WHISTLER

Whistler Traveller Magazine - - CONTENT - IM­AGES BY JOERN ROHDE

Wel­come to Sea to Sky Coun­try

Where ex­treme ath­leti­cism and nat­u­ral beauty con­verge, you nd the Sea to Sky Cor­ri­dor. Lo­cated against the back ydoruo p of south­west Bri­tish Columbia, the re­gion is dot­ted with crys­tal-clear lakes and punc­tu­ated by the soar­ing Coast Moun­tains. “The Cor­ri­dor,” as it is of­ten called, in­cludes the pic­turesque com­mu­ni­ties of Squamish and Whistler be­fore cul­mi­nat­ing in the fer­tile Pemberton Val­ley. The Her­culean land­scape has not gone un­no­ticed by sports en­thu­si­asts, so be pre­pared to see adren­a­line junkies at ev­ery turn. This is a place where skiers and snow­board­ers per­form aer­o­bat­ics in fresh pow­der and na­ture lovers re­joice in the splen­dour!

What­ever re­gion of the Sea to Sky you find your­self in, you will be sur­rounded by breath­tak­ing scenery.

It’s hard to pin­point what ex­actly about Whistler cap­ti­vates trav­ellers and con­tin­ues to call them back again and again. Per­haps it is the su­perb ski­ing and snow­board­ing, and choice of other snow-sports and ac­tiv­i­ties. Per­haps it is the range of up­scale ho­tels, out­stand­ing se­lec­tion of restau­rants, and di­ver­sity of shops. Or per­haps it is sim­ply the youth­ful en­ergy that seems to float around the Vil­lage. One thing is for sure: Whistler is the kind of place you can al­ways spend a lit­tle more time. The re­sort got its start in 1914 when Myr­tle and Alex Philip pur­chased 10 acres (four hectares) of land and es­tab­lished Rain­bow Lodge. It was an im­me­di­ate hit. Tourists trav­elled across Canada to fish and hang out in the sum­mer. Of course, Whistler (or Alta Lake as it was called back then) was a far cry from the es­tab­lished world-class re­sort it has be­come. That all started to change in 1960 when four Van­cou­ver busi­ness­men showed up with the dream of turn­ing the area into a ski re­sort and bid­ding to host the 1968 Win­ter Olympics. While their Olympic dreams went un­re­al­ized at the time, the ski plan took off. In 1966 Whistler Moun­tain opened to the pub­lic, and in 1975, the Re­sort Mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Whistler (RMOW) was formed.

The dream of host­ing the Olympics was fi­nally re­al­ized in 2010, when Whistler served as “Host Moun­tain Re­sort” for the Olympics and Par­a­lympics. It was the site of alpine ski­ing, the slid­ing sports (bobsleigh, luge and skele­ton) and the Nordic sports (cross-coun­try ski­ing, ski jump­ing and Nordic com­bined). Lo­cals are justly proud of the role they played in host­ing the world, and you can find the venues for the three dis­ci­plines still in use, as well as sev­eral sets of the iconic Olympic rings, around the com­mu­nity. To­day, more than 2 mil­lion tourists flock to Whistler each year. The town’s main hub, called the Vil­lage, is found di­rectly at the base of the moun­tains, Whistler and Black­comb, and holds many of the shops, restau­rants, spas and bars. Pa­tios spill onto pedes­trian walk­ways in a sim­i­lar fash­ion to Euro­pean moun­tain towns. Peo­ple car­ry­ing skis and snow­boards pack the walk­ways at the end of the day, usu­ally stop­ping at one of the many bars and restau­rants for après ski. At night, clubs keep par­ty­go­ers carous­ing un­til the wee hours. Of course, Whistler boasts the largest ski­able ter­rain of any re­sort in North Amer­ica at 8,171 acres and is con­sis­tently voted the top ski re­sort on the con­ti­nent. Post­card-per­fect views and end­less stretches of ski runs keep pow­der hounds ful­filled. The ski sea­son here is the long­est in North Amer­ica, run­ning from Novem­ber to July. But eight months of snow does not seem enough to ap­pease some win­ter-happy lo­cals, though, and pray­ing to Ullr, an Old Norse god and pa­tron saint of skiers, has be­come tra­di­tion to en­cour­age more snow­fall. In mid-2016, U.S.-based Vail Re­sorts pur­chased Whistler Black­comb for $1.4 bil­lion. Com­pany of­fi­cials fully sup­port a planned, $345-mil­lion, four-sea­son WB up­grade known as Re­nais­sance. For skiers and snow­board­ers, the deal brings in­clu­sion in Vail Re­sorts’ pop­u­lar, 13-re­sort Epic Pass pro­gram. No mat­ter where you are in Whistler, breath­tak­ing moun­tains and forests will al­ways sur­round you. Pack your cam­era and be pre­pared to spend hours cap­tur­ing im­ages of the beau­ti­ful land­scape.

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