The IMGS 2015 field trip will involve a trip up the Sea-to-Highway to the site of the 2010 Winter Olympics and world-renowned ski resort town of Whistler. The two hour drive to Whistler includes some of the most beautiful views of Vancouver and Westcoast landscape as the highway winds between the oceans and the Pacific Coast Mountains.
The region between Vancouver and Lillooet (just north of Whistler) has been the home of the Squamish and Lil’Wat First Nations people for many thousands of years. The land on which Whistler resort is currently located served as a meeting point between these two nations. In the early 1900’s, trappers and prospectors began to settle on the land at the base of what are now called Whistler and Blackcomb mountain. In those days, the small settlement was named Alta Lake but was later changed to Whistler “because of the whistle sound made by the western hoary marmots who live among the rocks” (Tourism Whistler, 2014).
In the early 1960’s, a group of Vancouverites began pursuing the development of a ski resort, instigating the construction of a road between Vancouver and Whistler. In 1966, Whistler Mountain Ski Resort officially opened for skiing. In 1977, the ski resort was given 53 acres of Crown land to further develop the resort and municipality. This land was used to build Whistler Village, a town centre housing hotels and other amenities for visitors coming to ski at the resort. Shortly after, the mountain adjacent to Whistler mountain (Blackcomb) was opened for skiing. In 1998, Intrawest Corporation bought both ski mountains and facilitated skiers access to both mountains through the development of the Peak 2 Peak gondola, a gondola that stretches across a record-breaking 4.4 km of alpine terrain. Riding the gondola in winter or summer provides a stunning 360 degree view of mountain tops. Some of the gondolas even have a glass bottom for enhanced viewing.
In 2010, Whistler shared hosting duties with Vancouver for the Winter Olympics, drawing attention to the beautiful setting of this resort town as well as the incredible sporting amenities and cultural history of the region. Today, Whistler is considered one of the top ski resorts in the world, while also boasting a world-renowned mountain bike park in the summer months. Furthermore, the Squamish Lil’Wat Cultural Centre, built following discussions between these two nations and the Resort Municipality of Whistler to increase the Nations’ participation in resort events, including the 2010 Olympics, provides a unique cultural centre that educates visitors on the history and traditional legends, carvings, arts, songs, and ceremonies of these two nations.
Field Trip Details
The IMGS field trip will provide participants with an opportunity to experience many of the tourist attractions mentioned above, including the Peak 2 Peak gondola and the Squamish Lil’Wat Cultural Centre. You will have the choice of signing up to participate in one of the two following activities as part of your registration fee.
Option 1: Peak 2 Peak Gondola Ride
If you select this option, once arriving in Whistler, you will be taken to the bottom of the gondola. You will be provided with a lift ticket to ride the gondola to the first peak as well as a ticket to take the Peak 2 Peak gondola across to the adjacent mountain peak of Blackcomb. At both peaks, there are restaurants and amenities as well as a wide variety of hiking trails you can explore. We will have a guided hiking option for those interested in hiking, lead by one of the conference organizers. For more information about this activity check out: http://www.whistlerblackcomb.com/events-and-activities/summer-activities/peak-2-peak-gondola.aspx
FYI: The gondola ride up the mountain takes approximately 30 minutes each way, while the Peak 2 Peak also takes about 30 minutes to travel from one peak to the next. If selecting this option, you can explore at the top of the mountains for as long as you would like, and may still find time to try out other activities in the village as well.
Option 2: Squamish Lil’Wat Cultural Centre
If you select this option, once arriving in Whistler, you will be taken directly to the cultural centre. After a 1 hour tour of the centre, including a craft-making activity, lunch will be provided at the centre, including traditional Squamish and Lil’Wat dishes. After lunch, you will be free to explore other parts of Whistler Village, or you may decide to also venture up the gondola to see the mountain-top views at your own expense. For more information about the centre check out: http://slcc.ca/