Overview of Whistler

Nestled in the beautiful coastal mountains of British Columbia, and now under two hours north of Vancouver on an improved highway, Whistler is a genuine year-round destination that is consistently ranked the number one mountain resort in North America.

At the heart of Whistler are two spectacular mountains which offer epic skiing and snowboarding conditions on more than 8,100 skiable acres in the winter, and world class mountain biking and hiking in the summer. On top of this, there are four championship golf courses, numerous lakes for swimming, boating and wakeboarding, excellent fishing, ziplining, bungee jumping, cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing, dog-sledding and so much more. And when it's time to unwind, there are spas, more than 200 shops, and 90 restaurants and bars. As well as the permanent attractions, there are numerous events and festivals in Whistler held throughout the year. These include World Cup ski events, the World Ski and Snowboard Festival, Crankworx, the Whistler Film Festival, Cornucopia, WinterPride and much more.

With around 10,000 permanent residents, the vibrant Whistler community is self-sufficient, offering both elementary and high schools, a sports centre, a library, a community theatre and a bustling network of special interest groups for every aspect of community living. Art and music festivals take place regularly. Families can enjoy a skating rink, pool, climbing gym, fitness gyms and both indoor and outdoor tennis courts. Scattered throughout the village are tasteful retail locations, gift shops and art galleries. There are numerous world-class dining options, and the highest quality and selection of foods is offered at several supermarket locations. And getting around has never been so easy. A paved valley trail means effortless commuting by foot and bike, while a local bus system links the entire Whistler luxury community. If you choose to drive, you will find plenty of parking.

Whistler has all the natural beauty and outdoor adventure of a remote mountain resort, and all the convenience and sophistication of a city. Living in the Whistler area, you get the best of both worlds. Easy access to mountains, lakes and countless trails, combined with community and resort amenities on your doorstep. You don't have to leave Whistler to experience what the world has to offer. The world comes to Whistler.

History of Whistler

The history of Whistler extends far back before the first condo or resort complex ever popped up. The Whistler Valley was once an isolated trading route between the Squamish and Lil'wat Nations. After the area was surveyed and documented in 1858 by the Hudson Bay Company, the name "London Mountain" was given to what soon became locally known as "Whistler" because of the shrill whistling sounds of the local Western Hoary Marmot. An adventurous American couple, Myrtle and Alex Philip, opened the first Whistler resort, a fishing lodge on Alta Lake, in 1914. That same year the Pacific Great Eastern Railway linked Vancouver to Alta Lake, and the area became the most popular summer destination on the West Coast. It was just the very beginning of the influx of the Whistler resort, chalet and condo development to come later in the century.

In the early 1960s, a group of Vancouver businessmen formed the Garibaldi Olympic Development Association, choosing to develop Whistler as the site for the 1968 Winter Olympic Games. Although their bid was unsuccessful, the first road from Vancouver was completed in 1965 and the mountain's first ski area, known today as Creekside, opened to the public in 1966. The fast growth of Whistler, BC led to the creation of the Resort Municipality of Whistler in 1975, the first resort municipality of Canada. Quickly following this announcement, development proposals were issued for Blackcomb Mountain, as well as a new town centre situated between the two mountains (on the site that was then the community garbage dump).

When Blackcomb Mountain opened in 1980 with a modern Whistler Village at its base between the two mountains, the modern ski experience was re-invented and a competitive rivalry began, resulting in remarkable improvements to alpine lift access. The luxury Whistler ski condo became a ubiquitous feature, and a world renowned ideal. After many years of accolades for being the number one ski destination in North America, the two independently run mountains eventually merged under the direction of Intrawest in 1997, creating Whistler Blackcomb, one of the biggest mountain resort complexes in the world. In 2003, Whistler Village, in partnership with Vancouver, won the bid to host the 2010 Winter Olympics and finally realized its historical dream.

Whistler's Olympic Legacy

Hosting the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games has left a permanent legacy, both tangible and intangible, for Whistler. In terms of infrastructure, Whistler has benefitted from a vastly improved highway (downtown Vancouver can now be reached in well under two hours), two brand new competition venues (Whistler Sliding Centre and Whistler Olympic Park), Whistler Medals Plaza and the Athletes' Village housing complex which has now been converted into housing for Whistler workers at Cheakamus Crossing. On top of this, Whistler has even more firmly established itself in the eyes of a global audience as one of the world's pre-eminent ski resorts. The benefits of the goodwill and excitement generated during its hosting of the Games will be felt for years to come.

Whistler Facts and Stats

Whistler Blackcomb Combined

Average Snowfall

396 inches/33 feet/10 metres per year

Total Terrain

8,171 acres/3,307 hectares

Trails

200 +

Longitude/Latitude

50° latitude, 122° longitude

Mountain Restaurants

17 with a total of 6,540 restaurant seats

Highest Lift Accessed Elevation

2,284 metres/7,494 feet

Whistler Village Elevation

675 metres/2,214 feet

Creekside Base Elevation

653 metres/2140 feet

Number of Lifts

38

Hourly Lift Capacity

61,407 skiers per hour

 

Individual Mountain Stats

 

Whistler Mountain

Blackcomb  Mountain

Vertical

1,530 metres
5,020 feet

1,609 metres
5,280 feet

Top Elevation

2,182 metres
7,160 feet

2,284 metres
7,494 feet

Skiable Terrain

4,757 acres
1,925 hectares

3,414 acres
1,382 hectares

Terrain Type (beg/int/adv)

20%/55%/25%

15%/55%/30%

Trails

100+

100+

Parks & Pipes

3 parks, 1 halfpipe

3 Parks, 2 Super Pipes

Total Number of Lifts

21 including;
2 high-speed gondolas
6 high-speed quads
2 triple chairs
1 double chair
9 surface lifts

17 including:
1 high-speed gondola
7 high-speed quads
3 triple chairs
7 surface lifts

Total Hourly Lift Capacity

32,295 skiers per hour

29,112 skiers per hour

Longest Run

11 km/7 miles Burnt Stew to Side-Winder, Upper and Lower Olympic

11 km/ 7 miles Green Road down Easy Out

Mountain Restaurants

8

9

Snowmaking

215 acres/87 hectares

350 acres/142 hectares

Season Dates

November 23, 2006 - April 22, 2007

November 23, 2006 - June 3, 2007

Mountain Bike Park

May 19, 2007 - October 7, 2007

 

Summer Glacier Dates

n/a

 June 4, 2007 - July 29, 2007

 

Whistler Village

Accommodations

Resort capacity of 115 hotels, condos, bed & breakfasts; more than 5,400 rooms, 230 hostel beds and 172 campsites for a total of approximately 24,000 visitors.

Restaurants and bars

93

Retails shops

200 +

Whistler residents:

9,248 permanent residents (2006 Census adjusted),

2,500 seasonal (est.),

9,100 second-home owners (est.)

More than 75% of the people working in Whistler, live in Whistler

4,000 permanent and seasonal residents live in "employee restricted" housing (houses, town homes and apartments)

Source: Tourism Whistler