John: Let’s head out to Whistler tomorrow. The weather is supposed to be nice, so we can hike around.
Me: Good plan – I will wear my hiking shoes.
John: Why do you own hiking shoes?
Me: I bought them for our trip to China. I wore them when we climbed the Great Wall of China. I will also wear my hiking pants.
John: What the hell are hiking pants? Do you mean sweat pants?
Me: No – these are hiking pants. They are made of Kevlar-like material. They protect my legs when I am breaking trail through underbrush or if I take a spill down a hill or something.
John: Or when you trip on a sidewalk? Whatever, since you have your mountain climbing wardrobe all ready, we should be set to go?
Me: Just about – I think we should make a quick stop and pick up some bear spray.
John: Are you kidding? We do not need bear spray.
(More on this bear story to follow.)
The drive to Whistler was beautiful. We followed the Sea to Sky Highway (route 99) taking in views of both the Pacific Ocean and the mountains. The view was breath-taking. This highway was totally revamped for the Vancouver Olympics.
Whistler has a permanent population of about 10,000 people, but also a huge number of temporary workers – lots from Australia and Europe. Every year, over two million people visit Whistler. Whistler Village was a buzz of activity when we were there – temperatures were around +15, and so there were people walking around in shorts and yet the ski hills were still open. There were bunches of skiers and snowboarders on the slopes. Spending the day wandering through the shops and restaurants of the village was so enjoyable. Parking was easy to find and affordable – even with our big truck.
When Vancouver hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics – Whistler was designated as the Host Mountain Resort. Many of the skiing, sliding and Paralympic events were held here. The Whistler Olympic village housed around 2400 athletes in 2010, and is now a residential neighborhood. Tourists can view the Olympic Logo structure, and the statue of Ilanaaq – the Inuksuk mascot.