Saturday, January 1, 2011

Skiing in Whistler BC

We decided to end the year by taking a Ski and Snow Boarding trip to Whistler BC...part of our beautiful province which is British Columbia...While we rode in our family Van, I kept dreaming about what the ride up there would be like in the spring or summer on an iron horse such as shown here

While most of my friends tend to view Whistler as a resort area, and, an expensive one at that, we must remember the humble beginnings of this tiny fishing village in the 1800's.

It is now converted to a beautiful resort which includes everything your little heart might desire, from skiing and snow boarding and winter game activities in the winter, to fishing, swimming, dining, shopping foot and body massages, apres ski lounges, bars, eateries, etc...all year round.

So I thought I'd give you a bit of Whistler's background story/history, followed by some of our wonderful trip's pictures...

The Whistler area is not only a place of scenic wonder, but also a region that is rich with a fascinating history and cultural background. Before becoming a ski area and winning accolades as a world-class resort, and before welcoming the world for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, this was still a place that drew visitors from far and wide.

First Nations History of Whistler

The Coast Salish First Nations people inhabited the land around Whistler for many thousands of years, hunting and gathering and living a nomadic lifestyle long before European settlers arrived.

The Coast Salish are quite different from the other First Nations of the B.C. coast. Their weather is the most mild of all the coastal nations of B.C. and their resources the most varied. The ranking for the other nations is also much more defined. Because of the mild climate and bountiful resources, the land of the Coast Salish became the most inhabited by European peoples. The two most populous cities in B.C., Vancouver and Victoria, are in Coast Salish land. This has had a large effect on the culture of the Coast Salish.

Coast Salish art was nearly forgotten as European peoples picked the Native art style that appealed to them the most and neglected all others. The use of art in ceremony also diminished as ceremonies were outlawed and children required to attend residential schools where they could not learn the ceremonies. Neither the culture nor art died, and there has since been a revival of Coast Salish culture and Coast Salish art.

Whistler itself was often a way-point for First Nation trading routes between the Squamish and Lil'wat Nations, as it was rich with wildlife and resources. At one time, tens of thousands of Coast Salish First Nations people lived, traded and thrived in the areas between Vancouver, Howe Sound and Lillooet. In fact, some of the hiking routes between Howe Sound and Deep Cove (east of Vancouver) are the traditional routes traveled by the Coast Salish First Nations peoples.

The Modern History of Whistler

From its humble beginnings as a fishing lodge in 1914, to being centre stage for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games — Whistler was always considered a special place and outstanding destination for adventurous spirits.

The Pemberton Trail is completed linking the Pemberton valley to the Pacific coast, north of Vancouver.

Trappers and prospectors settle in the area. Alta Lake was the original name of Whistler but the settlers start calling the area "Whistler" because of the shrill whistle sound made by the western hoary marmots who live among the rocks.

Myrtle and Alex Philip arrive in Vancouver from Maine. They hear about Whistler's spectacular beauty.

Myrtle and Alex take the three-day journey to Whistler: a steamer ship from Vancouver to Squamish, overnight in Brackendale, and a two-day horse trek to Whistler.

Myrtle and Alex buy ten acres of land and build the Rainbow Lodge on the shores of Alta Lake. The Great Pacific Eastern Railway (now BC Rail) is built to Alta Lake and links the valley to the outside world. Whistler becomes a base for logging and mining. Myrtle and Alex's Rainbow Lodge is the most popular resort destination west of Banff and Jasper.

Other lodges open throughout the valley. The abundant fish stocks make Whistler a summer resort destination long before it is considered a winter destination. Winter travel becomes possible when a gravel road to Squamish is carved from the cliffs of Howe Sound.

Early 1960s
During the early 1960s a group of Vancouver Businessmen formed the Garibaldi Olympic Development Association (GODA) to develop a site to host the 1968 Winter Olympic Games and selected London Mountain (Whistler Mountain’s original name) as the preferred venue.

Here is the whole story

The single-lane road is extended to Whistler because of the ski area development, and to Pemberton later that same year. The trip from Vancouver to Whistler took 5-6 hours.

Whistler Mountain finally gets the name "Garibaldi Whistler Mountain". Development of the ski area on the south side of Whistler Mountain began. What is now called Creekside was once the original Village and featured a four-person gondola to the mountain’s mid-station, a double chairlift to the alpine tree line, and two T-bars.

Whistler officially opens for skiing.

A two-lane gravel road built in 1965 is paved to Whistler and then to Pemberton.

The new municipality is given 53 acres of Crown land to develop a town centre.

Construction begins on the new town centre that will eventually become Whistler Village.

Blackcomb Mountain (right next to Whistler Mountain) opens creating one of the largest ski complexes in North America.

Blackcomb Mountain expands its terrain and becomes North America’s only "Mile High Mountain".

Snow Country Magazine votes Whistler the "Number One Ski Resort in North America" and the trend continues through to today with the resort earning the top spot for destination resort and its incredible skiing in numerous industry magazines and readers’ polls.

Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains merge under Intrawest Corporation.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) shortlists Vancouver/Whistler as a Candidate City for hosting the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

Vancouver/Whistler win the bid to host the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

The peaks of Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains were linked with the opening of the brand new PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola. This multi record-breaking lift allows skiers, snowboarders and, in the summer, hikers, faster access to the award-winning terrain on both mountains.

While the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games have come and gone, Whistler's spot on the world stage is firmly established. With fanstastic Olympic legacies like the Whistler Sliding Centre, Whistler Olympic Park and Whistler Medals Plaza as well as the record-breaking PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola, Whistler becomes even more a world-class, four season destination.

As mentioned at the beginning of this story, our family decided to take a few days off and go to Whistler for a bit of fun in the are some real life photos (Not in any particular order) of our trip up need to know...there was no snow all the way up there on the Sea to Sky highway...until we passed Squamish, then there was snow galore, poor visibility and reduced driving speeds all the way to our destination.

The shot below shows a scenic cross road in Squamish...notice how the mountains in the background blend with the scene

A family Bar-B-Q in the evening consisted of pork chops, lamb and beef served with Pilaf, a Greek salad, veggies and a fine BC Wine...Not expensive but very enjoyable.

The Proprietor's Reserve is a Medium-bodied Dry Red wine with flavors of red berry fruit and spice, this wine has a soft fruit finish that makes it ideal to enjoy on its own or with a variety of foods including any of your favorite red meats, pizza or pastas...and hence it was our choice of wine for the holidays...besides at $ 14.75 for 1.5L it wasn't expensive.

Our Cars, Vans and SUV's parked in front of the property where we spent our holiday

Relaxing by this fire place with a glass of warm Cognac was just what we needed to end the day in a happy state of mind

The streets were plowed clean by the City's snow cleaning crews regularly which allowed us and the tons of other tourists or holiday makers to drive up and down the snowy hills to get to the grocery store or just to the village for a walk about or run their errnands.

This is actually where the 2010 Winter Olympics slopes were located and we had an excellent view of the slopes from the back terrace in our temporary appartment.

Skiers, including my17 year old son, going don the slope.

The Gondola and bus station at the bottom of the village in Whistler.

The Gondolas ran from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm ferrying skiers up and down the hills. A day pass cost around $ 70.00

I am looking forward to making the run up there this summer on 2 wheels


Keith - Circle Blue said...

I grateful to have the history of Whistler.

Sounds like a great get away. I look forward to the sequel this summer.

Happy New Year!

A Lady's Life said...

Nice history.
Can you imagine all this that went on?
Its a great place. :)

Amber said...

That was so interesting! Thank you! I have always wanted to go to Whistler. It is very popular with Australians, but this poor little on has never been. Sounds like you had a good ending to a good year! Happy 2011.

Rajesh said...

Great stuff.
Wish you Happy and Prosperous New Year. said...

WOW!!!!! Thanks!

Canajun said...

Sounds like a fabulous holiday. Spent a couple of weeks there a few years ago in August, and it's just as interesting a place in the summer.

Richard Lawry said...

I would love to visit there, thanks for the history

An Arkies Musings

Bill ~ {The Old Fart} said...

Thank you for posting Baron, your pictures were wonderful. BC is a Beautiful Province, so much to see and do.

Looking forward to your post this summer of your next visit.

Baron's Life said...

Circvle Blue..Thanks for your visit and a Happy New Year to you as well. Will be following your blog.

Baron's Life said...

Lady's Life
Thanks for your kind words...always appreciated. Glad you liked the article

Baron's Life said...

It truly is a gorgeous place to be in and yes I can't think of a better way to end the year. Hope you come out one of these days.
Happy New Year to you and your loved ones.

Baron's Life said...

Thanks for dropping by. Glad you liked it..Happy New Year

Baron's Life said...

MJ Reynolds,
Thanks my good friend. I look forward to all your good stuff in 2011

Baron's Life said...

Yes it was fabulous to put it 2 weeks up there in August could end up to be very costly but I think it is well worth it. Cheers bud.

Baron's Life said...

You and your family are always welcome to BC. Hope you can come out some day.

Baron's Life said...

Thanks. Yeah it is a beautiful place. Maybe you will come out here some day in the future

Nikos said...

Ποια θαυμάσια έκθεση O.K. Baron. Σας εύχομαι όλοι μια καλή χρονιά.


Baron's Life said...

Thanks Nikos...same to you and to Mrs. Nikos...Khronia Poli Pola

Roy Karny said...

Excellent! I love it when an article sends me to Google Maps to locate further info., put it down as. "place to visit". Though it will take probably some time... Saving for a new beast ;)

Baron's Life said...

W Roy,
Thanks for the visit man. I have become your first follower in the hopes that you will soon post some stuff on the wonderful trips and/or just on your scooter...Israel has so many nice places to visit and to explore that I am sure you will attract a great give it a spin worries about the new beast ride what you have for now...cheers

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