by Lynn Welburn


If you can get someone else to do the driving on the Sea to Sky highway between Vancouver and Squamish, do so. You’ll want to be free to enjoy the fabulous scenery this winding, mountainous road offers as you follow the shore of Howe Sound. And nowhere along the road is the scenery more exciting than as you enter Squamish: looking down on the sound scoured out by the ice age, on mountains formed by the collapse of an ancient volcano, on Mount Garibaldi and the massive Stawamus Chief, the second largest granite monolith in the world after Gibraltar.

This is a land formed by fire and ice, and now, ten of thousands of years later, it’s still an exciting place to live, and fast-becoming an outdoor recreation Mecca.

It was Squamish’s outdoor opportunities, plus its proximity to Vancouver and the awesome ski resort of Whistler, that attracted Bill McComish and his wife Sue to settle here and build their dream home. And it was their desire to share their magnificent home with others that led them to turn it into Nu-Salya Chalet, a bed and breakfast with a great many unique features.

The first thing you’ll see, after the McComish’s effusive welcome, is a rather impressive, grizzly bear in the front garden! On second take, you realize that “Rocky” as she is known, and her two cubs, is the creation of noted wood artist Pete Ryan, and is the first of many surprises to come.

Inside, Nu-Salya is stunning. Immediately, you’re captivated by the 40 foot, free-standing fireplace built of river rock that dominates the main living area which itself, features a lofty cathedral ceiling and log rafters. Elsewhere you’ll note beautiful designs, all carefully crafted of natural materials such as cedar logs, and floors of pine and Himalayan slate. And because Bill and Sue have been collectors of native art for more than twenty years, art is everywhere including a Blackfoot feather headdress, a beaded jacket, West Coast carvings, and various Navajo artifacts.

The house consists of three guest rooms named after the mountains they look out on – the Tantalus and Stawamus are adult oriented and the Mamquam Room is great for kids with custom-log bunk beds and a doll-house type bed that’s sure to charm any young girl. There’s a patio garden with hewn-log picnic table, stone barbecue, babbling fountain and large hot tub where you can sit overlooking snow-capped peaks and forested valleys. There is also a grand piano room and a computer room with Internet access for those in need of an e-mail fix. Nu-Salya has only been open since May, but such finishing touches have already earned the Chalet a 4.5 star rating with Canada Select and a coveted listing with

If you can tear yourself away from the attractions of the chalet and its charming hosts, you’ll find no shortage of things to do in the area. The excitement of Whistler is just 40 minutes north and Brackendale, only 15 minutes away, is an eclectic village including an icon for art lovers, the excellent Brackendale Art Gallery. Once a major hop producer, today Brackendale is best known for the thousands of bald-headed eagles which migrate there every winter to feed on spawned-out salmon – a spectacle that is a magnet for nature lovers from all over the world.

Closer to home, Squamish offers plenty of adventure for the hardy wanderer. Golfing, kayaking and year round river rafting are only minutes away from the Chalet and the hiking nearby is unparalleled.For example, while some people rock climb more than 2,200 feet up the Stawamus Chief, most people prefer to hike around it. Trails that are clearly marked and well-groomed so that hikers of all levels can reach each of the Chief’s three peaks. Hikers are also attracted to Shannon Falls Provincial Park just five kilometers south of Squamish. Here you can explore any number of trails: some that lead you through massive trees and past adventurous looking rock-climbing sites while others meander around a display of logging equipment and a water wheel. But if there is one trail that’s a ‘must do’, it’s the one which takes you to the base of Shannon Falls. At 335 metres high, they’re the second largest waterfalls in the province and an awe-inspiring experience. But in a land carved by fire and ice, would you expect anything less?

How to get to Nu-salya Chalet:

  • Take Highway 99 North from Horseshoe Bay where the B.C. Ferry to Vancouver docks. Drive past the turnoff to downtown Squamish.
  • Turn right onto Mamquam Road, left onto Highlands Way South, right onto The Boulevard, left onto Perth Drive, right onto Thunderbird Ridge, left onto Glacier View Drive and finally,
  • right onto Glacier Heights Place.

Nu-Salya Chalet
2014 Glacier Heights Place
P.O. Box 927
Garibaldi Highlands, B.C.
V0N 1T0
Tel/Fax: (604) 898-3039
Toll free: 1-877-604-9005

Ask about multi-day summer and winter packages