The visit to Whistler Blackcomb ski resort was another amazing trip we did from Vancouver.
Getting its name from the whistling marmots who inhabit this area, this mountain was originally called London Mountain. Located in the Pacific Ranges in British Columbia, this is again a “NO MISS” destination….
North America’s largest ski resort by many standards, it has the greatest uphill lift capacity. No wonder it gets more than 2 million visitors per year and logs in as the busiest ski resort.
The main attraction for non skiers like us is the Peak to Peak Gondola….something I have never experienced before!! It connects the two peaks of Whistler and Blackcomb.
It was originally conceived in an attempt to win the bid for the 1968 Winter Olympics. Unfortunately they failed to win the bid. However, construction continued. Whistler and Blackcomb were initially individual resorts…competing with each other. Subsequently they were merged and we have this beautiful ski resort now.
As if to prove the saying “united we stand”; after the merger, they went on to win the bid for the 2010 Winter Olympics which were hosted here. The Alpine Skiing events were held here.
Located 125 kms from Vancouver, the inhabitants are primarily tourists who come for skiing and snow boarding in winter and mountain biking in summer. It provides all facilities for such tourists like boarding and lodging, restaurants and pubs etc. Actually this was the accommodation for the participants of the Olympics. Subsequently the facilities were modified to cater to the tourists. Famed for its Tyrolean design, it is indeed an impressive starting point for the Gondola and the ski facilities above.
Picked up from our Vancouver hotel, we had a scenic drive through some of British Columbia’s beautiful country side.
We had a small photo halt at a waterfall…the Shannon Falls
We reached Whistler by 10 am but were told that the gondola was temporarily shut due to inclement weather conditions.
We were a bit disappointed but our guide told us that it may still be open after noon.
Meanwhile, we visited Whistler Village. This compact, chalet-style pedestrian village at the base of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains; has lot of hotels, restaurants and other facilities. We walked around exploring the village which was once the accommodation for the participants of the Olympics.
During the walk around we had our eyes constantly looking out for announcements on the electronic display board about the resumption of gondola services.
The electronic display informing the status of various activities
By noon, the announcement came that the gondola would resume service. With much excitement, we boarded the gondola.
This was a 30 minute ride to the peak.
The Gondola to Whistler peak
View of the peaks from the gondola
Whistler peak landing
From there, we took the next gondola which is the peak to peak gondola. This runs between the Whistler and Blackcomb peaks. It has a glass bottom to enable greater visibility. It covers a distance of 4.5 km which makes it the longest connected Gondola system in the world.
Being suspended approximately 400 metres above the valley floor we had unique views of the Valley and the peaks and glaciers in Garibaldi Provincial Park. The glass-bottom cabin was ideal for a bird’s eye view of the creek and forests below. Accessible from the base of Whistler on the Whistler Village Gondola or from the base of Blackcomb on the Blackcomb Gondola; it gives a the 360 degree experience.
The Peak to Peak Gondola between Whistler and Blackcomb
View from gondola
View of Whistler village and the valley from the Peak to Peak gondola
This was really a unique experience. Since it serves a ski resort, the gondolas do round trips and we helped ourselves to two rounds of this exhilarating experience.
On the gondola we met another Indian couple and we had a nice picnic on the gondola munching some goodies which we exchanged.
After two rounds of this trip enjoying the breathtaking views, we returned to Whistler village in the smaller gondola and were driven back to Vancouver.
But not before a photo op ….
Our day among the clouds….on the Olympic podium
Well this brings us to the end of my series on Canada.
Now we move to Australia.…let’s meet next week down under…but not to forget…subscribe below