Whistler – Blackcomb
Whistler-Blackcomb is a ski resort located in Whistler, British Columbia which comprises a village with several large hotels, eateries and bars, condominiums, and expensive homes. The village is 675 metres (2,214 feet) above sea level, and is located approximately 126 kilometres from Vancouver, and Vancouver International Airport
There are two mountains developed for skiing, Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain. The highest lift elevation, on Blackcomb, is 2284 metres (7,494 feet), and the terrain is accessed by 24 major lifts. The vertical drop of 1609 metres (5,280 feet, or one mile) at Blackcomb is the highest of any ski resort in North America. Blackcomb has a glacier that allows for summer skiing from June till August.
The Whistler-Blackcomb area is also a great hiking area and summer destination, a full 12 month playground. Whistler-Blackcomb will be hosting many of the skiing events for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.
Whistler Mountain opened for skiing in February, 1966, with a gondola lift, double chairlift (the Red Chair) and T-Bar. The new mountain won instant acclaim for its vertical drop, good snow conditions, and huge alpine area. The only problem at the time was the road- it was a dirt logging track, which was only plowed on Saturdays- meaning Friday travellers had one heck of a time.
Because the number of visitors was rapidly increasing, the town in the valley had to expand as well to accommodate them. A plan was drawn up, and the village of Alta Lake was incorporated into the Resort Municipality of Whistler in 1975. The new municipal government, which had powers that enabled better management of the growing community, immediately initiated construction of Whistler Village.
Whistler Village opened in 1980. Along with it came a succession of three triple chairlifts, the Village, Olympic, and Black Chairs, that carried skiers from the Village to the Roundhouse in no less than 45 minutes.
Blackcomb Mountain opened in 1980, under the ownership of the Aspen Skiing Company with four triple chairlifts (the Cruiser, Stoker, Catskinner and Fitzsimmons lifts), supplied by Lift Engineering. The mountain was not initially appreciated. Indeed, the mountain was considered “new kid on the block” into the early 1990s.
In 1994, Blackcomb made its last major expansion to date, the replacement of the Stoker, Cruiser, and Fitzsimmons lifts with a high-speed quad and gondola.
Blackcomb Mountain will also host events in the 2010 Winter Games.