Friday, January 18, 2013

Whistler, BC Canada

Not many people know that during the 2010 Winter Olympics, Whistler hosted most of the alpine, Nordic, luge, skeleton, and bobsled events, though freestyle skiing and all snowboarding events were hosted at Cypress Mountain near Vancouver.
Whistler was offered the 1976 Winter Olympics after selected host Denver declined the games due to funding issues. Whistler also declined after the voting in the local government. The 1976 Winter Olympics were ultimately held in Innsbruck, Austria.
http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Whistler,_British_Columbia
Whistler area has seen a surge in the bear population.

Ski lift at Whistler

Many of Whistler’s bears have learned to do things like open car doors or hold spring-closed gates open so they can reach food. Most are relatively docile and few bear-human incidents have been reported. Whistler residents are strongly conservationist, and the official response has relied heavily on behavior modification for both bears and people. Removal or killing are last resorts. The techniques being used have been studied and adopted by other municipalities with bear problems around the world.
These were few facts about Whistler.

At midway to the lifts Whistler
Whistler is a mesmerizing place, a dream place to be.
Let’s go Whistler. In my last post about Sea to Sky highway we arrived close to Whistler and made lunch in the wilderness.
(Actually that post is now scheduled after four days of this.)
So let’s arrive in Whistler today.
Whistler Blackcomb is one of the greatest ski resort in the world. It has the greatest uphill lift capacity.

Dragging ski lifts of Whistler
Until 2009 it was the highest vertical skiing slopes in the world. Whistler Blackcomb also features the Peak 2 Peak Gondola for moving between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains at the top; Peak 2 Peak holds records for the highest and longest unsupported cable car span in the world.
Let’s buy the lift tickets of Blackcomb mountain.
Good thing that we have warm clothes otherwise we were to come running down and we would have missed most of the fun.
Whistler / Blackcomb Ski Resort has 37 lifts.
16 Surface Lifts
1 Double Chair
5 Triple Chairs
13 Hi-Speed Quads
3 Hi-Speed Gondolas
At Whistler / Blackcomb Ski Resort, the total vertical drop is 5,354 feet and the base elevation is 2,140 feet.

View from the midway
The summit elevation is 7,494 feet.
This means we will be taking our first lift at 2140 feet and then at several stations we will change the lift and get to the top of the mountain at 7495 feet. In the winter months, skiing can be done at the whole slope from the top to bottom but in summers, one can ski about half way but lifts are operational year around.
Since it is June so snow it not at the bottom but on the mountain so let’s catch ski lift. I prefer open air chairs rather cabin cable cars. So we sit on the lift and zoom it begins going up and and up.

Ski lift
We feel like we are sitting in an airplane and vista is spreading up at each moment. In just 5 minutes the change station comes. From this station we can see that soon we will enter in the snow zone. We change the lift and again I prefer open chairs although now air is cool and crisp at this height.
We again begin flying in the air. Now we have snow under us and it is thickening by each moment.

Ski lift
Air is cool and we now have to close our jackets tight and put the cap on the head. We are going up and up and here comes the second station. We see many people at this station because this station becomes a HQ of skiers. There is a huge restaurant with 3D views from the windows. It appears that we are standing on 3000 feet high wall. above and around all we see is snow-white and some colorful dots on the snow representing skiers.

Lifts and trail map at Whistler
You can rent ski or snowboard here or bring your own. Well, I am not into skiing, I used to be a good skater (rollers as well ice) but those days are gone.
It appears that only I and you walked into the restaurant but all others are arriving by skiing. Lifts take them to the top of the mountain and they ski down and then again they take lift to the top and slide down and it goes on and on. This nice restaurant is in the middle to have hot coffee and food or just you can spend some time to warm yourself up.
Well, we had coffee and sandwiches here and warmed up enough for our next rendezvous on the further lifts.

Beginning of the lifts at Whistler in November
So we take the lift to the top of the mountain. It is all white here, we are in the clouds. This much white is biting the eyes. In 7-8 minutes lift brings us to the top of black-comb mountain. Views are superb here. We can see the coastal mountains all around us.

View from midway
There is another mountain where a gondola is going from here. Peak to Peak. That is Whistler Mountain. So let’s take this gondola (cable-car).

Peak to peak gondola between Whistler and Black-Comb peaks
The record-breaking PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola is an engineering marvel that links Black-comb and Whistler Mountains at their tops. This is the longest unsupported lift span in the world (3.024 kilometers or 1. 88 miles), it is also the highest lift of its kind with an elevation of 435 meters/1,427 feet.

Restaurant at midway
Well we enjoyed this gondola, it is very scary though. It is hard to find words to explain this experience. If you like heights and spectacular mountain views, this is for you. All people think they would be scared but they all ended up wanting more.

Whistler ski slopes
From the smaller car up the mountain to the large gondola.
That’s what we want. We return to Black-comb mountain and come down and do this again and then again and then again till evening when air is very cold and crisp. Several times we walk in the midway restaurant to have hot chocolate and snacks although we need to walk in knee deep snow each time to get to the building.
Damn it we want to do it again. . .

Whistler resorts area in the winter

Whistler resorts area in the winter

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