I had never been to Whistler and to be honest I was a bit skeptical. I can’t ski because of an old injury and I’m not the biggest fan of the cold. When I vacation, I like it to be in a big bustling city or somewhere warm, especially in the winter. But being that it’s Canada’s 150 and that my daughter loves the snow, when I was invited I couldn’t say no.
We started our journey at Toronto Pearson International Airport with far too many bags and not enough time. Luckily thanks to my Amex Platinum Card, our complimentary valet got us out and running quickly; bags stacked on a cart, car seat unhooked, off we went!
After check-in Line Bypass from Cloud 10 helped us avoid the huge security lines and got us quickly to the lounge, thanks again to Amex. When you are travelling with kids, even the simplest of tasks can become momentous, like say, waiting in line for a coffee (that you really need). So, access to the Amex Lounge (with complimentary coffee, snacks and doors – so you don’t lose your kids) even without a first class ticket, is the kind of perk I don’t think I could live without.
We landed in Vancouver, picked up our rental car, which we received a 15% percent discount on thanks to our Platinum Card through Hertz and headed on the two hour trek up to Whistler. Though first named London Mountain because of the incessant fog, this mountainous town full of the most incredible views (often hindered by fog) was later named Whistler after the hoary marmot that inhabits the area and is known for its unique whistle. The drive up, though occasionally quite slippery, was like no other. From land to sky, the vistas all at once took our collective breath away, the greens of the evergreens ever so perfectly dusted with snow, almost as if a giant Betty Crocker had come down from the heavens and shook on some of that delicious icing sugar.
With the three hour time difference we were up unreasonably early the next day and ready to explore. Without much time on my hands to plan this trip I hit up my Amex Platinum Concierge for some help planning for the days ahead. When you travel with kids having an itinerary is key. Their little energetic bodies need to be stimulated and be on the move so I gave all of my specifics (we met up with 8 adults and 2 kids) and my Concierge gave me a list of options. I chose ski school for Harlowe and her good friend Tilly for 4 days so that they could get a good feel for skiing and hopefully be converted.
After day one Harlowe vowed to never ski again. She was miserable, in a fit of tears. Unfortunately (for both of us) the tears didn’t end for two days. I finally took her to the Doctor, only to discover she had a pretty bad ear infection. With an incredible amount of Mom Guilt, I got her medication and snuggled her up for a day of movies and rest. As we often forget, kids are resilient and though she swore she never wanted to ski again (I blame the altitude – not the activity) one day of being cooped up was more than enough for her, so it was time to make some plans. We made a snowman, baked muffins, went to the library and that was all in half a day. At my wits end, I called my Amex Concierge (again) with a plea for help. Though Whistler is gorgeous, what in the world do you do if you don’t ski or snowboard?
Another list magically appeared in my inbox by the next morning, and it literally saved my sanity. We spent one afternoon snowmobiling, Harlowe and Tilly pulled along in their sweet snow chariot, through the Whistler back country. We had an evening eating fondue in a log cabin and afternoon watching The Ballerina and the most magical day riding and learning how to dog sled. The standout for the girls and our whole group. This gang of dogs were the most incredible crew, yelping and barking for the opportunity to get out and run and it was a beautiful thing to witness.
Though the trip began in a way that I thought we wouldn’t recover, Amex gave us the tools to make our family vacation one we will never forget.
This post was sponsored by American Express Canada but all opinions are my own.