The Resort Municipality of Whistler: On top of the world
For 27 days earlier this year Whistler basked in the spotlight of the world as co-host of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, and while the picturesque beauty of this mountain community may have been unknown to some before last February, its rise to international stardom has been anything but an overnight success.
Situated 120 km and about a two-hour drive from Vancouver along the Sea to Sky Highway, Whistler has been a popular resort destination since Myrtle and Alex Philip first built their Rainbow Lodge on the shores of Alta Lake back in 1914. Initially a summer getaway, it wasnt until 1966 that Whistler officially opened for skiing and when Blackcomb Mountain came along in 1980 it created one of the largest ski complexes in North America.
Incorporated as the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW), the area itself provides a mountain experience like few other places in the world. Whistlers location in the Coast Mountains results in an annual snowfall of more than 10 metres or 33 feet, yet its coastal proximity makes for moderate temperatures that average around -5°C and rarely dip below - 15°C. Consistently ranked as the top ski resort in North America, the community is home to 9500 full-time residents, 11,500 second-home owners, and an additional 2300 seasonal residents, many of whom share a strong sense of community and a commitment to preserving the regions pristine natural environment. Including overnight and day visitors, daily population averages just over 28,000 in the winter months and peaks between Christmas and New Years at approximately 45,000.
With the highest lift-serviced vertical and the largest terrain of any ski area on the continent, Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains together offer more than 8100 acres of skiable terrain, over 200 trails, the longest unsupported lift span in the world with the Peak to Peak Gondola, and a total capacity of nearly 62,000 skiers per hour on some of the most reliable and consistent snow conditions around.
More than great skiing and boarding
But theres more to Whistler than just world-class skiing and snowboarding. Families, thrill-seekers, and adventure travelers alike can also enjoy 129km of perfectly groomed Nordic skiing, guided backcountry tours, moonlit sleigh rides, along with snowshoeing, snowmobiling, tubing, premier dog sledding or BCs highest year-round bungee jumping venue at Whistler Bungee. Indoor activities range from swimming to skating to arts and culture at the Whistler Museum or the Squamish Lilwat Cultural Centre, or for something a bit different theres indoor climbing and kids adventure camps at The Core, yoga and pilates at Solarice Wellness Spa or hot yoga, ashtanga, or kundalini at Neoalpine in Function Junction.
In the summer, its an entirely new adventure. With four championship- designed golf courses including Arnold Palmers first ever Canadian designed course at the Whistler Golf Club and the only course in the world to bear Jack Nicklaus name at Nicklaus North, Whistler has been rated Canadas number one golf destination by Golf Digest.
For biking enthusiasts, it doesnt get much better than Whistler Mountain Bike Park which has over 200km of lift-serviced trails through old-growth forests plus two jump parks, three skills centres and a biker cross. Not for the faint of heart, Whistler Zipline offers another spectacular experience with a thrilling ride over creeks, valleys and treetops, including a heart pounding 2200 foot monster line that drops over 20 stories and a ZOOM line that reaches speeds of 100 km/hour.
Other popular outdoor activities include hiking, fishing, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, white water rafting, tennis, in-line skating and sailing, and Whistlers range of accommodation and conference facilities make it an ideal choice for meeting planners, international vacationers and outdoor enthusiasts alike.
Part international destination, part mountain town
The centre of this resort community is Whistler Village, a pedestrian- only area that was originally designed to be a focal point for visitors. The Villages contemporary West Coast architecture and charming alpine atmosphere combine to create a unique experience all its own. Since construction began in 1978 the Village has grown to be a central hub of activity and now boasts over 200 shops, 90 restaurants and a vibrant après ski scene, along with art galleries, rejuvenating spas, hotels, parks, and of course, spectacular mountain views.
The international media exposure brought on by the 2010 Winter Games only served to add to the areas popularity, however its the lasting effect of the venues that will directly benefit the community for years to come. Some of the legacies of the Games include three state- of-the-art weather stations to help improve mountain weather forecasts, the Athletes Village which will be transformed into an affordable housing complex, and the Medals Plaza which will serve as an outdoor gathering and event space. The Whistler Sliding Centre and Whistler Olympic Park will provide a first-rate training ground for both elite athletes and recreational users, and a new natural gas pipeline, hydrogen buses and a vastly improved highway are just a few of the other lasting benefits of being named Host Mountain Resort for the biggest winter sporting event in the world.
Location, location, location
When it comes to real estate, Whistler is a market unto itself. Despite a slower summer, home sales have rebounded since September in part due to a diversified audience of international buyers from as far away as Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia. With respect to real estate currently on the market, here is a sample of some of the active developments in the area:
Red Sky Townhomes at Baxter Creek
Encompassing the last bed units at Whistler allowed by the Resort Municipality of Whistler and the Provincial Government, the Red Sky Townhomes at Baxter Creek will be built in a mountain contemporary style with an average price of $1.2M. Key features include incredible views, full day sun exposure, and the option to customize 450 sq ft of living space on the lower level.
For more information contact (604) 932-7690.
Whether you plan to purchase or build your dream home in Whistler, Kyber Developments has properties for sale that include totally furnished townhomes, furnished or unfurnished new homes, and a portfolio of undeveloped single-family home lots to plan and build a home to your design guidelines.
For more information call 604 935-2037 or visit www.kyberdevelopments.com
WedgeWoods at Whistler
WedgeWoods at Whistler offers acreages starting at $700,000. Located just minutes north of the Village this 600 acre development allows for some of the largest buildable areas in the region, plus plenty of room for workshops, pools, and veggie gardens.
For more information contact Jon Chaudhari at 604-905-2834 or visit www.WedgeWoodsWhistler.com
Photo courtesy of Joern Rohde and Tourism Whistler