We are pleased to congratulate our $500 annual scholarship winner Grant Everett of University of Texas, Arlington. Each year the White Buffalo Club host an essay writing scholarship competition and ask college students from across the U.S. and Canada to choose one of two topics provided and craft a detailed essay addressing the chosen topic. This year, contestants choose between writing about five popular travel experiences guests can experience while visiting our area, or to write a detailed marketing proposal that a travel company might use to entice vacationers to visit our destination. Although we had loads of fantastic entries, we had to choose just one. We invite you to read their submission below. We would like to thank all those who applied. Be sure to enter next year’s competition which will launch on August 25th, 2015.

2014 Winning Essay – The Wonders of Whistler: Experiencing Grandeur on a Budget

So you finally did it, you saved enough money to go to your dream destination to the beautiful Whistler, British Columbia. However, you don’t necessarily want to blow all your money on expensive ski resorts, golf courses, and over-priced restaurants, what is a traveler to do? Well rest-assured and breathe easy my frugal friend, as I have a list of five budget-friendly destinations just for you!

Picture it, you’re driving on highway 99 to enter Whistler and you begin to see a sign for Brandywine Falls. You decide that you need to take a rest from driving anyway and what better rest-stop than a waterfall, right? You park in the free parking area, and decide to stretch your legs with a very relaxing 10 to 15 minute walk down the trail to falls. You hear what sounds like a train coming which sounds gradually gets louder the longer you are on the trail. The forest gradually opens up its treasures to you, and you witness the majesty that is Brandywine falls. Legend has it that these beautiful falls got their name from a wager placed by surveyors, Jack Nelson and Bob Mollison, on who could guess the height of the falls. The bet was that whoever could guess the height of the falls would win a bottle of brandy, and when Bob Mollison won the bet, Jack Nelson decided to name the falls Brandywine falls after the wager. It is recommended that when traveling to Brandywine Falls, that you leave early in the morning, preferably on a week day, that way you can avoid the crowds and take in the beautiful waterfalls canvassed by the sunrise.

So after a little bit of walking, a nice drive, and seeing a beautiful sunrise at the Brandywine waterfall you and/or your family, fills a bit hungry but you don’t want to overpay for breakfast; allow me to introduce you to the Gone Whistler Village Eatery. This gem of a restaurant is located right in the heart of Whistler Village behind a gift shop near a convenient store. You won’t find many tourists here, but what you will find is a great value for your meal, warm service, and a very satisfied tummy. Gone Whistler Village Eatery does not post its menu online as it is constantly changing, using the freshest of ingredients grown locally, and also providing the best service to its customers, including free WIFI and computers readily available. Enjoy a nice peaceful breakfast inside, or eat outside, basking in the great weather as you watch the people pass by.

After eating you’re ready for an adventure, and there is no other adventure like going to Whistler’s farmers’ market. Now if you’re like me, you are disappointed by getting low quality fruit and vegetables. Whistler’s Farmers’ Market is open for a short period of time during the summer to fall seasons on Wednesdays and Sundays. There is free parking far away from the market, or you can pay a small fee for closer parking. What I love about these types of markets is that there is a completely different vibe you get while you’re here. Not only is there great food, (yay for free samples), but there are also so many different activities going on. At Whistler’s Farmers’ market there is almost always live music being played, face-painting for the kids, and various other activities. So whether you want to go grocery shopping or just experience a different atmosphere, the Whistler’s Farmers’ Market is a good place to go.

After an eventful day at the Farmers’ Market, you feel like it’s a good time to treat yourself. So you decide to go to the Spa at Nita Lake Lodge. Enter a world of tranquility at this nice little oasis away from the vibrancy of the city. Let go of all of your worries with the “Heaven on Earth” massage (105$ USD) and let your mind and body feel a sense of peace like they have never experienced before. The Nita Lake Lodge Spa treats everyone very well, and even offers a special service for pregnant mothers, using nothing but natural products, as well as giving you the amazing service that you deserve.

You are on the last leg of your journey and there is but one last thing left to do on our list, the Whistler Air Tour. This isn’t just any ordinary tour, how many people do you know have ever flown in a sea-plane? Sit back as you casually enjoy your view of either the Whistler Valley, or depending on your tour, neighboring glaciers. At the cost of 104 dollars USD per adult and half price per child (ages 11 and under), the tour of Whistler Valley is definitely a bargain. Not only will you get the beautiful view of Whistler village and the Olympic venues from the 2010 Winter Olympics, but you will also have one last chance to bid adieu to the majestic Brandywine falls along your way.

The past is behind us, and the future is uncertain, but what we do have is today. Let today be the day that you let go of all your inhibitions that are holding you back and truly experience what this world has to offer. The places you will bear witness to in Whistler, British Columbia will no doubt be aw-inspiring, but so will the fellow travels that you have the privilege of meeting, whether it be by a resonating Waterfall, a local-favorite restaurant, or even hidden in the labyrinth of a traditional farmers’ market. An experience of a life time that can only be best summed up in one place, Whistler, British Columbia.