New topographic map eases travels for tourists and bikers By Andy Stonehouse Although it's probably certain that Eldon Beck never planned to drive new tourists to Whistler completely insane with his initial designs for the village, it's not that uncommon to see a first-time visitor pulling their hair out, completely lost five minutes after parking the car. Even those who do manage to find a spot to park are frequently no further along the road to finding their rental unit or a local restaurant if they consult the municipal map boards, which seem to be updated roughly every federal election campaign. It is with some relief that the terminally lost can finally get some handy help in nailing down a night's rest at one of Whistler's hundreds of similar-looking condo units, or even venture into the backcountry with a comfortable level of safety. A New Westminster map book company, working in co-operation with Tom Barratt's local architecture company, has recently released what is probably the most concise map of the Whistler area available. The map, which covers terrain from Black Tusk Village and Brandywine Meadows all the way north to Wedgemont, also flips over to provide a detailed look at all of Whistler, including close detail of the Village, Upper Village and Village North. Russell Mussio, publisher of the new map, says he hopes the final product will serve as the authoritative resource for those hoping to find their way around the valley. "I frequent the area myself and I'm still somewhat confused every time I visit," Mussio says. "On the whole, we wanted to create the ultimate product, especially for a place with such a migratory base." While many Whistler maps produced in the past five years still show huge holes in the village where new hotels and businesses have magically emerged, Mussio's new map was produced using the municipality's most recent building permit list and should be accurate for years to come. This is especially true in the map's detailed village section, which names more than 100 condos, hotels, restaurants and local landmarks, like the library and fire station. "It helped that we know Tom Barratt and the local building inspector, and as a result, we've included all of the buildings that were planned up to the end of the year. We also plan to add more hiking and biking trails through the updates, once we know that they're accurate." The new map's topographic details include a wide variety of official and user-maintained biking routes throughout the valley, with some extremely accurate topographic info for spotting the most thigh-burning climbs. Also included are local 4x4 trails and backcountry recreation sites, useful for those hoping to head out of town but still wanting to find their way home. In addition to Barratt's company, Mussio said further assistance was also provided by Vancouver's Talisman Land Resource Consultants, who helped inject computer-assisted drafting and GIS technology to make the product as accurate as possible. The map retails for $9.95 and is available at a variety of local stores and outdoor goods sellers, as well as Vancouver's Mountain Equipment Co-op and Coast Mountain Sports.