Big weekend in Whistler as mountain opens, Cornucopia continues

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      When it rains, it pours—wine and snow, that is.

      This weekend is a big one in Whistler: not only is it the second weekend of Cornucopia, Whistler's food and wine festival, but Saturday (November 16) marks an early opening for Whistler mountain.

      With five lifts running, skiers and boarders can upload from either the Whistler Village Gondola or the Creekside Gondola. These locations are set to open 13 days early; Blackcomb Mountain will open as scheduled on American Thanksgiving, November 28.

      The view of Whistler Mountain runs from the village on November 10.
      Carolyn Ali

      Cornucopia, Whistler’s annual food-and-wine blowout, started on November 7 this year and continues through the week until this Sunday (November 17). The festival has a new emphasis on healthy eating, as well as more activities revolving around cocktails and spirits. And of course, there are plenty of wine seminars and pairing dinners.

      I visited Whistler over Cornucopia's first weekend and attended several of the events as a guest of Tourism Whistler. Here's a look at the first weekend of Cornucopia, and a peek at the mountain scenery.

      Carolyn Ali

      Crush, the gala wine tasting, took place November 8 and 9 this year.

      Mike Crane /Tourism Whistler photo.

      There are still plenty of wine events with tickets available; here's the schedule.

      Carolyn Ali

      Cornucopia's Nourish seminars at the Fairmont Hotel Whistler focus on healthy eating.

      November 9's Little Fish, Big Flavour showed how to put packaged anchovies to use on this pissaladiere, a caramelized onion pizza.

      Carolyn Ali

      Seminar participants sampled pickled herring on endive, another great use for this sustainable fish.

      Carolyn Ali

      Alta Bistro is hosting Cornucopia events almost every night of the festival.

      It re-opened after renovations, adding this new space, just in time for the festival.

      Carolyn Ali

      Alta Bistro bar manager Scot Curry makes a mean barrel-aged Manhattan with house-made orange bitters.

      Carolyn Ali

      The Westin Resort & Spa's new restaurant, the Grill & Vine, is set to open on November 18. It will feature artisan pizzas from a new Woodstone oven as well as 16 wines by the glass from the Enomatic wine preservation system. 

      Chef Bradley Cumming is in charge of the kitchen, including nibbles like these warm, anchovy-stuffed, semolina-coated olives mixed with almonds.

      Carolyn Ali

      Along with other Whistler Mountain dining, Garibaldi Lift Co. will open on Saturday as well.

      This spicy Caesar does a good job of perking up those who over-skied or overindulged, in both regular and virgin forms.

      Carolyn Ali

      A five-minute drive from Whistler Village, Scandinave Spa is an inviting place to tend to sore muscles or sweat out the toxins from all that imbibing.

      Cornucopia tickets are available here

      B.C. and Washington State residents can still buy discounted EDGE Cards at early bird pricing until November 25; lodging deals are also available.