– Story by Susan Lundy Photos courtesy Scandinave Spa and Tourism Whistler
Each of my fives sense comes to life as I move between warm, cold and relax cycles at the outdoor Scandinave Spa in Whistler.
Sitting in the hot pool, I feel the brush of breeze on my face and hear a gentle whistle of wind in the spruce trees above me. Moving indoors, and now relaxing on a cushiony recliner, I take in the beauty of lush foliage seen though floor-to-ceiling windows. And the moment after I run through an icy cold waterfall, my skin tingles with an electric-like buzz.
There’s the heat of a fire pit, the cosy embrace of a blanket, the sound of a running stream, the scent of essential oils and the sensation of steam and sweat lingering on my skin.
Most important—the experience of every sense is exaggerated due to the absolute and mandatory silence. People move between the various stations without a word. And I understand completely: silence is golden.
We discovered Scandinave Spa on a trip to Whistler late last fall. After driving just five minutes up the highway from Whistler Village, we were unsure of what to expect when we arrived. But we left a few hours later as absolute converts to this year-round, outdoor spa experience.
As we entered the main lodge, we were immediately transported to a place of peace: it seemed as though our entire bodies exhaled. Embraced by the building’s beauty and its calm and sweet scent, we peered through the windows at a ring of forest that surrounded grassy-roofed buildings, hot pools and a trickling creek winding its way through the entire scene.
Set within a spruce and cedar forest, and overlooking Whistler’s white mountain vistas, this 20,000-square-foot outdoor day spa is a Nordic-inspired oasis of calm. Here, visitors can access any number of massage treatments and/or flow through the various hydrotherapy stations. We spent the recommended minimum of two hours, moving several times through the hot, cold and relax cycle, which promised to soothe tired muscles, eliminate toxins and improve circulation.
Hot cycles take place in eucalyptus steam rooms, outdoor hot baths, a Finnish wood-burning sauna or a dry sauna. Cold cycles—a bracing-but-necessary step to achieving the full benefits of the hydrotherapy experience—include a Nordic waterfall, rain showers and cold plunges. We were less fond of this part of the cycle, but emerged proud of ourselves for doing them!
Crystal Lodge. Our room was super spacious and comfortable, but the very best thing about this hotel might be its location right in the heart of the Village. In fact, the hotel’s slogan is:“At the centre of it all.”Within easy walking distance of the base of the mountain, shopping and restaurants, Crystal Lodge also offers a heated outdoor pool, hot tub, sauna, fitness centre and several on-site retail and dining options.
As a winter playground, Whistler and adjoining Blackcomb mountains feature 8,171 acres of terrain and receive an average of 38.2 feet of snow annually. It’s definitely a place to revel in all of the senses — starting (or ending) with the Scandinave Spa experience. No reservations required, and baths are open from 10 am to 9 pm daily.
This story originally appeared in SOAR, the inflight magazine for Pacific Coastal Airlines