10 Best Ways to Get Ready for Ski Season

The early snow and colder temperatures has this whole town excited for what promises to be yet another epic ski and snowboard season (insert fingers crossed here). To ensure we hit the slopes in tip-top shape, it’s time to go with a mandatory well-thought of—sometimes gruelling—preparation schedule and training regimen. Your training will not only allow you to enjoy the start of the season to its fullest, it will most importantly, give you the endurance you need to rip through the long season ahead and protect you from any mishaps.

Although I don’t own a gym membership or even have the space for training at home, I always find myself preparing extensively and appropriately just in time for the first chair of the season. And if I can do it, YOU can do it!

So, as I prepare for my 18th season here in Whistler, people ask me… How do you prepare? How do you do it? What’s your secret Eric? So for the very first time, I will share with you: the 10 best ways to get ready for the ski season… Two words: Exercise. And diet.

  1. Get out there, warm up and stretch

Start with “The Picnic” on Thursday night, Cornucopia’s official opening party. You’ll get to see all those faces you haven’t seen since your last wine and cheese in August, and at the same time you’ll get to sample the delicious wines and the food that will hopefully be staples of your diet throughout your season. Don’t be too intense, start easy and work your way up. There are many more exercise routines ahead. Seriously.

  1. Ok so, you’re a little stiff… that’s normal.
    Get right back into it on Friday night, go to “Cellar Door”. Here, you’ll get to train with the cream of the crop. Don’t be intimidated—slow and steady is where it’s at. Take your time, spit between exercises and hydrate. This is really the place where you could find your next favourite wine for the season. So pay close attention, and ask questions.

Also on Friday night, in case you’re a little too stiff to get back into it right away, I suggest concentrating on your diet and Oregon wine with Stoller wines at Araxi.

  1. Daytime training

To complement your night-time training, I strongly recommend attending some daytime sessions. There are many great ones to choose from but “Guilty Pleasures: Wine and Junk Food, Spanish Wines: Viva la diferencia!, WOW Wines” and “Top Value Wines” are definitely at the top of my list.

  1. You’re slowly getting the hang of it, right? Perseverance is key.

On Saturday night, your training session is at “Crush”, the Gold’s Gym of Cornucopia. It really is the Big Kahuna of the week. Although it’s still early in your training, it’s the night where you just might need to go bigger. Remember, it’s not a race. It’s a marathon. Just like on a powder day, get there early and don’t ever cut the lines! Again, spit between exercises and hydrate.

  1. It’s a long weekend, Sunday training is mandatory.

Time to switch things up a little. Get ready for some aerobics at “With A Twist”. Plenty of exercises here, but you’ll also get to work on your diet with Centerplate celebrating 10 years of catering at the Whistler Conference Centre! The team at Centerplate will be featuring 10 of their best dishes, ever! Then you get to sweat a little at the Silent Disco! Exercise and diet, remember?

  1. On weekdays, you have to keep at it after work—I never said it was easy.

Throughout the week, keep training with “The Witchy Women of Whisky” on Tuesday but most importantly, work hard on your diet. You know what they say, your body is your temple so, Wolfgang Sterr’s Plant Based Deliciousness, Sidecut’s Taco Après Party, Winemaker’s Dinner with Tightrope Winery at The Red Door and Burrowing Owl at Araxi are my sessions of choice.

7- Time to rest. Not.

You worked out hard all week and you should reward yourself. I’m a sucker for Bourbon exercises, so of course, I recommend you attend the “Not So Straight Bourbon” session on Thursday. I find that Bourbon exercises are a real benefit to my après-ski endurance during the season.

Since Thursday is the new Friday, make sure to hit the House Party. Those exercises will definitely strengthen your B.C. wine game but it will also help you focus on mastering and channelling energy through your BBQ Chakra. It’s all about balance.

  1. More daytime training. No pain, no gain.

Keep complementing your night time training with these daytime sessions: “Carbonated Gin Cocktails” at 11:30 a.m. sounds like a great way to start the day, “Bottle and the Beast: Charcuterie & Wine Pairing with Oyama” a classic exercise really, and “Cabernet Cabaret” are my picks of the day on the last Saturday.

  1. Understanding your diet

A very important part of eating well is to actually understand the intricacies between wine, beer and food. On Saturday, you’ll do exactly that at the Culinary Stage Series: Cicerone Vs. Sommelier. A beer “trainer” and a wine “trainer” will attempt to pair dishes with their libations of choice. You vote for the best pairings. It’s always healthy to add a competitive aspect to your training.

  1. The pain you feel today will be the strength you feel tomorrow.

You’re close to the finish line. You can almost taste it. Complete your pre-season training with the Bearfoot Bistro’s World Oyster Invitational and Bloody Caesar Battle on the last Sunday. By now, your wine game is strong, you should feel confident about your cocktail game and oysters are just the perfect ingredients to put a bit more “pep” in your step!

Ok so it’s not your typical training regimen, I’ll give you that. But if you follow my 10 best ways to get ready for ski season here closely I guarantee that come winter you’ll rock lunches at Christine’s, après-ski, and wine dinners in the village like a pro.

This is Whistler, home of deep snow, long days, longer après-skis and one of the best food and wine scenes… Welcome to our house. Welcome to Cornucopia XXI.

 

 

Eric Blouin

Cornucopia Ambassador


Experience Restaurants, Instagram Worthy Foods and More!

Megan Pilat, 26, Restaurant Coordinator & Volunteer Coordinator

3 things that make you happy – My family, Summer, going out for breaky!

Favourite mixed cocktail – Can’t ever go wrong with a great muddy, spicy Caesar with olive juice and all of the garnishes!

Favourite dinner meal – Pizza and Caesar salad mmm…

My dream visit to Cornucopia means trying as much of the amazing food and drink as possible! That being said, I would probably start with Crush, where I could add to my ever-growing list of favourite wines. After recovering from all of that amazing wine, I’m heading over to Sidecut restaurant for the Mezcal y Maize – Taco Après Party. The Four Seasons team is offering up a trio of inventive tacos to be paired up with one amazing cocktail that is for sure a do not miss!

Rolling out of bed in the morning is always made easier when I have an amazing Brunch to look forward to. The Fairmont’s Bubbles and Brunch has everything you could possible want and more including Bubbly and live music. Araxi’s Big Guns: Viva Italia dinner also encompasses many of my favourite things, from great wine to exquisite Italian cuisine it is sure to have everyone (myself included) leaving happy.

Is it even possible to fit more into one weekend? Well, if I possibly could I would be at the Conference Centre learning something about all of this wine and food that I have been eating. Want to learn how to pair your wine with your favourite pizza? Slice Advice, Pizza Pizzazz will show you how. Or how to be healthier on the days that you are not indulging? Nourish offers many different ideas of how to maintain this healthy balance.

Happy Cornucopia everyone!

Randi Patterson, 24, Cornucopia Communications Coordinator

3 things that make me happy – Instagram, hiking & chocolate

Favourite mixed cocktail – Extra spicy & muddy Caesar

Favourite dinner meal – Bhudda Bowl with roasted veggies and salmon

To start my dream, weekend off at Cornucopia, you will find me at Nourish: Tech Savvy Release on November 9th getting myself stretched and ready for all the Instagraming that I’ll be doing.  The Picnic Grand Tasting is my next stop. Whistler’s restaurants and bars, all have something delicious to offer and it’s a terrific way to eat and drink your way around town without spending loads of money.

Saturday November 10th is all about wine! I’ll spend my day hydrating and preparing for my night at Crush Grand Tasting. I’m looking forward to strolling through the Conference Centre with friends, tasting the Cornucopia Top 25 wines and finding some new ‘go- to’ wines.

What better way to cure Sunday’s hangover with than the Culinary Stage Series featuring Culinary Olympic Gold Medalist Dave Ryan hosted by Sub Zero and Wolf. Chef Dave Ryan is going to treat everyone to the best lunch they’ve ever tasted and most Instagram-able lunch ever plated!

 And lastly, I will end my weekend with a plate piled high at With a Twist: Celebrating Centerplates 10 yr anniversary with 10 of their top dishes and a crazy cocktail to match!


Festival Producers Guide to Cornucopia

 

Rob Olive, 34 yrs old, Festival Co-Producer

3 things that make me happy – Great Food, Good Friends & Deep Powder

Favourite mixed cocktail – White Russian

Favourite Dinner Meal – Sunday Roast with all the fixings!

My “Dream” Cornucopia would start at The Picnic on November 9th. Whistler has many talented chefs and the focus at the Picnic is all about them.

Cellar Door on November 10th and CRUSH on November 11th are must go to events – not to be missed.

We have a new Culinary Sponsor this fall – SUBZERO & WOLF!  Culinary Olympic Gold Medalist, Chef Dave Ryan will be cooking up a storm at his event on November 12th – bring your appetite!

Sensory Cinema is a unique way to experience a movie, with Bill Murray staring, how can you go wrong! You can continue the “Sensory” theme at ‘With A Twist”s silent disco Sunday November 12th, with Centerplate celebrating their favourite 10 dishes for their 10 year anniversary! 

Mid-week, you can find me at the Nourish Stage, attempting to balance out my diet after indulging a bit too much the first weekend at Cornucopia!

My second weekend would start on Thursday November 16th, with House Party – Sidecut is offering their buffet again this year and we have plenty of beverage partners to make everyone happy! Poured Grand Tasting is bigger than ever, and we have over 25 Craft Brewers participating. Sunday, I’ll be having lunch with Tin Horn Creek and Miradoro Kitchen at the Chef Table Luncheon. Finally, I’ll finish the 11 days at the Volunteer Party! And with that Cornucopia’s “Bender – November” is over and we can rest up until the Whistler Blackcomb opens!

 

Jasmine Robinson, 34, Cornucopia Co-Producer

Happiness is – Skiing with friends

Favourite mixed cocktail – A dirty martini with olives

Favourite Dinner Meal – Sushi – SASS roll, Ahi Poke, Spicy Agadashi Tofu

My dream Cornucopia experience starts off with The Picnic on Thursday to get a taste of all of Whistler’s best restaurants in one place. Then I would head to the Culinary Stage Series presented by Sub Zero and Wolf on Saturday afternoon to learn all about pairing delicious Argentinean wines with food plus get the chance to taste what the presenters are teaching! Then Saturday night would be spent at Crush Grand Tasting to find a new list of wines that I can add to my ever-growing list of great wines to have on hand. On my way out the door, I would likely hit the Cornucopia Liquor Store to stock up on my new favs! To balance out the Crush experience, on Sunday morning, I would take part in the Nourish Culinary Stage Series: Energy in Motion to learn about healthy snacks to sustain energy. Then, to end my weekend on a sweet note, the Drink Seminar: Dynamic Wine & Chocolate Pairing because it’s wine and chocolate! Yum!


Something Old, Something New

Celebrate Wine and Food with Old Favourites, and Discover New Ones!

Fall has arrived in Whistler, the air is crisp and the first big snow storm is in the books. For me, as Cornucopia Ambassador and Wine Director of Araxi Restaurant + Oyster Bar and The Cellar by Araxi, plus consulting Sommelier to Whistler Blackcomb and others, it’s the busiest time of year. It was a glorious, sunny summer filled with delicious Rose, amazing fresh white wines and lots and lots of bubbles. My goal is always to bring great wine to everyone in Whistler, locals and visitors alike. This season more than ever, I feel it’s about celebrating and rediscovering old favourites and in equal measure about getting outside all of our boxes to try something new. There is no better time to do this than Whistler Cornucopia, kicking off in less than two weeks, with tasty events running every day from November 9th to 19th .

Many of your favourite wineries (and mine) are back at Cornucopia this year, pouring their latest vintages at the Crush Grand Tasting as well as other tastings, seminars and dinners throughout Cornucopia. BC is on a string of unique, quality vintages, and you can taste the top-notch whites from the excellent 2016 vintage from some classic favourites like Burrowing Owl, Quails’ Gate, Blasted Church, and Tinhorn Creek. Learn about the challenges of the super hot and early vintage of 2015, and taste the great results of all the hard work these great wineries put in to make fine reds at the mercy of mother nature. And don’t miss the chance to rediscover other classic BC wines, like the fantastic sparkling wines from Summerhill Pyramid Winery.

There are a lot of new, and ‘newer’ BC wineries coming to Whistler this year too, and if you didn’t make it to the Okanagan, Similkameen Valley, Kamloops or Vancouver Island for some wine touring this summer, Whistler Corncuopia is your one stop shop. Meet the passionate people behind such award winning wines as Harper’s Trail in Kamloops and Corcelettes in the Similkameen Valley. Tired of over-oaked wines, as many of you tell me every day? Check out what makes trailblazers Haywire and Narrative wines from Okanagan Crush Pad so delicious with no wood at all. The list of fantastic, family owned wineries coming to share and celebrate BC’s bounty with us this year is amazing!

The Cornucopia Team has assembled an outstanding group of top professionals from across the food and beverage spectrum to share their knowledge with you at a variety of seminars throughout the festival. Tickets are selling fast so be sure to sign up today. This is another opportunity to check out a favourite like Bubbleicious (which always sells out!) and also explore something new, or outside the regular box (do it!) with seminars on South Africa, the Similkameen Valley, or Vermouth. Everyone knows I’m really all about wine, so you will likely find me sitting in on some of the fabulous cocktail and spirit seminars, because we all need to expand our horizons, and keep discovering and learning, right?

So, the challenge is over to you! First, get your tickets now to avoid disappointment. I’m already getting calls every day looking for tickets to our Intimate Wine Dinner Series in The Cellar by Araxi, as many are sold out (check back as more seats may be added in some cases). And be sure to take a moment to try new vintages of your favourites, and pop down to the Cornucopia store in the Conference Centre to stock your cellars. But, most of all, take the time to taste things you’ve never heard of, or know little or nothing of. You will be richly rewarded! The thing I love most in my career is always being able to learn and taste something new, and meet the wonderful farmers and personalities behind them all. It is all happening at this year’s Cornucopia!

Cheers,

Samantha