Silence does nothing to relax me. Generally, I find it a little unnerving to be surrounded by other people and not speak. So you can imagine my con- cern when I arrived at the Scandinave Spa in Whistler, B.C., and read the code of silence at the top of the registration forms (and on multiple carefully situated signage around the spa). I’m a talker and a listener, and engage easily with people.

I don’t know. That being said, I’m also up for stepping out of my comfort zone and clearly, being silent is out of my zone. Yet who can argue with the thousands who flock to this destination to embrace the silence as a way to inner calm and relaxation? Even I had to admit this might be one place, amid the spruce and cedar, on the edge of the serene Lost Lake, where I could come to enjoy the silence.

HYDRATION BOOST

The Scandinavian bath experience uses hydrotherapy, which offers health benefits including stimulating your blood circulation and cleansing your body. Using contrasting temperatures, hydrotherapy is also well known for its restorative and relaxation benefits, which hoped would help distract me from the silence. Alternating hot and cold water, to help remove toxins from the body, hydrotherapy includes three stages: switching from the soothing wood burning Finish saunas and eucalyptus steam room to an invigorating plunge in the Nordic waterfalls.

Following my initial rotation through the hot-cold sequence, I found myself beginning to relax in the solitude of the surrounding solarium and endless mountain vistas.

STRETCH, THEN RELAX

As a runner and highly active mom of two, I don’t make nearly enough time for post-workout stretching. Sticking to my schedule of regular massage therapy appointments? Even less, much to my therapist’s chagrin. But combine both and that’s the Thai Yoga massage, one of the therapeutic massage techniques available at the Scandinave. Developed in Thailand, this type of massage takes you through a combination of movements that are held by the therapists to help release tension from the body. And unlike Swedish or deep-tissue massage, this type of therapy requires comfortable clothing that allows for movement. Basically, you’re getting a workout and massage in one.

FOR THE FOODIE

As an international ski destination, and the home of the alpine ski and snowboard events at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, Whistler has established a host of culinary options. Raw juice lovers can quench their thirst and get an extra boost of energy at the Naked Sprout Juice Bar and Café. (As with many of the restaurants in Whistler, Naked Sprout makes each juice and smoothie from locally sourced, organic, whole ingredients, and offers a selection of wraps and salads including Budda Lover and Happy Kale, making them the perfect lunchtime eats.)

And should you wish to indulge in the city’s pub culture, The Brew House does make a pretty incredible double bacon, cheese and mushroom burger that pairs well with one of their craft beers. And while I didn’t opt for the burger or beer during my stay, I did enjoy cozying up fireside, and enjoying the view of the Village.

OLYMPIC DREAMS

Situated along the famous Sea-to-Sky Highway, the surrounding mountain views and skiing have long since made Whistler an internationally recognized winter destination. A two-hour drive from Vancouver, the city has also gained some significant upgrades, including an outdoor ice pad that offers free skating during the winter months, making it a kid-and family- friendly destination, even for the non-skier.

While skiing is the obvious reason to travel, when you ask the locals, you’ll discover that the off-season is equally popular, if not preferred. With more than 400 hiking and cycling trails that include Blackcomb Meadows, Garabaldi Lake and Panarama Ridge, exploring this rugged outdoor playground is a challenge for every adventure seeker. Within walking distance of Whistler Village, the Lost Lake Nature Trail weaves through a forest with a gentle uphill climb that features several scenic viewpoints, and is a quick afternoon getaway if you don’t want to travel too far. 

5 OFF-THE- BEATEN-PATH ATTRACTIONS IN WHISTLER

Even if sitting spa-side in silence isn’t your thing, there’s still plenty to do in Whistler in spring, summer, winter or fall. 

1 Discover Whistler’s public art collection. With more than 50 public and private art pieces showcased throughout the Whistler Village and the Valley, onsite interpretive signage explains each piece.

2 From Tough Mudder in the summer to the Whistler 50 Ultra and Relay, competitive runners can take on the challenging terrain that makes for an epic adventure.

3 Featuring traditional works from some of British Columbia’s First Peoples to more contemporary artists, the Audain Art Museum is a must-visit any time of the year.

4 Showcasing the art and history of the Squamish and Lil’wat Nations, the First Nations Museum offers guided tours through its exhibits. You can also discover First Nations cuisine, such as bannock at the Thunderbird Café.

5 With breathtaking 360- degree views of Whistler Village, Whistler’s Peak 2 Peak offers a bird’s-eye view of the scenic mountain peaks, lakes, glaciers and forests.