Whistler at any budget How to live it up––or score some Olympic-size deals––at the West’s biggest ski resort Splurge or save on a ski holiday In 2010, Whistler’s spotlight was focused on one thing: Olympic gold. These days, the legacy of the Games lives on (recreational skeleton, anyone?), but the resort, just two hours north of Vancouver, B.C., continues to shine with sparkly restaurants and bars—including an über-chic, ice-cold vodka tasting room. But don’t start worrying that Whistler’s gone all Gstaad. While no ski town of this caliber is cheap, this is Canada, so there’s a refreshingly down-to-earth vibe, with bargains to match. Here’s where to splurge and save.* *Prices are in U.S. dollars. Pinterest Splurge: Hotel At serene Four Seasons Whistler, you’ll drop a bundle on room-service breakfast, but you’re so close to the slopes, you can roll out of bed and hit the lift in the time it takes most people to park. When you’re done, a ski valet meets you with hot chocolate and whisks your boots away to warm them for the next day. From $400; fourseasons.com/whistler Save: Hotel For ski-in/ski-out convenience without Whistler Village prices, find some buddies and split a comfy two-bedroom condo at Legends Whistler, at the base of the Creekside gondola. It’s only $395 a night and offers quick mountain access, plus a full kitchen. 2-night weekend min.; lodgingovations.com Splurge: Things to do For $222, score a day of private powder with an Earn Your Turns backcountry tour from Whistler Alpine Guides (whistlerguides.com). To relive the Games, splurge on a two-hour skeleton experience at Whistler Sliding Centre ($147; whistlerslidingcentre.com) and take two thrilling head-first solo runs. Save: Things to do Fresh Tracks (whistlerblackcomb.com), the get-on-the-mountain-first breakfast ticket program, is just $18 with a $95 lift ticket—a heckuva lot cheaper than a helicopter ride. For that, you get a hearty breakfast at the Roundhouse Lodge and first crack at the slopes. Not an alpine skier? Tour 34 miles of cross-country trails at Whistler Olympic Park in Callaghan Valley ($22; 5 Callaghan Valley Rd.; whistlerolympicpark.com), or sign up for a horse-drawn sleigh ride. Blackcomb Sleighrides ($54; blackcombsleighrides.com) is the only outfit that runs on Blackcomb. Splurge: Après Spa. Indulge in the $242 British Columbia hot clay treatment at the Four Seasons Whistler’s spa, which starts with a salt rub and ends with a heavenly massage and a cup of Mountain Berry tea. fourseasons.com/whistler/spa Sip. Shrug into a seven-layer duck down parka and sip shots of vodka in the blue-hued Belvedere Ice Room (pictured), kept at an arctic -13° F. Housed inside the Bearfoot Bistro, Whistler’s best spot for oysters and Champagne, the former cigar room holds a rotating collection of more than 60 vodkas. Tasting $47/4 vodkas; 4121 Village Green; 604/932-3433. Save: Après Spa. Walk through the woods down a snowy path to Scandinave Spa, a Nordic oasis just outside town. For $57, you can do as many circuits as you like of the Finnish sauna, eucalyptus steam room, hot baths, and cold plunges. scandinave.com Sip. Shrug into a seven-layer duck down parka and sip shots of vodka in the blue-hued Belvedere Ice Room (pictured), kept at an arctic -13° F. Housed inside the Bearfoot Bistro, Whistler’s best spot for oysters and Champagne, the former cigar room holds a rotating collection of more than 60 vodkas. Tasting $47/4 vodkas; 4121 Village Green; 604/932-3433. Splurge: Dining Alpine Tea at Fairmont Chateau Whistler (about $25; begins in early 2012; fairmont.com/whistler) is perhaps the only place in town where you can eat tender scones and Devonshire cream in your ski boots. Aura (2131 Lake Placid Rd.; 604/966-5700), the exceptional restaurant at Nita Lake Lodge, uses molecular gastronomy with the right amount of restraint in its dinner menu ($208 / 5 courses for 2, including wine). Start with the housemade charcuterie. Save: Dining Pop out of your bindings for snacks and a pot of English Breakfast at the Harmony Hut Tea House (whistlerblackcomb.com), which sits atop the Harmony chairlift. For about $2, you get a steaming cup and a million-dollar view. For dinner, seek out Nagomi Sushi (108-4557 Blackcomb Way; 604/962-0404) in the Upper Village. A meal for two of, say, housemade seafood gyoza, crisp prawn tempura, and sushi rolls, plus strawberry sake margaritas, will set you back about $70.