Forty-seven years ago this month the seed for Whistler was planted, in Squaw Valley, California.
A group of Vancouver businessmen returned from the 1960 Olympics with the idea of developing a ski area near Vancouver to host the 1968 Winter Games. With the backing of Canada’s lone International Olympic Committee member, Sidney Dawes, the group “discovered” London Mountain and the logging community of Alta Lake. As development of the ski area progressed both the mountain and the community became known as “Whistler”.
A lot has happened since then. Whistler has gone through several phases in its growth, a few crises and numerous turning points. In 1960 the Games were the catalyst for Whistler’s development as a mountain resort. In the first decade of a new millennium they are still seen as a catalyst — for a new phase in the resort community’s evolution. Yet it was Whistler’s achievements as a mountain resort that helped secure the 2010 Olympics.
And in three years time Whistler will finally host the Winter Olympics. A lot of work has been done to prepare for Feb. 12, 2010, but there is much to do in the next three years.
In the following pages Pique staff writers explore some of the issues and questions the Olympics raise for Whistler. Beyond the three Whistler event venues and the athletes’ village, which are all progressing on schedule, there are still lots of details to be worked out and strategies to be determined — 2007 is being called the year of questions; 2008 is supposed to be the year for answers.
Whistler exists because of the Winter Olympics but still has lots of work to do to be ready for the Games. This is a look at where Whistler stands three years before the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Accommodation issue in Whistler still not put to bed
VANOC picks up the pace to solve problem sooner rather than later
By Clare Ogilvie
Olympic officials have spent the last several weeks in Whistler focusing on where to put all the people who want to stay here during the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Organizers already have 3,000 rooms arranged in the resort and are near the end of negotiations for another 300 to 400. That will complete their commitment to the International Olympic Committee.
That’s up substantially from the 2,500 rooms VANOC originally said it would need for the Games in Whistler. VANOC also needs to secure close to 16,000 rooms in Vancouver.