Thursday, February 18, 2010

While this is not Vancouver...

Been watching the 2010 Winter Olympics? Now that you’ve seen the gorgeous Whistler mountain vistas and the vibrant Vancouver cityscapes, you might be thinking about visiting…spring, summer, winter or fall.

Fodor’s is a good resource so check out these sites for possible deals:

Winter deals in Whistler

It's common for people to shy away from host destinations in Olympics years because they think it's going to be too crowded. But…the Whistler/Blackcomb Web site has lodging deals, ski-and-stay deals, and even airfare deals. In addition to saving money, quieter slopes mean more fresh powder for you.

Hotel bargains in post-Olympics Vancouver

Did you know there were somewhere in the neighborhood of 20,000 hotel rooms available in Vancouver for the Olympics? Some specials include The Wedgewood with a Spring promotion for the month of March. Check out the Tourism Vancouver Web site for more deals on hotel rooms and packages with hotel and entertainment, or spas.

Skate the Richmond Olympic Oval

The Richmond Olympic Oval, located just off the Canada Line, has a huge fitness facility with hard courts, ice, and an indoor track area. A one-day adult pass is CDN$12.50.

Try mountain biking

Head north in summer for plentiful opportunities in outdoor excitement. Whistler Blackcomb as not only among the first to realize the potential of converting ski runs to fat-tire trails, they also established Whistler Mountain Bike Park, the best downhill-biking center in the world. Located on lower Whistler Mountain, the trails are marked green through double diamond and groomed with as much care as their winter counterparts. Beginners can find plenty of comfortable dirt lanes to follow and you can keep your fingers ready at the hydraulic brake to keep speeds under control.

Or hiking

If hiking is more your speed, head to the ski lifts that take hikers and bikers up to the alpine, where marked trails are graded by difficulty. The brand-new Peak2Peak Gondola, the largest free-span gondola expanse in the world, crosses Fitzsimmons Valley to connect Whistler and Blackcomb mountains in just 11 minutes. The newest addition to the high alpine-trail network is the High Note Trail, an intermediate, five-mile route with an elevation change of 1,132 feet and fabulous coastal mountain views. Trails are clearly marked—take the lift up and choose whichever way you want to come down, just as if you were skiing.

Festivals, festivals, festivals

Vancouver and Whistler are, each, the scene of many festivals worth planning a trip around, in all seasons. In Whistler, you'll find everything from Cornucopia, the renowned food-and-wine festival spread over four delectable days in November, to the Telus World Ski & Snow festival, which takes the end of ski season out with a swoosh. For more Whistler festivals check out

In Vancouver, you'll find everything from one of North America's largest Chinese New Year celebrations, in February; to August's MusicFest Vancouver, with two weeks of orchestral, chamber, choral, world music, opera, and jazz performances in venues around the city; to the Vancouver International Comedy Festival, in September; and the Vancouver International Film Festival, in September and October, which draws more than 150,000 people to view films from more than 50 countries.

For sports enthusiasts, the Bank of Montreal Marathon is in early May, the Scotiabank Half-Marathon and 5K are in June; and the popular Vancouver Sun Run (a 10K, with a minirun) is in mid-April. And every New Year's Day means the Polar Bear Swim, when a phalanx of extremists plunge into the frigid waters at English Bay beach—often in costume.

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