Whistler is a resort municipality situated in the southern Pacific Ranges of the Coast Mountains in the Canadian province of British Columbia. This resort municipality has a permanent population of about 11,854 inhabitants and receives more than 2 million visitors annually who participate in several summer and winter recreational opportunities like alpine skiing, mountain biking, camping, and snowboarding. Since the mid-1990s, the major ski magazines have rated the Resort Municipality of Whistler as one of North America’s top destinations.
Geography Of Whistler
The Resort Municipality of Whistler is located at an elevation of 670m and covers a total area of 240.40 sq. km. Whistler is located approximately 125km north of the city of Vancouver, 58km north of the district municipality of Squamish, 23km south of the village municipality of Pemberton, and 122km south of the community of Lillooet. Whistler is connected to the British Columbia Interior by the British Columbia Highway 99, which is also referred to as the “Sea to Sky Highway.” Located about 140km south of Whistler, the Vancouver International Airport serves as the main international airport for the tourists and residents of Whistler.
The Whistler Blackcomb ski resort is considered to be North America’s largest ski resort. The ski resort has the greatest uphill lift capacity and features the Peak 2 Peak Gondola lift, which links the Roundhouse Lodge of the Whistler Mountain with the Rendezvous Lodge of the Blackcomb Mountain. Whistler Blackcomb served as the Host Mountain Resort for the alpine skiing, Nordic events, and the sliding events of the 2010 Winter Olympics and the 2010 Winter Paralympics. Whistler receives more than 2 million visitors annually and offers many summer and winter recreational opportunities like hiking, mountain biking, golfing, trail running, skate skiing, cross country skiing, backcountry skiing, ice skating, snowboarding, etc.
According to the Köppen climate classification, Whistler experiences a humid continental climate with warm, dry summers and clod, wet winters. The hot season lasts from June to September, with July being the hottest month, having an average high temperature of 23.6°C and a low temperature of 9.2°C. The cold season lasts from November to February, with December being the coldest month, having an average low temperature of -5.4°C and a high temperature of -0.2°C. On average, Whistler experiences temperatures above 30°C for approximately 11 days and temperatures below -10°C for about 24 days. The resort municipality receives an average rainfall of 855.9mm per year and an average snowfall of 418.7cm per year.
Brief History Of Whistler
Before the European settlers arrived, the Coast Salish First Nations inhabited the region for thousands of years. The area also served as a crossing point for First Nation trading routes between the Lil’wat First Nation and the Squamish Nation. In the late Pleistocene Period, both these Nations shared a village known as “Spo7ez”, located at the meeting point of the Cheakamus River and the Rubble Creek. However, the Spo7ez village was buried under several meters of rubble due to a massive rockslide caused by the eruption of the Black Tusk Volcano. In the 1860s, the first British survey was conducted by the Royal Navy. The surveyors referred to the mountain as “London Mountain,” but the area was referred to as “Whistler” by the early settlers because of the shrill whistle sound made by the western hoary marmots who lived among the rocks. In 1877, the Lillooet-Burrard Cattle Trail was completed that linked Lillooet with Burrard Inlet via Pemberton.
At the beginning of the 20th century, many trappers and prospectors arrived in the area. In 1914, about 10 acres of land was purchased by Myrtle and Alex Philip, who established the Rainbow Lodge on the shores of Alta Lake. The construction of the Pacific Great Eastern Railway was also completed during this time, and in due course, Whistler became a base for mining and logging. Several other lodges soon opened in the area, and Whistler eventually became a popular summer destination offering many recreational activities like fishing, hiking, and boating. In the early 1960s, the Garibaldi Olympic Development Association was formed to develop the area for hosting the 1968 Winter Olympics. In 2010, Whistler served as the Official Olympic Venue for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.