Whistler is cool, but Pemberton may just be a little bit cooler. That is, if you are craving something more low key and you are not intimidated with being surrounded by a plethora of laid back 30 something adventurers with healthy glows, voracious appetites, who all use their tricked-out mountain bikes as the main mode of transportation.
On a sunny Sunday, The Pony, adjoined to a bike shop, is where they flock as this seems to be the catch-all place to pick up your morning espresso and croque monsieur sandwich to go, to refuel with a post-nature workout meal, and the perfect spot to catch up with a friend over a local brew.
The owners, Alexander Stoll from France and Neal Harrison from England, have worked in many esteemed mountain resorts such as Val d’ Isere in the French Alps and the Westin Resort in Whistler. The pair definitely mix up the menu with more than your typical burger fare. Two locals insist I order the special: Strips of seared tuna, bacon and chili aioli wrapped in romaine lettuce with a side of the famed Pemberton potatoes.
Did you know Pemeberton, located just 20 minutes north of Whistler, ships potato seeds to Idaho?
There are so many activities to conquer in Whistler’s quieter sister town: endless mountain biking trails for all levels, running trails you can pick up right in town that take you to waterfalls and lakes, hiking, rafting, and golf.
Big Sky and the Black Squirrel are the two golf courses in town. We opt for the latter because of its namesake and based on the description from the dude at the bike shop who described it as “the less snazzy one.” I like the vibe immediately as I see the non-collared attire and the weekend rates – $25 for 18 holes and $14 for a niner.
But don’t let the casualness and the price make you think this is a dinky par 3 course that can’t be taken seriously. On the contrary, this is a full 72 par course that includes obstacles such as water, strategically-placed bunkers, doglegs, short stretches, long stretches, and bears.
Yep, a mama bear and her two petite cubs staked their claim between holes 3 and 4.
You will probably work up a thirst after golf so head to the Pemberton Distillery to try some award-winning potato vodka and pick up an elixir or two on your way out.
Other notable stops:
- North Arm Farm for fruit pies. This family run farm also serves up daily farm lunches and picnic food.
- Mile One Eating House: Get a taste of Pemberton beef by ordering a burger with (of course) Pemberton potato wedges.