Posted by: Nikkey Ward
Guest Author/Photographer: Brian Hockenstein
Whether you’re looking for a different way to get a valley view or if you’re looking for a healthy lunch option while crushing laps in the bike park, there’s an awesome new option for you – the Raven’s Nest is now open all summer long for both bikers and sightseers. Ever since last ski season the Raven’s Nest – located at the top of the Creekside Gondola – has been serving up an all plant-based menu with tons of healthy vegetarian and vegan options.
Now that the Creekside Gondola is cranking all summer long for access to the world-class Bike Park, that also means sightseers are welcome to head on up to the Raven’s Nest and as it turns out, it’s the perfect little quick getaway with some amazing views and fabulously healthy food.
Good to Know: The Creekside Gondola is open through the Labour Day Long Weekend, then weekends only until mid-September – check out the hours of operation here.
Did you know that back in 1966 when Whistler Mountain first opened for skiing the base area was located at Creekside? Opened in 1996, the present-day Creekside Gondola has recently been outfitted with bike carriers to allow another access point to the Whistler Bike Park’s 50+ kilometers of trails. Smart downhill riders choose Creekside for plenty of free underground parking, the option to do a lap down to Dusty’s Bar Grill for a mid-day snack (or beverage!), plus the Creekside Gondola is much quieter and faster to load than the lifts in Skier’s Plaza.
Good to Know: The Creekside Gondola lifts riders to a point partway through the Garbanzo Zone. Intermediate to advanced riding skills required to make your way down from this point. First time in the park? Head to the Village for a wider selection of trails.
This year the Gondola has been open for sightseeing as well, with tickets costing around $20 available from the windows at Creekside while the Gondola is running. It’s less than the cost of a PEAK 2 PEAK sightseeing ticket making it perfect for a quick trip. Note that currently there are no chairlifts operating above Creekside, nor are there any hiking trails so this is ideal for those wanting a chilled-out day.
The menu at the Raven’s Nest consists of vegetarian and vegan snacks, salads and sandwich options. Whether you’re a strict veggie or not, there’s no denying the deliciousness of the food at the Raven’s Nest. This past winter the restaurant became my go-to spot for lunch – you’d be surprised how much more skiing you can do after a healthy salad versus a greasy cheeseburger – and the menu just keeps getting better and better.
Hang out on the gorgeous patio that overlooks Creekside down below, as well as the incredible mountains of the Coast Range towering over the valley across the way – it’s a totally different view from the upper alpine and well worth a look. Enjoy the sun and the people-watching as mountain bikers rip by on their way to the gnarly Garbanzo zone trails. Raven’s Nest has also been hosting yoga sessions on the patio on Sundays, free with the cost of the lift ticket. Yoga with a view then coffee in the fresh mountain air? That’s an incredibly wholesome way to start your Sunday.
When you’re all done, head back down the Creekside Gondola and enjoy the views along the way. If you’re really lucky you might even catch sight of a bear!
Locals’ Tip: Early morning and late afternoon are the best times to see bears on the mountain. If you do get lucky enough to catch sight of one of our bruin residents, always make sure to keep a wide berth and not disturb their activities as we like to keep our wildlife just that … wild!
There’s plenty more to see and do out at Creekside, which is an easy pedal from Whistler Village along the car-free Valley Trail. As well as the Gondola, there are shops, bike rentals, multiple cafes plus the choice of two lakes nearby for swimming and paddling. And of course at the bottom of the Creekside Gondola awaits Dusty’s Bar Grill, the local’s choice for après in winter or summer on one of the sunniest patios in town. A nice counterpoint to the hustle and bustle of the Village, Dusty’s serves up sunshine all day and what has to be the best BBQ food in town – cooked daily on site no less!
Bottom line, if you are looking to give a visiting friend a quick intro to sightseeing on the mountain you’d be hard-pressed to do much better than a trip to Creekside and the Raven’s Nest. Between the quiet lift lines, the amazing food and the incredible patio views this is a sure bet and not to be missed!