Whistler: Vancouver’s Wild and Wintery Counterpart


Layout & Design Editor

Vancouver is blessed with beautiful natural scenery around it, including the North Shore Mountains just north of the city. But by following the Sea to Sky Highway north of the city, you’ll pass through Lion’s Bay, Squamish and eventually arrive in Whistler, flanked by the Pacific Ranges of the Coast Mountains. It’s a whole different world.

I explored and photographed the community, the village, the mountains and the scenery. It is truly a breathtaking place. I also visited the Whistler Museum, a small building that holds many artifacts from Whistler’s history including old ski passes and equipment and pieces from the 2010 Winter Olympics.

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The view from the top of Whistler Mountain, as seen by the statue Ilanaaq, which means friend in the Inuit language Inuktitut. Whistler Village is visible on the right.

Whistler has been around since the early 20th century, when a couple from Maine moved to the area and opened up a camping lodge called Rainbow Lodge. A railroad was completed in 1914, which helped Rainbow Lodge

and the other surrounding accommodations in Alta Lake, which would later become Whistler.

There were no facilities such as water or electricity in Whistler until the early 1960s when the community banded together to build a ski resort for a shot at hosting the 1968 Winter Olympics. They didn’t win the 1968 bid, but instead the 1976 bid, yet had to decline after elections voted in government officials that were pessimistic about the cost.


Throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s, Whistler gained a reputation as one of the best skiing resorts in the world, and has been top-rated since. They finally got their Winter Olympics in a joint bid with Vancouver in 2010.

Needless to say, the area gets a lot of snow. According to Whistler Blackcomb, the largest resort in the Whistler area, their slopes have seen just short of 38 feet of snow this season, with a current base depth of 9 feet 10 inches.

According to one of the village’s bartenders, about 10,000 people live in Whistler year-round, and over 2 million visit every year. The main season here lasts from about November to April, then people visit for the summer activities from June until September. Then, the cycle starts all over again.

It’s no wonder over 2 million people visit annually – the natural beauty of the area is stunning and deserves a visit from anyone who appreciates the outdoors.