. All feature free WiFi, flat-screens and iPod docks. Turndown service is standard, and in-room dining is offered.
Before you head out on an adventure, fuel up at The Dubh Linn Gate, a full service restaurant and bar with a menu put together by head chef Cory Rakowski. The banana-nutella french toast with whip cream will put a smile on any face, young or old. The lunch and dinner menu at The Dubh Linn Gate offers your traditional pub grub as well as mouthwatering Irish fare. Definitely try the steak & Guinness pie or any of the burgers with a beer. With all the energy you will be expending, know that you will be fully satiated and ready for the next adventure.
Get peaked with a ride on the Whistler Peak2Peak gondola. The lift held the world record for the longest free span between ropeway towers (3.03 km) until ze germans built a slightly longer lift, 189 meters to be exact, in 2017. A short stroll from the Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside takes you to the Whistler Peak2Peak loading zone and once at the top, you can take Instagram worthy shots and pop into the chalet for hot chocolate and snacks. There are a couple nice hikes you can take to get the full mountain top experience.
Once you've had your craving for elevation satisfied, a great way to connect and explore the natural beauty of Whistler is to rent a mountain bike. The Solomon shop in the Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside has bikes for the hardcore downhill mountain bikers as well as bikes for mellow trail cruisers. Pop the little ones in a chariot and head off to Green or Alta Lake for a beachside picnic. The Solomon rental shop also has outwear for sale and very helpful staff that can give you directions.
Images: Whistler Blackcomb Tourism, Tyler Summers