Eric "Hoji" Hjorleifson is one of the most talented skiers who ever lived.
The Canadian, whose new movie “HOJI” dropped last month, reveals a side of himself in the film that his friends and family get to see everyday – a down to earth, caring person who just wants to share the stoke and see everyone have a good time.
Luckily, Hoji wants to share the stoke with us, making sure we have a good time in the town he calls home, Whistler. “It pains me to divulge my favorite spots,” Hjorleifson laughs. “But when you live in an area like Whistler, you are always trying to go to the underdog businesses."
Whistler Blackcomb is the largest ski area in Canada and also the largest in North America. The resort has about 8,171 acres of terrain, and a vast amount of slack country and access to backcountry that can seem endless.
Whistler’s infrastructure is needed to support such a big resort. And while many people remain “on-mountain” for the duration of their stay, for those who are keen to explore, the town of Whistler and Blackcomb has a lot to offer.
"No matter where you go, patronizing local businesses is also a good way to link up with other like-minded people," Hoji tells ASN. As someone who has traveled the globe skiing, he should know best. “Chances are you are going to find new friends and discover more. You are ultimately going to have a better trip and more well-rounded experience, rather than trying to figure it all out on your own.”
From local beer pubs to his suggestions on where to get a perfect ski tune-up, Hoji gives us the lowdown on Whistler.
The Handle Bar is a low-key, speciality bar in Blackcomb that opened up two years ago. It is one of Hoji’s favorite spots for après. It is locally owned, cash only and has a rotating line up of beers on tap. A majority of the beers are from BC and the US, but they also have some European brands and they always have Bavarian style bier garten food.
"There are many great ski shops, I think Whistler probably has the highest per capita "good ski shops" than any other ski town,” Hoji says. “If you need to get stuff done – like boot fitting – there is a huge amount of skilled, experienced shop guys who can help you.”
Fanatyk Co Ski & Cycle has some of the best boot fitters in British Columbia. Specializing in Intuition custom liners, they make boot fitting into art.
The Bread Bunker is another locally owned coffee and baked goods shop. (Their parent bakery is 200° South of Whistler in Function Junction.) The bakery may be a tiny “hole in the wall,” but it’s made a name for itself as a local favorite for coffee and sandwiches.
Just off the beaten path is a tuning shop called Profile. Most of the retail stores in the area will send your skis to Profile for tuning. This establishment is known for fixing skis and boards that were otherwise “pronounced dead” by other shops.
Down the road from Whistler is the town of Pemberton. They are home to yet another fantastic bakery, sandwich/coffee shop called the Blackbird. The Blackbird is known for their delicious pastries, pot pies and cinnamon rolls.
Alpine Pro has been owned and operated by long-time local Bill Lamond. The shop is known for treating their customers like family. They spend a lot of time making sure their customers get the right fit.
The Escape Route and the Alpine Demo Center are a bit of a institution in Whistler. They are a great place to test out product. They have a large demo ski touring fleet, which is often rare. If you decide to buy the skis, they will subtract the rental fees from the purchase.
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