One of the special items on this trip was celebrating our anniversary in person. Randy booked a few days at the Nita Lake Lodge just outside of Whistler, BC. The lodge was amazing. It sits right next to a lake and has alpine cabin architecture and decor all the throughout the property. I don’t think he could’ve found a better place to stay.
While yesterday was a bit of a trainwreck, today was a new adventure headed to the Whistler-Blackcomb Ski Park. Obviously, there’s no snow but there’s definitely plenty to explore. The hotel was extremely accommodating given my truck challenges and had a shuttle straight into the park. With the rain and the green, the yellow in my truck really stands out. Definitely still excited that I got the yellow (although Rivian has now discontinued it 😢).
I could see my partner’s frustration. It hadn’t rained in months and the day we head into the mountains, the weather gods sent rain. True rain may have been a bit of an overstatement, but it was definitely cloudy, drizzly, and cool. I hadn’t really prepared for this kind of weather so I figured the best thing to do was to check out an umbrella from the hotel and carry it around hoping I would never have to use it :).
Whistler-Blackcomb has three major gondolas. Each mountain has a gondola onto itself and the Peak to Peak Gondola spans the entire park. Our plan was to head up Blackcomb’s Gondola and do a bit of exploring then take the Peak to Peak over to Whistler Mountain. With the slightly inclement weather, the mountains truly came alive. It was fantastic to see the peaks in and out of the clouds as well as the foliage starting to come and live with the first rains of the season. You could really feel the Alpine all around you.
We thought we would ride up the Blackcomb Gondola, do the Peak to Peak, then come back down Whistler Gondola. Turns out, we loved the Peak to Peak so much we decided to ride the Blackcomb gondola twice. Much of this trip has been cloudless, sunny skies and our time at Whistler couldn’t have been more different. The sky was alive. It had emotion. It was signaling that winter was in the air. Both the climb and descent had us in and out of the clouds spanning over a mile in elevation.
Peak to Peak, literally
I’m not going to lie. There is a part of me that was nontrivially nervous crossing this chasm. Both Whistler and Blackcomb are about a mile higher then the surrounding terrain. Thus, there is a deep chasm in between the two mountains. This gondola experience depends on a cable that spans the entire chasm with very little support. So much so there is a small exhibit explaining exactly what keeps the whole operation together.
As the gondola set out over the mountain there is a small gasp of “here we go” seeing so much open space around. The experience was truly fantastic. Words can’t even describe it. Finding out there was a glass bottom gondola every 10 gondolas made it clear which gondola I wanted to be on for the return. From here, I will let the pictures speak for themselves. I will note, however, one of the key components of the system is the piece of metal that keeps all of the cables in line. You can see it on the right hand image just below marked number 32.
At the top of the mountain we definitely did some exploring. The peaks here looks significantly different then the Sierra Nevada back home. The Sierra’s have a long slope on the western side and a relatively steep drop to the east. The Cascades, in contrast, feel steeper on both sides. The fact that both Whistler and Blackcomb have a steep mile climb threw a chair lift is impressive. Also, I’m 1000 miles to the north. At the same elevation the trees here are smaller. The alpine appears richer. You also see that winter is a lot more intense in this environment. Plus, the bears hang out in the lodge here as well!
Nita Lake Lodge
I thoroughly enjoyed the lodge. Definitely recommend for anyone who wants to stay in Whistler. Function Junction, just south of Whistler Village, has more of a quiet, secluded feel rather than being in the heart of it all. The hotel had amenities on the lake (which were touch cool for our visit) and the number of hiking trails in the area which we took advantage of. With the amount of turns and bends in the hiking trails, both Randy and I were sure it was designed by a motorcyclist 😜!
Randy (who drinks coffee) and I (who prefers tea) have a favorite coffee shop just outside of Whistler. It’s Camp. It’s everything that I want in a coffee shop if I drank coffee. It’s modern. It’s alpine. It’s classy rustic and has soft influence on my design style. Plus, there’s a need distillery next-door that specializes in Gin. I’m not a huge drinker, but a little bit Canadian alpine always makes a bar better, right?
It’s not lost on me that this entire journey is mostly powered by electricity. I’d like to give a shout out to Jeremy and team over at Got Watts Electric, Solar & HVAC who has helped me immensely with electrification over the years. I know that I am adventuring well now that the hat is getting dirty and many that I meet on this EV Journey love the name “Got Watts.”