There are many well-known facts about Whistler that you have probably read about in a guidebook or heard rattled off by the media or someone you know. It is accepted truth that Whistler has over 200 runs, 99 acres of Terrain Park, and an elevation is 2181m. How could we miss the fact that Whistler hosted the Olympic Games in 2010 and if you live in Vancouver you are probably aware that Whistler is a quick 125km trip up the Sea to Sky Highway. There are, however, some less published facts about this mountain destination that require a bit of digging and some insider knowledge to know. Let me now enlighten you with 7 things you probably don’t know about the resort destination of Whistler, BC.
- It’s a Dumpsite
You wouldn’t guess it now but the ritzy Whistler Village currently lined with high end retail stores, world-class restaurants and perfectly manicured landscapes was once a garbage dump. In 1977 a community plan proposed a tourist village at the intersection of Whistler and Blackcomb Mountain and in 1978 construction of the current Whistler Village began. Now that’s one Extreme Makeover Challenge!
- It is steeped in Pagan traditions
Most years at the beginning of the winter season eager snow revelers join together for a pagan-style party worshiping Ullr, the god of snow. Festivities take place at bars and clubs throughout Whistler with a time honoured ritual of sacrificing skis in a bonfire to appease the God of snow and bless the mountain with abundant snowfall.
- It took over 50 years to land the Olympics
Whistler seems like a no brainer for the winter Olympic games- right? Well the International Olympic Committee took some time to realize this obvious truth. Whistler submitted its first application to host the Olympic Games in 1968 but failed to land the event. Another bid was placed in 1976 with no such luck. Finally Whistler/Vancouver won the bid to host the 2010 Winter Olympics and Whistler finally saw its 50 year dream realized!
- There are more bears then you think
Bears are an assimilated part of Whistler life going about their day in seamless co-existence with the 10,000 locals and more than 2 million visitors each year. Did you know there are over 100 resident black bears in Whistler and they are the only population of black bears in British Columbia that have been studied for over 2 decades? Just to make your bear spotting even more exciting it isn’t uncommon for an occasional Grizzly Bear spotting in the Sea to Sky Corridor!
- You can ski all summer long
The sun is out, its slush conditions and you’re rocking a T-shirt and a sad face. Cheer up- the season is not over! Did you know that you can ski and ride all summer on Horstman Glacier on Blackcomb? That’s right, Horstman Glacier is open all summer long with two T-bars and a terrain park perfect for intermediate and advanced skiers and riders.
- It was originally called London Mountain
Back before the 1970’s Whistler Mountain was called London Mountain after a mining claim and because of the thick fog which hugged the base of the mountain. Thank-fully the unique noises made by the local hoary marmot sparked a name change to Whistler in the late 1960’s.
- It’s Colonized by Australians
Whistler has been informally renamed Whistralia due to the mass migration of skiers and snowboarders from the land Down-Under. When making your way around Whistler you are just as likely to hear an Australian accent as you are a Canadian and the Australia Day celebrations take the cake as one of the biggest events on the Whistler social calendar!
So there you have it, 7 unique, and interesting facts about Whistler that you probably didn’t know. For more unique and interesting facts about Whistler make sure to get your Whistler Adventure Passport. The Passport is your guidebook to everything Whistler PLUS it has over $1000 in savings on tours, attractions, restaurants and retail. Get one today!