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.