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Whistler and Valley express

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Planning to eat, drink and be merry? Then plan to take the bus.

The Whistler and Valley Express (WAVE) bus will be free on New Year’s Eve from 8 p.m. until 3 a.m. However the service will be interrupted between 10 p.m. and midnight.

If you need more information, get a New Year’s Eve timetable from your bus driver, call Transit Information at 604-932-4020, or go online at www.busonline.ca .

Avalanche

According to the Canadian Avalanche Foundation snow avalanches are the most deadly natural hazard in Canada.

On average, more than 12 people die in snow avalanches each year. For each person killed, five more are caught by avalanches, and survive. Many of these survivors receive serious injuries.

More than two-thirds of these avalanche accidents involve members of the public conducting activities on their own, where avalanche safety programs are not in place.

One of the highest risk groups today are young people who ski and board outside the ski area boundaries, a popular pastime in these parts.

Yet the organization which works to bring backcountry enthusiasts up to date information is still struggling to get enough money together to produce its life-saving bulletin.

This year the CAF will be hosting its Avalanche Awareness Days in Whistler and donating funds to the Canadian Avalanche Association, which produces the bulletin.

Conditions and weather are checked at more than 60 locations across Western Canada to produce the bulletin, which is available on line at www.avalanche.ca .

More than 1,000 people use the site every day during the winter months. Another 1,500 have the information e-mailed to them. Sixty receive the information by fax every time it is updated and 1,800 phone the Revelstoke-based Avalanche center to get updated every season.

On Jan. 10 Justin Trudeau will be co-hosting a CAF fundraising dinner and dance at Dusty’s Bar and Grill starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are $150 each and a tax receipt for $75 dollars will be issued for each ticket purchased.

Trudeau’s brother Michel was killed in an avalanche in 1998.

To get tickets call Dawn Walsh at 1-403-678-2477 or go to info@avalanchefoundation.ca . Tickets are also available at Whistler Mountain Ski Patrol Dispatch or Whistler Heli-Skiing in the village.

Meanwhile the CAA has just received $30,000 from two corporate sponsors.

"It is really very exciting news," said Evan Manners, operations manager for the CAA.

The money comes from Vertech Contractors and Janod Contractors. Both companies produce safety products used to try and stop or re-direct avalanches from entering places where they could wreak havoc.

Manners said the Ministry of Forests and Water and Lands B.C. have also reinstated some funding for the CAA after cuts of almost $40,000 by the provincial government last year put the CAA bulletin in jeopardy.

Canada’s West Marketplace heads to whistler in 2003:

Whistler will host next years Canada West Marketplace, a conference for international tour operators, travel trade media, and tourism suppliers from B.C. and Alberta.

They will gather Dec. 2 through 5 in the newly renovated conference centre.

Canada’s West marketplace is the largest tourism trade show in Western Canada, bringing together B.C. and Alberta tourism suppliers with international tourism buyers in one location. Tourism suppliers show off their product to buyers from Europe, Asia Pacific and North America.

More than 155 international tour operators and media from 23 countries, as well as over 270 B.C. and Alberta tourism suppliers, attended the 2002 marketplace.

"It’s the highest delegate attendance to participate at Canada’s West Marketplace and it sends a clear message that tourism opportunities for 2003 remain strong," said Derek Coke-Kerr, managing director of Travel Alberta.

Established in 1989, Canada’s West marketplace is a partnership of Travel Alberta and Tourism British Columbia. The Marketplace is held annually, alternating locations between Alberta and B.C.

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