The U.K.'s Luke Dillon has won the first Whistler Sabbatical Project .
He was chosen from 10 randomly selected finalists by Tourism Whistler judges after submitting a 250-word essay on why he should be considered for the prize.
"When I was 17 I was lucky enough to be taken to Whistler by my uncle," wrote Dillon. "It was the weekend of a lifetime. Only the briefest of visits, but the friendliness of the people, the variety of the skiing, and the stunning surroundings made me long for more. Whistler stands head and shoulders above anything in Europe."
Dillon works in the events industry and volunteers for Search and Rescue Lifeboats on the Thames. As London prepares to host the 2012 Summer Games, he said he's keen to visit Whistler and soak in some of the spirit from the 2010 Games.
First prize in the Tourism Whistler contest is airfare for two to Whistler, a limo ride to and from the airport, a month's rental accommodation, free ski gear from K2, free ski passes from Whistler Blackcomb and the ability to do up to 15 "Would You Do It?" activities during his stay, ranging from heliskiing to dining out at top local restaurants. As well, Dillon will receive up to $4,200 to offset his wages.
Newly added to the contest is the Fan Choice Award, with voting from Feb. 20 to Mar. 12. The winner of this award, picked by readers, will receive a round-trip ticket to Vancouver International Airport, ground transfer to Whistler and five nights' accommodation courtesy of Aloha Whistler, two three-day lift passes, one three-hour snowmobile tour for two from The Adventure Group, one "Earn Your Turns" tour with Whistler Alpine guides and a $200 gift certificate for gear from Escape Route.
To encourage people to vote, there is an identical prize that will go to a randomly selected voter.
For more, visit wouldyoudoit.whistler.com.