A Brave Ski Mom interview with Ralph Forsyth, the father of two, a 25-year ski instructor at Whistler and the owner of the new website, Ski Tip du Jour (A great site that, just as it says in French, offers a daily ski tip).
Let me guess, if you could only ski one resort this winter, you’re choosing Whistler Blackcomb?
Yes, definitely Whistler as I live and work here and it really is one of the world’s best resorts. That said our family would love to spend a season in Verbier, Switzerland. We’re working on it!
Besides being my home it’s simply the best ski resort in the world: the longest runs; the most lifts; crazy amounts of snow; the longest ski season. You name it we got it!
One of the best things about Whistler is that once you are here you don’t need a car. There are many ski in/ski out accommodations and the village (where most of the hotels are) is a pedestrian village. You simply wake up and walk to the mountain!
In your opinion, what makes Whistler the “best” for families?
I can’t think of another ski school in the world that is better than Whistler Kids. The instructors are amazing. They have a dazzling array of programs ranging from three-year-old beginner lessons to freeskiing lessons for teens that are coached by actual freeski athletes. Think of this: your kids can ski with the people they read about in the magazines!
Whistler Kids also has their own restaurant for children and their own completely enclosed beginner area. Additional family fun includes the Fire & Ice show every Sunday where athletes flip and twist through a ring of fire, fire dancers entertain in between jumps and the evening is capped off with fireworks! Great family fun! There’s also a tube park which is a gas for kids and parents.
What do you think would make Whistler even better for families?
We need more after skiing events like the Fire & Ice shows and maybe a bowling alley or other indoor activities for families.
I know you know “secrets.” Any you can share?
My day job it to show people around the “secret” spots so I should probably keep quiet. 😉
One thing I will say is that if you are willing to walk you can access amazing powder even days after a storm…
Any advice for families coming to Whistler?
1. Take advantage of the ski school even if only for a day or two. I often see families totally stressed out because everyone has a different agenda for the day, yet they insist on “keeping everyone together.” In the end no one is happy. Take a day each for yourselves where you can do the things that make you happy. If you want family time do a run together at the end of the day.
2. Explore the mountain! Both Whistler and Blackcomb mountains have beginner runs from the peaks of the mountain. It’s a massive resort and people are afraid they will get lost but you won’t. Be brave and go exploring!
Where do you like to eat?
Fine Dining: The Rim Rock and Araxi’s
Sushi: Saatchi Sushi and Sushi Village are both amazing. Sushi Village is more of a party place though. Samurai Sushi at Nesters Mall is a bit of a walk but totally worth it. You will be the only guests there. The rest will all be locals.
Family: Creek Bread has amazing Pizzas! Also try Old Spaghetti Factory and, again for a little walk, you can get to Wildwood at the tennis club. Wildwood has great portions and prices favored by locals. Also try the South Side Diner in the Creekside. It has amazing food and is another local hang out. Pasta Lupino is another one not to miss.
What makes Whistler Blackcomb unique?
The average dishwasher here is a better skier than the average ski instructor anywhere else in the world. But, guess what? NOBODY cares!
No one brags about how awesome they are here because you might be on the chair with an Olympic gold medalist or an X-Games Champion. We welcome all skiers and riders of all abilities and everyone can have fun here.
Your awesome is our awesome!
When did your family start skiing? Do you have any tips for other parents?
I started at 12 or 13 and never looked back. I started teaching at 16 and I’m still doing it!
My kids each started at two years of age, and then skied 3-4 times a week from age three on. My advice: DO NOT try to teach your kids to ski! Leave that to the experts. And remember, even if you are a ski instructor, leave teaching your kids to another expert!
Family skiing: What’s the best thing about it?
That you can ski as a family and do it pretty much your whole life! I met an 86-year-old guy at the top of Whistler one day and asked him what the key to skiing till your 86 was he said: “Never take a season off!”
The Brave Ski Mom adds…
There is some excellent advice in this post, as well as a very comprehensive dining guide! While Ralph may not have wanted to share any on-mountain “secrets,” he definitely provided the low-down on local dining.
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