Because Whistler is one of the most popular dining destinations in all of Canada.

At that precise moment, the cork pops out of the bottle and flies into the air, creating an enormous cloud of fizzy champagne. Andre Saint-Jacques, the chef and owner of Bearfoot Bistro in Whistler, Canada, has just taught me the art of Sabrage, which is the art of slicing the cork out of a Champagne bottle with a sharp sword. A bartender used liquid nitrogen to create an ice-cold martini to kick off the evening’s festivities, which was served to guests. In between the main courses, the guests were served truffle carbonara, foie gras with brioche, and black cod with caviar as appetizers. As I prepare to don my full-length Canada Goose parka in preparation for a vodka tasting in the restaurant’s Ice Room, a -32C freezer lined with ice block insulating material, I notice that the temperature has dropped to -32C.

Whether you think it’s excessive or not, it certainly isn’t. Wow, that is absolutely stunning. If Bearfoot Bistro were a franchise, it would be the official restaurant of Cirque de Soleil.

There are plenty of high-end restaurants in Whistler, which is one of the best ski resorts in the world, but there are also plenty of more modest establishments where you can save money while still enjoying the finer things life has to offer.

For the price of one Bearfoot Bistro “Above the Clouds” Champagne cocktail (made with Remy Martin Louis XIII cognac, Dom Pérignon, and a bitter sugar cube), you can get 43 chicken schnitzel sandwiches at Ingrid’s Village Café. Since its inception in 1986, Ingrid’s has established itself as a landmark in the community for the high quality of its home-style cooking. While it may appear to be an unassuming neighborhood eatery that serves breakfast sandwiches, subs, and hamburgers, the quality of its home-style cooking has elevated it to the status of an institution.

When compared to Village Sushi, it is a year younger in terms of age. It was shocking to the community when rumors began to circulate last year that their favorite Japanese restaurant would be closing its doors. Other than in Japan, they were unable to locate agedashi tofu, takoyaki, or supple sashimi anywhere else.  Each of these establishments serves excellent sushi, and cities east of the Coast Mountains would be delighted to have either of these establishments as part of their culinary landscape. There are several reasons why Village Sushi stands out from the crowd. Although it appears to be an office at first glance, the fish is always fresh and the atmosphere in this open-plan restaurant is always festive.

Araxi Restaurant and Oyster Bar, the most opulent dinner party in the village, is just around the corner. Every year, during the Cornucopia culinary festival, Chef James Walt and Araxi’s wine director Jason Kawaguchi collaborate to present the Araxi Big Guns dinner, a no-holds-barred extravaganza featuring some of the world’s finest wines. Caviar, Barbaresco, black truffles, petit fours, and vintage Port are just a few of the delicacies that will be on display. It is always a memorable experience to dine at Araxi, and the emphasis on locally sourced ingredients and a wine list that includes more than 11,000 labels makes it feel like a worthwhile investment of both time and money.

There are numerous opportunities to go over budget while on the mountain. Located at the summit of Blackcomb Gondola, Christine’s Restaurant provides full-service fine dining with panoramic alpine views that have been described as “breathtaking, awe-inspiring, and jaw-dropping.” That last one isn’t used very often, but in this case it is effective. With the view as their backdrop, the grilled duck salad and charred shortrib with marinated kale and chocolate Nutella truffles almost compete for visual appeal.

Christine’s allure is undeniable, but when you’re wearing ski boots, it’s difficult to appreciate fine dining at the best of times. Therefore, I prefer to eat at one of the mountainside quick service restaurants, which are more reasonably priced than the fine dining establishments. The Rendezvous Cafeteria, which is located in the same building as Christine’s Cafeteria, offers reasonably priced rice bowls, burritos, and burgers. A short walk from the Crystal Chair is the Crystal Hut, which serves hearty meals such as loaded Belgian waffles and Buffalo stew for less than $20 per person.

In Whistler, it is not always a good idea to choose the cheapest option available. The Wildlflower Restaurant at the Fairmont Whistler’s Portobello Market is a better option for a lavish buffet spread than the Portobello Market’s breakfast bowls and sugar waffles, which are both fine options. What about a carving station for ham or smoked fish, or a station where guests can make their own omelettes? Yes, you will be able to locate those items as well. The $38 buffet at the restaurant of one’s choosing is not an endorsement of overindulgence, but a hungry diner could easily get their money’s worth and more from it.

Learning to open a Champagne bottle with a saber while on a ski vacation is something that can’t be quantified, but there are some experiences that can’t be missed while on the slopes.

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